Tuesday, March 12, 2013

SPRING TRAINING: Biddle's patient working his way up the ladder

CLEARWATER, Fla. – When you talk with Jesse Biddle, you feel like you're speaking with someone older than 21. Not only does he come across as more mature than his age, but you get the sense that he is aware of it, as well.

Thirty-two months ago the Germantown Friends product was the first-round selection of the Phillies, a strapping left-hander with a lively arm and an even livelier imagination.

"When I signed," Biddle said, "I was like, 'I'm going to be in the big leagues by the time I'm 19.'"

It was confident thinking. Or, it was silly thinking. You can count the number of players who have made their debuts as teenagers over the past decade on one hand. The number of pitchers is two – Seattle's Felix Hernandez, perhaps the best pitching prospect of the last quarter-century, and Baltimore's Dylan Bundy, who got to make two relief appearances with the Orioles in 2012 when their pitching staff was so wracked by injuries and thinned by a long extra-inning game late in the year that they had little choice but to turn to the 19-year-old.

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