By: Steven Wisner
Whether Tim Tebow will ever make it to New York is uncertain, but he’ll be on the diamond quite a bit representing the New York Mets during Grapefruit League play.
The over/under numbers for the former quarterback in Grapefruit League action are 7.5 strikeouts and a .160 batting average. There are also odds on whether Tebow even get a hit in big league camp or hit a home run.
The Mets' full Grapefruit League rotation so far:
Friday: Zack Wheeler
Saturday: Seth Lugo
Sunday: Robert Gsellman
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) February 21, 2018
In the minor leagues, Tebow posted a 29-percent strikeout rate while recording a strikeout per game.Currently, the over/under is set at 7.5 strikeouts for Tebow in Grapefruit League play. There are several holes in his uppercut swing, leading to more than his share of swing-and-miss in his game. While that’s not exactly what the fans want to see, there’s no doubt they’ll get plenty of it during Grapefruit League action.
Given the number of strikeouts he recorded against Single-A pitchers last season, the question is ultimately about how many at bats he’ll get rather than how many strikeouts he’ll rack up. Provided he gets enough action, Tebow should easily clear that hurdle.
Tebow played in nine Grapefruit League games last year despite not being part of the big-league camp. He got 27 at bats and struck out eight times. Even when he wasn’t an official invite to camp, he surpassed the 7.5 strikeout mark. He’s got a bit more baseball seasoning, but it still stands to reason he’ll be over again. Currently the over is the favorite play at -150 while under is at +120. Even with those odds, take the over.
Rogelio Armenteros will start for the Astros in Friday's Grapefruit League opener against the Nats. Armenteros, 23, is coming off a breakout 2017 in which he had a 2.04 ERA in 123 2/3 innings across Double A & Triple A. He should begin the season in the Triple-A Fresno rotation.
— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) February 21, 2018
As for the average, Tebow hit a combined .226 in the minors last year. He batted an even worse .148 with four singles in his 27 at bats last spring. Spring Training averages are hard to pin given the small sample size. One good day or a couple lucky breaks could swing an average dramatically.
After a year in the minors he figures to be a bit more polished than he was last spring, but he was heavily over matched last year and will be again in 2018. He may get a bunch of at bats late in the game early in spring which could help him. He’ll likely see a lot of Double-A pitchers more than major league arms early, but even so, he hasn’t proven himself to be a high average hitter even against lesser competition. A .160 average seems to be a realistic mark, the Over is at -130 with the Under at +100. The over seems a bit more likely, but it should be close.
While it’s hard to peg his average over his spring action, one thing seems highly likely: he’ll get enough at bats to find a hole and get a hit. The odds of him getting a hit are -400 while the odds he won’t are +340. He’ll get more than the 27 at bats he got last year and he’s more polished of a player after his season in the minors. He’ll get more chances and is a better hitter now than last year. He’ll get a hit. Whether it’ll be anything more than a single, however, is an entirely different question.
Did the Mets just do this so Tim Tebow could wear #15 in the Grapefruit League? https://t.co/w7F6SvyUwo
— James B. Terry (@terryjt1) February 13, 2018
Tebow hit eight home runs in an entire minor league season last year. He had no extra base hits last spring. It seems much more likely he pushes a double down the line than drives a ball over the fence. He did hit eight homers in the minors including one in St. Lucie, the Spring Training home of the Mets. The Florida winds do allow the ball to carry at times in the spring so that’ll work in his favor and with the odds at +700 that he’ll run into one, it may be worth a bet, particularly with the odds at -1200 that he’ll go without a long ball. The safe bet, however, is still no as he went homerless in his final 30 games of last season.
Whether Tebow’s baseball career is anything more than a sideshow act is still up for question, but there’s no question that he garners plenty of attention and the odds on Tim Tebow’s Grapefruit League stats should keep things interesting.
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