Category Archives: Prospect Life

Life Before Spring Training 2017: First Stop, Orlando

Rest for yet another member of baseball’s Tommy John Brotherhood began on October 5, 2016. In early October Jesse was told not to touch a ball until he got the word from the Braves front office. He’d gone through a long season of rehab at the Braves’ facility in Orlando (Tommy John surgery was in October of 2015).

It was a wild ride, to say the least in that part of the world last year: hurricanes, murderous alligators, the Pulse nightclub, and Christina Grimmie. Look it all up. When last year began, Jesse had no idea what was about to happen except that he needed to take care of his elbow and stay in shape.

But the 2016 season began with his trade by the Phillies to the Pirates. That was surprising and frustrating, to tell the truth, but Jesse and the Pirate staff got along great and team executives in the front office were high on what Jesse could do for them once he recovered from his surgery. Alas, the Pirates needed to cover 3rd Continue reading

A New Start: Pirates and Rehab in 2016

JTB-First Pirates Head Shot photoshoppedYou could make a movie worth watching about almost every young guy who gets a chance to become a professional baseball player. It’s not easy trying to make it to The Show. Heck, it’s not easy moving up from AA ball. Few players just fly through the minor leagues without going through some crazy tough times. Jesse Biddle’s struggles these past three years have been interesting, to say the least. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Right?

It seemed like it was going to be an uneventful 2016 for him living down in Clearwater and working to get back on track after October Tommy John surgery. Up until about two weeks ago. Then Jesse got a call from the Phillies front office saying they were designating him for assignment (DFA) and taking him off the 40-man roster. They needed the spot to pick up left-handed relief specialist Bobby LaFromboise off the waiver wire.

That was a bit of a difficult thing to swallow. It meant Jesse was being re-assigned to full minor Continue reading

The Pitcher’s Elbow: Tommy John Surgery and Life on the Edge of the Knife

Throwing for the Pigs - July 2015

Throwing for the Pigs – July 2015

Years ago, Jesse heard scouts tell him that the career of all special athletes inevitably means periodically having to deal with serious injury and/or illness. “When you make your living with your body, things happen.” The best advice he was given is not to think or worry about injury, even though you know it’s an inevitability. There are always bumps in the road no matter what you do. You deal with them all the way to the end of your journey. Success will come when success comes.

Jesse got closer in 2015 to his ultimate goal of getting called up to the major leagues. But he had to Continue reading

Steady As She Goes

Bacon and Eggs Night at Coca-Cola Park.

Bacon and Eggs Night at Coca-Cola Park.

We’re waiting a bit to report on how competition is going for Jesse. There’s no question he’s figuring out how to pitch as an IronPig now. It’s all about experience and learning … and, of course hard work.

He has his third AAA game tonight (July 22) at Coca-Cola Park against the Toledo Mud Hens. It should be an interesting and somewhat ironic evening. The first team Jesse ever played for in Tee-ball when he was six was called the Mud Hens. He was a star and very concerned about the competition whenever he knew he was facing a team with seven-year-old studs on it.

So, officially, tonight is “Bacon and Eggs Night” at Lehigh Valley. We get to see Jesse decked out in a bacon uniform for the first time. Mmmmm! Bacon!

See you out there.

First Report from Spring Training: A Bit of Media Coverage for Those of Us Not in the Sun

Spring training 2015 is underway for the Philadelphia Phillies. Jesse Biddle has been working hard along with David Buchanan and Mario Hollands (and all their teammates). We’ve been getting inside reports on how things are going down in Clearwater. There’s a lot of positive, can-do Phillies going about their business down there. Watch the video below for a taste of that positive.

On the other hand, media and fan thinking is probably not as positive as it could be. Hopefully, folks will change their tune once the season gets underway. There are so many great young players to watch.

Besides Biddle, Buchanan, and Hollands, you’ve got Domonic Brown, Cody Asche, Maikel Franco, Cameron Rupp, Ben Revere, and a whole bullpen of young pitchers tutored by one of the greatest closers of the last generation — Jonathan Papelbon. Will Chase Utley’s knees hold up for 162 games? Is Ryan Howard, who came into camp super healthy, going to remind everyone why he was once the most feared hitter in the National League?

Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Only time will tell. Just remember, Phillies fans, you’ve been asking for a team that’s younger. Young players take time to develop. They’re here, now. Watch them and cheer from them. You may be surprised.

And take it from us, they’re all champing at the bit to get going in 2015. Hopefully, you are too…

Spring training games start on Sunday. Phillies against University of Tampa. Buchanan and Hollands throw on Tuesday’s game against the Yankees. Jesse is on the mound next Saturday against the Blue Jays.

 

An Early Exit to a Tough Year: The Heart and the Knee

Warming up as always in far right field.

Warming up as always in far right field. Saturday night, August 16, 2014. Knee feeling fine.

Jesse was set to make his comeback in Reading on Saturday evening, August 16. After seven-weeks of rehab, it was likely we were going to see something interesting. Not only had he just proven to the Phillies that he is still all that and then some with two excellent performances in Clearwater during the 10 days prior, but the Fightin Phils were facing the Binghamton B-Mets with rehabbing pitching great, Daisuke Matsuzaka, on the mound. Yes, folks, the legendary, 34-year-old Japanese phenom, Dice-K facing off against little Jesse Biddle.

Jesse got his chance to show how hard he’d worked in July and the first part of August. But it was an inauspicious night for him, too. After warm-ups where he looked Continue reading

Feet Wet and Ready to Throw on Sunday Afternoon

(Photo Credit: BaseballBetsy.com)

(Photo Credit: BaseballBetsy.com)

Jesse Biddle’s been in Big League Camp for about 2 weeks now. He’s getting advice and support from everyone from Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard to Kevin Frandsen and Cliff Lee. From what we can gather, he’s learning an immense amount about the game and what it means to be in a major league dugout.

On Tuesday, he started and threw two innings in the annual intra-squad Continue reading

Getting Ready for the Next Step in a Baseball Career

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Jesse Biddle on the mound in the Futures Game.

Last week Jesse got a lot of press. You’ll find some of the choice coverage at the video links and article archives sections of this website. In part it was a slow sports week in Philly. But it was also a special time for eight young Phillies’ farm system players on the edge of possibly breaking through very soon. They were taking part in a weeklong set of activities called the Phillies Prospect Education Seminar. They learned a lot about what goes into being a major leaguer behind the scenes. The main focus of the week, though, was media relations training.

So you will find a bunch of stories and videos here and online from last week Continue reading