Lefty Jesse Biddle -- Philadelphia native, former first-rounder and the top prospect in the Phillies' system -- entered the 2013 season with some measure of expectations. To cite but three examples, he made the list of top-100 overall prospects at Baseball America (89th overall), Baseball Prospectus (67th) and MLB.com (61st). The 21-year-old has responded with strong numbers across his first four starts for Double-A Reading. Obscured by those overall numbers, however, are his downright amazing efforts on Monday night.
Not only did Biddle retire the first 19 batters he faced (!) in the course of tossing seven shutout innings, but he also struck out a team record 16 batters (!!). Four times, he struck out the side. Oh, and Biddle also smacked two doubles on the night (!!!). As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, Biddle didn't even log a three-ball count until the seventh inning.
Courtesy of Josh Norris of the Trentonian, here's footage of Biddle's impressive evening:
In particular, that breaking ball at 0:25 is a thing of wonder.
Double-A can pose a challenge for guys like Biddle, who lean more on a deep repertoire than any one single wipeout pitch, but so far he's positioning himself for a big leap up those aforementioned prospect rankings.