Name: Scott Mathieson
DOB: 2/27/84 (27 as of April 1, 2011)
Weight: 190 lbs
Acquired: 17th round, 2002 (undisclosed bonus)
Pre Draft Report: Scott Mathieson was part of a veritable tidal wave of pitching talent from British Columbia in 2002, with Adam Loewen and Jeff Francis both going in the top 10 picks. Mathieson came out of Aldergrove (B.C.) Secondary School where he also played basketball and hockey and ran cross country and track. He had signed to play at El Paso JC, although he was being recruited by Arizona State and Oregon State among others. His fastball sat at 84 mph in school and topped out in the high-80s. PerfectGame had this to say about Mathieson in 2002:
Mathieson has a chance to be extra special. His arm works great right now and he has that major league physique. He topped out in the 88-89 mph range at the Indoor with outstanding stuff and command. He looks much younger than most seniors and projects off the charts. We’re not always right, but we feel pretty sure about this kid.
And the Major League Scouting Bureau said this (per philsdraft.com):
Tall, large frame, slender build, extra-long arms and legs. Loose, quick arm with three-quarter delivery. Fastball tails and drops down for occasional different looks and better movement. Curve breaks down with depth. Keeps arm speed on straight change that sinks and tails. Competitor.
The Phillies signed Mathieson away from the JuCo in July 2002 and he made his debut for the GCL Phils shortly thereafter.
Career Synopsis: Mathieson’s long and winding road is probably well-known by most readers of this site. A quick overview of the ups-and-downs of Mathieson’s career follows:
- 2002: seven games with the GCL Phillies
- 2003: pitched 11 games with the GCL Phils. 5.52 ERA and a 51/13 K/BB ratio over 58.2 innings. His first start of the year was probably his best, pitching seven hitless innings and striking out nine. He was promoted to Batavia where he made two relief appearances at the end of the year, then pitched in the instructional league.
- 2004: rated the 14th best prospect in the system by BA before the year started. Spent the entire season in Lakewood’s rotation, starting 25 games. 112/50 K/BB ratio in 131.1 innings. Again, Mathieson pitched in the instructional league after the season.
- 2005: rated the 6th best prospect in the system by BA before the year started. Spent the season in Clearwater’s rotation, pitching 121.2 innings over 23 starts and compiling a 4.14 ERA with 118 strikeouts and 34 walks. Mathieson ended the year pitching in the Arizona Fall League and finished second in the AFL in strikeouts.
- 2006: rated the 5th best prospect in the system by BA before the year started. Mathieson began the year pitching for Canada in the WBC, and broke camp at the top of Reading’s rotation. He held opponents to a .221 average and struck out 99 in 92.2 innings. On June 17, Mathieson made his big league debut against Tampa. He was optioned back down to Reading on July 7 and made one start before being promoted to Scranton. He was called up to the majors again on July 31 and got his first big league game on 8/1 at St. Louis. He left his final start of the year on 9/2 after just six pitches and had his first TJS on 9/29.
- 2007: rated the 5th best prospect in the system by BA before the year started. Came back to make seven rehab appearances across three levels before having ulnar nerve transposition on his right arm on 9/24.
- 2008: rated the 12th best prospect in the system by BA before the year started. Missed the entire season after a second TJS.
- 2009: pitched a combined 32.1 innings across 22 appearances at three different levels. Compiled a 34/12 K/BB ratio in that time. Returned to the AFL after the season.
- 2010: spent the season as Lehigh Valley’s closer. He notched 26 saves and a 2.80 ERA in 54 games. Struck out 11.6/9 (83 Ks in 64.1 IP) and held opposing hitters to a .212 average. He also made two appearances for the Phillies before being designated for assignment in a procedural move and being returned to Lehigh Valley.
Scouting Report: Below is an assessment of Mathieson’s raw tools, rated on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale. The grades are my estimation based on what I’ve read and those I’ve talked to. The second number is a future projection, the first number is the current assessment
Upside: Mathieson entered 2010 as a legitimate contender for a role in the Phils’ bullpen, but was sent out of big league camp very early in spring training to work on his secondary pitches. He has what was at times a dominating season in AAA, but was ineffective in a very limited look in the big leagues. By the end of the year, the Phils brought in Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter to teach Mathieson the split-finger fastball. CSNPhilly mentions in an article that the organization will only let a prospect work on a split-finger when all other attempts at developing a secondary pitch have failed. Mathieson was planning on traveling to Atlanta in the offseason to continue working with Sutter. The development of the splitter is the key to Mathieson sticking in the majors and he may have an opportunity to compete for a spot in the bullpen during spring training.