Phillies 1st pick, Biddle, ‘couldn’t ask for anything better’
Roy Halladay better watch out – Jesse Biddle is gunning for his spot.The 18-year-old from Germantown Friends School was drafted as the Philadelphia Phillies number-one pick. And just like that, Biddle donned the jersey of a team he has been watching his whole life.
At 6-feet, 5-inches and 235 lbs. Biddle has had Philadelphia scouts and others watching him throughout his 40-strikeout season in 59 and one-third innings that ended in the Friends School’s seventh consecutive league championship, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Friends, family and community members are celebrating this moment with Biddle with congratulations. Biddle lives in Mount Airy with his parents, David and Marion, and his brothers, Sam and Conor.
As Biddle says, his placement with the Phillies was “meant to be.”
The lefty pitcher went 27th overall in the draft, the highest ever the Phils have taken a local star.
The Chestnut Hill Local caught up with Biddle to discuss draft night and his future in the major leagues.
Chestnut Hill Local: What was going through your mind on draft day?
Jason Biddle: I woke up early. I had a lot of trouble sleeping, obviously. But my brother and me, we went around and we did some errands and stuff to take my mind off everything. I saw some friends and hung out with them for a little bit. And then at night I went to my uncle’s house and I was with all my family and my pitching coaches, my personal trainer – all the people that have really supported me and been there for me.
CHL: What happened when you heard your name called?
JB: I had no idea what to do. It felt so surreal. It felt like I was dreaming. I just fell to the floor. My personal trainer just immediately ran and jumped on me. My whole family just started jumping up and down screaming. We all were kind of taken aback by what had just happened because it was so perfect. Being a first round draft pick by the Phillies was such a perfect way for things to happen.
CHL: What does it mean to you to be a Phillies first round pick?
JB: I couldn’t ask for anything better. I was pretty happy when other teams passed on because I knew that I was going to fall to the Phillies. And I knew that, hopefully, they were going to pick me. And I thought that it was meant to be.
CHL: What were some of the other teams that had their eye on you?
JB: The Brewers’ pick at number 14. The Twins. The Angels. They all had an opportunity. They said they had a lot of interest in me. But it just didn’t work out that way and then the Phillies took me.
CHL: How will your career as a professional pitcher begin?
JB: I’m going to be playing in Florida in the Gulf Coast League, which is rookie ball for high school draftees and Dominican players.
CHL: How soon will we see you in a Phillies uniform?
JB: We’re not sure yet. That really depends on how well I pitch, and as a first-round pick they’re going to try to take their time with me and make sure that I’m ready before I make the big step. But they’re hopefully going to move me up pretty quickly because they think that I’m more mature than a lot of high school guys. So hopefully that’ll play a big role in it.
CHL: Is there a particular jersey number you’d like to have?
JB: Number 16. That’s the one I’m hoping for. I’ve always been that number for my summer teams, and for a lot of the showcases I go to, I’ve always been number 16. I think that’s just my number.
CHL: Is there any major league pitcher you’d compare yourself to?
JB: I’m trying to emulate the style that Cliff Lee takes to the game. Not necessarily the way he pitches, but just the mentality he has on the mound. You know he stays really calm and cool, even in the World Series Game. That’s something I really want to have when I move up in the ranks.
CHL: What are your goals as a major league pitcher?
JB: My goal is to make it up to the major leagues as fast as possible and then to become a real impact starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. I want to be able to make an immediate impact on the team and really help the ballclub win some games.
CHL: What are your plans before you start training?
JB: I am going to soak up the off time I have. I’m going to spend a lot of time with my family. I’m going to spend a lot of time with my girlfriend. I think that’s the most important thing right now is to get all of my summer in at one time.
CH: Aside from yourself, for whom is this a big moment?
JB: I think it’s a big moment for everyone in this school. You can just tell by the reaction of the school community. Everybody is here to support me. And you know, holding pep rallies with nursery students here to say congratulations. It’s a phenomenal feeling.