Top Pick Biddle Looking Forward to 2011 – Phillies Nation

Top Pick Biddle Looking Forward to 2011

LAKEWOOD, NJ- The Phillies Winter tour stopped at the Woodlake Country Club on Tuesday evening and the catered affair was the first taste of life in Lakewood for last year’s top draft pick Jesse Biddle, as Philadelphia’s Class A affiliate hosted the dinner for local fans to benefit BlueClaws Charities.

Biddle was selected 27th overall by the Phillies in last June’s amateur draft out of Germantown Friends School, a private day school within Philadelphia. Biddle signed with the team he grew up dreaming he could play with for $1.16 million, despite a previous commitment to play for the University of Oregon.

The 19-year-old Philadelphia native made his professional debut by going 4-1 with a 3.92 ERA and a complete game shutout in 12 combined games between the Gulf Coast League Phillies and short season Williamsport.

Going forward in 2011, the left-handed Biddle looks forward to spending plenty more time in the Jersey shore town.

“My goal is to play in Lakewood (this year). The goal is always to make it to the next level,” Biddle stated.

Biddle expressed his excitement to pitch in front of a packed house at Lakewood’s FirstEnergy Park. “I hear the crowds are among the best (at this level). I’ve talked to guys who’ve played for other teams in the South Atlantic League and they say Lakewood is one of the best places to go and play.”

The hopes are high for Biddle this coming season. However, where he will pitch in 2011 is not certain at this stage. Many expect that Biddle will be ready to take the mound for Lakewood, but his invitation to the banquet there, this week, isn’t equal to an assignment on the BlueClaws’ roster.

“Nothing is really set in stone,” Biddle said. “They told me that they want me to be here, but it’s really up to me. It depends on how hard I work and how well I can pitch. And if they don’t feel like I’m ready, or they feel like I need to be held back, I’ll be held back. I trust the Phillies.”

The youngster, who is still less than a year removed from competing in high school, was visited by many Major League scouts throughout his scholastic career and actually changed his pitching repertoire in order to become more appealing in the MLB draft. After receiving criticism about his curveball being too soft, Biddle added a slider as his breaking pitch. The Phillies, however, prefer Biddle’s curveball, so the Philadelphia native, who cites Cole Hamels as an inspiration, gladly dropped the slider in favor of the preference of his dream club.

A fastball that ranges in the low-to-mid 90’s and has movement is Biddle’s best pitch. That and a change up that he’s steadily working to improve helped him strike out 50 batters in 43 2/3 innings in his first season in the system.

Biddle speaks of taking “a little league approach” to baseball. He likes to have fun whenever he takes the mound and realizes that it’s a long road to get to the highest level. The 6’4″, 245-pounder is patient and plans to work hard to achieve his aspirations.

“My goal, since I was 12 years old, was to play for the Phillies and I will do what it takes to reach that goal.”

Also appearing at the banquet were Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., Phils hitting coach Greg Gross and team employee assistance professional Dickie Noles. New BlueClaws manager Chris Truby was unable to travel from his home in Indiana, due to poor weather.


Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league writer. You can read more from Jay by checking out his site,

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  1. Pat Gallen

    February 2, 2011 at 11:10 am

    It’ll be fun to watch his mature over the next few years. Hopefully he’ll be a nice lefty addition in 4 years when a spot opens up for him.

    2015 rotation:

  2. Don M

    February 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    He must be a stoner… from a rich high school, and he wanted to go to OREGON.. for Baseball??? …. not that there’s anything wrong with that

    Don’s Idea-O-The-Day :

    Phillies Nation trips to the various MINOR LEAGUE teams when the Big League club is on the road?? I’ve been to Reading a bunch of times in my day, (and trenton), but never to Lakewood …That would be a cool trip to do with other Phillies fans, and have a good idea of what players to keep an eye on from both teams in that game, etc..

    • Pat Gallen

      February 2, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      Don, great idea! I think that might go over well for the diehards.

    • Chuck

      February 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      Yeah, and you could bring your baby daughter. Turn her into a phan right from the start!!…

      Actually, that’s a pretty good idea. I’ve never been to Reading. Trenton a bunch of times, Harrisburg once (that was cool on the island). I heard the park in Allentown is really cool, too.

  3. Jay Floyd

    February 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Lakewood’s park is amazing. Anyone who has never been, make it a point to get out there this season. Go early, enjoy the outfield deck and tiki bar…you won’t regret it. Best minor league park in the area.

    Pat, pitching is deep in the system. There are so many that will reach the Majors. It’ll be exciting to see how many of these young prospects develop into the stars of tomorrow.

  4. GoPhils

    February 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I noticed that Biddle was paritcipating in this event for lakewood and i assumed that he would be joining that affiliate in 2011. This did cause me some surprise, as it seems that as I followed his starts, he would have a really good day and then a really bad day afterwards. I don’t think he got started with us at the beginning of the season, which further supports my opinion that a move to Lakewood to start 2011 would be aggressive. I think some time in Williamsport, especially for a high school draft pick, would be the safer bet. I’m trying to think who Morandini has to work with: maybe Biddle, Dugan, Hernandez is probably getting promoted to Lakewood, maybe Santana, Garner, Walter, Eldemire, maybe Rupp. He could have a lot of fun.

  5. Jay Floyd

    February 3, 2011 at 3:25 am

    The thing is with starting Biddle at Williamsport means he is stuck in extended spring training till June when the NY-Penn League starts. Having him on the Lakewood roster to begin 2011 might not be aggressive…it could simply be a move to get him throwing in meaningful games from the start.

    Of course, Biddle could always begin the season in extended spring, without specific Williamsport restrictions, then just move to Lakewood if/once the organization feel he’s ready or the team has a need. That’s what happened w/ Julio Rodriguez last yr. He was in extended till mid-late May, came up to fill a void when Lakewood had an injury and did well, went to Williamsport in June and shined, then was back in Lakewood a month later.

  6. machorow93

    March 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Jay your absolutely right..FirstEnergy Park is amazing place to watch Minor League ball.My wife is from the area and friends of hers get tix through there jobs so we go to about 5-10 games a season.Great food,atmosphere,and a place to bring the family aqnd not have to worry about the drunken idiots as much.

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