On Mathieson and Stutes

I was going to make a comment, but didn’t want to bury it deep in the last post about all of the roster cuts. Mathieson and Stutes were drawing lots of interesting discussion, and I figured I’d share my thoughts as well. I’m actually also planning on a new piece that will be up either later tonight or tomorrow about my predictions for 2011, so be sure to check back for that. In the meantime, more on Mathieson and Stutes below the fold

My take on Mathieson: I left him off of my top 30 for 2 big reasons. First, his health is a massive issue. Guys who have 2 or 3 major arm surgeries, and then go on to have successful big league careers…well you can probably count them on one or two hands. No one has ever questioned Mathieson’s character or work ethic. From everything I’ve read and from everyone I’ve talked to, he’s an outstanding person and very dedicated to his craft. His comments simply indicated he was disappointed he didn’t make the team. I’m sure everyone in his situation would be disappointed. If you’re not disappointed, then maybe you’re head isn’t in the right place. But I think he knows he has things to work on, and if he does put in the work, he’ll get another shot, either in Philly or with another big league team. The second reason I left him off the list revolves around his raw stuff. His fastball, from what I’ve heard, is consistently 91-95, and hes capable of hitting a bit more when he reaches back. Part of the problem, however, is his delivery still has a lot of effort, and this effort impacts his control and command. He consistently misses up in the strikezone, something big league hitters (the good ones, at least) are able to lay off of. In the minors, you can live at the letters a bit more, because guys will swing. His fastball also lacks movement, either horizontally or laterally. MLB hitters can turn around a 99 mph fastabll if its straight and they know its coming. His secondary pitches are also a work in progress. It seems his slider and changeup will be distant third pitches, and he’s going to rely on the splitter, a new pitch for him. Its really difficult to control a split finger fastball and throw it in the zone consistently. Most successful pitchers who have used the splitter have used it as a chase pitch and a complement to their fastball to get swings and misses. He obviously hasn’t mastered the pitch yet, and it looked like a below average offering in my brief spring training viewings. With more work, if the pitch can become MLB average in quality, then he’ll be a workable 7th/8th inning reliever. But given his spotty fastball command, I don’t think hes there yet, and with an option remaining, its not hard for me to see why the team is keeping Baez, on a guaranteed contract or Herndon, who has shown a much improved slider and has better fastball movement and command right now.

On Mike Stutes: Everyone is quick to point out that I didn’t have him on my Top 30 list. It should also be noted that Baseball America didn’t have him in their top 30 either, and he wasn’t mentioned among the prospects at BP or ESPN either. Stutes is transitioning to the bullpen, and not everyone makes the smooth transition in their first season. Last year, he showed good swing and miss stuff (79 K in 76 innings), but he had fairly substantial control issues (44 BB) and he served up 7 HR in the 76 innings, a highish rate. The reports I read on him indicated his slider was a legit swing and miss pitch, but that he often fell behind because he couldn’t spot his fastball with any regularity. A big breaking slider, if you aren’t going to throw it for strikes, isn’t as much of a weapon if you’re always behind in the count 2-0, 3-1, etc etc. This spring, his control has been markedly better. I’m not sure if the Phillies had him work on anything in particular, but I was impressed with his fastball, just as much as with his slider. If he throws strikes, he can help the team now as a 7th inning guy. I don’t think he’s a closer at this point, so I don’t have a ton of regrets about not putting him in my Top 30, but my ranking was based on the reports I had on him at the time, and thats all I can go on. He’s been a great story this spring, and if he makes the club out of ST, that’s a nice opportunity for him.

For what its worth, and its not totally prospect related, I was very impressed with what I saw from David Herndon this spring. His slider has a lot more depth. I noted a number of times last year that he was extremely unlucky on balls in play, as he generated a ton of groundballs and weak contact, yet always seemed to be the victim of bloop base hits and balls placed perfectly between two infielders. His slider was a below average pitcher last year, in terms of his ability to consistently locate it and get swings and misses, but it’s looked a lot better this spring, and I think you have to be excited about what he can do. He’s not a prospect anymore, but I think he will serve as a 6th/7th inning guy if he makes the club, capable of going multiple innings, or the Phillies could elect to stretch him out as a starter this year at AAA. I like what I see. I also like what I saw out of Michael Martinez. He’s old (and technically a prospect because he has no big league time) but he got a real late start in baseball, and his speed and versatility could be big pluses for the team this year. I expect he’s going to make the team, as Charlie Manual has heaped praise on him all spring.


