Results tagged ‘ Jesse Biddle ’

Phillies Make Roster Moves

Jesse BiddleThe Phillies made their first round of roster moves this morning at Bright House Field.

There were no surprises.

They optioned left-hander Jesse Biddle, right-hander Adam Morgan, right-hander Ethan Martin and outfielder Aaron Altherr to Minor League camp. They reassigned right-hander Sean O’Sullivan and catcher John Hester to Minor League camp.

They released outfielder Xavier Paul.

Biddle, Morgan, Martin and Altherr need to pitch or play on a regular basis and getting limited work in big-league camp served them little benefit. The Phillies hope each can contribute at the big-league level in the near future.

The Phillies plan Biddle and Morgan to be in the rotation at some point. Martin is a bullpen candidate, although the Phillies have been preparing him to start this spring. Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan said over the winter that Altherr “is as good of an outfielder as we have in our system, and possibly in the Major Leagues as well.”

The rebuilding Phillies could use some young outfielders.

Altherr hit .286 with five doubles, two triples, four home runs, 27 RBIs and an .878 OPS in 105 at-bats with Aguilas de Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League. It is a marked improvement from a disappointing season with Double-A Reading, where he hit .236 with 27 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs, 57 RBIs and a .686 OPS in 492 plate appearances.

“I just went out and had fun,” Altherr said, explaining his impressive play in Winter Ball. “I really didn’t think too much. Sometimes I just put too much pressure on myself during the (Minor League) season. I didn’t worry about anything in Winter Ball.”

O’Sullivan provides the organization starting pitching depth. Hester is recovering from knee surgery.

Paul no simply longer fit in the Phillies’ plans.

Biddle Placed on Inactive List

biddleJesse Biddle entered 2014 season as the organization’s top pitching prospect, but at the moment he is lost.

The Phillies today placed the Double-A left-hander, who they selected in the first round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, on the inactive list. Biddle, who is 3-9 with a 5.03 ERA in 13 starts, told the Reading Eagle, “I’m miserable out there. I’m very unhappy. And I don’t know why.”

It sounds like a mental health break for the 22-year-old.

Biddle, who is 0-4 with a 12.64 ERA in his last four starts, pitching past the third inning just once, battled the mental side of the game in 2013. He also suffered through whooping cough, and a postseason MRI revealed he pitched the final month of the season with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

He finished 5-14 with a respectable 3.64 ERA, but battled through constant frustrations.

“I was really, really immature in some ways handling my illnesses, handling some of the adversity I was facing,” Biddle said in January. “There were a lot of times I failed last year, and I didn’t handle it the right way. There are some things I really want to grow up on and want to improve.”

Former Phillies ace Roy Halladay had a one-on-one discussion with Biddle in Spring Training. He spoke with him for about 30 minutes one afternoon, discussing the mental aspects of pitching and handing him a copy of “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching” by Harvey Dorfman, which Halladay credits for helping saving his big league career.

“A big thing for me will just be not sitting on things as long,” Biddle said. “There are times where I’ll let a game affect me for too long after the game is over, when the fact is, once my manager takes the ball out of my hands, there’s nothing I can do. As much as I want to, as much as I want to go back and replay it over and over in my head, there’s nothing I can do to change it.”

The Phillies also announced they released Double-A outfielder Jiwan James, who they selected in the 22nd round in 2007.

Happy In Retirement, Halladay Teaches

Roy HalladayRoy Halladay said there is no chance he is sneaking away to throw secret bullpen sessions this spring.

He is happy in retirement.

It helps he remains part of the game, which could become a full-time venture in the future. Halladay is in Phillies camp as a guest instructor, where he is imparting his philosophies about pitching to some of the organization’s younger and less established pitchers. The hope is some of them listen, pick up a thing or two and use some of his suggestions and ideas to help a pitching staff that ranked as one of the worst in baseball last season.

