Last month, the New York Mets promoted Tim Tebow from Columbia in the South Atlantic League (“Low A” ball) to St. Lucie, a “High A” team in the Florida State League. Tebow hadn’t done anything to deserve the promotion. At the time, he was batting .222, with an on-base percentage of .311 and a slugging percentage of .340.
As I noted, though, the move made financial sense for the Mets. They don’t own the Columbia team, but they do own St. Lucie. Thus, they stood to benefit from the boost in attendance that the presence of this Florida football legend would surely generate.
Nor was the move ridiculous from a pure baseball standpoint. As I said at the time, Tebow is 29 years old. The Mets might as well find out now whether he can stay afloat against “High A” pitching, while they reap the financial reward of having him play for a team they own.
So, how is Tebow doing in Florida? Extremely well. In 17 games, with 53 at-bats, he’s batting .321, with an on-base percentage of .410 and a slugging percentage of .566. That’s not staying afloat; it’s swimming away from the pack.
Yesterday, Tebow hit a walk-off home run to defeat Daytona. It was his third homer since joining St. Lucie. He hit only three in 214 at-bats for Low A Columbia.
What’s the explanation for Tebow tearing up a High A league after being overmatched at the Low A level? I don’t know.
It was always possible that things might suddenly start to click for Tebow, who is a newcomer to professional baseball. Maybe being back in Florida helped. Still, going from an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .651 to .976 after moving to a higher classification of baseball is astonishing, even taking into account the small sample size in Florida.
What’s next for Tebow? Another promotion if he keeps hitting the way he has been, I should think.
Not to the major leagues, though. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson says he doesn’t foresee Tebow playing for the Mets this season.
You can watch Tebow’s walk-off home run, and the celebration that followed, below.