Archive for December, 2012

Week Seventeen NFL Picks

Posted: December 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

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Baltimore Ravens (10-5) AT Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)

The Spread: Cincinnati by 3.5
The Pick: Baltimore
The Score: Baltimore, 23-20
The Rationale: I like Cincinnati this season. But, they’ve already clinched and I think that Baltimore has more of a reason to win after a woefully inconsistent December. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9) AT Atlanta Falcons (13-2)

The Spread: Atlanta by 7.5
The Pick: Tampa Bay
The Score: Atlanta, 28-23
The Rationale: Atlanta has nothing to play for, as they have already clinched HFA throughout the playoffs. Still, I have faith that the talent in the ATL can overcome a slip-sliding Tampa Bay unit.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) AT New York Giants (9-6)

The Spread: New York by 9.5
The Pick: Philadelphia
The Score: New York, 27-24
The Rationale: I would have picked the Eagles to cover even if Nick Foles had played. But, with Michael Vick under center, the urgency for Philadelphia to get one more signature victory is magnified. I don’t think they’ll get it. But, they should keep it close enough to cover.

New York Jets (6-9) AT Buffalo Bills (5-10)

The Spread: Buffalo by 3.5
The Pick: New York
The Score: New York, 17-14
The Rationale: Both teams are nose-diving to the finish. Mark Sanchez is expected to start in place of a concussed Greg McElroy. I’m not sure if this makes it more likely that the Jets win or lose. But, it can’t hurt. 

Chicago Bears (9-6) AT Detroit Lions (4-11)

The Spread: Chicago by 3.5
The Pick: Chicago
The Score: Chicago, 29-24
The Rationale: I’m not wholeheartedly confident in the Chicago offense if they reach the playoffs. But, the Detroit defense resembles my Holicong Middle School 7th grade football team’s defense….ole, ole, ole. 

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) AT Tennessee Titans (5-10)

The Spread: Tennessee by 4.5
The Pick: Tennessee
The Score: Tennessee, 21-10
The Rationale: The Jaguars should clinch the #1 pick this week. Don’t expect them to take a QB with that pick, either. None of the current crop of prospects appear ready to turn around a down-trodden franchise. Not to mention the reports that Tim Tebow is “all but certain” to end up in Jacksonville. Enjoy more 3-13 seasons. 

Houston Texans (12-3) AT Indianapolis Colts (10-5)

The Spread: Houston by 4.5
The Pick: Indianapolis
The Score: Houston, 23-20
The Rationale: The Texans are reeling. But, they need a win over the Colts to clinch the #1 seed in the AFC. I think it’s too big a game for them to lose. Andrew Luck should keep it close, though.

Carolina Panthers (6-9) AT New Orleans Saints (7-8)

The Spread: New Orleans by 4.5
The Pick: Carolina
The Score: Carolina, 38-34
The Rationale: Has anyone seen how good Cam Newton has been since defeating the Eagles on Monday night last month? The man has been playing possessed. Now, imagine him against a defense as woeful as the Saints. Take the over here, folks.

Cleveland Browns (5-10) AT Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)

The Spread: Pittsburgh by 3.5
The Pick: Cleveland
The Score: Pittsburgh, 20-19
The Rationale: Pittsburgh has faltered down the stretch. Surprisingly, this has all come since Ben Roethlisberger has returned from injury. Should they continue to swoon, it would mean that Cleveland will have swept Pittsburgh for the first time since 1988.

Kansas City Chiefs (2-13) AT Denver Broncos (12-3)

The Spread: Denver by 16.5
The Pick: Denver
The Score: Denver, 34-0
The Rationale: The end is here for Romeo Crennel and Scott Pioli. The former Patriots’ executive arrived in 2008 with much fanfare and hope. But, he will be leaving with just one playoff berth and no postseason wins.

Green Bay Packers (11-4) AT Minnesota Vikings (9-6)

The Spread: Green Bay by 3.5
The Pick: Green Bay
The Score: Green Bay, 28-24
The Rationale: I don’t think Adrian Peterson will set the rushing record this week. But, he will surpass 2000 yards. 

