The Arizona Fall League ends this week. Tim Tebow’s stint in the Fall League ended last night. The final batting line: .194/.296/.242 in 70 plate appearances in 19 games. He hit three doubles and no homers. He walked eight times. He struck out 20 times.
To be fair, Tebow did improve as his fall season wore on, increasing his walk rate and picking up some more hits — he was 8-for-his-last-30. The concern, however, is that the one thing scouts said he really had going for him — his power — was AWOL in Arizona. In improved batting eye was encouraging, but if you can’t use that eye to pick your spots to deploy your home run swing, it’s not worth a ton.
Ultimately, of course, we’re talking about very small sample sizes here, rendering a mere look at the stats less important than it might otherwise be. More important would be the assessment of scouts who would be in a position to look past the results and determine whether there was anything promising there. Batting approaches that, even if they didn’t result in a lot of hits, could provide the scaffolding for something he could build in the low minors next spring. What do the scouts think on that score?
“Awful,” said one AL scout.
“Stinks,” said one from the NL.
“Ugly,” said another executive. “In the field and at the plate, nothing looks natural.”
Executives quoted in that story, from the New York Post, are a bit more charitable. They note that he did improve with instruction and that he was “not an embarrassment.” One notes that he was, as expected, a good influence on his teammates. One also notes, however, that his age is the primary thing working against him. The suggestion being that his skills are extremely rudimentary at this point and would take so much time to get up to a useful level, he’ll likely be too old if he ever reaches that level.
The biggest question now is what the Mets do with Tebow. He says he is still committed to playing. Sandy Alderson sounds like he’s still committed to the Tebow experiment. I’d assume a rookie league team is the place to be in 2017, but we’ll see in the spring.