71 thoughts on “On Mathieson and Stutes

  1. I’ve been expecting to see Herndon stretched out in AAA for awhile now. Even last year, he reminded me of a better Kyle Kendrick. His sinker can be viscous at times. If the slider has improved as you say, then that makes him seem like the Kyle Kendrick everyone was hoping would develop but never did. From the sound of it, he should probably break camp with the team and if he doesn’t become an integral part of the pen he can be demoted to the Lehigh rotation when Lidge returns.

    It sounds as though a few of our prospect arms just need a half of season of looks before they can come in and fill that 6-7th inning role. It’s worth remembering that if the Phils rotation stays intact, relief innings will be sparse.

  2. On Mathieson: Hong Chih-Kuo had two Tommy John surgeries as well. I see that as realistic upside, really have no problem rating a pitcher like that in a prospect ranking. Recognizing of course that he’ll be no more than a one inning pitcher.

    I didn’t rank Stutes in my top 30, but I had him around 32-33. Stutes to me was just crowded out, there are a lot of good players in the system.

  3. Agree with the point on Herndon. I couldnt believe how hitter after hitter would roll over on his sinker and the ball would always find the hole.

  4. I remember several times last year Charlie brought in Herndon with a runner on 1st and one out and he got the guy to GIDP. There’s a lot of value in having a guy like that on hand in the ‘pen. He’ll have even more value if he can add “K” to the likely outcomes in a situation like that. So although I was initially thinking I’d rather see Mathieson make the team than Herndon, you guys have turned me around. Maybe we an convert Herndon into a starter at some point down the road, so he’ll have even more value.

    ps- I think that, for me, a lot of the fun with Mathieson is just wanting to see somebody throw 99. Call it the Strasburg factor. It’s just cool to go to the ballpark and see somebody light up the gun. Couple that with Mathieson’s great personal story, and it’s easy to see why he has so many people rooting for him.

  5. not having Durbin will hurt, people do not appreciate a bullpen guy who can come in and deal 2-3 innings of scoreless ball & keep the game close so the O gets a chance to win it late….Hernden may be that guy in 2011.

  6. It may be that the Phils haven’t made up their mind about Herndon. With the number of reliever prospects knocking on the door in our system, why not “stretch” Herndon out to see if he can be a starter?

    OTOH, he does bring ground balls to infielders that is valuable in certain situations but as has been said he needs at least a second effective pitch that could add strikeouts, too. A third pitch would make him a candidate for a rotation…if he has the durability to pitch into the 7th inning. They won’t know that until they do let him start at Lehigh Valley.

    It is a bit of a dilemma. One to watch…but it is certain that the Phils like his arm. Just where to fit him in……??

    Tidbit: where are lefty relievers in our system aside from Bastardo?

  7. For me its simply a matter of faith in the Phillies scouting. Herndon & Martinez are the guys that the scouts identified and earmarked of all the free agents available in the Rule V draft. The Phillies scouting has accustomed me to expect success more often than not.

    So I started with the assumption this year that Martinez was likely to be the fifth guy on the bench, just as I figured Herndon would be the last reliever in the bullpen a year ago.
    Or at least until the Phillies traded for or signed another righthand hitting OF. Once Brown was hurt, seemed pretty much a sure thing that Martinez would be the proverbial jack of all trades on the bench along with Gload, Valdez, Schneider and the RH hitting OF…which looks like Mayberry for now, though I still anticipate that Amaro finds his man by mid-season.
    The question in my mind is what decision will Amaro & Charlie agree upon once Brown returns. Is Martinez the man out at that point, or Mayberry–or do the Phillies go with only eleven pitchers?
    Still would like to see both Herndon & Kendrick get a few months or even a full season as starting pitchers at Lehigh Valley: give us more options than just Vance Worley alone.

    1. When Dom returns we’ll have more data on Castillo and Kendrick and even Baez. One of those guys could be sent down/released.

