Monday, March 12, 2018

Mets' Tim Tebow slowly but surely improving

Tebow on starting at DH for Mets
If he shows decent numbers in AA -- which is where the Mets would need to send him to determine if a late-season call-up is warranted -- then it seems like all systems are go for Timmy to take on the Big Apple.

Tebow showing marked improvement at plate

Callaway on former NFL star: 'He's putting some really good swings on some pitches'

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The procession of elite starting pitchers was new to Tim Tebow last year, when the quarterback-turned-outfielder faced Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer in the same month. Tebow did not fare well in those games. His transition to baseball was still raw.

And while it's true that no one ever quite grows accustomed to facing Scherzer -- "That's challenging for anybody," manager Mickey Callaway said after Tebow struck out against the three-time Cy Young winner on three pitches Friday in the Mets' 2-1 loss to the Nationals -- it's also clear that things have changed. Tebow's ability to recover, lacing a single off highly touted prospect Erick Fedde in his next at-bat, provided the latest evidence that he is improving before the Mets' eyes.

"I just feel a lot more adjusted to the game," Tebow said. "I feel like I have a much different approach and swing, so I can be a lot more patient seeing pitches and trusting all the work I've put in."

The differences between Tebow last year and this year are plain to the naked eye. Following an offseason spent transforming his batting stance, Tebow now positions himself more athletically, with his feet closer together. His swing is shorter, more compact. Tebow's trademark power is still obvious -- particularly during early spring batting practice, when he twice clanged balls off sheds beyond the outfield fence. But there is more to Tebow's game now than mere parlor tricks.

"He has a good swing, and he's putting some really good swings on some pitches," Callaway said. "He looks comfortable at the plate. And he tells us he's feeling more and more comfortable, like he's in a much better spot than he was last year at this time."

It is a swing that Tebow spent the better part of a year revamping, working this winter with Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy and Mets assistant hitting coach Tom Slater. When Tebow arrived at camp last month, Mets players Jay Bruce and David Wright also offered advice.

Whether that translates into improved statistics from Tebow, who hit just .226 at two levels of Class A ball last season, remains to be seen. But he is at least building the foundation for the type of career general manager Sandy Alderson hinted at when he said he expects Tebow to play in the big leagues.

"I've been really comfortable," said Tebow, who finished 1-for-3 Friday to improve to 1-for-7 on the spring after missing several games recovering from a sprained ankle. "I think I'm getting more comfortable every at-bat."
Others are starting to take notice. Scherzer, who faced Tebow for the first time last March, did not attack him in quite the same way, starting the former Heisman Trophy winner out with a first-pitch curveball.

"I'm out there trying to get him out," Scherzer said. "I'm working on my instincts, what I needed to do to get him out."

Others will likewise give Tebow their best, not wanting to find themselves on the wrong side of headlines. In that sense and others, this spring is an audition for Tebow, who could advance straight to Double-A Binghamton if Mets officials see enough improvement.

It's something Tebow swears is not on his mind, even if such an assignment would put him two quick hops from the big leagues.

"I just worried about today, facing Max Scherzer," Tebow said, laughing. "We'll worry about that when I get there."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

Sent from my iPhone
Post a Comment

Giants Top Minor League Prospects

  • 1. Tyler Beede 6-4, 215 RHP from Vanderbilt projects as top of the rotation starter when he works out his command/control issues. When he misses, he misses by a bunch.
  • 2. Chris Shaw 6-3. 230 1B Lefty power bat, limited defensively to 1B, Matt Adams comp?
  • 3. Bryan Reynolds 6-2, 210 OF Switch hitter with average speed and polished hitting approach. Fits Giants mold of high-floor, low-ceiling prospects.
  • 4. Stephen Duggar 6-1, 170 CF Another toolsy, under-achieving OF in the Gary Brown mold, hoping for better results.
  • 5. Sandro Fabian 6-0, 180 OF Dominican signee from 2014, shows some pop in his bat. Below average arm and lack of speed should push him towards LF.
  • 6. Aramis Garcia 6-2, 220 C from Florida INTL projects as a good bat behind the dish with enough defensive skill to play there long-term
  • 7. Heliot Ramos 6-2, 185 OF Potential high-ceiling player the Giants have been looking for. Great bat speed, early returns were impressive.
  • 8. Garrett Williams 6-1, 205 LHP Former Oklahoma standout, Giants prototype, low-ceiling, high-floor prospect.
  • 9. Heath Quinn 6-2, 190 OF Strong hitter, makes contact with improving approach at the plate. Returns from hamate bone injury.
  • 10. Seth Corry 6-2 195 LHP Highly regard HS pick. Was mentioned as possible chip in high profile trades.
  • 11. Jacob Gonzalez 6-3, 190 3B Good pedigree, impressive bat for HS prospect.
  • 12. C.J. Hinojosa 5-10, 175 SS Scrappy IF prospect in the mold of Kelby Tomlinson, just gets it done.
  • 13. Shaun Anderson 6-4, 225 RHP Large frame, 3.36 K/BB rate. Can start or relieve
  • 14. Garett Cave 6-4, 200 RHP He misses a lot of bats and at times, the plate. 13 K/9 an 5 B/9. Wild thing.

2018 MLB Draft - Top National HS Players

  • 1. Ethan Hankins 6-6, 215 RHP Forsyth Central HS (GA) Mi 90's FB tops at 96-98, plus breaking ball. Vanderbilt commit.
  • 2. Kumar Rocker 6-5, 250 RHP North Oconee HS (GA) Heavy 98 FB, sharp mid 90's slider. Vanderbilt commit.
  • 3. Matthew Liberatore 6-5, 200 LHP Mountain Ridge HS (AZ) High 3/4 arm slot, 91-93 FB tops at 95, with good feel for pitching. Arizona commit.
  • 4. Slade Cecconi 6-4, 195 RHP Trinity Prep HS (FL) High 90's FB tops at 97, with mid 80's breaking ball. Miami commit.
  • 5. Carter Stewart 6-6, 200 RHP Eau Galle HS (FL) Highest spin rate breaking ball in draft. Mississippi State commit.
  • 6. Luke Bartnicki 6-3, 210 LHP Walton HS (GA) Low 90's FB with command, workable slider. Georgia Tech commit.

2018 Top MLB College Draft Prospects

  • 1. Brady Singer 6-5, 200 RHP Florida Sergio Romo-esque slider from whippy low 3/4 arm slot. Mid 90's FB, sharp slider and change-up. 3.4 K/BB rate.
  • 2. Casey Mize 6-3, 210 RHP Auburn Forearm issues, 96 FB with split/slider mix, 6.2 K/BB ratio.
  • 3. Logan Gilbert 6-6, 205 RHP Stetson Loose arm action, 3 pitch mix, 93-96 FB 3.2 K/BB.
  • 4. Ryan Rollison 6-3, 200 LHP Mississippi Smooth delivery from 3/4 arm slot, 89-93 FB tops at 94/95. Late 1st, early 2nd rounder. 2.8 K/BB rate.
  • 5. Shane McClanahan 6-1, 175 LHP South Florida Thin build, 3/4 arm slot, tall and fall delivery. 93/96 FB range. 3.0 K/BB rate.

2018 Top MLB HS Draft Prospects in Tampa Bay Area

  • 1. Connor Scott 6-4, 180 OF Plant HS (FL) Florida commit.