Widely considered to be one of the Philadelphia Phillies’ best prospects, left-handed starting pitcher Jesse Biddle appeared on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list for the second consecutive year after the publication released their annual list yesterday.
Biddle was one of three Phillies prospects (infielder Maikel Franco and shortstop J.P. Crawford) to appear on the list, ranking second within the organization and 71st overall. His ranking was an improvement from last year, when he placed 89th in his debut on the list.
The 22-year-old Philadelphia native is slated to start the 2014 season at Lehigh Valley IronPigs after a strong 2013 campaign with Double-A Reading. He started 27 games for the Fightin Phils, striking out 154 batters in 138.1 innings pitched with an ERA of 3.64.
Of his biggest flaws, the young pitcher will need to gain better control of his pitches, as Baseball America stated in their player notes.
Biddle fought through health issues including whooping cough in 2013. Improved strength and durability should allow him to maintain his delivery, leading to better control.
Biddle still requires a lot of development and will benefit from his time at Lehigh Valley. He could reach the Majors this season if he pitches well for the IronPigs and injuries open up some voids within the Phillies’ starting rotation.
The Phillies drafted Biddle in the first round of the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft with the 27th overall selection. This is his third consecutive year within the organization’s top five prospects, according to Baseball America's rankings. He was considered the Phillies’ top prospect heading into last season.
Lou Musto covers the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for Examiner.com. You can follow him on Twitter @LouisMusto for all the latest Lehigh Valley IronPigs news.