Raise your hand if you remember Jesse Biddle being a key reliever for the Atlanta Braves during their run to the division title in 2018. Raise your hand if you remember Biddle having a poor start to 2019, which led to him being shipped out to Seattle. Now raise your hand if you remember Biddle logging innings for the 2021 Braves. He wasn’t around long and his overall numbers were ugly, but Biddle did in fact put up a good season at Gwinnett and made a cameo appearance for the Braves early in their championship season.
It has been a long and winding road for Biddle since he enjoyed a breakout season for Atlanta in 2018. Biddle appeared in 60 games for the Braves that summer and posted a 3.11 ERA and a 3.88 FIP (0.3 fWAR) in 63 2/3 innings. He struggled to start 2019 and was traded along with Arodys Vizcaino to Seattle for Anthony Swarzak. The Rangers picked him up off waivers later that season. He appeared in one game for the Reds in 2020 and was released at the end of Spring Training in 2021. Biddle then signed on for a minor league deal with Atlanta. He was promoted to the majors on April 17, as part of a busy day of transactions where his recall was overshadowed by the promotion of Sean Kazmar Jr., who spent more than 12 seasons in the minors in between major league stints.
There were essentially no expectations for Biddle and he strictly looked like organizational depth, albeit with some major league experience. That’s more or less how he pitched, too.
2021 Season Results
The Braves selected Biddle’s contract on April 17 in a flurry of roster moves. He was tagged for two hits and four runs and retired just a single batter in his debut against the Cubs. Relegated to mop-up duty, Biddle ended up making eight appearances where he allowed 10 hits and 10 runs in 10 2/3 innings. He struck out 11, walked eight and also hit a pair of batters. He was designated for assignment on May 17 and was outrighted to Gwinnett two days later.
Jesse Biddle 2021 Stats
|ATL - 8||10.2||21.6||15.7||8.44||5.14||4.76|
|GWN - 32||33.2||37.7||11||2.67||3.04||-----|
What went right? / What went wrong?
For Biddle, what went right was that he got to spend a month in the major leagues. If you throw out his disastrous debut, he had a 5.23 ERA and a 3.56 FIP over his final seven appearances. He did go on to put up solid numbers for Gwinnett where he posted a 2.67 ERA and a 3.04 FIP in 33 2/3 innings. Biddle has developed into a solid ground ball pitcher that simply doesn’t throw enough strikes, as his 13.1% walk-rate suggests. That is something that he is going to have to find improvement on if he is ever going to have any more success at the major league level.
Road to the Title
Jesse Biddle had one appearance where his cWPA, amounted to more than a rounded 0.00%: he threw a scoreless ninth inning in a 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays — but it was a weird one. He started the frame with a hit-by-pitch, and then struck out two batters while the runner stole second. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. notched a two-out infield single (diving play by Dansby Swanson and a throw not quite in time to get him), but the runner that started the play on second kept going and tried to score, only to be thrown out by Freddie Freeman at the plate after Guerrero was ruled safe at first. The Braves put the tying run on base in the bottom half of the inning, but lost anyway when Ehire Adrianza flew out on a 2-1 fastball right down the middle.
Outlook for 2022
Biddle became a free agent on October 4. He just turned 30 years old and will try to turn that sold showing at Gwinnett into another opportunity next spring.