Miami Dolphins (7-8) AT New England Patriots (11-4)

The Spread: New England by 10.5
The Pick: Miami
The Score: New England, 27-17
The Rationale: The Patriots have a shot at a bye week if they win and get some help. But, I don’t see it happening. They should be able to handle the Dolphins. But, 10.5 points is an awful lot against a game Miami bunch.

Oakland Raiders (4-11) AT San Diego Chargers (6-9)

The Spread: San Diego by 7.5
The Pick: San Diego
The Score: San Diego, 30-17
The Rationale: The Raiders are merely playing out another long, lost, rebuilding year. The Chargers, meanwhile, are just playing out another miserably disappointing campaign that will end with Norv Turner’s dismissal. 

Arizona Cardinals (5-10) AT San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1)

The Spread: San Francisco by 15.5
The Pick: San Francisco 
The Score: San Francisco, 38-13
The Rationale: The Cardinals have the worst offense in football. No chance.

St. Louis Rams (7-7-1) AT Seattle Seahawks (10-5) 

The Spread: Seattle by 10.5
The Pick: Seattle
The Score: Seattle, 53-13
The Rationale: Why not?

Dallas Cowboys (8-7) AT Washington Redskins (9-6)

The Spread: Washington by 3.5
The Pick: Dallas
The Score: Dallas, 27-24
The Rationale: RG3’s luck will run out as the Redskins will choke the division away in the final game of the season.

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Week Sixteen Picks in Review

Posted: December 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

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Blue = Correct Pick
Red = Incorrect Pick
Black = Push

Atlanta Falcons (12-2) AT Detroit Lions (4-10)

The Spread: Atlanta by 3.5
The Pick: Atlanta
The Score: Atlanta, 28-13
The Verdict: Atlanta, 31-18

Washington Redskins (8-6) AT Philadelphia Eagles (4-10)

The Spread: Washington by 6.5
The Pick: Washington
The Score: Washington, 37-27
The Verdict: Washington, 27-20

New Orleans Saints (6-8) AT Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

The Spread: Dallas by 3.5
The Pick: New Orleans
The Score: Dallas, 30-28
The Verdict: New Orleans, 34-31

Tennessee Titans (5-9) AT Green Bay Packers (10-4) 

The Spread: Green Bay by 12.5
The Pick: Tennessee
The Score: Green Bay, 30-20
The Verdict: Green Bay, 55-7

Indianapolis Colts (9-5) AT Kansas City Chiefs (2-12)

The Spread: Indianapolis by 7.5
The Pick: Indianapolis
The Score: Indianapolis, 41-6
The Verdict: Indianapolis, 20-13

Buffalo Bills (5-9) AT Miami Dolphins (6-8)

The Spread: Miami by 4.5
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Miami, 27-10
The Verdict: Miami, 24-10

San Diego Chargers (5-9) AT New York Jets (6-8)

The Spread: New York by 2.5
The Pick: San Diego
The Score: San Diego, 24-13
The Verdict: San Diego, 27-17

Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) AT Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)

The Spread: Pittsburgh by 3.5
The Pick: Cincinnati
The Score: Cincinnati, 20-17
The Verdict: Cincinnati, 13-10

St. Louis Rams (6-7-1) AT Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8)

The Spread: Tampa Bay by 3.5
The Pick: St. Louis
The Score: St. Louis, 21-17
The Verdict: St. Louis, 28-13

Oakland Raiders (4-10) AT Carolina Panthers (5-9)

The Spread: Carolina by 8.5
The Pick: Carolina
The Score: Carolina, 28-9
The Verdict: Carolina, 17-6

New England Patriots (10-4) AT Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)

The Spread: New England by 14.5
The Pick: New England
The Score: New England, 40-21
The Verdict: New England, 23-16

Minnesota Vikings (8-6) AT Houston Texans (12-2)

The Spread: Houston by 7.5
The Pick: Minnesota
The Score: Houston, 30-24
The Verdict: Minnesota, 23-6

