Grading The Top 10: Scott Mathieson

With Memorial Day and the unofficial start of Summer approaching, it's time to take a look at how the Top 10 prospects in the organization are doing. We start with the number ten prospect, Scott Mathieson.

Coming into 2006, Reading's rotation was supposed to be among the best in minor league baseball. It was chocked full of prospects and Cole Hamels was just one step down and sure to be looking up very, very soon.

Because he was so dominant at Clearwater, Hamels never made a stop at Reading this season, but that's okay, because quite frankly, they didn't need him. The rotation has been pretty much as advertised, especially after the first few turns were out of the way.

Scott Mathieson started slowly and had a 7.15 ERA after his first two starts at AA. From that point on though, things have turned around dramatically and in his last six starts, Mathieson's ERA has been a strong 3.07, bringing his season ERA down to 3.96 at AA Reading. One thing that has never deserted Mathieson has been his ability to strike out hitters and on the season, he's put down more than a hitter per inning (59 Ks, 52.1 IP) on strikes.

With all of the young left-handers in the organization, the right-handed Mathieson is in a nice spot to work his way to the majors. There has been some speculation that Mathieson could eventually be converted to a closer, but since he's the top right-handed prospect in the organization, it's unlikely that move would occur anytime soon.

Mathieson just turned 22 in February and his success at AA has him right where the Phillies had hoped that he would be at this point in his career. He's likely to stay at Reading for the rest of the season, with just possibly a game or two promotion to AAA Scranton, if at all. Next season, he'd be earmarked for AAA and a possible late season audition in the majors if all goes well.

Early Grade - B: If not for his slow start in the first couple of games, Mathieson's grade would be higher. His overall numbers are good, but odds are that his season ERA will be lower at the end of the year than his current 3.96 mark. One interesting thing to watch will be how he finishes the season. Last season, he was admittedly tired and got himself into trouble. Hopefully, his stamina will stay high and he'll finish strong. Mathieson is one of those pitchers with very fragile mechanics and if just one thing gets out of whack, he can slide quickly. Hopefully, he'll avoid any prolonged issues with his mechanics and put together a strong season, allowing him to move easily to AAA next season.

Mathieson Game-by-Game in 2006

April 6 at Bowie L (0-1) 5.1 4 3 3 1 2 5
April 11 at Binghamton - 6.0 8 6 6 0 1 9
April 17 vs Connecticut - 7.0 7 2 2 1 1 5
April 24 at Connecticut W (1-1) 7.0 5 1 1 0 2 11
April 30 vs Harrisburg W (2-1) 7.0 4 1 1 0 1 7
May 5 at Altoona - 6.0 6 5 3 0 2 6
May 10 vs New Hampshire L (2-2) 7.0 6 4 4 0 2 9
May 16 at Altoona W (3-2) 7.0 5 3 3 1 0 7
TOTALS 3-2 52.1 45 25 23 3 11 59

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