Left-hander Jesse Biddle entered the 2014 season as the Phillies’ top pitching prospect and ranked somewhere between 50-100 in overall prospect rankings depending on who you read. (MLB.com #53, Baseball America #71, Baseball Prospectus #94.) The 22-year-old has, however, taken a step back in his second season with Double-A Reading.
In Monday’s start which lasted only three innings, Biddle surrendered ten runs on eight hits (including two home runs) and three walks while striking out only two. He has struck out three or fewer batters in five of his last six starts. Overall, he carries a 5.03 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP and 76/40 K/BB ratio in 78 2/3 innings of work.
The Phillies decided to place Biddle on the temporary inactive list to give him a mental break. As the Reading Eagle’s Mike Drago reports, Biddle seems pretty down on himself:
Not exactly what you want to hear from the top arm in your organization if you’re the Phillies. The club is already tenuously thin even on back-of-the-rotation depth. For the second game of Saturday’s double-header against the Braves, the Phillies will send Sean O’Sullivan, author of a career 5.89 ERA in 218 2/3 major league innings, to the mound.
If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.
Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.
The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.
At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.
Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.
Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.
Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.
Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.