Cleveland Browns (5-9) AT Denver Broncos (11-3)

The Spread: Denver by 13.5
The Pick: Cleveland
The Score: Denver, 21-17
The Verdict: Denver, 34-12

Chicago Bears (8-6) AT Arizona Cardinals (5-9) 

The Spread: Chicago by 5.5
The Pick: Chicago
The Score: Chicago, 20-10
The Verdict: Chicago, 28-13

New York Giants (8-6) AT Baltimore Ravens (9-5)

The Spread: New York by 2.5
The Pick: Baltimore
The Score: Baltimore, 23-20
The Verdict: Baltimore, 33-14

San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) AT Seattle Seahawks (9-5)

The Spread: San Francisco by 1.5
The Pick: Seattle
The Score: Seattle, 23-16
The Verdict: Seattle, 42-13

Record for the week: 12-4-0
Record for the season: 111-93-7

Week Sixteen NFL Picks

Posted: December 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

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Last Week: 8-8-0
2012 Season: 99-89-7

Atlanta Falcons (12-2) AT Detroit Lions (4-10)

The Spread: Atlanta by 3.5
The Pick: Atlanta
The Score: Atlanta, 28-13
The Rationale: The Lions are in full free fall mode. They could put up a fight in this game if Atlanta lets them. But, I doubt that happens. Calvin Johnson is approaching the all-time single season record for receiving yards. 

Washington Redskins (8-6) AT Philadelphia Eagles (4-10)

The Spread: Washington by 6.5
The Pick: Washington
The Score: Washington, 37-27
The Rationale: The Eagles can score on Washington. They didn’t show that last time they played. However, Nick Foles has improved greatly since then. The problem lies when Washington has the ball. Which they likely will have multiple times due to Philadelphia turnovers. 

New Orleans Saints (6-8) AT Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

The Spread: Dallas by 3.5
The Pick: New Orleans
The Score: Dallas, 30-28
The Rationale: Tough game to pick. The Cowboys need this game if they want to make the playoffs. The Saints, meanwhile, are done. However, they were also done last week when they ripped through the Buccaneers. I think the Saints will cover. But, Dallas grabs a narrow but crucial victory. 

Tennessee Titans (5-9) AT Green Bay Packers (10-4) 

The Spread: Green Bay by 12.5
The Pick: Tennessee
The Score: Green Bay, 30-20
The Rationale: Tennessee’s defense played their finest game of the season against Mark Sanchez and the Jets on Monday. Granted, Sanchez is terrible and Aaron Rodgers is the reigning MVP. But, I think that 12.5 points is too high a spread for a game Tennessee squad.

Indianapolis Colts (9-5) AT Kansas City Chiefs (2-12)

The Spread: Indianapolis by 7.5
The Pick: Indianapolis
The Score: Indianapolis, 41-6
The Rationale: This spread could have been 27.5 and I might have considered Indianapolis. The Chiefs are finished and they have been since week one. 

Buffalo Bills (5-9) AT Miami Dolphins (6-8)

The Spread: Miami by 4.5
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Miami, 27-10
The Rationale: Miami is clicking right now at home. Buffalo, meanwhile, has been bushwhacked the past few weeks including this past week at home vs. Seattle. 

San Diego Chargers (5-9) AT New York Jets (6-8)

The Spread: New York by 2.5
The Pick: San Diego
The Score: San Diego, 24-13
The Rationale: Greg McElroy vs. Philip Rivers? Yeah, I’ll gladly take the Chargers in this matchup of lame-duck coaches.

Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) AT Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)

The Spread: Pittsburgh by 3.5
The Pick: Cincinnati
The Score: Cincinnati, 20-17
The Rationale: Vegas seems to think that this is your father’s Steelers bunch. Ben Roethlisberger has not had the season many predicted, and injuries have left Pittsburgh on the verge of elimination. The Bengals will get it done.