      1. Or all. I am not sure of any of them. But the state of the offense makes me believe Luis is in.

  8. I can only speak for myself, but I’m not rooting for Scott Mathieson because he throws real hard and has an inspiring personal story. Every spring, there’s a guy or two with a story like that in Spring Training. Baseball rosters don’t run on sympathy, and they shouldn’t. I want to see Mathieson on this team at some point because the guy gets people out. Leave aside the Spring Training numbers, which were very good. He had a fantastic season at Lehigh Valley last year, averaged 11 k/9, didn’t walk many, etc. Add that to the nice spring where he got a lot of strikeouts on his splitter, and it’s hard for you to convince me that the team is better with him using that fragile but valuable arm on Triple A hitters. From his quotes, it seems like he feels the same way, which at this point is understandable. The people who called him a whiner or a clubhouse problem on the previous thread obviously lack a bit of empathy. The minors aren’t supposed to be a penal colony–that’s why things like the Rule 5 draft exist–and it’s only natural for him to feel like he’s learned everything he possibly can at the AAA level.

    1. Those are good points, but he’s still learning a pitch he needs to master to really make it at the next level. He will only get better at throwing that pitch if he gets actual game experience throwing it. That will only happen in AAA. We all want him to be a finished product at age 27, but he’s not.

      And as far as I can recall, nobody said anything bad about him. I think a stray comment I made might be construed as suggesting that he could be clubhouse distraction. If that’s what people took from it, I apologize. It’s well understood that Mathieson is a really good guy – I just think he’s frustrated, which is understandable.

      1. Uhh…just to be clear: I’m rooting for Mathieson to get people out in the Major Leagues for the Philadelphia Phillies and to generally be really awesome at baseball. I think he already is pretty awesome at baseball. Nothing I said implied otherwise. Though I do think that the team has some sound reasons for keeping Herndon or Stutes up and sending Mathieson back to AAA for a little while. But really, I wouldn’t blame them if they kept Mathieson and sent Herndon down. They’re all intriguing pitchers and you can make a case for any of them.

      2. Sorry my response was directed at Andrew Cleveland Alexander, I just hit the wrong “reply” button.

  9. I’ve liked Stutes since we drafted him and think he could be our 7th inning guy if he keeps his control in check.

    Mathieson and Kendrick are increasingly seeming like trade bait, as their value could probably be higher on another club. Kendrick is better than most the 5th starters in the league and there must be a team willing to give Mathieson a shot in their pen. I wouldn’t mind seeing them packaged for a 3rd baseman.

    What about Vance Worley? He’s had a quiet spring for a MLB ready starter who appeared on most top 10 lists. If a team prefers him to Kendrick, I’d ship him off instead.

    1. Kendrick has performed better than the average 5TH starter over the years, but he is still a below average pitcher overall. It is very hard for me to believe, that there is a market for Kyle Kendrick at a price of 2.5 million dollars. A team interested in a 5th starter could just pay league minimum for a Carlos Silva type instead.

  10. Herndon was a starter for 2.5 years in the Angels’ system. Throughout his entire minor league career he gave up a large number of hits with few strikeouts. I still think his stuff projects to be more valuable as a starter than a reliever. Especially with the current dynamic in the Phillies system, I like Herndon to be the long reliever in the majors or the callup starter from the minors. He has 3 option years to use and I think the Phils should use them.

    I think the other AAA relievers all have better profiles with strikeout stuff. I will have to defer to PP and other posters as for the explanation of Mathieson’s dominance at AAA and inability at the Majors. I know it happens often and it appears that Scott has not found the command or secondary pitches to make that 99mph FB a weapon. I just wish the Phillies did a bit more to make him more attractive as trade bait if they truly do not believe in him. (Pitch him against overmatched AAAA guys which he has proven he can get out.)

    Stutes appeared to have improved his control and maybe that makes him the leading callup. I would still like to see more evidence that he has improved before calling him up. My concern is that he suffers from the small sample size that has people thinking Worley could just walk into the rotation and outpeform Kendrick.

  11. I originally had developed the following post to address why Mathieson was not ranked in the top 30 prospects of the Phillies but never posted it. I think it is very relevant to the discussion as to why Mathieson is frustrated.
    Analysis of his numbers show he has pitched unbelievable good.

