When the Philadelphia Phillies needed a replacement starter, they turned to Jonathan Pettibone (pictured above) to fill the void. While Pettibone has been successful thus far, a different Phillies’ prospect is the one getting the headlines and making a name for himself at Double-A Reading.
Slowly but surely, the former first round pick is showing that he should and very well could be the next name called up to join the major league roster.
His name is Jesse Biddle and he is currently making a case as the best pitcher in the Phillies’ minor league organization.
A power lefty with a plus fastball and a strong repertoire of pitches, Biddle was drafted by the Phillies in 2010 out of Germantown Friends HS in Philadelphia, PA. A local product and lifelong Phillies fan, Biddle began his minor league career immediately in the New York-Penn League.
By 2011, Biddle spent the season at Single-A Lakewood, refining his command and beginning to discover the talent behind his raw potential. Despite a 7-8 record, Biddle pitched to a 2.98 ERA and 8.4 SO/9.
He began 2012 at Single-A Clearwater, winning 10 games and pitching to a 3.22 ERA. His walk rate increased to 2.80, but his strikeout rate increased as well, hitting 9.5 SO/9.
Biddle then followed fellow “junior baby ace” Adam Morgan, joining Reading when Morgan was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. And although Biddle has pitched just five games, he is making a name for himself and getting the attention of Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and GM Ruben Amaro.
Ranked in the Top-1oo prospect list by both MLB.com and Baseball America, Biddle has impressed at Reading, most notably with a 16 strikeout performance in his second to last start.
While Biddle was absolutely electric in that start, his entire season has really been successful thus far. He is 2-1 in five games and currently has a 1.74 ERA which is fourth best in the Eastern League. In addition, in the last two games, Biddle has struck out 26 in 13 innings. He has allowed just two hits and no runs in that span as well.
On the season, Biddle has only given up 12 hits and 12 walks in 31 innings. He has yielded just one home run and six total runs, while striking out 40 and holding opponents to an average of .114. Plus, he seems to have taken to hitting. With Reading his first chance to hold a bat, Biddle is 3-for-5 with two doubles.
So while he may not be quite ready to pitch in Philadelphia, Biddle is certainly showing why he is the Phillies’ top-ranked prospect and one who could be the future starting ace in just a matter of time.