As has been mentioned on this blog and elsewhere, Jesse Biddle is a great story. Philadelphia kid, drafted in the first round by the Phillies and now their top pitching prospect. However, Biddle has also stalled at AA Reading last year and into this year. Last year he battled control issues. Not unusual for a young pitcher, and he was still able to post a 3.64 ERA. His wildness showed in his WHIP of 1.345 while he walked 5.3 batters per 9. The Phillies and their fans had expectations that he would turn it around this year, especially after battling some illness last year. Earlier in the year there was even some speculation that Biddle could be called up, but his season since that time has gone quite poorly.
As we know, Biddle was shut down to give him a break from pitching. This year has been of concern, for sure. He has posted a 5.03 ERA with a WHIP that was even worse than last year. One scout even said he looked like he was closer to Clearwater than Philadelphia. This has implications for the Phillies, of course. Ruben and Co. have said they want to retool instead of rebuild. If they have any chance of actually doing that (which they really don’t) they would need Biddle to get it together and pitch for the Phillies sooner than later. If this year’s first-round pick Adam Nola is what people say he is, it would not be out of the question for both of these guys to be pitching for this team at some point next year, or even more likely in 2016. However, with Biddle’s recent need for a break, that seems like it could be in jeopardy.
It’s waaay too early to give up on Biddle. He’s only 22, but his recent progress, or lack thereof, has been frustrating.It’s somewhat puzzling that Biddle would need a mental break. However, tt may be that Biddle is experiencing legitimate anxiety and he needed to be shut down to get that taken care of. The Phillies of course wouldn’t say that as it is a private issue. Sometimes we forget that professional athletes are human. If that’s the case, it wouldnt’ be the first time in sports, and hopefully he can come back strong next year.