    I have taken the stats of both DeFratus and Mathieson for the last two years combined. Mathieson was one level higher both years and thus he faced tougher competition during this period. Mathieson was in AAA and AA while DeFratus was in AA and High A in those years. Their numbers are:

    Mathieson W L ERA G SV IP H ER BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 K/9 K/BB AVE K/H
    TOTAL 7 6 2.14 76 28 96.7 66 23 36 117 1.05 6.1 3.4 10.9 3.3 .190 1.77

    DeFratus W L ERA G SV IP H ER BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 K/9 K/BB AVG K/H
    TOTAL 8 6 2.62 92 25 182.0 159 53 35 183 1.07 7.9 1.7 9.0 5.2 .231 1.15

    While DeFratus has performed extremely well, Mathieson has performed unworldly good. I have also provided stats for key indicators for both of those pitchers and also for a frame of reference I have provided records for the top 10 list of pitchers in the major leagues in 2010 in those categories and as well as the top 10 career wise for each category. The career stats were from the thousand upon thousand of pitchers who ever pitched in the major leagues for a reference point. I have also provided information for the Phillies big 4 starters both last year and their ranking in the all time career list.

    The first stat is ERA. Mathieson clearly posted better numbers.

    Lowest earned run average
    Name ERA
    Scott Mathieson 2.13
    Justin DeFratus 2.62

    Rank 2010 Rank Career All-Time
    Name ERA Name ERA
    1 Felix Hernandez 2.27 1 Ed Walsh 1.82
    2 Josh Johnson 2.30 2 Addie Joss 1.89
    3 Clay Buchholz 2.33 3 Jim Devlin 1.90
    4 Adam Wainwright 2.42 4 Jack Pfiester 2.02
    * 5 Roy Halladay 2.44 5 Smoky Joe Wood 2.03
    6 Jaime Garcia 2.70 6 Mordecai Brown 2.06
    7 David Price 2.72 7 Monte Ward 2.10
    * 8 Roy Oswalt 2.76 8 Christy Mathewson 2.13
    9 Tim Hudson 2.83 9 Al Spalding 2.13
    10 R.A. Dickey 2.84 10 Tommy Bond 2.14

    * 17 Cole Hamels 3.06 * 238 Roy Oswalt 3.18
    * 21 Cliff Lee 3.18 * 309 Roy Halladay 3.32
    * 438 Cole Hamels 3.53
    * 697 Cliff Lee 3.85

    The second stat is WHIP. Mathieson posted almost identical numbers to DeFratus.
    They both were very good on this measure.

    Lowest hits and walks allowed per 9 innings
    Name WHIP
    Scott Mathieson 1.05
    Justin DeFratus 1.07

    Rank 2010 Rank Career All-Time
    Name WHIP Name WHIP
    * 1 Cliff Lee 1.00 1 Addie Joss .97
    * 2 Roy Oswalt 1.03 2 Ed Walsh 1.00
    * 3 Roy Halladay 1.04 3 Mariano Rivera 1.00
    4 Adam Wainwright 1.05 4 Monte Ward 1.04
    5 Felix Hernandez 1.06 5 Pedro Martinez 1.05
    6 Jered Weaver 1.07 6 Christy Mathewson 1.06
    7 Ted Lilly 1.08 7 Trevor Hoffman 1.06
    8 Mat Latos 1.08 8 Walter Johnson 1.06
    9 Matt Cain 1.08 9 Mordecai Brown 1.07
    10 Josh Johnson 1.11 10 Charlie Sweeney 1.07

    * 23 Cole Hamels 1.18 * 92 Cole Hamels 1.18
    * 99 Roy Halladay 1.18
    * 101 Roy Oswalt 1.18
    * 288 Cliff Lee 1.26

    The next few stats measure how much the pitcher misses bats or is unhitable. I know that the Phillies think that Mathieson’s pitches are hitable which is why they are teaching him the splitter but the stats seem to disprove that. All the stats on hitability (K/9, H/9, K/H and Ave) are unworldly good for Mathieson while only very good for DeFratus.

    Most strikeouts per 9 innings
    Name K/9
    Scott Mathieson 10.9
    Justin DeFratus 9.0

    Rank 2010 Rank Career All-Time
    Name K/9 Name K/9
    1 Tim Lincecum 9.8 1 Randy Johnson 10.6
    2 Jon Lester 9.7 2 Kerry Wood 10.4
    3 Yovani Gallardo 9.7 3 Pedro Martinez 10.0
    4 Jonathan Sanchez 9.5 4 Nolan Ryan 9.5
    5 Francisco Liriano 9.4 5 Trevor Hoffman 9.4
    6 Jered Weaver 9.4 6 Sandy Koufax 9.3
    7 Clayton Kershaw 9.3 7 Oliver Perez 9.1
    8 Mat Latos 9.2 8 Jake Peavy 8.9
    9 Josh Johnson 9.1 9 Sam McDowell 8.9
    * 10 Cole Hamels 9.1 10 Johan Santana 8.9

