Philadelphia Phillies southpaw Jesse Biddle made some noise with Double-A Reading Monday when he struck out a career-high 16 hitters and carried a perfect game into the seventh frame. It's the fourth time the Phillies' top prospect has reached double digits in K's since he was drafted back in 2010. Most of his punchouts came either via the fastball or curve, Biddle's two most successful pitches thus far in his career.
The 21-year-old lefty also has a decent slider and changeup combo, giving him plenty of strikeout upside as he matures. He fanned 151 batters in 142 2/3 innings with High Single-A Clearwater in 2012. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound pitcher is durable and continues to show his dominance over minor league hackers.
The Phightins have a rotation spot in flux after the injury to John Lannan (knee), which is expected to keep him out for a couple of months, at least. Jonathan Pettibone filled in nicely for his first major league start and win Monday, but he's probably not the long-term fix. Pettibone was being hit hard at Triple-A Lehigh Valley before his hasty promotion (9.64 ERA in two starts).
Although Biddle has the most upside and intrigue, it's probably a bit premature for the Phils to consider adding him to their rotation. Tyler Cloyd and Adam Morgan make more sense at the moment if you're looking for names in deep NL-only leagues.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, who had a pitching surplus when they broke camp, now find themselves searching for healthy starters after a rash of injuries to Zack Greinke (fractured collarbone), Chris Capuano (strained left calf) and Chad Billingsley (Tommy John surgery). Ted Lilly, who is 37 and coming off shoulder issues, and Stephen Fife currently round out the rotation. We doubt the Dodgers are comfortable with that arrangement.
Whether the Blue consider trading for an arm outside the organization remains to be seen. If they don't and go with in-house options, Zach Lee may be their best bet. The team's No. 2 prospect entering this year, Lee is a physical pitcher -- he had committed to playing football for Louisiana State University before signing with LA -- who has simple mechanics, a low-90s fastball, a cutter and an improving changeup. In four starts with Double-A Chattanooga, he's 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA and 21 K's in 23 innings.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound right-hander hasn't pitched above Class AA, though, so it may be a stretch to think the Dodgers would rely on him to bring up the back of their rotation this year, especially when they know that Greinke and Capuano will return eventually. It's not out of the realm of possibility, however, so keep your eyes peeled if you feel like speculating in keeper formats or any other cavernous leagues. Lee should be an option for the major league rotation next year out of spring training.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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