Tim Tebow stepped up to bat today in his first Instructional League game and promptly hit an opposite-field home run off the first pitch he saw. The solo home run was a glimpse into the potential of Tebow’s power hitting, but the rest of the game, which saw Tebow finish 1-for-6, was a reminder that such potential is extremely raw.
Tebow hit the pitch off John Kilichowski, an 11th-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt by the Cardinals. Kilichowski spent the year at Class-A with the Peoria Chiefs and State College Spikes, compiling a 2.70 ERA. Kilichowski, for his part, took the first-pitch homer in stride, joking on Twitter later that “I thought we agreed you were taking first pitch.”
Kilichowski is 22, a more normal age for those working in the Instructional League, while Tebow is 29, and the oldest player in league. While both played for SEC schools, Tebow was already in the NFL by the time Kilichowski made it to college.
The alluring power-hitting potential of Tebow, as well as the power of his name recognition and ability to sell jerseys, is why the Mets were interested in him. The powerful home run, which you can hear—and kind of see—below,is no doubt the upside the Mets were hoping for when they signed him.
The home run is a reminder that though Tebow brings a side-show element along with him, he’s also a serious athlete who could surprise some with his ability.