Late in June, the Philadelphia Phillies placed their top pitching prospect, Jesse Biddle, on the temporary inactive list. Biddle was having a rough year and the thought was that he needed a break to help deal with the pressure he had been putting on himself to be the great pitcher everyone was expecting him to be.
Ruben Amaro Jr. told Comcast SportsNet’s Jim Salisbury, “I’m not as concerned with him pitching this season as trying to help him. He’s a great kid and he wants to be great. It’s time for us to take a little heat off him so he can get his mind right and enjoy baseball again.”
Biddle was having a truly terrible year, with an ERA of 5.03 in 15 starts and a record of 3-9. His last game before the Phillies shut him down he allowed 10 runs in just three innings, saying at the time “Nothing feels fluid on the mound, nothing feels natural.”
Giving Biddle a “mental health break” was the right thing to do, if a bit worrisome. The Phillies have a lot riding on the 22-year-old Philadelphia native and see him eventually joining Aaron Nola and Cole Hamels in the starting rotation. And things have only become more pressing since then as the team has continued to spiral downward with a rebuild all but certain at this point.
Which means it was a very welcome sight to see Biddle return to the mound last Wednesday for Single A Clearwater.
Biddle threw five no-hit innings in the 4-0 victory over the Daytona Cubs. He threw 66 pitches, 44 of which were strikes, struck out five and retired the final 10 hitters. If he can get another start like the under his belt, there is no reason to think he can’t head back up to Double A before the end of the season and possibly Triple A in 2015.
With the current Phillies roster playing the way it is and the season over, the future is the only thing fans have to hang their hopes on. Seeing Biddle return to his former form is a great sight that bodes well for seasons to come.