The Tebow Effect

The Arizona Fall League will hold its championship game this Saturday without the Scottsdale Scorpions, our Phillies participants, and Tim Tebow.

Earlier this fall, I wrote an article expressing my displeasure at the inclusion of the 29-year old former quarterback in the fall prospect league.  Today, Tebow’s AFL experiment came to an end.  Playing a part-time schedule that accommodated his broadcasting career, Tebow slashed .194/.296/.242/.538.  In 19 games, he amassed 71 PA and 62 AB.  Among his 12 hits he garnered only 3 extra base hits, all doubles.  He scored 6 runs and had 2 RBI.  He walked 8 times (11.3%), struck out 20 times (28.2%), and was successful stealing one base in three attempts.  In Tebow’s last 10 games, he posted a better slash of .267/.405/.333/.739.  Still, his SLG leaves much to be desired in a corner outfielder.

Tebow performed better than I expected, and better than four other prospects on the Scorpions roster, including two Phillies – Austin Bossart and Aaron Brown.  I didn’t expect much from Bossart in the limited looks he was sure to get after his late invitation, but I had hoped Brown would a show little something.

Tebow’s biggest impact came at the box office (and possibly merchandising).  In the 5 preceding years (2011-2015), Scottsdale averaged 8,629 attendance for each fall league season and never exceeded 9,000.  In 2016, Scottsdale drew 15,001 fans to 15 home games.

Across the league, Scottsdale’s 17 road games helped boost total league attendance to 61,281, considerably more than the 48,300 the AFL averaged over the past 5 seasons.  The high during that span was 53,219 in 2014.

Now, Tebow will go to the Mets’ spring camp.  Maybe he’ll cross paths with the Phillies when the Mets’ Eastern League affiliate, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, play the Fightin’ Phils, or their Florida State League affiliate, the Port St. Lucie Mets, play the Threshers. Maybe I’ll play the hypocrite and ask him for an interview.  Nah.

14 thoughts on “The Tebow Effect

  1. In the AFL, the only Philly hitter to show much was Walding. His OBP, SLG and OPS were in or around the top 10 in the league. He was also tied for 3rd in most Ks with Aaron Brown. Kingery would get written up on ESPN or Philly.com every time he had a couple of hits, which wasn’t often. He made the all-star team and most of us on this site were wondering how that happened. He hit .234/.294/.312 in 77 ABs which was far less than spectacular. He stole 5 bases without getting caught. I’m sure he was tired after a long summer season and then playing 20 more games in the fall. Rest up Scott, a lot is expected of you and a little more sooner than later.

    1. Which reminds me, why on earth would they consider trading Cesar at this moment in their rebuild? They would get little in return, but a prospect or two with some upside. In the meantime, there would be a significant void at 2nd, because the likes of Kingery, Valentin, et al, are not close to being major league ready.

      1. The only reason to trade him is if they get a ton of value in return. Otherwise, they should obviously keep him for now. He was either the best or second best player on the team last year – a solid above average regular. But he’s like the baseball version of Hilary Clinton, he really pushes some peoples’ anger button.

      2. Again, Cesar’s value may never be higher than it is now. It’s been posted here ad nauseum what with Crawford coming up and Freddy sliding to 2b (and Kingery is on pace to arrive in 2018 – relax, the AFL is a SSS at end of a long season, the kid’s progressing) you maximize his value by moving him (like I just posted about Rupp on the ‘Harrison’ thread). Why do we worry about holding on to marginal players simply because the future isn’t here just yet?

        1. 8mark…..a majority of Cesar’s perception is based upon two pickoffs at first base and two or three over slides at 2nd and 3rd base of his 13 CS. Wipe the slate clean of those lack of concentration or focus miscues and his perceived value rises. Though, his 3.3bWAR may not be altered upward that much but that perception is changed.
          Similarly…Doobie’s 4 ground ball errors in CF in April/May hurt his defensive perception for the entire year.
          Seems they both lacked some focus on those particular instances.

  2. I agree w the comment about not trading Hernandez . . . He’s turning into one of the better 2B in the league (I posted something about this in I believe August or Sept) actually by numbers he’s in the top 8 2B in just about all categories in MLB. I’m not moving him because there is a 2B prospect who was a high pick. Unless Kingery has a break out this year . . . I was expecting to see his numbers jump a bit in Reading ESP being in that line up (obviously in that park as well) however (even in a SSS) everything regressed . . . Again it’s a SSS (Reading) but he’s by no means a can’t miss prospect . . . If Hernandez continues to improve, why move him?

