To this point, the minor league baseball career of Tim Tebow has had mixed results. He’s shown good power as evidenced by his slugging three home runs in a little more than 122 at bats. And he’s hitting a respectable .230 for someone who hasn’t seen ‘professional’ hitting on a regular basis for the better part of a decade. His most recent home run came on Sunday.
Tim Tebow hits third home run of the season
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 22, 2017
But the bad has also been very bad with 37 strikeouts in 35 games. But as Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal reports, there is one stat that the former Heisman Trophy winner must begin to improve upon if he wants to prolong his career.
Tebow leads the entire minor leagues (at every level) in ground ball rate. For someone who’s success is predicated on smashing balls into the gap and hitting dingers, this is, shall we say, not ideal.
Entering Monday, Tebow led the minor leagues with a 4.73 ground-ball to fly-ball ratio. Which means on his balls in play, he’s nearly five times as likely to dribble it on the ground than he is to hit it in the air. His rate is by far the highest of any of the 993 qualified minor leaguers at any level, according to FanGraphs. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Cameron Maybin has the highest groundball-to-flyball ratio among qualified big-league hitters at 3.30.
The good news is that it’s still early in the season for the Single-A Colombia Fireflies. And Tebow’s well-documented work ethic no doubt will help him to get into the cage and start to try and get the ball in the air. Even moderate improvement in this stat would turn easy ground ball infield putouts into more singles and doubles, and in many cases, more home runs.