    * 21 Roy Oswalt 8.2 * 17 Cole Hamels 8.5
    * 24 Roy Halladay 7.9 * 60 Roy Oswalt 7.4
    * 25 Cliff Lee 7.8 * 103 Cliff Lee 6.9
    * 122 Roy Halladay 6.7

    Fewest hits allowed per 9 innings
    Name H/9
    Scott Mathieson 6.1
    Justin DeFratus 7.9

    Rank 2010 Rank Career All-Time
    Name H/9 Name H/9
    1 Jonathan Sanchez 6.6 1 Nolan Ryan 6.6
    2 Ubaldo Jimenez 6.6 2 Sandy Koufax 6.8
    3 Roy Oswalt 6.9 3 Sid Fernandez 6.9
    4 Felix Hernandez 7.0 4 J.R. Richard 6.9
    5 Clayton Kershaw 7.1 5 Andy Messersmith 6.9
    6 Trevor Cahill 7.1 6 Mariano Rivera 6.9
    7 C.J. Wilson 7.2 7 Trevor Hoffman 7.0
    8 Jon Lester 7.2 8 Hoyt Wilhelm 7.0
    9 Matt Cain 7.3 9 Kerry Wood 7.0
    10 Adam Wainwright 7.3 10 Sam McDowell 7.0

    * 25 Cole Hamels 8.0 * 161 Cole Hamels 8.2
    * 35 Cliff Lee 8.2 * 351 Roy Oswalt 8.6
    37 Roy Halladay 8.3 * 444 Roy Halladay 8.7
    * 657 Cliff Lee 9.1

    Lowest batting average against pitcher
    Name AVG
    Scott Mathieson .190
    Justin DeFratus .231

    Rank 2010
    Name AVG
    1 Jonathan Sanchez .201
    2 Ubaldo Jimenez .207
    * 3 Roy Oswalt .208
    4 Felix Hernandez .210
    5 Clayton Kershaw .211
    6 Mat Latos .216
    7 C.J. Wilson .216
    8 Trevor Cahill .217
    9 Jon Lester .217
    10 Matt Cain .218

    * 24 Cole Hamels .235
    * 29 Cliff Lee .237
    * 42 Roy Halladay .241

    Highest strikeout per hit ratio
    Name K/H
    Scott Mathieson 1.77
    Justin DeFratus 1.15

    Rank 2010 Rank Career All-Time
    Name K/H Name K/H
    1 Jonathan Sanchez 1.44 1 Kerry Wood 1.47
    2 Jon Lester 1.35 2 Randy Johnson 1.46
    3 Clayton Kershaw 1.33 3 Nolan Ryan 1.46
    4 Ubaldo Jimenez 1.30 4 Pedro Martinez 1.42
    5 Mat Latos 1.26 5 Sandy Koufax 1.37
    6 Jered Weaver 1.25 6 Trevor Hoffman 1.34
    7 Josh Johnson 1.20 7 Sam McDowell 1.26
    8 Felix Hernandez 1.20 8 Sid Fernandez 1.23
    * 9 Roy Oswalt 1.19 9 J.R. Richard 1.22
    10 Tim Lincecum 1.19 10 Mariano Rivera 1.18

    * 13 Cole Hamels 1.14 * 25 Cole Hamels 1.04
    * 28 Cliff Lee .95 * 77 Roy Oswalt .87
    * 29 Roy Halladay .95 * 142 Roy Halladay .77
    * 149 Cliff Lee .76

    The last stat measures control relative to strikeouts. DeFratus is slightly better than Mathieson on this measure but Mathieson’ ratio is very good.