    1. EricD….one question that many may have…will Cesar’s 2nd half- .369 BABIP and wRC+ of 127- continue to be sustainable thru 2017. That could be a tall order for him. The regression would seem plausible, but the degree of it is what I will look at.

      1. That’s a good question . . . I liked to look at his numbers year by year . . . he is improving year in and year out . . . also I didn’t realize in 2015 he went 19-5 (SB/CS), so the ability to steal bases without getting caught at a high rate is there . . . if he can improve upon his mental game and base running like he has everything else, you are talking a really nice player at 2B . . . which is why i’d have him at 2B when Crawford comes up with Galvis (and that new found 20 HR power) being a super utility guy (2B/SS/3B/LF)

    2. I’m with the group that wants to trade Cesar now since he’s value. Most athlete who develop a good track record of success (i mean years of continue success not just a couple of months or so) are the ones with “legit talent”, “fortitude” and “mental toughness” — Cesar doesn’t have elite talent, I doubt his fortitude and we know about his mental lapses. Cesar just doesn’t check a lot of box to me. Assuming that he is an exception to the rule – Cesar’s lack of above average tool limits his upside. Trading Cesar is a calculated risk that the Phils can take.

      1. i mean — “I’m with the group that wants to trade Cesar now since he’s value is high.” (i forgot to complete my 1st sentence).

        Cesar is generating buzz during the GM meeting and the Phils should pounce on the opportunity. The Phils has depth in the 2B position and Cesar is probably not the best in that group (based on projection, tools and actual talent) so get value for him while he’s hot.

  3. Tebow, Tebow, Tebow

    The funny thing with Tebow and some other notable figures in the media these days is they get as much fame from their detractors (maybe more with some) than they do from their supporters.

    I guess I’m proving the point by bringing it up. You guys are all so disciplined and di not bite on this.

  4. On Hernandez—: With a guy from LA Dodgers capable of playing 2b, and the team in a “desperate” mode to add an outfielder (lefty preferred) and Valentin and Kingery coming closer, now is the time to get that Ofer and if we conclude that the object of pursuit is worth it, wee could throw in one of our lesser prospects. Kendrick can play there until Valentin (in ’17 ?) can come up pending the next season’s competition between them. Hernandez is at the peak of his career now…and plays a center of the diamond as one of the essentials up the middle (catcher, pitcher, SS,2b, CF) which enhances their trade value.. Those positions carry extra weight when formulating a team on the field. Something GOOD should come out of such a trade. Add a good hitting OFer along with the development of the crowded starting pitcher candidates, could bring an over .500 2017.

  5. AFL Nov 16 in Scottsdale:
    The highlight was before the game when Chase Utley was enshrined in the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame along with his now teammate Adrian Gonzalez.

    The Tebow Effect was certainly present but there were more than a few Phillies fans who were cheering his honor. The inductees accomplishments were mentioned during the 25th year in the AFL. Both said a few words in appreciation and mention how their brief time in AFL was important. Chase told the guys to enjoy it and Adrian told the players to work as hard as Chase. It was more crowded than I expected but the evening game time likely helped.

    The game itself was okay. A run scored on 1st and 3rd steal and rundown for 3rd out while Brown was up.
    Brown did little as the DH. Bossart did a good job with the pitchers who gave up only 3 hits all game but plenty of walks. Bossart went out to the mound multiple times, some times before inning began and seemed to be a calming influence. Bossart also had a good hit. Arano came in to close out the 9th and looked overpowering.

    Glebe Torres had some good swings with two strikes. Tebow has a short swing but still had a couple strikeouts and walk. He got caught stealing after a walk where he laid off a couple breaking balls. Of course some one from the crowd yelled ‘stealing is wrong’.

    It was an enjoyable night even though the highest profile Phillie (Kingery) did not play. I was also hoping to see Singer who I have never seen pitch.

    Earlier in AFL hitting challenge I was impressed by the easy power Walding showed. It was glorified batting practice, but like all prospects I will root for them to exceed their potential.

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