“I love being here,” Halladay said this afternoon at Bright House Field. “I definitely want to keep doing it. I think maybe this first year, I want to make sure that I get to spend the time that I want with my boys and my wife, and that’s my priority. Once I see how things work, yeah, I’d love to continue to do it and if I have more time, do more. I’ll always continue doing it. It’s just a matter of starting to figure out how much I can do. Once the kids are gone, maybe it’s something to do full time.”

Halladay spent more than 30 minutes yesterday with top Phillies prospect Jesse Biddle, discussing the mental aspects of pitching and handing him a copy of “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching” by Harvey Dorfman, which Halladay credits for helping saving his big-league career.

Halladay, who once went from the big leagues to Class A before establishing himself as one of the best pitchers of his generation, has given the book to pitchers in previous springs, too.

“Obviously, it works,” Biddle said. “Just to hear what he has to say about the little things in the game I’m trying to learn and figure out, you can’t really ask for a better guy. His story is something they tell us when we start playing here. We’re taught about it. No matter how tough it gets, you can always bounce back. As long as they give you the ball, you can bounce back. But to hear him discuss it personally with me is pretty cool.”

Halladay has spoken to more than just Biddle. He is introducing himself and making himself available to everybody.

“The stages they’re at now it’s just a mental part and really it’s just confidence,” Halladay said of pitchers like Phillippe Aumont, Jake Diekman and Jonathan Pettibone. “They are very good at what they do, but there’s just that extra confidence that you see in every day Major League players opposed to maybe a guy at Triple-A or Double-A. I’ve been trying to help them speed that up by starting to think about the mental parts and preparing themselves and getting themselves ready to start. Really brainwashing themselves into thinking that’s something they can do consistently. That’s really what it takes. Some guys need to have that success first, but in the things I’ve seen a lot of guys can start to believe that and they talk themselves into that over and over and suddenly they become it. That’s something I’ve talked to some of them about.

Biddle, Franco Headed to Big League Camp

The Phillies yesterday announced they have invited five more players to Spring Training as non-roster invitees.

The quintet includes left-hander Jesse Biddle, third baseman Maikel Franco, right-hander Ken Giles, left-hander Mario Hollands and catcher Sebastian Valle. ranks Biddle and Franco as the top two prospects in the organization, respectively.

Biddle went 5-14 with a 3.64 ERA in 27 starts last season with Double-A Reading. Franco hit a combined .320 with 31 home runs and 103 RBIs in 134 games between Class A Clearwater and Reading. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Franco could compete with Cody Asche for a job at third base, although Asche is the favorite.

Biddle is expected to open the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Giles is a hard thrower, striking out 16 in 10 1/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League. He went 2-2 with a 6.31 ERA with Clearwater, although he was limited to just 24 appearances because of injury.

Hollands went 7-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 27 appearances (20 starts) with Clearwater and Reading. The Phillies recently removed Valle from the 40-man roster. He had been the top catching prospect in the organization, but Cameron Rupp and Tommy Joseph surpassed him last season.

The Phillies have invited 16 players to camp as non-roster invitees: pitchers Biddle, Shawn Camp, Giles, Hollands, Cesar Jimenez, Jeff Manship and Sean O’Sullivan; catchers Lou Marson and Valle; infielders Andres Blanco, Reid Brignac and Franco; and outfielders Leandro Castro, Tony Gwynn Jr., Dave Sappelt and Clete Thomas.

Any Chance for Good News with Doc?

Roy HalladayI have been asked what I expect from Roy Halladay‘s visit in Los Angeles with orthopedist Lewis Yocum.

My answer: I don’t know, but it is tough to be optimistic.

The best-case scenario is what exactly? A little inflammation, he stops throwing for a while and gradually makes his way back? I guess that would be considered good news, but Halladay has not been effective consistently since 2011. He had three good starts (1.71 ERA) before the last two, but he still fell behind most hitters and worked a lot of deep counts. So even when the results have been solid, he has not been the surgeon he had been in the past. I’m just not sure how much a break from throwing will help.

