Tebowmania has hit Port St. Lucie as Tim Tebow is in the Florida State League playing for the High-A Port St. Lucie Mets. On Wednesday afternoon, Tebow hit a two-run home run in the first inning of game two of the team’s doubleheader against Palm Beach. Of course, anything regarding the former Heisman Trophy winner is going to draw controversy.
Port St. Lucie is going to draw great attendance numbers with Tebow on the team. You can debate Tebow’s promotion to the next level despite hitting .222 at Low-A Columbia, but he does bring a crowd.
While you are watching Tebow play in Florida, it might also be a good time to check out some other players on the St. Lucie offense. Right now, the team is third in the FSL in on-base percentage (.329), fourth in runs scored and slugging percentage, and fifth in home runs (46).
Let’s start with who is joining Tebow out in the outfield. One of the players who have been having success this year in center field for the Mets is John Mora. The 24-year-old doesn’t have the prospect hype that All-Star Wuilmer Becerra has (#14 on John’s Mets preseason Top 20), but he has been consistent at the plate.
During the month of June, Mora has hit .318 with 12 RBI’s and an on-base percentage of .388. It is his second year in the FSL, but he is currently on a 11-game hit streak and has had six multi-hit games over that span.
Mora leads the team in triples (four) and is tied for third in doubles (16), so maybe he is starting to find his swing if you look at some of the advanced numbers. According to Fangraphs, he has increased his line drive percentage from 17.8% in 2016 to 23.7% this year. Yes, he doesn’t hit for much power, but the line drives could lead to more balls finding a hole for base hits.
As for Becerra, he does have 28 RBI’s this season (fourth on the team), but he only has four home runs in the last two years combined. Plus, his 77 strikeouts are ninth in the entire league.
Now, there are some ballparks in the FSL where it’s tough to hit home runs. However, without the home run numbers, Becerra needs to cut down on the strikeouts. The lack of home run power is what John talked about in his report:
“Best tool is reportedly power at 55 or 60 but that didn’t show up much in ’16 with just one homer, which could be injury-related; owns good bat speed, but also has issues with highly-aggressive approach.”
While Tebow will keep the focus on the outfield, the infield is where St. Lucie has some of the top prospects in the Mets organization, particularly at the corner infield spots. First baseman Peter Alonso has only played in 32 games due to injury, but the former Florida Gators catcher has hit .286 with 17 RBI’s over his last 21 games.
Finally, let’s go across the hot corner and look at third baseman Jhoan Urena. Urena is in his second year in the FSL, but his on-base percentage is up to .397 this year (.301 last year) and he has drawn 45 walks, which is tied for the second most in the league.
Back in 2014, I saw Urena play in Brooklyn for the Cyclones when he had 11 RBI’s more than the second highest total on the team (47) and showed good power at the plate. This was on a team that had Amed Rosario at shortstop and Michael Conforto in the outfield.
All in all, Tebow is a unique story to watch in the minor leagues. Of course, fans will buy Tebow t-shirts and they will come out to the ballpark to see him play. With that being said, he is also going to bring more awareness to some of the other good hitters in St. Lucie. That attention alone is valuable in itself.