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: 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.
Heading into the draft, Baseball America ranked Biddle as the 3rd best prospect in Pennsylvania and the 116th best in the nation. 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.
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 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. The Phillies sent Biddle to Clearwater for the entire 2012 season. His 3.22 ERA and league leading 151 strikeouts earned him the #10 ranking in the FSL by Baseball America.
Fastball: In high school Biddle’s fastball sat plus with more projection, however it has been up and down over the years. In 2013 Biddle found some consistency and his fastball now sits 91-93 touching 94 when needed. There is not a lot of room for projection left, but if he can help find more consistency in his control it will be a solid plus offering to keep hitters off his secondary pitches. 60
Curveball: His curveball has always been Biddle’s best pitch. The pitch has a tendency to get a bit long and loopy at times. However, when it is on, it draw comparisons to Barry Zito and can be a wipeout swing and miss pitch. Overall it is more a plus pitch, but if he gains a better feel for commanding it, it can be sit a bit better. 60/65
Slider: Biddle only started reintroducing his slider in late 2012. Previously the pitch had been shelved since high school. The pitch is currently fringe average, but could work its way to being a 4th average offering. The slider will likely not get a ton of work in the majors but could give Biddle a different look when the FB is off. 45/50
Changeup: Biddle shows good feel for a changeup, right now it is a bit inconsistent, but at minimum sits average. With added reps it should sit plus long term, and some scouts and evaluators prefer it to the curveball. 50/60
Summary: If everything comes together Biddle has 3 plus pitches and a workhorse frame. It is profile that suggests a very good #3 starter, with an outside chance at being better if the command and feel allow the arsenal play together. The problems is that Biddle’s control went from fringy to awful as injuries and illness caused issues with his delivery, arm slot, and stamina. If the control remains horrible Biddle is more of a back end starter that will show flashes of dominance. The most likely outcome is that he becomes solid #3/#4 starter that puts above average results, giving 200+ IP a year.
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: 1/2/2014