So Tim Tebow wants to play professional baseball.
In order to do so, the former Florida quarterback is going to have to turn some heads in the scouting community.
Tebow already has an offer from an independent league team, but he appears to be eyeing a chance in the minor league organization of one of the 30 Major League Baseball teams. He has a workout scheduled for the end of the month, and all 30 MLB teams have reportedly received an invite.
But some professional scouts have already seen Tebow. Baseball America reached out to some scouts to gauge the level of interest teams may have in the Heisman Trophy winner who was an all-state baseball player in high school.
“He could have been a good player but everyone was well aware of him being a football player,” said a long-time National League scout who saw Tebow play in high school. “He was a super competitive kid with right field tools. He just didn’t play enough. Against better pitching he wasn’t quite ready for it. All these years later, I would be suspicious. What is someone going to see in a workout? He may hit some balls out of the park and run a good 60-yard dash. But you have to see him hit against very good Double-A or Triple-A pitching.”
Tebow reportedly hit .489 during his junior season back in 2005, but did not play a senior season because he enrolled at Florida early to focus on football. And who could blame him for that? He won two national championships in the next three seasons there.
But a decade away from the game is going to be tough to make up for, even if he has been working on a baseball comeback for the better part of a year as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday morning.
Tebow is sure to draw comparisons to basketball legend Michael Jordan, who decided to take a two-year break from basketball to give baseball a whirl back in the 1990s. But as another scout pointed out to Baseball America, that’s not exactly a success story.
“As gifted an athlete as the great Michael Jordan was, he had trouble with the speed of the game, especially hitting live,” said a veteran American League area scout. “For Tebow, I can imagine he’s shown some BP potential, however Ted Williams was right–hitting is the hardest thing to do in all of sports, and you add time off to that equation and it’s nearly impossible. His only shot would be as a pitcher.”
It will be interesting to see if any MLB organization bites on this project, if for nothing other than the minor league attendance boost and good publicity.