St. Louis Rams (6-7-1) AT Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8)

The Spread: Tampa Bay by 3.5
The Pick: St. Louis
The Score: St. Louis, 21-17
The Rationale: The Buccaneers lost to Philadelphia two weeks ago at home. Then, they were shutout, 41-0, in New Orleans last weekend. Anyone who thinks this team has anything left in the tank has not been paying attention.

Oakland Raiders (4-10) AT Carolina Panthers (5-9)

The Spread: Carolina by 8.5
The Pick: Carolina
The Score: Carolina, 28-9
The Rationale: As Tampa Bay swoons, Carolina soars. The Panthers only needed that Monday night matchup in Philadelphia last month to turn around their season. 

New England Patriots (10-4) AT Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)

The Spread: New England by 14.5
The Pick: New England
The Score: New England, 40-21
The Rationale: New England’s offense should score almost every drive against Jacksonville. However, their defense has struggled. So, I’ll give the Jaguars about 14 more points than they deserve.

Minnesota Vikings (8-6) AT Houston Texans (12-2)

The Spread: Houston by 7.5
The Pick: Minnesota
The Score: Houston, 30-20
The Rationale: If Minnesota can get a lead early and rely on Adrian Peterson the rest of the way, they can pull out a critical upset. I don’t think that their defense will have enough to stop Houston’s balanced attack, however.

Cleveland Browns (5-9) AT Denver Broncos (11-3)

The Spread: Denver by 13.5
The Pick: Cleveland
The Score: Denver, 21-17
The Rationale: Coming off an emotional road win in Baltimore, the Broncos are due for a bit of a letdown. They won’t likely lose to Cleveland. But, the Browns will prove that they’re game enough to keep it in single digits. 

Chicago Bears (8-6) AT Arizona Cardinals (5-9) 

The Spread: Chicago by 5.5
The Pick: Chicago
The Score: Chicago, 20-10
The Rationale: Chicago was the toast of the league when their defense was forcing four turnovers a game. Flash forward two months, and the well has dried up. If there is any team that the Monsters of the Midway can get their mojo back against, it’s the walking, talking turnover that we call the Arizona Cardinals. 

New York Giants (8-6) AT Baltimore Ravens (9-5)

The Spread: New York by 2.5
The Pick: Baltimore
The Score: Baltimore, 23-20
The Rationale: Both of these teams are struggling and everyone knows it. If the Giants don’t win this week, the defending champions will likely not make the postseason. I think that will be the case after they fall to a Baltimore team that is nearly just as desperate. 

San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) AT Seattle Seahawks (9-5)

The Spread: San Francisco by 1.5
The Pick: Seattle
The Score: Seattle, 23-16
The Rationale: How is San Francisco favored in this game? The Seahawks have not lost at home in nearly a year (coincidentally, their last loss in Seattle was to San Francisco in week sixteen of 2011) and they became the first team since the 1940s to score 50+ points in back-to-back games. The third time won’t be a charm. But, their defense has enough to shut down Colin Kaepernick and narrow San Francisco’s division lead.

Week Fifteen Picks in Review

Posted: December 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

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Blue = Correct Pick
Red = Incorrect Pick
Black = Push

Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) AT Philadelphia Eagles (4-9)

The Spread: Cincinnati by 3.5
The Pick: Philadelphia
The Score: Cincinnati, 30-27
The Verdict: Cincinnati, 34-13

New York Giants (8-5) AT Atlanta Falcons (11-2)

The Spread: Atlanta by 1.5
The Pick: New York
The Score: New York, 24-21
The Verdict: Atlanta, 34-0

Green Bay Packers (9-4) AT Chicago Bears (8-5) 

The Spread: Green Bay by 3.5
The Pick: Green Bay
The Score: Green Bay, 26-14
The Verdict: Green Bay, 21-13

Washington Redskins (7-6) AT Cleveland Browns (5-8)

The Spread: Washington by 1
The Pick: Washington
The Score: Washington, 20-13
The Verdict: Washington, 38-21

Minnesota Vikings (7-6) AT St. Louis Rams (6-6-1)

The Spread: St. Louis by 3
The Pick: Minnesota
The Score: Minnesota, 20-17
The Verdict: Minnesota, 36-22

