You might remember Christopher Crawford from our draft-day coverage and more recently from him helping to explain what the Yankees got in return for Aroldis Chapman (among other deadline-related questions). If not, he writes about prospects and draftees for Baseball Prospectus and ESPN. On Tuesday, he took time to answer questions we had about Tim Tebow.
What do you think about his swing?
I think there are things to like about the swing, and a lot of things to cause concern. There’s obvious bat speed, and the loft in the swing along with his ridiculous strength gives him a chance for plus-plus power. The question is, can he tap into that power? There are a lot of moving, awkward parts to his swing, and big velocity and quality secondary offerings are going to give him trouble without some serious cleanup. Have we seen guys with worse swings play in the big leagues? Yes. Did those players max out at their other respective tools? Certainly.
What about his tools and overall potential?
Based on what I heard/saw in limited video, there’s a lot of fringe-average tools here. He ran an average 60 time, and with some trimming, maybe you’re looking at an above-average runner. There’s just as good of chance because of his massive frame that he’s a below-average runner long-term, however. The arm action isn’t prototypical, and the reports I had were average. He appeared to have decent hands in the outfield and caught what was in front of him, but the routes weren’t efficient, and he’s gonna have to work on back peddling. So basically there’s one plus-plus tool (power), one well below-average tool (hit) and everything else looks to be 40-50 grade.
What position do you think he’ll wind up at?
Left field or first base. The arm isn’t strong enough to handle a traditional right, he’s not athletic enough for center, and being left-handed takes away everything else. I’d guess he’s in left.
Do you think teams are risking alienating their other players — both in the minors and the majors — if they sign him?
Not really, no. Maybe it would create some tension in the locker room — “why is this guy here?” sort of things — but ultimately, there’s so little harm in giving it a try that I don’t think it’d alienate anyone, and the reward of sold jerseys would certainly outweigh a little friction.
How long do you think he might require in the minors before he’s near big-league ready — if he’ll ever be big-league ready
At least a couple of years, unless a team believes he can come up and just be a power weapon off the bench and they don’t care about developing everything else. Baseball is a really difficult game, and it will takes at least a couple of years for Tebow to get the repetitions necessary to get rid of the bad habits along with acquiring some semblance of pitch recognition. If a team does sign him, I’d be surprised if you saw him in a big league uniform before the end of 2017, maybe even 2018.
Based on everything we know, if you’re a scout, are you recommending your team pursue him?
I think I would. I just don’t see the harm in giving it a shot. For Tebow to look as “good” as he did in the workout with that much time away from the game is really impressive, and if you really believe in your player-development staff, this is the kind of athlete who can help a big-league club. There will undoubtedly be clubs who just don’t want the distraction, but if it was my decision, I’d be willing to give it a shot. The worst thing that happens is you release him if/when he shows he can’t handle it. The reward is a guy who makes managers alter the way they manage their bullpen. The reward certainly outweighs the reward, in my humble estimation.
Source: CBS Sports / An MLB prospect expert breaks down Tim Tebow as an MLB prospect for us