Biddle Ranked Top Prospect by Reading Eagle Survey – Phillies Nation
Minor Leagues

Biddle Ranked Top Prospect by Reading Eagle Survey

It’s certainly been an unusual summer for local baseball fans. In recent years, the Phillies have displayed divisional dominance, and, while doing so, they have swapped top rated minor leaguers to beef up the big league roster for the impending postseason drive. This year’s struggles, during which the Phillies have only recently dug themselves out of last place, have presented an opportunity for the team to not only hang onto their more highly regarded minor league talents, but to deal away some established major league players and add to the organization’s collection of promising youngsters.

This month Mike Drago of The Reading Eagle conducted his annual survey of fifteen organizational minor league experts, made up of writers and other media members, designed to rank the top prospects in the Phillies’ developmental system. The prospect that was ranked at the top of the list was lefty hurler Jesse Biddle, who has had a strong season for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers in the Florida State League.

Flattered by the honor, the 6-foot-4-inch 225-pound Philadelphia native was clear in stating that he isn’t fully pleased with such rankings. Biddle has his eyes set on getting better each time out and on the ultimate goal of reaching the major leagues.

“Having seen the talent throughout this system, top to bottom, it is an honor to be considered in the same category as these players,” Biddle said. “But, I also understand that being a prospect only gets you so far in the game between the lines, because (the field) is the only place that counts.”

Through 25 starts for Clearwater, Biddle has posted a 10-5 record with 3.10 ERA while striking out 146 and walking 53 in 136 2/3 innings.

The Phillies’ 1st round draft selection from 2010 feels that there is much room for improvement in his game, despite the solid statistics and the recognition that he has attained.

“I think that my output this year has been up and down. This is mostly attributed to the natural adjustments of moving up a level, but, also, I have spent most of the year working as hard as I can to learn as much as possible. I am not satisfied with all my results,” Biddle stated.

More focused on a few lackluster outings than he is on the ones that garner the attention of experts who rate him so highly, Biddle take lessons from poor games and uses them as fuel to develop his mental toughness.

“I think I can pitch a lot better than I did in most of my outings,” Biddle said with tenacity. “But as my coaches always say, ‘It’s a process.’ I tried to make the most out of my bad outings and use them to make me a better pitcher in the long run.”

Overall, though, Biddle is more than happy to be pitching for the organization he grew up rooting for and never lets things like trade chatter impact his focus.

Not only did the different methodology approaching the trading deadline prevent the likes of Biddle and others from potentially being shopped or dealt away, but the Phillies added two players that are now ranked among their top ten prospects, according to the Reading Eagle’s survey results.

The participating individuals in the Reading Eagle’s assessment, who are all close to the Phillies minor league system, were asked to rank their personal top 15, which were tabulated to determine the paper’s published list of ranked prospects. Those that offered their insight for the ratings included Matt Gelb, Jeff Schuler, Greg Giombarrese, Mitch Rupert, Brian Seltzer, Mike Drago himself and yours truly, Jay Floyd.

Lefty hurler Jake Diekman was left off of all but two submissions, due to his time spent in the big leagues this season. Service time in the bigs also kept infielder Freddy Galvis from being ranked as well. Despite the explosive offensive output of first baseman/ left fielder Darin Ruf this season, several reviewers, including myself did not rank Ruf because of his age, 26, which isn’t typically applicable to being a prospect.

Ahead are the listings of the survey’s top 20 prospects in the Phillies’ system.

1- LHP Jesse Biddle…20 yrs old, Class A Advanced Clearwater

2- Catcher Tommy Joseph…21 yrs old, Double-A Reading (acquired in Hunter Pence trade)

3- RHP Jonathan Pettibone…22 yrs old, Triple-A Lehigh Valley

4- 2B Cesar Hernandez…22 yrs old, Triple-A Lehigh Valley

5- Catcher Sebastian Valle…22 yrs old, Triple-A Lehigh Valley

6 -RHP Trevor May…22 yrs old, Double-A Reading

7- RHP Adam Morgan…22 yrs old, Double-A Reading

8- RHP Lisalverto Bonilla…22 yrs old, Double-A Reading

9- RHP Ethan Martin…23 yrs old, Double-A Reading (acquired in Shane Victorino trade)

10- Third baseman Maikel Franco…20 yrs old, Class A Lakewood

11- Third baseman Cody Asche…22 yrs old, Double-A Reading

12- RHP Justin De Fratus….24 yrs old, Triple-A Lehigh Valley

13- Shortstop Roman Quinn…19 yrs old, short-season A level Williamsport

14- 1B/OF Darin Ruf…26 yrs old, Double-A Reading

15- RHP Tyler Cloyd…25 yrs old, Triple-A Lehigh Valley

16- RHP Brody Colvin…22 yrs old, Double-A Reading

17- LHP Austin Wright…22 yrs old, Class A Advanced Clearwater

18- RHP Phillippe Aumont…23 yrs old, MLB Phillies

19- OF Tyson Gillies…23 yrs old, Double-A Reading

20- OF Jiwan James…23 yrs old, Double-A Reading


Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league insider. You can read more from Jay by visiting his site,



  1. Ryne Duren

    August 27, 2012 at 10:56 am

    good article jay! the phils should be as consistant as you are in your good articles. now that i got my brownie points i like biddle also. and who said we don’t have any good minor leaguers? i’ve been saying it for a while now. i can’t understand how ruf gets thrown under the rug for being only 26 years old! it’s amazing to me. with stats like his you would think they would be chomping at the bit to get him up here! even if he drops 20% in his offense he’s way better than anything we can put out there right now (leftfield). oh they’re gonna try him they say. they’ll give up on him if he’s not playing like willie mays out there in only a few games. so what do they do with him? to me it’s a bad example to the rest of the players down there if he doesn’t get a call up! what would they think? as bad as the phils have been all year and this guy is still languishing down there along with tyler cloyd! imean they brought KK up from AA and cloyds got way better everything over KK. the guy has 4 pitches he commands consistantly! what more do they want? he’s proven himself they just brush him and ruf off like an after thought. cloyd get compared to joe roa! give me a break roa had no FB at all cloyd’s is 90 + – roa threw a sinker that fooled minor leaguers but not the guys in the show. cloyd throws a good curve a real good cutter and a 4th pitch? and all for strikes! i saw him pitch last year at reading i came away thinking where’d he come from! and started to follow him on readings site. and all he’s done is get better and better.