    Highest strikeout to walk ratio
    Name K/BB
    Scott Mathieson 3.3
    Justin DeFratus 5.2

    Rank 2010 Rank Career All-Time
    Name K/BB Name K/BB
    * 1 Cliff Lee 10.3 1 Tommy Bond 5.0
    * 2 Roy Halladay 7.3 2 Curt Schilling 4.4
    3 Jered Weaver 4.3 3 Pedro Martinez 4.2
    4 Dan Haren 4.0 4 Mariano Rivera 3.9
    5 Josh Johnson 3.9 5 Dan Haren 3.9
    6 Shaun Marcum 3.8 6 Jim Whitney 3.8
    7 Adam Wainwright 3.8 7 Trevor Hoffman 3.7
    8 Mat Latos 3.8 8 Doug Jones 3.7
    9 Ted Lilly 3.8 9 Jon Lieber 3.7
    10 James Shields 3.7 10 Bret Saberhagen 3.6

    * 11 Roy Oswalt 3.5 * 13 Cole Hamels 3.6
    * 13 Cole Hamels 3.5 * 14 Roy Oswalt 3.6
    * 16 Roy Halladay 3.5
    * 32 Cliff Lee 3.1

    Mathieson posted the above number with crappy stuff according to the Phillies. The Phillies say he has a straight fastball and below average slider and change-up. Can you imagine the numbers Mathieson would put up if he actually had good stuff.

    1. Interesting.
      Comparing a 27 year old, Minor League, 1 inning pitcher’s numbers to Major League starter’s numbers. Great analysis.

      1. Yeah, all that work for a flawed comparison,

        AAA, 1 inning reliever vs MLB starter. Uh, no.

    2. This might be the dumbest post I have ever read on this website.

      Mathieson is 4 years older than DeFratus and has had 3 more major arm surgeries.

      Why are you comparing Mathieson’s numbers in AAA to major league leaders like these stats are somehow relevant to each other?

      Please post a link to where a member of the Phillies organization says Mathieson has “crappy stuff”.

      Wake up clown. Baseball is a performance based industry. If you perform you succeed. No one gets anything handed to them. You have to win your spot. If Mathieson was as good as you say he is, he would be in a major league bullpen (either the Phillies or someone else’s), bottomline.

      There are no conspiracies to keep him down. He has had chances and hasnt made himself stick. Trust me the Phillies are keeping the guys that give them the best chance to win. That doesnt include Scott Mathieson right now.

      Oh well. Nothing wrong with being a AAAA guy.

    3. That is right up there with one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read on this site. Comparisons are flawed and wrong on so many levels, it isn’t worth disputing.

    4. You forgot about 3 very important stats that Mathieson struggled with. Mathieson’s HR/9 and FIP were 1.12 and 3.50 in 2010. More alarmingly, he also had 6 losses, all in relief. These are hardly stats that scream “top prospect” or “call me up”. In contrast De Fratus, had 0.73 HR/9 and 2.59 FIP and 0 L. The 2009 stories were similar, but Mathieson had only 19 IP and De Fratus had 12 starts, which makes interpretation harder.

      I think the Phillies are doing the right thing with Mathieson. Herndon is clearly a better option at this point. Stutes, I’m not so sure about. I don’t like to put too much weight on Spring Training. He needs to establish consistency in games that count.

    5. hmmmm

      Mark Twain once said “there are lies, damned lies and statistics” – I’ll let everyone decide where this analysis falls. I’m opting for damned lies.

      1. NEPA, aside from everything else that has been written about the De Fratus/ Mathieson comparison, De Fratus has also been sent the minors, so even if everyone were to agree that Mathieson is better than DeFratus at this stage, it would still be no proof that he should be promoted to the Phillies right now.

    1. If you’re going to call someone else an idiot, you should probably check your spelling first.

  12. I will admit that I did not read NEPA Philly’s analysis after the first 3 paragraphs.

    However, his post illustrates the discussion point that I think is one of the most common debates: stats versus scouting reports. For the most part, stats are facts, and are manipulated to determine importance. The discussions of statistics are generally about the amount of data or lack of use of similar data. For prospects, the added component for statistical discussions is age-related-to-level.

    Scouting reports are almost always qualitative with specific facts sprinkled in. The very nature of this information can be questioned. However, the discussion of these data are similar to stats — as the validity of the information is often debated. As PP has mentioned, the evaluation / ranking process for prospects needs to include both. And it is up to each person to value the statistics and reports (and first person info if they can get it) they find the most important.

    I know that I find myself wondering why Mathieson is not considered a “lock” on the big league club from his statistics (high K rate, low whip) and scouting report (99mph FB). Those are the main numbers that I would use to evaluate a relief pitcher. Obviously, other information is leading the Phillies to believe he cannot help their team yet. I still struggle trying to resolve why Mathieson is not ‘given the benefit of the doubt’. I am also swayed by his excellent story of resilience (and believe it means he only has so many pitches left in his body and they need to be maximized).

