12/29/17

Tom Brennan - TEBOW VS. TAIJERON

6 comments
Tom Brennan - TEBOW VS. TAIJERON



This is my last Tebow-related article for 2017, I promise.  It's most likely my last article for the tumultuous year of 2017 anyway, so why not do the last of my 150 or so articles this year on a subject so near and dear not just to my heart, but to the hearts of optimistic Mets fans everywhere?
 It's actually sort of a holiday gift to Mack, given his great appreciation of "circus acts"!  What better gift???

Since Travis Taijeron was cast adrift and is now signed by the LA Dodgers, after essentially whiffing on his pretty brief audition with the Mets in September, it occurred to me that comparing Tim Tebow to him might be interesting - if to no one else, then to me. 
How does the progress to date of the second TT compare to the progress of the first TT?

Taijeron was drafted in the 18th round after 4 years of college ball, and started his career at age 22.  
Tebow did not play ball since high school, so he did not have even college ball to get his baseball skill set revved up, and unlike Travis, who had a brief break after college before he started his pro baseball career, Tebow's gap was more like 12 years.

Despite all the college ball time, Taijeron started out lower than Tebow, in Brooklyn, where he got about 200 plate appearances in 2011. 
With 4 years of college play, and 2011 rookie ball under his belt, Travis went into 2012 and split it between Savannah and St Lucie and hit .255/.362/.477 with 122 Ks in 112 games - not bad.

Tim Tebow, meanwhile, did have a brief junket in 2016 in the Arizona Fall League, much more limited in duration that Taijeron's 2011 inaugural stint with Brooklyn. 
His #'s in 2017 (.226/.309/.347) did lag Taijeron's first full season's totals, but as Tebow himself said, he was learning on the fly and making up for tons of lost time.  

I personally think he also hit the wall after being hot for most of July, going just .165 in August (and 18 for 127 - just .141 - from July 27 through August 31) - and slumps and dealing with a long season's grind are part of the learning process. 
Regardless, his box office appeal stayed strong thru his slump, as did his attitude.

He did bounce back to go 11 for 35 in his last 9 games of 2017, including 4 multi-hit games, which to me seems to be a good sign for him going into 2018.  He also had a lower K rate than Travis, as Tim fanned 126 times in 126 games, certainly not shabby given his accelerated assignment level.

After Travis' better 2012 than Tebow's 2017, it still took Taijeron 5 more years to get to the big leagues, so Tebow will really have to step it up in 2018, now that he is de-rusted player, to try to compress Taijeron's 5 years into a single year in 2018. 
I would imagine that his unannounced timetable target to make the Mets is September 2018.  We won't know until he actually gets out there in 2018, but the task of trying to get to the big leagues in such an accelerated fashion is certainly a daunting one.

To get to the bigs, he has one huge advantage that Taijeron does not: ask most Mets fans in mid 2017 who Taijeron was, and you'd get "Taijer-Who?"  

Taijer-Who is another term for no box office appeal....box office appeal-wise, as they were arriving in Queens, Dominic Smith had some, Amed Rosario certainly had some - but Tebow, at least on a short term basis, would have a significant big league box office impact.  And owners love the color green.

I am guessing that Tebow splits 2018 between Binghamton and Las Vegas.

If he stays healthy and gets in 125 games, I think he will hit .240/.320/.420, which will still not really have him major league ready, but which will represent significant progress nonetheless.  He'd then go to Spring Training in 2019 with a legitimate shot at a 5th outfielder position, perhaps still somewhat short on talent to even be a back up, but with continued box office appeal.

Time remains his challenge, as he will play 2018 as a 30 year old.  I am sure he is well aware of that challenge, and realizes that unlike other players, he will be pushed along if he is successful. I can't help but think of 2 former Mets of some impact, Tommie Agee, whose career ended when he had just turned 31, and Butch Huskey, whose career ended before he reached the age of 29.
One other person the lefty-hitting Tebow would be competing with over the next year or 2, perhaps, is newly acquired lefty hitting Zach Borenstein, a good power bat, but 3 inches and 40 pounds lighter than Tebow. 
Zach, as many have mentioned, is a Taijeron Clone, drafted the same year as Taijeron, both in the middle of the 40 round 2011 draft, and both with very similar offensive career numbers and whiff rate.  Zach, likely because he is a lefty facing far more righty pitchers than Travis faced lefties, struck out somewhat less than Taijeron while having greater speed (e.g., stole 17 of 19 in 2016 and 2017).  

Zach had a great 2013 in A ball, but sputtered, more or less, from 2014-16, before his strong AAA season with Reno.  Reno #'s are to be taken with a big, chunky grain of rock salt, similarly to Las Vegas #s.  Right now, to me, Zach might still be no more than a Kirk Nieuwenhuis Light, which is not a great thing.
May he, however, (if not on the Mets opening day roster) tear up Vegas the way that Taijeron never quite did.

To conclude, in this organization, there is not a lot in the outfield to slow Tebow's ascension, if he is truly good enough to ascend. 2018 will tell the tale.

Of course, the Yanks do not engage in what many would see as a sideshow - the Yanks instead acquired a player with muscular similarities to Travis Taijeron - but SO MUCH BETTER. 

A player named Giancarlo Stanton - maybe you've heard of him.  I was totally unfamiliar with him, so I had to look up his stats.  Not bad.  His 59 homers last year exceed the all-time Mets season record, but only barely - by 18.  In other words, 3 more homers per month, on average, than the current Mets record holders.
Continued happy holidays, y'all.
(Not So) Tiny Tim just chimed in, "God bless us, everyone."

Onward to 2018 we charge.

On an unrelated note, I saw 2 movies this week, Darkest Hour, and Churchill, both about the same man, one set at the time of the Dunkirk rescue operation, one at the time of Normandy.  Both terrific.  What a leader Sir Winston Churchill was.



6 comments:

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

I want to cut Tebow a little slack here.

I'm told he's having a ball playing baseball in the Mets chain and that he has invested his NFL money well so he can afford to do this.

Let's face it... it would take at least two more seasons to get him to Flushing and, if it was any other player, we would be saying he is too old to consider.

The outfield pipeline is pretty thin right now so he's not geting in the way of anybody.

Happy New Year Tim. Have at it!

Thomas Brennan said...

The game, at the end of the day, is supposed to be fun, right? It is partly why so many folks loved Bart Colon in his Mets tenure.

Tebow so far has been durable too...more than can be said for many a Mets organization player.

I have a feeling he will surprise to the upside next year, a good person for Mike's "Over/Under" series.

bill metsiac said...

What was Churchill's budget like, and what FAs did he sign so he could win the war?

Mike Freire said...

The OF depth is pretty much non-existent in the upper levels of the minor leagues, so the Mets aren't losing anything with TT getting some playing time.

He is an elite athlete, as evidenced by his ability to compete in two professional sports. Even if it takes two more years, he could carve out a nice mini-career as a 4th or 5th OF'er who gives you a pinch runner (good speed) and a pinch hitter (good power) off the bench when he isn't starting.

2018 will be his litmus test, IMO.

Reese Kaplan said...

Having Tebow at CitiField would represent a positive action. Any action would be welcome at this point.

Thomas Brennan said...

Tebow: "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere."

He picked the right organization indeed Mike - he'd not have a hope of cracking the Yankee OF, for sure.

Bill, Churchill had major resource constraints, had a lot of roster turnover, but he was definitely a winner.

Mack's Mets © 2012