Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Mets minor league outfielder Tim Tebow is a Double-A All Star, and what started as a sideshow a few years ago has actually turned kind of serious.
The 30-year-old Tebow hit over. 300 in June and is hitting .266/.336/.396 overall this season. Whether you consider him an actual prospect or not (most experts do not), what he's done after not playing baseball for about a decade has been incredibly impressive.
In that vein, while his baseball stint during his break from the NBA has been crushed by many, Michael Jordan impressed some scouts and his coaches when he was with the White Sox in the minors in 1994.
So, who was the better baseball prospect: Tebow or Jordan? And would Jordan have made it to the majors had he kept pushing?
"Michael Jordan's work ethic was unlike any other player's I've ever seen, and that's a true credit to why he's had success," Birmingham Barons (Double-A) hitting coach Mike Barnett said about Jordan. "To watch a guy that did not leave any stone unturned and was going to make himself the best, and he was going to get better every day no matter what he had to do, I'd never seen a player that worked like that. By the end of July he started to drive balls out of the park in batting practice, and they weren't long fly balls windblown; they were line drive rockets."
Jordan hit .202/.289/.266 with three home runs and 51 RBI in 127 games with the Barons in 1994 -- at the same level where Tebow is now. But while Tebow's numbers are better, Jordan didn't have the benefit of going through two lower minor league levels like Tebow has. And his stint ended abruptly.
"I think if he was willing to invest two more full years, and by that I mean 800-900 at-bats, I really think he would have found a way to get to the major leagues," current Indians manager Terry Francona told the Chicago Sun-Times about Jordan. "He had so many raw tools, he hadn't played in so long. I thought it was actually a miracle that he did what he did, and again when he went to the fall league, he got better. I'm going to guess if he would have invested a couple more years, I bet he would have found his way to the big leagues."
As far as whether Tebow makes it to the majors? We may find out in September...