Tim Tebow is starting to tear it up in the minors

After a tough start to his baseball career, New York Mets outfielder Tim Tebow is starting to knock the rust off. The 29-year-old added to his impressive stat line with the St. Lucie Mets on Sunday, belting a monstrous home run.

Given the amount of coverage Tebow has received, you might assume this was just a one-off, random moment for the former quarterback. That’s not exactly the case.

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Tebow has been putting up some strong numbers since his promotion. In 25 games, he’s hitting .317/.398/.549, with four home runs. He’s even managed to cut down on his strikeout rate. At Columbia, Tebow struck out in 28.2 percent of his plate appearances. That’s down to 19.3 percent now. His walk rate has remained stable despite the increase in competition.

The usual caveats apply here. Tebow has performed well in a small sample of games. He remains much older than his competition, and he’s still playing in one of the lowest levels of the minors. He remains a long way from making the majors.

But he’s performing well. You can write off Tebow’s performance, but you can’t take away his numbers. He’s hitting like a 29-year-old should at High A. Huge challenges lie ahead, but this is promising.

Tim Tebow has hit exceptionally well since his promotion. (AP Photo)

That wasn’t the case in Columbia, where Tebow hit just .220/.311/.336 over 64 games. There were legitimate questions about whether he deserved to be promoted with that slash line. He’s quieted some of that talk for now.

Tebow is still a marketing gimmick for the franchise. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson confirmed that in July, and other minor-league teams have taken advantage of his presence as an opportunity to make more money. That’s still true.

But, for the first time since Tebow signed with the club, there’s some evidence he could be more than that.

Tebow will continue to be a sideshow no matter how well he performs. But we’re getting to a point where people aren’t going to the see him because they want to laugh. They are going because they’re intrigued.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!