The worst-case scenario is a torn rotator cuff or something of that nature, and Halladay’s season and possibly career is over. In that case, the Phillies’ chances to make the postseason takes a significant hit, although I contend even with a healthy and effective Halladay this team’s chances have not looked good because of the anemic offense. The Phillies were 4-7 during Halladay’s solid three-start run. The offense averaged 2.7 runs per game in that stretch, but please continue to blame the pitching coach and pitching staff for this team’s problems.

Whether it be wear and tear from a long and productive career (this is a likely scenario for me, his shoulder is just shot) or much worse, Halladay’s struggles are sad to see. I would never claim to know him personally. I know him only from our interactions in the clubhouse. But he is a good guy and a ridiculously hard worker. The stories that have been written about him, the comments people have made about his work ethic and how much he is respected, they have not been exaggerated. He lives up to the hype. So it is tough to watch a guy that has been arguably the best pitcher in baseball struggle like this. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he will get good news. I’m just not sure what that could be.


So who replaces Halladay?

My bet is Triple-A left-hander Adam Morgan. I’ve been hearing how he’s not on the 40-man roster, but so what? Morgan (1-2, 3.89 ERA) has the best numbers of the Triple-A starters, although he has struggled in each of his last three starts. But he has performed better overall than Tyler Cloyd, Ethan Martin and B.J. Rosenberg (Cloyd has pitched better in his last two starts. He last pitched Friday.) None of those three have an ERA less than 5.11. I also don’t believe Double-A Reading left-hander Jesse Biddle is an option at this point.

When Will You See Biddle?

biddleThe Phillies had a chance to promote anybody in their system when John Lannan landed on the disabled list last week.

They said they never considered Double-A Reading left-hander Jesse Biddle, who is the organization’s top prospect.

That is not a surprise. Biddle had not pitched above Class A Clearwater before this season. The Phillies would like to get him more experience before they make that jump.

But Biddle certainly has impressed in four starts with Reading. He dominated last night in Harrisburg. He allowed one hit, two walks and struck out 16 in seven scoreless innings. He took a perfect game into the seventh inning before he walked a batter.

“The thing that stood out to me more than the number of strikeouts he had, through six innings he threw 73 pitches,” Phillies director of player personnel Joe Jordan said. “I mean, he really just dominated the strike zone with four pitches. It wasn’t that he went 90-95 pitches to get to that number. That’s what was so impressive to me. The last time I saw him, which was his previous start in Reading, I saw more swings and misses with his fastball than I had ever seen. His stuff is just coming. It’s coming and his ability to use it is getting better. Everything came together last night. Literally, he had four pitches to go to and command of all of them so they were in trouble.”

Of course, the question about any top prospect is this: When will Phillies fans see him in a big-league uniform?

“I think it’s a little premature, but we’re obviously going to keep our eyes on this and we’ll follow it very closely,” Jordan said. “I think you go in with all of these guys, as far as their development plans with the plan, and the players alter it good or bad. Sometimes their ability, their performance, it will make it go one way or the other. Nothing is in stone. He’s where he needs to be. He earned, after what he did in Clearwater last year, the right to go to Reading. So far he’s done a great job. It’s been a month. The weather is going to arm up, the hitters are going to catch up. I think that’s, that’s the way I look at it. He even said it last night – this is my kind of weather, the hitters don’t like hitting in this weather.

“We’re going to follow it very closely. Because he’s one of our best, if not our best. We all know that.”

Phillies’ Top 20 Prospects ranks the Phillies’ top 20 prospects.

Click this link to read the story.

Click this link to read profiles on the top 20.

Catcher Tommy Joseph ranks third in the system behind left-hander Jesse Biddle and right-hander Ethan Martin. Joseph will be interesting to watch in 2013. He will be competing with Sebastian Valle (ranked eighth) for the starting catching job with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. If Joseph wins the job and makes great strides this season, you wonder how the Phillies will view Carlos Ruiz‘s impending free agency? Ruiz is 34, so he isn’t young anymore. If Joseph looks great at Triple-A and Ruiz struggles following his 25-game suspension for using a banned stimulant, which way will the Phillies lean? Ruiz is immensely popular in the Phillies clubhouse. The pitchers love him. Everybody respects him. But the Phillies need to start getting younger. Maybe they look there.


