BLUF: Physical pitcher with a broad arsenal and a mid-rotation projection.
The Player: Jesse Biddle (LHP, Philadelphia Phillies) – A late first round pick of the Phillies in 2010, Biddle made 12 starts that summer across two levels, posting a 3.92 ERA and better than a strikeout per inning before showing some fatigue during instructs. He breezed through the South Atlantic League as a 19-year old in 2011 with a 2.98 ERA in 133 innings. Continued his success with 26 strong starts for High-A Clearwater in 2012, finishing with a 3.22 ERA, the lowest walk rate (3.4 per nine innings) of his career and better than a strikeout per inning.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (NYPL and FIL 2010, SAL 2011), Industry Contacts
Body (6-4, 225): Very good pitcher’s body. Good length in arms and legs, well-proportioned lower half and torso. Good strength. Solid athleticism. Body has tightened since he was drafted and he continues to refine his conditioning. Really good physicality.
Delivery/Mechanics: Easy, clean delivery. Arm works really well throughout. Good extension out back, quick movements through the delivery and long extension out front. Good balance throughout. Excellent delivery allows for easy projection in many areas. Plus mechanics. It all works well and he should field his position well thanks to a square, balanced finish.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 94, Low – 88, Average 90-91, Grade – 50/50
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 94, Low 87, Average 89-91, Grade – 50/50
Fastball (FB) Movement: Natural life on the ball with some explosiveness. It can get on hitters with a little hop. Size lends to good leverage to the plate, helping movement play up a bit. Grade – 50/50
Overall Fastball: Solid-average pitch with both velocity and movement. Can show some plus velocity on occasion but doesn’t sit there and doesn’t project to. Should remain solid-average and effective over the long term. Grade – 50/50
Curveball (CB): High-3/4 arm slot lends to success of pitch. Really nice tight spin. Gets over the ball well and creates 12-6 break that can be sharp at times. Flashes plus throughout starts and has potential to consistently play at that level. Grade – 50/60
Slider (SL): Relatively new pitch that still needs work. Occasionally tight but more often a little loose and slurvy. Needs considerable work but as a show-me pitch, gives him a nice change with different movement and a different look. Don’t project significant improvement; likely below-average long term. Grade – 30/40
Change-up (CH): Good arm speed deception. Good velocity separation. Accentuates the pronation and gets good arm-side fade when on. Consistently average pitch that should play in above-average range long term. Quality pitch. Grade – 50/50
Control: Throws strikes with FB and CH. Improving ability to throw strikes with CB and SL control lags behind. Easy delivery, athleticism and present control set him up well for excellent control projection down the line. Should have plus-plus strike-throwing ability long term. Really like the control profile. Grade – 50/70
Command: Has command projection but needs work right now. Shows occasional ability to locate FB to both sides of the plate and generally works down, but lacks consistency. CH command is progressing. CB and SL command lag behind. Should have overall average command with a slim chance at plus. Grade – 40/50
Summation: Really nice prospect. Strong compliment of pitches all with control and command projection. CB is only standout pitch. FB and CH are solid but not spectacular and don’t project for significant grade jumps. SL will only be a show-me pitch. Pounds the zone and should locate better in the future; expecting big improvements with command profile in 2013. Good feel for pitching and approach on the mound. Strong work ethic that should allow for excellent conditioning and best use of his ideal frame. Like him a lot. Broad arsenal and command projection fit well together, making him a potential number three starter with a high floor at the back of the big-league rotation.
Relative Risk: Moderate. Hasn’t pitched above A-ball but has such a well-rounded profile that much of his risk is mitigated.
Future: Biddle could move quickly from here on out and I wouldn’t rule out a big-league cameo at the end of 2013. He has the feel for pitching, solid arsenal and the potential to make a leap with command and control to make “the leap” in 2013. Should be settling in as a quality starter with the Phillies just as Roy Halladay’s contract expires.