Tim Tebow will be 30 years old and a longshot to see the major leagues when he reports to New York Mets camp as a non-roster invitee. No matter: The telegenic former Heisman Trophy winner will once again be the most scrutinized player in camp as his quixotic bid to forge a career in baseball resumes.
Tebow was among nine non-roster invitees who will join the Mets when their full squad reports on Feb. 19 to Port St. Lucie, Fla., for spring training. It will be his second trip through spring training but his first as an invited guest from the get-go.
In 2017, he was added frequently to the major league roster and – after going to the wrong on-deck circle before his first at-bat – did not embarrass himself often in nine Grapefruit League games, starting 0 for 9 before pushing his average as high as .235 and getting hits off reputable major league pitchers such as St. Louis’ Michael Wacha. He finished with a .148 spring average (4 for 27) with eight strikeouts.
That was the prelude to a 2017 season that saw him start at low Class A Columbia (S.C.), where he famously homered in his first professional at-bat before batting .220 with three homers and a .311 on-base percentage as the Fireflies’ regular left fielder.
PHOTOS: Tim Tebow through the years
The Mets promoted him to high-A Port St. Lucie, where he hit five homers in 64 games and finished his first pro season with a .226 average and eight homers over the two levels.
Crowds swelled in spring and well into summer wherever Tebow played, and that figures to be the case this year, too. The Mets could opt to have him repeat high Class A -- where he’d be seven years older than the average prospect – or advance him to Class AA Binghamton, where he’d face a top prospect and precious few suspects on a nightly basis.