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.
Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.
Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.
Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:
I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.
First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:
+10 Blue Jays
The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, seven made the playoffs. Only the Twins and Diamondbacks improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.
Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:
Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.