Phillies Prospect #18: Scott Mathieson

The Phillies thought they had a key piece of the puzzle in pitcher Scott Mathieson, until he exited a game in September of 2006 with an injury and hasn't been anywhere near the majors since. This should be the season that Mathieson returns to the Phillies plans.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 17th round of the 2002 Draft.

B: R  T: R / Height: 6' 3"   Weight: 190 lbs.

2007 Team: Clearwater (3 g), Reading (2 g), GCL Phillies (2 g)

Games/Games Started in 2007: 7 g / 4 gs

School: Aldergrove High School

In trying to battle his way back from Tommy John surgery, Scott Mathieson has hit his share of obstacles and bumps in the road. He's had to be shut down a couple of times due to some discomfort, but is generally right back out on a throwing program soon after. Much of the discomfort has come from scar tissue that routinely develops after TJS and most pitchers go through it, some more than others. Mathieson is on the "more" side of that equation. This spring, the Phillies decided to simply send Mathieson over to the Minor League Camp early and let him work there, away from the spotlight and on a more favorable schedule than he might have been pushed into on the Major League side. While his early spring option had to be rescinded because of technical reasons, it's likely that he'll start the season on the DL and continue working in extended camp before starting a rehab or he'll be activated and then sent to a minor league team for early season work (most likely Clearwater).

Scott Mathieson was well on his way to being a big part of the Phillies pitching staff in 2007 until this game on September 2, 2006 when he walked off the mound, knowing that something very bad had just happened. (AP Photo/H. Rumph, Jr.)

Repertoire: You can never know for sure what a pitcher will throw when he returns from TJS. Mathieson is likely to have lost a little velocity, but that usually comes back when a pitcher is completely healed and sometimes, it even returns to levels that are better than they were before the injury. Before surgery, Mathieson had made a lot of progress with his slider and should be able to regain the nuances of the pitch pretty quickly. A lot of times, secondary pitches like a curve are the last to come around. Luckily for Mathieson, he relies more on fastball, slider and changeup than he does on a curve, so once he's completely healthy, he should be able to rebound pretty quickly.

Pitching Style: Occasionally, Mathieson gets a little lazy on the mound and his fastball doesn't have the movement on it that it generally does. When he falls into that trap, he can't pitch inside as effectively as he needs to in order to be at his best. He's given up his share of home runs, but you can track the development of his slider by the decrease in the home runs that he has allowed over his last couple of seasons.

Projection: It's hard to trust any of Mathieson's numbers just prior to the surgery, since he was admittedly pitching with some discomfort for some time. It's also hard to know just how well he'll bounce back from the surgery and what lies ahead for him, but as fans have seen, many pitchers come back very well from TJS, but it does require a lot of patience. The Phillies still believe that Mathieson is going to be a very effective pitcher for them and the plan is still to put him in the bullpen and possibly position him to be the team's closer at some point down the road. Just how far down the road that will be depends on when he can return and how quickly he can become effective again.

ETA: All signs point to Mathieson pitching this season and he shouldn't have to miss too much of the season if all goes well. One of the tough parts of TJS is getting over the injury mentally and just getting to the point where a pitcher feels comfortable that he's not going to do any further damage by pitching. Mathieson isn't quite there yet and there's no real way to rush a pitcher to that point, so only time will tell. In a perfect world, he'll be pitching in games at some level, by May and be in Philadelphia by the All-Star Break. It's possible though that his return to Philly will be pushed back my a month or six weeks.

Scott Mathieson's career stats

YEAR / TEAM W L ERA SV G GS IP H R ER HR BB KO WHIP OPP AVG
2002 GCL 0 2 5.40 0 7 2 16.2 24 11 10 0 6 14 1.80 .338
2003 GCL 2 7 5.52 0 11 11 58.2 59 42 36 5 13 51 1.23 .247
2003 Batavia 0 0 0.00 1 2 0 6.0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0.00 .000
2004 Lakewood 8 9 4.32 0 25 25 131.1 130 73 63 7 50 112 1.38 .260
2005 Clearwater 3 8 4.14 0 23 23 121.2 111 62 56 17 34 118 1.19 .241
2006 Reading 7 2 3.21 0 14 14 92.2 73 35 33 8 29 99 1.10 .221
2006 Scranton 3 1 3.93 0 5 5 34.1 26 16 15 2 10 36 1.05 .208
2006 Phillies 1 2 7.47 0 9 8 37.1 48 36 31 8 16 28 1.71 .312
2007 GCL 0 0 0.00 0 2 2 2.0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0.50 .000
2007 Clearwater 0 0 4.50 0 3 2 4.0 3 3 2 0 3 5 1.50 .214
2007 Reading 0 0 9.00 0 2 0 2.0 3 3 2 1 2 1 2.50 .333
Major League Totals 1 2 7.47 0 9 8 37.1 48 36 31 8 16 28 1.71 .312
Minor League Totals 23 29 4.16 1 94 84 469.1 429 245 217 40 148 446 1.23 .242



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