WASHINGTON — So far in life, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway might be the only person to have crossed paths with Tim Tebow and not been impressed.
The former Heisman Trophy winner and one-time NFL quarterback continues his quest to become a professional baseball player this Spring and will join the New York Mets at their Florida training facility.
This comes after an offseason in which he was neighbors with Washington Nationals slugger Daniel Murphy in Jacksonville. Needless to say, Murphy came away impressed after hitting with Tebow at a local high school.
“He’s quite an impressive person,” Murphy told the media. “I think that the [batting] power is real. What he needs is at-bats.”
Murphy should know what it’s like to be a late bloomer. After being an above average hitter with the New York Mets, he became the star of the MLB Postseason in 2015, parlaying that into a modest contract from the rival Nats.
He then proceeded to turn in an MVP-caliber season at age 31, setting career highs in average (.347), home runs (25), RBI (104), doubles (47), slugging (.595), OPS (.985), total bases (316), hit by pitch (8), and sacrifice flies (8). He led baseball in doubles, slugging and OPS.
Tebow registered closer to the other end of the spectrum during the Arizona Fall League, hitting an anemic .194 and striking out once every 3.5 at-bats. What’s the trick for getting over the hump? Repetition, repetition, repetition.
“He needs 500, 600 plate appearances to try to make adjustments on the fly,” Murphy explained. “It’s always interesting to see what happens when you go from someone trying to hit your barrel to someone trying to not hit your barrel. He just needs that experience to pull from, which only a full season can give you.
“He’s done all this work, and he’s improved greatly.”