  2. Ryne Duren

    August 27, 2012 at 11:02 am

    i don’t know if you watched the AA all star game but i did and i watched because the phils had 7 players from reading on the team. i was dying to see ruf, castro and hernandez. castro looks good has a nice swing. ruf has a short compact swing simular to luzinski and utley. and he generates a lot of power! he didn’t hit a homer but man he roped a ball to left so hard the LF’er hardly had time to turn and watch it hit halfway up the wall it ended up a double.hernandez and castro both have really good speed to and ruf’s not a burner but he’s not a slug either.

    • God Bless da Phils

      August 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      Agreed with your comments. Ruf & Cloyd along with Cody Asche (who is a 3B but is not as strong a hitter – seen him enough to say this) should be up in September, possibly Hernandez who is>> over Mini Mart. I can see at least two making the club next year.

  3. The Original Chuck P

    August 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Darin Ruf’s OPS is almost as high as Matthew Rizzotti’s was in 2010 with Reading… Matthew was 24 at that time and a lot of people were clamoring that the scouts were wrong. That maybe Rizzotti was a late-bloomer and that he would succeed if he just got a chance. Well, Babe Ruf sounds a lot like Matthew Rizzotti. Rizzotti, despite hitting .308 in AA has only managed to hit .228 at AAA level. Ruf has great potential but there is something there that has held back his projections… at 26 years old, he has a huge mountain to climb to earn his stripes.

  4. psujoe

    August 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Ruf is a better prospect than Rizz IMO, but I agree he has to show he can get it done in AAA or the bigs. He ko’s less than Rizz(1 in 6 versus 1 in 5). His power surge is off the charts. He also has a whip of .857 over A+ and AA, LOL. He’s played only 26 games in LF, but they put him at 3b 3 games as well. Rizz was only 1B and DH. i just hope they can get something, anything, for Polanco and Wiggington if they aren’t expected back. Minny Mart cannot play for this teaam next year.

  5. Jay Floyd

    August 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I think you’re short changing Ruf on his career total OF games. He’s a shade higher, in the 30’s.

    What is holding him back the most, right now, is the R-Phils’ playoff aspirations. Organization probably feel like they owe it to the fans and the roster to give them the best shot of winning the EL title. Clearly, Ruf has nothing left to prove at Double-A, but if they promoted him with 2 weeks or less left in the season, that would hurt the team’s chances greatly.

  6. DavidE

    August 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I agree the Phils need to bring up Ruf. Let’s assume he can play left field. I think you pencil him in the lineup and see what he does.

    Look the criteria for bringing a player up should be could he be better than the player we have now. I don’t think Pierre gives us enough pop. Let’s see what Ruf can do.

  7. psujoe

    August 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I really think the Phils helped their system in the draft and with the trades. I’d put O’Sullivan and Lind in the top 25 as well(not an expert). Phils get one PTBNL in the Vic deal or cash considerations. I’d definately bring up Ruff at the deadline. I really think they should’ve put Pierre, Polanco and Wiggington on waivers and see if you can get anything. Phils need as many chips as possible to acquire a power bat in LF or 3B.

    • Devin

      August 28, 2012 at 2:25 am

      Phils can’t afford a real powerbat in LF or 3B, and there aren’t any available anyway. The hope is that both of these spots can come from within the organization. Polly has an option for next year, then the year after that you hope and pray Cody Asche is ready to stick at third at least long enough for the real prospect, Maikel Franco, to come dazzle us. In Left, well, I’d like to see Ruf get a tryout this september, and if not you use Brown, Scheirholtz and Mayberry to Frankenstein up your corner OF as best you can, playing the matchups and giving Brown as many starts as he can handle.

      • George

        August 28, 2012 at 3:15 am

        The Phils no are no longer paying Victorino, Blanton, and Pence, and I doubt they’ll pick up Polanco’s option, and that’s more money off the books. So affording someone is probably not the issue you think it is. And while there may not be any power bats coming available at third, there will probably be a few for the outfield, Josh Hamilton being one of them (although HE probably will be unaffordable). There is also the trade route, now that the Phils have, for example, two real prospects at catcher (some teams have none) and some up-and-coming pitchers.

        I doubt if the situation is as dire as you have painted it.

    • Jay Floyd

      August 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

      O’Sullivan’s K/BB rate (62/38 in about 103 career IP) isn’t very appealing. Also, I am not familiar with a Phils prospect named Lind that would be worthy of solid regard. Perhaps you mean Gabriel Lino, who was acquired for Jim Thome. I would not rank him above Cameron Rupp, but if Lino stays performing well, the Phils would officially be deep with catching prospects.

  8. Psujoe

    August 28, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Phillies will have over $30 million to spend next year. Money isn’t the issue after the deals. Plenty of chips to trade at this point. Not sexy, but I’d they add pagan, Adams, Headly they would still have 15-18 million for a LF.

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