Minor League Baseball’s ultimate filtering system

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 7: Tim Tebow /

Tim Tebow’s Minor League Baseball Opening Day Double-A homer doesn’t change his MLB future.

Conservatively speaking, which would depend on your source, approximately 87 percent of all drafted players fail to reach MLB. Baseball recently reduced the draft to 40 rounds which equals to 1215 players being drafted. This means on average 158 players will make at least one major league appearance and 1033 of 1215 will never play higher than Minor League Baseball A ball. Even being a first rounder doesn’t guarantee a major league appearance as just under thirty percent won’t make the majors.

Beginning with Rookie Ball, the professional ranks are more about the transition of baseball being a hobby to that of a job. Being at the park every day, learning how to budget money, being away from home and road trips are more important than what you do on the field.

A promotion to Double-A is a sign your organization believes you will eventually contribute at the major league level. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll ever get there or stay there if you do but it does signal some potential future value.

Have you ever heard the name, Albert Thompson?

Thompson was the ninth round pick of the Milwaukee Braves in the very first amateur draft in 1965 out of a California high school. He progressed normally through the ranks, reaching Double-A for the first time at the age of 21 in 1968, appearing in 27 games. He split time between A and AA in 1969 before spending most of the 1970 season at the AA along with his first Triple-A experience.

Thompson would spend all of 1971 and 1972 at Double-A then played 44 games at Triple-A in 1973 before being released. He then spent the next four and a half seasons playing in Mexico before retiring following the 1976 season.

Why is Thompson the point? Anyone could have been the point. In 1970, Thompson hit .326 with 27 homers and 87 runs batted in and posting and OPS of 1.110. While his average (.259) and OPS (.843) dropped in 1971, he again hit 27 homers and drove in 92 runs. In 1972 his average was again over the .300 mark (.301), and he hit 31 homers and drove in 110 runs, both league-leading totals.

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Thompson was never rewarded with a late-season promotion. In fact, Thompson never played a single game in the major leagues.

Social media and the internet went crazy last week when Tim Tebow hit the first pitch he saw at Double-A for a three-run homer. Before Spring Training even started, Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson created a storm when he said he believes Tebow will play in the majors someday.

Tebow is a 30-year-old former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who failed as an NFL player partly because he lacked the athleticism to play at the highest level. Alderson is the guy who will ultimately determine when or if Tebow does reach the major leagues but if he does it won’t be because he earned it.

Tebow is not a prospect; he’s not even an everyday player in the minors. He’s a publicity stunt who helps sell tickets and merchandise, and one Double-A homer shouldn’t change anything.

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Albert Thompson spent parts of five seasons in Double-A and hit 95 Minor League Baseball homers, and he never got a shot to play in the majors. The Mets considering giving Tebow a chance over the current crop of actual baseball players in the Mets farm system is not only a disrespectful slap in the face to them but to each and every Albert Thompson who came before.