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) AT Miami Dolphins (5-8)

The Spread: Miami by 7
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Miami, 27-10
The Verdict: Miami, 24-3

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) AT New Orleans Saints (5-8)

The Spread: New Orleans by 3
The Pick: Tampa Bay
The Score: New Orleans, 35-34
The Verdict: New Orleans, 41-0

Denver Broncos (10-3) AT Baltimore Ravens (9-4)

The Spread: Denver by 2.5
The Pick: Denver
The Score: Denver, 27-20
The Verdict: Denver, 34-17

Indianapolis Colts (9-4) AT Houston Texans (11-2)

The Spread: Houston by 8.5
The Pick: Indianapolis
The Score: Houston, 34-27
The Verdict: Houston, 29-17

Seattle Seahawks (8-5) AT Buffalo Bills (5-8)

The Spread: Seattle by 5
The Pick: Buffalo
The Score: Buffalo, 17-14
The Verdict: Seattle, 50-17

Detroit Lions (4-9) AT Arizona Cardinals (4-9)

The Spread: Detroit by 6
The Pick: Detroit
The Score: Detroit, 34-12
The Verdict: Arizona, 38-10

Carolina Panthers (4-9) AT San Diego Chargers (5-8)

The Spread: San Diego by 3
The Pick: Carolina
The Score: Carolina, 30-20
The Verdict: Carolina, 31-7

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6) AT Dallas Cowboys (7-6)

The Spread: Pittsburgh by 2
The Pick: Pittsburgh
The Score: Pittsburgh, 27-17
The Verdict: Dallas, 27-24

Kansas City Chiefs (2-11) AT Oakland Raiders (3-10)

The Spread: Oakland by 3
The Pick: Oakland
The Score: Oakland, 14-10
The Verdict: Oakland, 15-0

San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) AT New England Patriots (10-3)

The Spread: New England by 3.5
The Pick: New England
The Score: New England, 27-23
The Verdict: San Francisco, 41-34

New York Jets (6-7) AT Tennessee Titans (4-9)

The Spread: Tennessee by 1.5
The Pick: Tennessee
The Score: Tennessee, 20-14
The Verdict: Tennessee, 14-10

Record for the week: 8-8-0
Record for the season: 99-89-7

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Last July, the Phillies were sellers at the trade deadline for the first time under Ruben Amaro. By dealing away outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence; the Phillies provided themselves with financial flexibility this offseason as well as infused their minor league system with high-ceiling talent. One such acquisition is RHP Ethan Martin. The 23-year-old came over from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system in the Victorino swap. At 6’2, 195, the wiry Martin has the perfect build for a Major League starter. He will likely begin the 2013 season in AA Reading after spending the entirety of 2012 at that level.

The Athens, Georgia native was the Dodgers’ 1st round pick (15th overall) in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft. Martin’s position in the Dodgers’ organization eroded due to command issues (he walked 81 batters in 113 innings in 2010). However, his impressive 2012 campaign was a resurgence of sorts, and Martin is expected to have a close eye on him in Spring Training this March. 

Martin’s top two pitches are undoubtedly his fastball, which he can clock between 93-95 MPH, and a dynamite power-curveball. Baseball America rated Martin’s breaking-ball as the best curve in the Dodgers’ system prior to 2011. If he can harness his command and remain poised in 2013, he could see a call up to Philadelphia in September. 

After coming over from Chattanooga (Los Angeles’ AA team), Martin did not lose a game. His unblemished record (5-0) was boosted by a 3.18 ERA and 35 K in 39.2 innings. After struggling in high-A ball (13-18, 6.68 in 41 games), Martin has emerged as a AA star (18-9, 3.59 in 48 games). The Phillies hope that he will continue to rise through the system and provide back-end relief in a rotation that is extremely top heavy at the moment. 

The next Phillies Minor League Focus segment will take a look at Catcher Tommy Joseph, acquired last July from the San Francisco Giants in the Hunter Pence deal.

