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ProspectNation 2011: #9 Jesse Biddle- LHP

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, February 10, 2011 01:46 PM | Comments: 9
2011 Top 25 Prospects, Minor Leagues, Prospecting, Rookie Leagues

Last year’s first round draft pick, Jesse Biddle, moved up the Phillies’ prospect rankings in a hurry once he debuted in the pros. The highly regarded left-handed hurler was the Phils’ target from the jump in last season’s amateur draft.

Biddle, a Philadelphia native and life-long Phillies fan, has had the goal of pitching for the Phillies since he was 12 years old. And it is an ambition that Biddle’s always taken seriously, as he wants baseball to be his life.

After he began getting attention in high school and received visits from scouts that represented other professional organizations, Biddle remained a Phillies fan, attending World Series games in both 2008 and 2009. Biddle cites another Phillies number 1 draft choice, current starting lefty pitcher Cole Hamels, as someone he looked up to prior to signing his first pro contract.

“I went to game 5 of the 2008 World Series, where Cole Hamels pitched in the rain. It was the game that got delayed, the two-parter. I went to both parts. I have to say, it was one of the most incredible moments of my life. I saw him, and I saw the way he handled it and the way he won MVP and I just thought, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ It was incredible,” Biddle said in an interview last week.

As a senior in high school, at Philadelphia’s Germantown Friends School, Biddle went 9-2 with a save and a 1.06 ERA. Even more impressive, Biddle struck out an astounding 140 batters in 59 1/3 innings.

Prior to the draft, Biddle committed to play for the University of Oregon. However, faced with the opportunity to fulfill a dream that he’d had since little league, Biddle decided to sign with the Phillies rather than attend college. He weighed his options and was confident that he could handle professional baseball, so the decision was easy.

Now 19 years old, Biddle’s best pitch is his fastball which has some solid movement and reaches the mid-90′s. Biddle also throws a curveball that will improve as he throws it more in the minor leagues. He had gotten away from using the curve, despite his high comfort level with it, after some scouts had told him it might hurt his draft position. He began using a slider as his breaking pitch. The Phillies, however, like Biddle’s curve and he has brought it back to his pitch repertoire in place of the slider. Also in the mix is a change up that Biddle says he will work hard to improve, as he didn’t use it much in high school, where a slower pitch would only have helped opposing batters’ timing.

The 6’4″, 245 pounder, Biddle, began his career with the Gulf Coast League Phillies, where he posted a 3-1 record and a 4.32 ERA with a complete game shutout and 41 strike outs in 33 1/3 innings (9 starts). Prior to the GCL playoffs, Biddle was promoted and he wrapped up his first pro season with 3 starts as a member of the low Class A Williamsport Crosscutters. In those games, Biddle went 1-0 and held opponents to a .152 batting average. One statistic of concern with the Cutters, though, was his strike out to walk ratio…9 K’s, 11 walks in 10 1/3 innings.

The transition, from high school competition to rookie league match ups, wasn’t as difficult as Biddle expected. Although, he feels the umpires and their smaller strike zones were the biggest thing he needed to adjust to. As Biddle gains more experience, high walk totals should be a thing of the past.

Expect Biddle to see action as a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws in the South Atlantic League this coming season. It’s not a lock that Biddle will begin the season on the defending league champs’ opening day roster. The Phillies’ method of holding back younger talent at extended spring training, during April, proved extremely successful for the likes of Julio Rodriguez and Jonathan Singleton in 2010. Jesse Biddle may follow suit this year as a player who waits until May to make his debut with Lakewood.

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Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league contributor.  You can read more from Jay by checking out his site, PhoulBallz.com.

Avatar of Jay Floyd

About Jay Floyd

Jay Floyd has written 713 articles on Phillies Nation.

Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation's minor league insider. You can read more from Jay by visiting his site, PhoulBallz.com.

 
 
  • Posts: 222 tavian

    Avatar of tavian

    This kid may become a real star. He’s got the size, the pitches and the right attitude. Hope he stays healthy and continues to improve. Great to have a home-grown stud.

     
  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    Agreed. Looking forward to seeing this kid mature. He’s got the tools, for sure.

     
  • Posts: 19 yrsoprano

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    I like the way the kid looks and his attitude. He also looks to Cole Hamels as an inspiration and I can’t remember the last time anyone looked at Cole as a pitching role model. I sometimes think his dominating performance in the 2008 postseason is long forgotten by the fans and Ruben Amaro. I look forward to Jesse’s progress and his commitment to honing his craft and it will be great to have another home grown stud!

     
  • Posts: 330 Jay Floyd

    Avatar of Jay Floyd

    When Jesse was in Lakewood last week, he spoke of his potential to reach the big club and said (toward fans) it will be like inserting one of them onto the Phillies’ roster.

    He loves the Phils as much as any phan! If he can get to the level he wants and sticks around with the Phillies, Jesse could be one of the city’s most beloved athletes ever some day.

     
    • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

      Avatar of Pat Gallen

      Some lofty expectations, no?

       
  • Avatar of Dropped Strike Three

    Phillies > All the free Nike swag he would have gotten for playing at Oregon.

     
  • Posts: 330 Jay Floyd

    Avatar of Jay Floyd

    Pat, I feel like if he makes it to the Phils and can post winning records and decent-to-very-good ERA’s for a stretch of years…phans will fall in love with him BECAUSE he was one of them at one point. He was in the seats behind home plate, cheering, when the Phillies won it all in 2008.

    Take how much people love Chooch or Utley (2 of the current most beloved athletes in the city)….imagine if either of those guys had once been in the seats among the people and always dreamed of wearing that uniform since the age of 12. Either of those guys would blow away the likes of any other players who are on that level, if they had that factor in their favor.

    If Biddle has some solid success in Philadelphia, my assertion is not lofty at all.

     
  • Posts: 3073 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Gotta love the possibility of more home-grown talent.

     
  • Posts: 0 Mike

    I saw Biddle Pitch for the LAkewood BLueClaws at the start to their 2011 season and he looked good in his first start. I hope he keeps his head and has a break through year for the Lakewood BlueClaws. Go Phills

     
 
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