UPDATED: 8:19 p.m.
Some troubling news from the Phillies’ farm system:
Jesse Biddle, one of the team’s top pitching prospects, was placed on the temporary inactive list Thursday. Biddle is not hurt. The 22-year-old lefty has struggled badly at Double A Reading recently and is getting a little mental break, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
The pitcher shed some light on his situation in an interview with the Reading Eagle on Thursday afternoon.
“I’m miserable out there,” Biddle told the newspaper. “I’m very unhappy. And I don’t know why.
“Nothing feels fluid on the mound, nothing feels natural.”
Biddle is a local kid, a Philadelphia native who was selected in the first round of the 2010 draft out of Germantown Friends School. He is in his second season at Double A.
At a time when he should be making a move toward Triple A, Biddle has struggled mightily. He is 3-9 with a 5.03 ERA in 15 starts. Over his last four starts, he had allowed 22 earned runs, including 10 in three innings Monday night.
Performances like that can lead to frustration, which is detrimental to the development process.
It is not unusual for teams to give struggling prospects a little time away from competition when frustration sets in. Heck, the Phillies did it with Cole Hamels last season. Then pitching coach Rich Dubee sensed that Hamels was getting frustrated so he slowed him down and pushed one of his starts back to give him a breather. Dubee even called it a mental health break.
It is unclear how long Biddle will be sidelined and what he will do while he is.
Amaro issued a comment through a team spokesperson saying, “We decided to give Jesse a mental break. To do that we had to place him on the temporary inactive list.” Amaro had no further comment.