Tim Tebow will begin the 2018 season one step closer to the big leagues.
After spending last season between two levels of Single-A ball, the New York Mets minor leaguer will start this season with the organization's Double-A affiliate, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Tebow issued a statement on the decision, per Tim Heiman of MiLB.com:
"I'm excited to take the next step in my baseball career by playing for the Rumble Ponies. I look forward to getting to play in front of the Binghamton fans and around the Eastern League."
Last season, Tebow slashed .220/.311/.336 with three home runs, 14 doubles, one triple and 23 RBI in 64 games with the Columbia Fireflies. Despite those less-than-pedestrian numbers, the Heisman Trophy winner earned a midseason promotion to the High-A St. Lucie Mets. He didn't fare much better there, hitting .231/.307/.356 with five home runs, 10 doubles, one triple and 29 RBI in 62 games.
Tebow was just 1-for-18 with a walk and 11 strikeouts in seven spring training games this year.
None of that production would warrant a promotion for any normal prospect, but the 30-year-old former quarterback is no average minor leaguer.
Per MiLB.com, the Fireflies ranked fourth in South Atlantic League attendance and the Mets drew the third-most fans in the Florida State League—and that's with both clubs having Tebow for half the season. Anticipating how many fans the Florida Gators legend can bring through the gates has Rumble Ponies president John Hughes excited.
"This is yet another win for this community," Hughes said, per Heiman.
It was just this past offseason that Mets general manager Sandy Alderson predicted Tebow would reach the majors one day. Although he may not be deserving at this point, the outfielder continues to rise through the ranks. In other words, that prediction may come true, perhaps with the organization tabbing Tebow as a September call-up at some point.