Even the most diehard of Tim Tebow fans has to admit that the 31-year-old slugger has suffered through some early season struggles at the Triple-A level.
In 37 at-bats, Tebow is currently hitting just .162 with no home runs and 15 strikeouts.
Yes, he has shown flashes of brilliance with his hitting, but it is readily apparent that the Syracuse Mets outfielder still has ample room for improvement.
That includes his defense, which appears to be getting better.
Hey @KFCBarstool @NjTank99 Tebow is tearing it up in AAA Pawtucket today. A single and then a nice diving grab. It was also cloudy/raining until he took the field, then the skies opened up ☀️ for 15 pic.twitter.com/atYcYiRM2O
— Jim P. (@JimPin) April 13, 2019
Even given that, however, his popularity has never been tied to just his success as an athlete. His leadership and character have contributed greatly to his appeal.
Despite the struggles in Triple-A, Tebow’s popularity hasn’t wavered. In fact, despite of his lack of production at the plate, he seems to be gaining fans at the Triple-A level.
He’s become so popular, in fact, that Terry Collins, a special assistant to the general manager for the Mets, called him “the Cal Ripken of the minor leagues,” according to The Washington Post.
Obviously, Tebow is not the player that the former Baltimore Orioles great was. But that’s still a lofty comparison given that Ripken is generally regarded as one of the classiest and most beloved MLB players in history.
The Post notes that the comparison is at least partly based on the fact that Tebow signs so many autographs regardless of what minor league city he’s in.
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) April 3, 2019
For the doubters, the article offered a glimpse into just how maniacally the Mets prospect takes his baseball career.
Based on the report, Tebow has been the quintessential sponge, soaking up as much knowledge as possible by taking notes and asking questions.
“‘Hey,’ he has said, ‘What do you think about this?’ On a bus ride in spring training, he sat next to Syracuse hitting coach Joel Chimelis and asked questions about a few power hitters, including the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge,” The Post’s Matthew Gutierrez wrote.
And much to his naysayers’ chagrin, it sounds like Tebow’s coaches have noticed his work ethic and are all rooting for him to get to the majors.
“Hopefully one day he’ll be batting third this summer, and I can tell him he’s getting called up,” Syracuse Mets Manager Tony DeFrancesco said, according to The Post. “We’re pleased right now. Everybody’s going to pound him inside until he proves he can hit the ball in. He’s shown he can drive the ball the other way. It’s no secret.”
So yes, Tebow is struggling. But that can be improved upon with enough reps and practice.
You can’t make someone have good character or manufacture authentic popularity. And from all indications, Tebow has those two things down pat.
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