We are now a month into Tim Tebow’s Triple-A career, and it’s pretty hard to overstate how horrifically the former football player is performing.
Through 26 games for the Syracuse Mets this year, Tebow is hitting .131/.198/.179 with zero home runs and a 37 percent strikeout rate. He currently has only 11 hits on the season, 12 if you count the time he accidentally kicked his first-base coach in the groin. After saying in February that an MLB call-up was his goal for the season, the 31-year-old outfielder currently ranks last in the entire Triple-A level in OPS (.376) and wRC+ (-4).
Those latter two numbers are on pace to be the worst marks the Triple-A season has seen in the last decade, per Fangraphs. And, keep in mind, Tebow plays a bat-first position at left-field and won’t be making the majors through his fielding or baserunning.
If there’s player who has earned the crown of “Worst Player in Triple-A” this year, Tebow is the runaway leader right now. That hasn’t stopped fans from coming out in droves to see the Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL first-round draft pick.
People still really want to see Tim Tebow hit .131
Even as Tebow flails at the plate, the Triple-A Mets are still causing attendance spikes eveywhere they go this year.
The Pawtucket Red Sox (+10.9 percent), Rochester Red Wings (+19.3 percent), Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders (+33.8 percent), Lehigh Valley IronPigs (+6.5 percent) and Louisville (+21.1 percent) have all had significant attendance bumps with Tebow in town.
Keep in mind that Syrcause has no top-100 prospects on their team to drive sales. The attendance bump appears to be all Tebow.
This, of course, is what the Mets likely had in mind when they signed Tebow in the first place. You don’t bring in a 29-year-old who hasn’t seriously played the sport in more than a decade because he has a serious shot at helping your major league team. You do it because he’s Tim Tebow (or Michael Jordan) and fans are more likely to want to see him than the vast majority — possibly all — of the game’s top prospects.
Additionally, the Mets are one of the few major league organizations that outright own their Triple-A team, meaning they are the ones directly benefiting from Tebow’s draw.
There are still more than 100 games left in Syracuse’s season and plenty of time for Tebow to get his numbers into at least a respectable range. He actually looked borderline competent at the plate last year with a 273/.336/.399 at Double-A Binghamton, so there’s good reason to believe a .376 OPS isn’t his true talent level.
And yet, it’s worth wondering just how much more time Tebow can spend on the grind and bus rides of a full-length baseball season when a major league call-up looks more and more unlikely.
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