COLUMBIA, S.C.—Baseball America provided readers with a scouting report of basketball star Michael Jordan in March 1994 before the beginning of what turned out to be his one season in professional baseball in the White Sox system.
Jordan, who was 31 at the time and had just claimed three consecutive NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, hit .202/.289/.266 in 127 games at Double-A Birmingham.
Tim Tebow may not be as accomplished as Jordan, but his celebrity immediately translated into robust crowds for the Mets, who signed the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner last September. Fans flocked to see Tebow, whether at instructional league or the Arizona Fall League last year or at big league camp or in the low Class A South Atlantic League this spring.
Through his first 25 games at Columbia, the 29-year-old Tebow hit .236/.313/.360 with two home runs and 25 strikeouts. A major league scout who requested anonymity furnished BA with the following scouting report of the former University of Florida quarterback.
Tebow shows some bat speed, but his swing is stiff. He is a physical specimen in the box (listed at 6-foot-3, 255 pounds) with good balance in his swing. He is just stiff, but I understand he has loosened up.
His limited pitch recognition is his issue. That is going to probably be his demise, just because of him being out of baseball for so long.
What he is doing is really difficult, but if somebody is going to (succeed), it is definitely going to be him.
He is probably going to hit for a little better power once he gets a better feel for the strike zone.
He is probably going to be a high-strikeout, low-walk guy because he has an amateur approach, which is understandable.
There are a lot of things he does not have. Because he plays left field, he is going to have to hit, and hit a lot. He is going to run into a ball every now and then because he is extremely strong and is a physical specimen.
But being able to get into the batter’s box against a Max Scherzer in a playoff game—that is not going to happen.
He is an average to slightly above-average runner, but at times he does not give effort and just kind of goes through the motions. That is what you see in a lot of players . . . Nobody runs a hard 90 feet all the time anymore.
At times, he will show a little burst, but he is a side-to-side runner. He runs hard and runs strong. You know what he is. You have seen him on TV playing football. He runs the same way. He’s an aggressive, athletic runner with a super athletic body. That is not going to translate, especially after his body breaks down over 140 games in the minor leagues. He is not going to be a plus runner.
Defensively, Tebow has choppy footwork (in left field). His first step is slow. He will get to the routine play, but he is not going to win you a ball game there and potentially could get you beat. He is a left fielder only, and that is being generous in the evaluation.
Tebow has unbelievable makeup. You want your son to be him when he grows up. He is the type of guy you want to have around young players. He is a plus in every department on the makeup side, from his work ethic to who he is deep down inside to who he is as a teammate. He’s just an absolutely good person.
His motto is “pursuing your dreams in any way possible,” and I tip my cap to him.
I believe Tebow is an organizational player. I do not think he is a major leaguer. But if he progresses like he has at low Class A and continues to hit at other levels, then if not this September, it will be next September—if the Mets are out of playoff contention—that he will (receive a callup), just as a marketing, public relations thing.
But if you are looking at him, without looking at those things, he is a mid-level organizational player. I would not recommend him to our club because we try to scout to build a championship club. He does not check those boxes for me.