Name: Jesse Biddle
DOB: 10/22/91 (21 as of April 1, 2013)
Weight: 225 lbs
Drafted: 1st round, 2010 ($1,160,000 bonus)
Pre Draft Report: Jesse Biddle was selected in the first round of the 2010 draft out of Germantown Friends HS in Philadelphia. Biddle first rose to scouts’ attention during the 2009 Area Code Games. Baseball Beginnings wrote this after seeing Biddle throw five innings in the ACG:
FB 90-93 with room for more, above-average FB movement, late life. Curveball 73, some shape, was developing power when I saw him. CH at 85, a little too hard. Good extension, balance and downhill for a tall pitcher.
A few weeks later, PG Crosscheckers saw him at the National Showcase and filed a glowing report:
Jesse Biddle is a 2010 LHP/OF with a 6’6”, 225 lb. frame from Philadelphia, PA who attends Germantown Friends HS. Outstanding physical athletic build, loose and long, still plenty of projection. Throws very easy, low effort out front, repeats very well from wind up. FB touched 91 mph in the dome, lots of velo projection. Big and soft CB with proper shape, can tighten up and add velocity to CB. Appeared less comfortable from stretch. Strongly resembles Andy Pettitte. Huge sky is the limit protential. Early draft possibilities. Excellent student, verbal to Oregon.
Heading into the draft, Baseball America ranked Biddle as the 3rd best prospect in Pennsylvania and the 116th best in the nation. They had him sitting at 90-92, hitting 93-94 with sinking and cutting action on his fastball. Given his body type and coming from a cold weather state, projectability and rawness were the key takeaways.
ESPN also posted a report (Insider Only) on Biddle, where it noted that he pitched on a good downhill plane, but noted that he needs to develop his secondary pitches to hit his upside of a #2 starter.
MLBBonusbaby also posted a report on a Biddle; it is similar to the others and you can read it in its entirety here.
Biddle signed almost immediately and was sent to Florida to begin his career.
Career Synopsis: Biddle began his season with the GCL Phillies. Generally limited to three or four innings per start as he built up arm strength, Biddle was not overmatched in his first pro experience, pitching 33.1 innings, striking out 41, walking 9, allowing 35 hits and two homers. He was moved up to Williamsport in late-August and made three starts covering 10.1 innings. His control fell off a bit as he compiled a 9/11 K/BB ratio, but he only allowed five hits in the brief stretch and ended up with a sub-3.00 ERA. All told across the two stops, Biddle posted very respectable 10.3 K/9 and 2.5 K/BB ratios.
In 2011 Biddle pitched the entire year in Lakewood where he pitched a very solid 113 innings. He started rough in April but he improved his ERA in each successive month. The only problem with Biddle’s season was his high walk rate of 4.47 BB/9, but his 2.98 ERA and 124Ks where a success. His season earned him the #6 prospect ranking in the SAL from Baseball America. Additionally, he was rated the #2 prospect in the Phillies system by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.
The Phillies sent Biddle to Clearwater for the entire 2012 season. Biddle’s ERA went up slightly but he started to develop more control, dropping his BB/9 by a walk and adding a K/9. Additionally, Biddle continued to prove that he can hold up to a starters workload pitching 142 innings without any major injury concerns. His 3.22 ERA and league leading 151 strikeouts earned him the #10 ranking in the FSL by Baseball America. Biddle also earned the ranking as the #1 prospect in the system by Baseball and Baseball Prospectus America going into the 2013 season.
Scouting Report: Below is an assessment of Biddle’s tools, rated on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale. The grades are my estimation based on what I’ve read and those I’ve talked to. The second number is a future projection, the first number is the current assessment
Secondary Pitches: Changeup 50/55, Curveball 60, Slider 45/55
Summary: Biddle sat 92-94 as an amatuer but he sits more 89-93 as a pro. He adds to that with sweeping plus curveball and a developing changeup that could profile as slightly above average, in 2012 the Phillies reintroduced his slider from high school which shows good bite but needs more development. Biddle’s command and control have improved each year and he has shown the ability to throw all of his pitches for strikes and has started being able to locate them to the edges of the plate. Biddle has a real smooth delivery and the frame to be an innings workhorse on the major league level.
Upside: Biddle has not added the fastball that some saw when they looked at his big frame coming out of highschool as he sits mostly 89-93, but he can still run a fastball up to the hi-90s on occasion. Biddle’s frame and delivery have held up to pro-innings and he projects to be a 200+ inning a year starting pitcher. With the advancements in his control and secondary pitches Biddle easily profiles as a solid mid-rotation starter, however if the secondary pitches continue to improve and he finds some more consistent velocity he could have more ceiling to him. Biddle will likely spend all of 2013 in the minors starting in Reading but he is not that far away from the majors at this point.
Honestly, when I look at these videos I see Barry Zito in his prime. He has long arms and legs, and uses them to create excellent leverage. He gets good extension to the plate, which helps create deception. I don’t see any red flags in his delivery, he is very free and easy in his delivery and incorporates his core well, taking stress off his arm. The ultimate question is how much velocity he will add when he is fully developed physically.
Biddle in Clearwater (by baseballinstinct.com):
Profile Updated: 3/10/2013