It was a scenario out of dream, the type of thing that they make movies out of. Hometown boy gets drafted by his hometown team, works through the minor league system and is part of a young crop of players that returns that team - in this case, the Philadelphia Phillies - the glory. The problem is, that those Hollywood scripts are hard to believe, because they're very rare. Jesse Biddle knows that better than most.
After being drafted out of Germantown Friends High School, the lefty who grew up a Phillies fan was their first round pick in the 2010 Draft. He was the 27th overall selection that year and seemed destined for good things. Twice, Baseball America ranked him among the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. He was the Phillies top pitching prospect for what seemed like forever and things looked bright for Biddle.
Biddle ran into some struggles at Double-A Reading and had one of those seasons where nothing seemed to go right, including suffering one of those weird injuries, which not only sidelined him, but put him in a spiral that he never was able to completely pull out of. As Biddle and his teammates were boarding a bus for a road trip, Biddle was pelted in the head by a piece of hail, causing a concussion.
In October of 2015, Biddle underwent Tommy John surgery and four months later, he was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Before long, the Pirates placed Biddle on waivers and he was claimed by the Atlanta Braves, where he sat on the 40-man roster all of last season, but was on the 60-day DL, unable to pitch. This spring, Biddle was cleared to return to the mound and as luck - or fate - would have it, his return came against none other than the Phillies.
Biddle pitched the fourth inning of Saturday's game for Atlanta, opening the inning by walking Tommy Joseph. He then battled back to strike out both Dylan Cozens and Aaron Altherr before getting J.P. Crawford to groundout.
It was just one inning, but it was a big step back for the former Phillies standout prospect, who is now looking simply to find a spot on an active roster. That spot may need to wait a little longer, since it's likely that Biddle will open the season on the DL while he continues to finish up his rehab work at the Braves complex in Florida.
Biddle told Matt Gelb of Philly.com that he doesn't have any animosity toward the Phillies, nor does he feel like he missed out on a dream.
"I couldn't have asked for anything diferent from the Phillies or anything different from my support system," Biddle told Gelb. "It ended up working out the way it did. There's no hard feelings anywhere. I'm really happy with where I'm at."
|Minors (6 seasons)||40||45||3.82||133||132||677.0||341||287||1.388||8.1||0.7||4.4||8.8||1.98|