How does come up with its Top 100 Prospect rankings?

This year it spoke to 25 individuals in the industry: scouting directors, scouts, front office executives, etc. Those 25 talent evaulators then ranked their top 50 prospects in a format similar to an AP college football or basketball poll. The No. 1 player on each person’s list receives 50 points. The No. 2 player receives 49 points. The 50th player receives one point. You get the idea. Jesse Biddle ranked 60th overall and Ethan Martin ranked 80th.’s Jonathan Mayo said he originally had Martin ranked lower in the Phillies’ organizational rankings, but moved him up based on the opinions of those talent evaluators putting together their top 50 lists. Interesting stuff.’s Top 10 Phillies Prospects

I wanted to post this last weekend, but things are crazy the final few days of Spring Training.’s Jonathan Mayo recently wrote about his top 10 Phillies prospects.

Here they are:

  1. Domonic Brown, OF
  2. Jonathan Singleton, 1B/OF
  3. Jarred Cosart, RHP
  4. Brody Colvin, RHP
  5. Sebastian Valle, C
  6. Jesse Biddle, LHP
  7. Trevor May, RHP
  8. Aaron Altherr, OF
  9. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
  10. Justin De Fratus, RHP

Click here for the full report.

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Biddle Agrees to Terms

Jesse Biddle understands it could be a few years before he pitches for the Phillies, but wearing a Phillies jersey and cap this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park he could not help but feel he is ready to strike out the Florida Marlins lineup.

Biddle vs. the National League East could happen eventually, but the Phillies think it might be 2014 at the earliest before it does.

Biddle, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound left-hander who the Phillies selected in the first round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, agreed to terms on a contract worth $1.16 million. He will travel to Clearwater, Fla., next week to begin workouts in extended Spring Training and is expected to be in the rotation for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies when their schedule opens later this month.

If everything goes well, the Phillies think Biddle could be in the big leagues in four to five years.

Biddle’s timetable?

“I’m getting the start tonight,” he joked. “Roy Halladay is now the No. 2.”

We’ll see.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Just Like Old Times

phillies 0608 2010.jpg

Do we detect life from the Phillies offense?

They scored 10 runs last night in a victory over Florida. It had been a while, hadn’t it? Phillies fall behind, slowly come back, lose the lead, come back again and win. It felt like forever, which is why somebody asked Jayson Werth if it reminded him of an “old style” win?

“Old style?” he said. “You mean like ’50s and ’60s?”

Good answer, but the Phillies hadn’t had a night like this since they beat the Pirates on May 17, 12-2.

There were some encouraging signs:

  • Raul Ibanez went 4-for-5, his first four-hit game since May 15, 2009.
  • Chase Utley had a couple hits. I’ve been told Utley is healthy. He’s just slumping.
  • Ryan Howard had two hits and homered.
  • The offense has scored five or more runs in three of their last four games. They went 12 consecutive games scoring three or fewer runs before that.

The middle of the lineup has been an abyss in recent weeks. Little to no production. I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails and questions from people via Twitter and Facebook about the Phillies’ problems and how they can solve them. The short answer: the big guys need to hit and they need Jimmy Rollins healthy. Shaking up the bench won’t do anything. If the Phillies think adding a new bench player is going to save the offense they’re nuts. They simply need Utley, Howard, Werth and Ibanez to start hitting. And they need Rollins back. It’s that simple. Well, it’s not simple. Hitting a baseball is hard, but you know what I mean.


Werth isn’t happy at all that Charlie Manuel said his impending contract might be weighing on him during his slump.


The Phillies are very close to signing first-round pick Jesse Biddle. An announcement could come as early as today.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!