SAN FRANCISCO — Tim Tebow and his .220 batting average are moving on up.
The 29-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner-turned-outfielder has been promoted to Class A St. Lucie, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announced Sunday.
Tebow will begin his new assignment Tuesday. The promotion comes after what Alderson characterized as a strong couple of weeks for the former NFL quarterback.
Said Alderson: “We recognize that this is not a usual circumstance. We just felt that given everything involved, this was about the right time for him to go to high-A.”
After going 0-for-2 with a walk Sunday, Tebow had a .220/.311/.336 slash line, three homers, 23 RBIs and a .647 OPS for low Class A Columbia. Before Sunday, his numbers in June were a little better: .234/.333/.344 with a .688 OPS.
“I think we’re pleased with the first half of the season,” Alderson said. “It’s not like he’s tearing up the league. But at the same time, all of the indications are positive in terms of various things that we look at — chase rates, exit velocity and a whole host of a lot of things. The bottom line is the average isn’t there. But there’s improvement.”
Before signing with the Mets late last season, Tebow had not played organized baseball since high school. The Mets have been aggressive with his progression.
Tebow played in the Arizona Fall League — often reserved for top prospects — then made appearances with the major-league team in spring training. Instead of remaining in extended spring training and starting the season with the Mets’ short-season affiliate in Brooklyn, Tebow was assigned to Columbia.
“There was a chance that he’d bomb in spring training,” Alderson said. “That didn’t happen. I think his performance there justified assignment to a full-season club. He went to Columbia. I wouldn’t say that he’s excelled there. But at the same time, I think what he’s done there, again given all the circumstances, justifies the promotion to Port St. Lucie.”