The Mets are done for 2016. But their most-talked-about prospect is just getting started.
Tim Tebow will begin playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions this week in the Arizona Fall League in the next step in the 29-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner’s quest to become a major-leaguer.
Tebow is on the Scottsdale roster along with eight other Mets prospects, eight Yankees prospects and youngsters from the Phillies, Angels and Giants. The combined team will be managed by Mets first-base coach Tom Goodwin.
Tebow, a lefthanded-hitting outfielder, recently concluded a stint in Instructional League in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The 6-3, 255-pounder hit a home run on the first pitch he saw in a game. Overall, he went 4-for-14 (.286) with two walks and drew crowds in the hundreds, at least initially, in Tebow-mad Florida.
In the AFL, Tebow will be more than 10 years older than his youngest teammate, Yankees shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres. But Tebow is not the oldest player on the Scorpions. Giants catcher Eliezer Zambrano is 30.
Instructional League is a three-week introductory camp for recent signees, many of whom are teenagers, and no admission is charged for the games.
There are six teams in the Arizona Fall League and admission is charged for games that begin Tuesday and conclude on Nov. 19 with the championship game.
Before Instructional League, Tebow hadn’t played baseball since 2005, when he was a junior in high school. He signed with the Mets on Sept. 8 for a $100,000 bonus after spending parts of three seasons in the NFL, the last one in 2012 with the Jets.
Tebow’s Instructional League stint caused quite a stir as his No. 15 Mets jersey immediately shot to the top of baseball’s best-seller list.
In the AFL, Tebow apparently will continue to be a part-time ballplayer with the Mets’ consent. As he did in Instructional League, Tebow will leave the Scorpions on weekends to work as a college football studio analyst for the SEC Network.
Tebow will be stepping up in competition. The AFL is dotted with some of the best prospects in baseball, many of whom will be knocking on the doors of the major leagues in spring training or already have played in the majors.
The Scorpions’ roster includes some prospects who have spent time in the majors, including Mets infield prospect Gavin Cecchini and Yankees first baseman Greg Bird, who missed the entire season after shoulder surgery.
“We want Tim to play in more games to continue developing his skills on the field while facing advanced competition,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said last week in a news release.
In the ‘Zona
Tim Tebow’s next step will come starting Sunday when he reports to the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League.
Who: Tim Tebow and 179 prospects
What: Arizona Fall League
Where: Six spring training ballparks
When: Workouts Sunday and Monday. Games Tuesday through Nov. 17. Championship game Nov. 19.
Why: To home the skills of Tebow and baseball’s elite prospects