Friday, March 14, 2014

Jesse's Journal, Vol. 3: Still positive after being reassigned to minors

Jesse Biddle, Image- Jay Floyd
We continue on with our running series of interviews with top Phils pitching prospect Jesse Biddle, whose time with the big league team in spring training came to a close last week when he was reassigned to the minors.

Biddle, who was the Phils' top draft choice (27th overall) in 2010, represented the organization in the MLB All-Star Futures Game last year. Now, Biddle is setting his sights on a 2014 big league debut and has tried to absorb as much as he can in order to get better each day.

In Grapefruit League action, Biddle allowed four earned runs in three innings over two appearances. After his first spring start this week, Biddle provided his thoughts on several topics including the type of feedback he was given upon being sent down, his feelings on his time in big league camp, who he learned from and much more.

Read ahead for the latest from Jesse.


Sharing his thoughts on being reassigned to minor league spring training last week...

I was just really happy that I was able to compete at that level and take part in a big league spring training and get my first one under my belt, but I've got more coming up. The fact is, you know, there are a lot of guys in front of me on the depth chart as a starter that have to get ready for their season with the Phillies and I was told from the beginning that I wasn't going to break camp with the team, so it's just nice to be able to go back down to minor league camp and get my innings in and get my work in every day.

On if there was any displeasure with the timing and if he thought he would stay with the big league club longer...

I mean, the fact is that they were only letting me go one or two innings because that's how many innings they had available for me or some of the other guys, so I'm not necessarily displeased with the timing, in a weird way. The sooner they sent me down, the earlier I'd be able to get my work in and get me back up there.

Talking about the type of feedback that was shared when he was advised he was being reassigned...

It was nothing but positive stuff. It was really, really great to talk to Ruben, Bob McClure, Ryne Sandberg, Joe Jordan, all those guys. They sat me down and they said, "Hey, look...we really appreciate all the work you've put in. We know you can pitch at this level." They want to see the consistency and they want to see me just show them that I'm ready and that's when they'll know that I'm ready. And that's really what it comes down to is me finding that consistent rhythm and that consistent delivery that's going to help me have success and get me to the next level.

Thoughts on the two appearances he had in the Grapefruit League with the Phillies...

It was fun. It was definitely a little bit humbling, you know, there were a couple pitches there, especially in the first outing, that I thought were pretty good pitches, that ended up being hits and it was just because I missed by a couple of inches. And that's what it comes down to in baseball, it's a game of inches. If I put those pitches exactly where I want them, I could get outs, but if I leave them up a little bit, they turn into hits. And that's just an experience that I- they can tell you that all they want, but you don't really understand it till you get in the game situation.

On people he learned from at MLB camp aside from the coaches, instructors and Cliff Lee...

I mean I learned a lot from watching Kendrick and watching Mike Adams. And I learned from Papelbon. I really learned from everybody in a different type of way. Whether it was me asking questions or me just watching the way they work out or the way they throw their bullpens, everybody kind of taught me something. And that was my main goal going into spring training, was just, "Do I come out on the other side as a better pitcher?" And the answer is yes. I feel like I learned a lot from it and I feel like I grew up and saw and learned what it takes to be a big leaguer.

Speaking of his efforts since going down and what's coming up with the minor league squad...

I threw three innings (on Wednesday). That was my first appearance. I felt great, did pretty well. It was nice to be able to start a game for the first time and it's something to build on. That's really all it comes down to. You know, I felt great. My arm feels good. And everything else keeps clicking into place. I just can't wait to get back out there.

They'll mostly just give you an innings limit (each outing). They say- each game is kind of mapped out for you, so I think the next time I go out, hopefully, I'll be throwing four innings. Next time after that, I'll be going five and then maybe one after that and then the season starts. The goal is to get better. The first one was good, but I can do better and that's just how I'm going to treat everything.

On pitching now with the group that will become the Triple-A IronPigs and if he has any idea if that's where he'd start the season...

I'm not really sure. I'm not too worried about the specifics of, you know, Lehigh Valley or Reading. When it comes down to it, no matter where you're at, Double-A or Triple-A, you're one call away from the big leagues. And that's really the thing that I'm focused on. Just maintain and get to a point where I'm maintaining that fastball command and all my stuff is going to speak for itself. I'm going to do everything I can to get hitters out, no matter where they put me.

On his family and friends visiting Clearwater and seeing him pitch with the big league team...

They came down just in time to watch me pitch against the Pirates. It was really fun. It's, obviously, big to have your family supporting you and being there for you. It just sucked to see them leave.

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