Three years ago, Jesse Biddle was the Phillies first round pick (27th) overall in the draft. Three months ago, in his first month at Double-A Reading, struck on 16 of the 24 batters he faced in a win at Harrisburg.
Biddle will represent the Phillies, along with third base prospect Maikel Franco, at the All-Star Futures Game today at Citi Field in New York.
Before he took the field, Biddle was relayed the words of Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
The day after Biddle's dominating night in Harrisburg in April, Manuel had the following to say about the kid from Germantown Friends.
"He has a chance to be a real special pitcher,” manager Charlie Manuel said. "He’s got a little bit of (Cole) Hamels in him as far as the ball coming out of his hand an stuff. But he’s a little bit bigger, stronger."
Biddle's reaction to that high praise? First, he laughed for a good 10 seconds.
"What am I supposed to say to that?" said Biddle, who attended Game 5 of the 2008 World Series as a Phililes fan. "The guy is a Cy Young candidate, a World Series MVP. I’m pitching at Double-A.
"It means a lot to me, it’s very cool. But how much does that carry? It doesn’t mean anything. Being the Philadelphia Phillies No.1 prospect, when I’m on the mound, does that really matter? When I’m between the lines, none of that matters. None of the talk matters. You have to back it up. You’ve got to back it up. And that’s what I try to do: go out there and try to pitch my game and show them why they say that kind of stuff, why I’m ranked that high."
Biddle will likely pitch in relief for the U.S. team at today's Futures Game. Franco, his teammate at Double-A Reading, is hitting eighth and slotted as the DH for the World team.
Biddle sad he would strike Franco out if they faced off Sunday.
"I don't think so," Franco said with a smile.