Red Sox scouts recall when Tim Tebow almost became an Angel
|06.12.13 at 11:59 am ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Just before Tom Kotchman showed around a few recent Red Sox draftees at Tropicana Field Tuesday – introducing a pair to various major leaguers – he reflected on one that got away.
Got away from baseball, but not Bill Belichick.
Kotchman, a Red Sox Florida area scout (who previously worked in the Angels organization and has been inducted into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame), has his own memories when it comes to Tim Tebow, and they have little to do with football.
“We wanted to draft him,” Kotchman remembered, “but he never sent back his information card. Either it never got to him, or … It’s Tim Tebow. Who knows if it got to him, and if it did we just never got it back. Otherwise were were going to take him.”
Seven years later, the notion of the newest New England Patriot playing for the Angels seems like a match made in … you know.
But the aforementioned information card — asking a series of questions to the player, including their interest in playing professional baseball — was needed to put Tebow on the Angels’ draft board. It never came.
Kotchman did see the former star at Nease High (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) pick up a baseball after high school. Prior to a University of Florida baseball game, Tebow was slated to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The moment offered a glimpse into the quarterback’s athletic mindset.
“He bounced his first attempt and it went to the backstop,” Kotchman said. “He immediately asked the catcher to get it, throw it back so he could do it again. He wanted to make sure he did it right.”
Tebow clearly was not used to underachieving on the baseball field.
As a high school junior, the left fielder hit .494 with four home runs while leading his team to the final four of the state playoffs. He didn’t play as a senior, instead enrolling at Florida during the spring in an effort to jump-start his football career.
“He had a strong arm and had a lot of power. If he would have been there his senior year he definitely would have had a good chance to be drafted,” said Red Sox Florida scout Stephen Hargett, who worked with Kotchman with the Angels. “He had leverage to his swing. He had some natural loft. He had some good power. He was a good athlete. He had had enough arm for that position. He was a left-handed hitter with strength and some size.
“He stood out. Right when you walked up to the field, he passed the body test. He was bigger and stronger than everybody. I think of how big he is, with an average junior or senior in high school being 5-foor-10, 160 pounds. This guy is 6-foot-4, 200 pounds. … It was just easy for him. You thought, if this guy dedicated everything to baseball like he did to football how good could he be?”
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