Ben Lively was selected the Readers’ Poll #21 prospect. He received 100 of 371 votes (27%). He finished comfortably ahead of Nick Pivetta (71 votes, 19%), and Jhailyn Ortiz (58 votes, 16%).
The Phillies acquired Lively on December 31, 2014 from the Cincinnati Reds for Marlon Byrd and cash. He had completed the 2014 season at Double-A Pensacola and was assigned to the Reading, the Phillies Double-A affiliate for the 2015 season.
Lively was drafted out of high school by Cleveland in the 26th round of the 2010 Amateur Draft. He declined to sign and attended the University of Central Florida. He was drafted again as a junior by Cincinnati in the 4th round of the 2013 Amateur Draft. He signed on June 11th.
Lively began his pro career later in June of 2013 in short season ball in the Low-A Pioneer League. He finished with a single start in the Single-A Midwest League. Lively started the 2014 season in the Advanced-A California League where he made 13 starts. He was promoted to the Double-A Southern where he made 13 more starts.
Lively posted double-digit K/9 and BB/9 < 3.0 at his first three stops. In Double Pensacola his K/9 dipped to 9.5 which wasn’t alarming but his BB/9 ballooned to 4.5 and his K/BB dropped below 3.29 for the first time in his career. His WHIP also reached 1.33 another career high.
In 2015, Lively spent an entire season at one stop. He pitched in the Reading rotation, and posted numbers that disappointed a lot of readers. He went 8-7 but his 4.13 ERA was a career high. His K/9 dropped to a career low of 7.0, his WHIP climbed to 1.427, and he gave up more hits than IP for the first time in his career. However, his BB/9 dropped to 2.8 and his K/BB rose slightly to 2.47.
Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of his 2015 season was his ineffectiveness over his final 8 starts. He posted a single win and 7 no decisions. Twice he gave up 6 ER. However, he did hold Richmond to one unearned run in his final start of the season in the playoffs.
Top 30 so far:
- N. Williams
- “C” Randolph
I’ve seen the comments regarding Jesse Biddle. Here are some facts beyond his stat line. Biddle was ranked 5th thru 7th on some 2015 pre-season polls including ours, Matt Winkelman’s, Kiley’s at FanGraphs, and BP’s. He was not in BA’s top 10 nor was he in Keith Law’s top 15.
After the 2015 season, Biddle didn’t make it onto Mike Drago’s Reading Eagle survey of people who cover the organization. He did rate 18th on MLB’s December poll, but was left off their most recent poll, nor has he been placed on Pittsburgh’s. He didn’t make Matt’s top 50. So far during this year’s Reader Top 30, Biddle has received only two write in votes. And even more damning is that I have received zero requests to add him to the poll.
So, we have a player that no one considers to be among our top prospects anymore. Additionally, his performance above Clearwater has been erratic. His BB/9 is high, his K/9 is dropping, his K/BB poor. After 6 years, he reached a point in his career where he should be more consistent than he has showed. Trading him saves him the ignominious fate of being released or non-tendered by the Phillies. An outcome that I am convinced would have occurred shortly after he came off the DL, rehabbed, and proved he was healthy. I’ve seen this happen before down here. Biddle would have certainly been the biggest name to suffer this. The DFAwaiver claim, and subsequent trade saves face for both Biddle and the Phillies.
Next up is your selection for #22.