Tim Tebow, former NFL quarterback, is putting on a showcase for MLB teams in the hopes of landing a contract with a baseball team. He’s not the first athlete to attempt to switch sports, but baseball is hard, and he is 29. His chances aren’t necessarily great, but he doesn’t seem to be embarrassing himself. That’s kind of a victory on its own!
Tebow faced minor-league pitchers Chad Smith and David Aardsma, both righties. Aardsma has a 14-year career between the minors and majors and is winding down, while Smith is 26 and was crushed in Triple-A this year. So, neither pitcher is at the entry-level that Tebow would go to were he signed, but they aren’t exactly major league arms, either.
He was 8 for 19 with two doubles and three strikeouts against these two, which sounds all well and good but remember who he's facing and all that.
If you’re familiar with his football career at all, you won’t be surprised to know that he seems like an above-average runner. His 60-yard dash came in at 6.65 seconds, and yes, there is probably a joke to make there about if he were 0.01 slower.
Of course, there's this take on how the run actually looked ...
You will also not be surprised by how his arm looks if you know him from his time in the NFL, either. It is ... not great. It’s not terrible, so that’s something, but when you think about handing a quarterback a baseball and telling him to throw it as hard as he can, you probably envision something better than what Tebow showed off.
NL scout says Tim Tebow is "fringe but servicable" outfielder, would be okay to put in left field, arm lacks true carry, 45-grade— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016
If you don’t speak scout, 45 is on the 20-80 scouting scale, and rates just a rung below average.
Tebow should probably stick to left if he does get signed. You need less arm strength there, and it would help hide that his arm is just OK. His speed is probably enough for right field, but it’s hard to know just from second-hand info how his instincts are out there, and left would help hide any lack of those, too.
His power is what got him high marks, with an NL scout grading it an 80 -- that's as high as the scale goes. But it is worth remembering that raw power and in-game power are very different creatures: Tebow can hit baseballs very, very far in batting practice, but when a pitcher is actively trying to get him out and has far more experience to draw on -- and Tebow's swing and decision-making against pitches other than fastballs doesn't turn out to be wonderful -- well, it won't matter what his raw power grades out at.
Will he get signed? Baseball teams will bring just about anyone on board if they think that they are capable of helping, and the fact Tebow didn’t straight-up embarrass himself in this showcase is probably a good sign. That doesn’t mean the majors are in his future, but the 29-year-old could very well get a contract and face some real challenges in the low minors as soon as 2017.
Or, he’ll go to winter ball this offseason and realize in a hurry that playing actual games is a lot different than a showcase held for scouts. One of the two.