For some reason, Scott Mathieson has escaped the spotlight that he should have been in for the past couple years. Maybe, it's because he's from Canada and didn't get a lot of press in America through high school or maybe it's because somehow, he lasted until the 17th round of the 2002 Draft, but for some reason, not enough people know about the tall right-hander. If you're one of those people, let us enlighten you.
Mathieson was going to attend El Paso Junior College, but the Phillies were able to get his signature on a professional contract instead. There were a lot of questions whether Mathieson could be talked out of attending school to start his professional career, but the Phillies got it done and they deserve a tip of the cap for that. There is a lot to like about Mathieson. He throws hard, but doesn't overthrow his pitches, so he gets plenty of movement on them and keeps hitters off pace. While his velocity is still going up, he knows that he doesn't have to - nor should he - depend solely on throwing hard. He's a smart kid who is not afraid of hard work and realizes that coaches are worth listening to.
One thing that Mathieson had going for him was that as a member of the Canadian National Team, he pitched against young players from both the Astros and Braves organizations and didn't just pitch well, he completely and totally handled them. Many Canadian players are questioned because of the level of competition that they've played against, but Mathieson has had opportunities to face good hitters and he has succeeded in all of those situations. His success had schools like Hawaii, Oregon State and Arizona State hot on his trail, but he felt comfortable enough signing with the Phillies and starting his professional career. It could be because his grandfather tried out for the Philadelphia Athletics during the Connie Mack era and wound up being a Phillies fan. You have to believe that Mathieson loves the opportunity to sign with the Phillies at a young age.
|Year / Team||W||L||ERA||SV||G||GS||CG||IP||H||R||ER||BB||KO||HR|
|2002 Gulf Coast||0||2||5.40||0||7||2||0||17.0||24||11||10||6||14||0|
|2003 Gulf Coast||2||7||5.52||0||11||11||0||59.0||59||42||36||13||51||5|
Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies out of Aldergrove (British Columbia) High School in the 17th round of the 2002 Draft.
Repertoire: Mathieson features a fastball, curve and change-up that all have good downward movement. His velocity has increased and he's generally in the mid-90 mile per hour range with his fastball. He mixes in a good change-up and doesn't change his motion or arm speed, making the pitch especially effective.
Pitching: With the downward movement on most of Mathieson's pitches, he almost has to make a mistake for someone to take him deep. He has good walk/strikeout ratios and has struck out 184 hitters in 213 innings of work in the minors. He also has given up just one hit per inning and he doesn't get rattled easily. His career ERA is a little high for a number five prospect, but his ranking is based primarily on potential than on achievement so far. There was a marked improvement in Mathieson in 2004 and it should continue into the coming season.
Projection: Figure on Mathieson moving along to Clearwater this summer and probably spending the entire season at the High-A Level. Down the road, Mathieson projects as no lower than a middle of the rotation starter in the majors and potentially could wind up moving to a higher spot in a major league starting rotation.
ETA: In the spring of 2008, there will likely be some consideration given to making Scott Mathieson a part of the Phillies rotation. There are other starting pitchers coming along who should be hitting at about the same time, but it's likely that Mathieson will be one of the better pitchers to get consideration for a spot in the big league rotation.
Comparison: There has been some comparison in mechanics to Gavin Floyd. Which is pretty lofty for both considering that Mathieson is being mentioned in the same breath as the Phillies top pitching prospect and that Floyd is already having others compared to him rather than the other way around.