‘Not-Yet-Elite 11’: Ranking of Philadelphia’s Most Promising Young Talent

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10.) P Jesse Biddle-Phillies

Mar 13, 2015; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jesse Biddle (70) throws a pitch during a spring training baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

There may not be another individual on this list with the potential to climb or fall completely off of it than former 1st round pick Jessie Biddle. The Germantown Friends product is everything a team looks for in a top-end pitching prospect in terms of his physical tools. He’s big (6’5″, 235), possesses major-league caliber ‘stuff’, and has been groomed since youth to set down opposing batters.

For Biddle to re-establish himself as a top-of-the-rotation candidate for his hometown Phillies, he must prove the mental hurdles that briefly derailed his career are no longer an issue going forward. After earning the distinction of the organization’s top pitching prospect going into last season, a freak injury and concerns over his passion for the game suddenly brought upon fears of another first round pick gone to waste for an organization suddenly notorious for them.

In the midst of an otherwise disappointing 2014 campaign, Biddle suffered a concussion during a hailstorm that destroyed his car. Not too long after, Biddle took a monthlong ‘mental break’ as he pondered his baseball future. Rather than staying down on himself, Biddle took advantage of the wake-up call.

"“I have no problem talking about last year because last year was not an embarrassing thing for me,” Biddle said. “It was not something that’s going to hold me back in the future. It taught me a lot about what it takes to go through adversity and a lot of things about the people around me and how much they care about me and how much they support me."

Entering the 2015 season, no longer looked upon as the team’s top pitching prospect, Biddle set out to find the appropriate balance of his physical tools and newly found mental toughness. A strong spring training with the major league club and an impressive start to his 2015 campaign with the Reading Fightins’ is a promising sign that Biddle is approaching that nirvana.

In two starts for double-A Reading, Biddle has struck out 12 batters and allowed just two earned runs over 11.0 innings pitched. He currently sports a 1.64 ERA and has demonstrated far better control of his primary pitches. For different reasons than Quinn, Biddle must prove he can post similar numbers over the course of a larger sample size before the Phillies can re-hitch their wagon to the big lefty. Regardless of if he is able to do so, it is great to see he has apparently put the psychological issues that jeopardized his career behind him.