Jesse Biddle, lhp, Phillies: The Phillies have traded away other big-name pitching prospects like Jarred Cosart and Trevor May but held on to Biddle, and for good reason. The 21-year-old owns a plus fastball and potential plus curveball from the left side, and he’s making the usually challenging jump to Double-A look easy after his first four starts with Reading. He was already pitching well, allowing just 10 hits and six earned runs through 18 innings in his first three starts, but Monday night was one of those special nights. Biddle struck out a whopping 16 Harrisburg hitters and carried a no-hitter into the seventh before allowing a one-out single. Biddle struck out the side four times and had a stretch in which he fanned seven straight hitters from the second to the fourth. He was pulled after the seventh, having thrown 74 of 104 pitches for strikes.
We have highlights of Biddle’s outing, courtesy of The Trentonian’s Josh Norris:
Following Monday’s game, Biddle now leads the Eastern League and ranks fifth in the minors with 30 strikeouts in 25 innings. He’s also allowed just 11 hits, holding opponents to a miniscule .126 average.
Javier Baez, ss, Cubs: The Cubs would like to see Baez exercise more patience at the plate, which hasn’t happened yet. True to form, he’s struck out 24 times in 77 at-bats with high Class A Daytona while drawing a mere two walks thus far. But the good news is Baez looks like he’s figuring out high Class A pitching when he does get balls in the zone. He hit just .188 in 23 games after a promotion to Daytona last year and started this season 4-for-30 (.133) in his first seven games, but he’s hit .298 (14-for-47) and slugged .532 since. He had his second three-hit game of the season on Monday, going 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.
Jorge Bonifacio, rf, Royals: You’ll have to trust that Bonifacio has more home run power than he’s going to show this year, as he finds himself in a very inhospitable home park for hitters with high Class A Wilmington. On the other hand, Bonifacio has the line-drive approach to make the most of the situation by peppering the gaps. He hasn’t homered yet, but he’s already racked up nine extra-base hits in 16 games to tie for the Carolina League lead. Wilmington has played a road-heavy schedule so far, including last night’s game in Salem, but Bonifacio’s numbers should translate. He’s on a five-game hitting streak at the moment and turned in his third-career four-hit game on Monday, going 4-for-6 with a double, a triple and five RBIs.
Andrew Toles, cf, Rays: The Rays’ third-round pick in last year’s draft, Toles offers the potential for an intriguing power-speed combination and has been making quick work of the low Class A Midwest League. Toles went 2-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs in Monday’s game against Fort Wayne, upping his slash line to .377/.411/.681 through 69 at-bats. Toles ranks third in the MWL in average and leads the circuit in slugging, RBIs (19), hits (26) and extra-base hits (14). He’s had more multi-hit games (nine) than games with one or no hits (seven).