Tim Tebow hasn’t yet mustered a hit in the Arizona Fall League, where this week he started the second step in his attempt at a baseball career in the New York Mets farm system. So far, Tebow is 0-for-9 with a couple of walks and an RBI on a sacrifice.
On Friday, however, he got sacked. Like a quarterback would. Tebow’s baseball turn got ripped apart by ESPN’s lead scout Keith Law, who called the entire thing a “farce” and wrote that there’s “absolutely no baseball justification for Tebow.” Ouch.
And remember, this is ESPN, a network that has traditionally been supportive of The Tebow Show, and a network that still employs Tebow as a college football analyst. (In fact, Tebow is missing Friday and Saturday’s Arizona Fall League games for his TV gig).
Here’s some of what Law wrote in his scouting report for ESPN, which is only available to ESPN Insiders:
Tim Tebow is in the Arizona Fall League. He might be better suited to playing in an Arizona high school league. His presence here is a farce, and he looks like an imposter pretending to have talent he does not possess.
Then there’s this, which addresses some of the flaws in Tebow’s game:
Tebow the baseball player is not a baseball player; he’s a washed-up quarterback who has size and nothing else. His swing is long, and he wields the bat like someone who hasn’t played the sport in more than a decade, which he hasn’t. He can’t catch up to 90 mph, which is well below the major league average for a fastball, and was cutting through fastballs in the zone on Wednesday night. He rolled over twice on fastballs, which is something you generally see professional hitters do only on off-speed stuff, and he showed below-average running speed. In left field, his routes look like those of a wide receiver, although he managed to eventually make his way around to a fly ball in left. In short, there’s absolutely no baseball justification for Tebow to be here.
If you’re wondering about Law’s credentials, he worked in the Toronto Blue Jays front office for four years in between stints as a baseball writer, first for Baseball Prospectus and now for ESPN, where he’s been since 2006.
Law asserts, as many other have, that Tebow is getting a chance with the Mets for marketing reasons rather than baseball reasons. The Mets had No. 15 Tebow jerseys for sale on his first day of instructional camp. And Adidas signed Tebow to an endorsement contract even before his open workout for teams. So, thus far, the commerce has exceeded the on-field value.
The defining moment of Tebow’s baseball career is hitting a homer in his first at-bat in the Mets’ instructional league. In the Arizona Fall League, though, Tebow is facing far better competition. The teams are made up mostly of MLB prospects, many of whom have played in Double-A and Triple-A.
Scouting reports aside, the Arizona Fall League will prove a strong indicator of Tebow’s true baseball abilities.
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