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Born May 14, 1993, Roman Quinn was just a baby when Joe Carter’s historic game 6 blast off Mitch Williams won the World Series for the Blue Jays over the Phillies. Nowadays, the Port St. Joe, Florida native is a blossoming young talent in the Philadelphia minor league system.

Quinn, 19, was the team’s second round draft choice (66th overall) in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. At 5’10, 170 pounds, he reminds many of a young Jimmy Rollins. In fact, Quinn has even begun switch-hitting since joining the Phillies; a good sign that the youngster is willing to do anything in his power to become a future impact player at Citizen’s Bank Park.

In 2012, Quinn spent the entire season at Low-A Williamsport. As a member of the “Crosscutters,” Quinn impressed with his legs and bat. As if hitting .281 with 21 extra-base hits in just 66 games wasn’t enough for the kid; Quinn also stole 30 bases whilst only being caught 6 times. The Crosscutters finished in last place. But, Quinn led the New York-Penn League in triples, stolen bases, and runs whilst finishing in the top ten in hits, and total bases. His 11 three-baggers were more than double the second highest competitor in the league.

Williamsport Manager Andy Tracy noted that Quinn had never hit left-handed in his life prior to 2012. A fact that makes his offensive production all the more impressive at just 19-years-old. He is considered one of the fastest players in the minor leagues, having turned down a scholarship offer from Florida State to sign a $775,000 offer with the Phillies. 

A dynamic player with the ability to change the game with his legs, Quinn should be considered the Shortstop of the future in Philadelphia. 

Our Phillies Minor League Focus segment will continue with a player acquired during Ruben Amaro’s midseason purge. Former Dodger farmhand Ethan Martin, acquired in the Shane Victorino deal, has tons of potential and should be a name to remember in 2013.

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As the new year approaches and spring training sits beyond the horizon, we wait with bated breath to hear who the Phillies have chosen to man one of their corner-outfield positions in 2013. However, a more important question is who is going to take the field at Citizens Bank Park in 2014 and beyond. For the next few months, we at SkoodSports will be taking an in depth look at the Phillies’ best prospects and introducing you to the men that you will soon call stars.

The first man on our list is LHP Jesse Biddle. The Phils’ first round pick (27th overall) in the 2010 draft, Biddle has swiftly emerged as one of the team’s best young arms in the system. A local kid, Biddle grew up in Mount Airy and attended Germantown Friends School, where he starred as a signature southpaw for the Tigers. In his Junior and Senior years combined, Biddle went 14-2 with an ERA under 1.00. He struck out an astounding 201 batters in just 92.1 innings pitched.

Born on October 22, 1991, Biddle is just 21 years old. But, there are already experts who believe he could be ready for the Major Leagues by April, 2014. His frame, 6’4″ and 215 pounds, has the look of an ace. His repertoire, which is still unrefined due to his age and lack of experience, is vast. Biddle throws five pitches, including a four-seam and two-seam fastball. His four seamer his been clocked as high as 94 MPH. Biddle counters this velocity with low 80’s changeups and sliders; and a 12-6 curveball in the low-to-mid 70’s.

Biddle’s first two full years in the minor leagues have been successful. For the Lakewood Blueclaws (A) in 2011, Biddle went 7-8 with a 2.98 ERA and about a 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Last season, Biddle made the jump to high-A Clearwater. He showed that the improved competition would not be a vice. The southpaw was second on the team with 10 wins (to 6 losses) and led among qualifying starters with a 3.22 ERA. His 151 strikeouts were a leg-up on his 2011 campaign, and proved that Biddle could be a 200+ strikeout performer in the future.

As mentioned before, Biddle could be ready on opening day, 2014. The LHP certainly will have some significantly talented mentors once he does hit the big club as he will join fellow southpaws Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in the rotation at that time. Biddle is poised to begin the 2013 campaign in AA Reading as the countdown begins until we see the local-kid toeing the rubber at Citizens Bank Park.

Next up on the list is SS Roman Quinn, a little known second round pick in the 2011 Amateur Draft.