LAKEWOOD, NJ - Jesse Biddle finished 2011 as a South Atlantic League Post-Season All-Star, and after a big season last year with Clearwater, he finished 2012 as the Phillies top prospect, at least in the eyes of Baseball America. The Philadelphia native was at the Phillies Minor League Week stop in Lakewood on Wednesday, and is anxious to get down to Clearwater for spring training.
"You try to enjoy your last couple of weeks in the off-season, but you have to make sure you're in shape," he said. "I'm enjoying time with my family and friends but I can't stop picking up my glove. I can't wait to have some hitters in the box and get ready for the season."
Joe Jordan, the Phillies Director of Player Development, was impressed with Biddle's year.
"No one had a better year, developmentally, than him," said Jordan, who was also at Wednesday's Winter Tour. "But when you get to know him and see him work, there are reasons why he's successful."
Biddle, a first round pick of the Phillies in 2010 from Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia, went 10-6 with a 3.22 ERA and 151 strikeouts in 141 innings last year with Clearwater. He'll likely open 2013 with Double-A Reading, and is excited to take what many believe is the biggest jump in Minor League Baseball.
"They take the best hitters from Hi-A and put them in AA and you face the best of the best," he said. "I just really have to focus and you can't take a pitch off. I've heard about that jump and I'm really excited about it, to see if I'm ready or not. We'll see."
It's likely Biddle makes the jump with fellow left-handers Austin Wright and Adam Morgan, who also both thrived with Clearwater last year (Morgan did make six starts at the end of last year with Reading).
"When you have guys like that, you just want to do a little better than they did. If Adam goes out and throws seven shutout innings, I want to throw eight," he said. "That's going to make us all better at the end of the day."
- BlueClaws -
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.