    Thanks again to this site I have more information that I would ever get on my own. My current opinion is that the Phillies should have attempted to maximize Mathieson’s trade value (leverage his appearances against AAAA level players) this Spring. However, relief pitching is most valuable at the trade deadline but teams will want proven major league talent at that time. Given the Phils free agent situtation, they should try to hold on to aas many potential high talent relievers as possible.

    1. That post doesn’t illustrate the stats vs scouting reports argument.
      It illustrates how some do not know how to interpret statistics. You and he, do not know the standard for WHIP and ERA are much higher for relievers than Starters. You and he do not know that comparing one pitcher’s AAA stats to a major leaguer’s stats, is at the very least misleading and at most plain dumb. Lastly, though this isn’t as applicable here because it is AAA, you have shown you do not know how to discount for age when reading a stat line.

      1. There’s nothing dumb about PhxPhilly’s post. You can’t lump him in with NEPAPhilly when he made none of the ridiculous arguments that NEPAPhilly did.

  13. Hey! Guess what. It’s the minors. Any attempt to extrapolate minors stuff unto a comparison to MLB types requires a great deal of projection, interprolation, manipulation of comparable era- periods of history-styles of play in effect, and all that. From reading all that, you’d think Mathieson was another Addie Joss. Well, let me tell you, somebody knew Addie Joss, and Mathieson is no Addie Joss.

    1. Isn’t that sort of the pot calling the kettle…
      Wasn’t there some comparisons made regarding Freddie Galvis’ AA OPS and Jack Wilson’s MLB OPS just last month?
      Guy’s make this mistake all of the time, just not on the grand scale that NEPA did.

  14. Wow. Mr. NepaPhilly, what you just said is the most insanely idiotic thing I have ever heard. … We are all now dumber for having had listened to it…

    Statistics are only ever part of the story. Did you watch our boy Scotty face major league hitters? I want our guys to succeed as much as any fan but I trust my eyes first and the numbers second. Math’s FB has no life in the zone and he can’t locate it.

    Do you want to understand what that means? I’ll give you a few pitchers that can throw a FB down the middle and miss bats. Neftali Feliz, B Wilson, Ubaldo. Then add they all have a nasty secondary pitch. Even if Scott does develop his splitter his FB will always be his downfall.

    There are lots of prospects that can flash brilliance but only a true pro can perform that same brilliance on a consistent basis. I’ve said this many times and its said constantly in baseball its not hard to get to the bigs its hard to stay in the bigs.

  15. Stats are history and can only be used to” guess” the future. They are not written in stone as some feel. The older the player the more they begin to solidify.

  16. I don’t think there is much sense arguing things we don’t know. Projections and scouting aside, the only way to find out what a guy has is to run him out there.
    I’m only advocating that Mathieson get a chance, a bonafide opportunity in the big leagues, to show he can do it or can’t. It’s OK if that’s not with the Phillies. The Phillies clearly aren’t the type of team that can afford to gamble and take a chance on a guy with a history of arm troubles, especially since the organization seems to have its doubts. He’s a guy who really could use a change of scenery and an opportunity. Seattle, Houston and Pittsburgh all seem like good options.

  17. Why can’t the Phillies take a chance on Mathieson? He’s cheap, he’s got a good arm and there are a lot of other younger and older players who can pick up the slack if Mathieson can’t cut it or gets injured. Sure, they can’t let him blow a bunch of games and let that play out the way that, say, a Pirates or Mariners team could, but there’s plenty of room for the team to take a chance on him as I see it.

    1. They can take a chance on him. But they don’t have to take a chance on him, because Herndon and Stutes are BETTER than him right now.

      1. I don’t disagree with you, but that was not my point. The poster argued that the Phillies can’t afford to gamble on Mathieson and I certainly think they can. But if I were making rosters right now, I’d have both Stutes and Herndon ahead of him for several reasons, not the least of which is that he Scott needs to throw that splitter in the minors. Mathieson is still developing as a pitcher.

        1. I do disagree with him. AAA stats tend to translate very well to the Majors and there is literally no statistical evidence that David Herndon or Michael Stutes are better pitchers than Mathieson and to go on 8-10 Spring Training innings as evaluation (as is a time-honored major league tradition) is silly.

          I do think these things have a way of working themselves out, but the odds are good come August we’ll be wondering why Mathieson spent 3 months in AAA while Herndon was doing his best Kyle Kendrick impersonation.

          Not that I’m rooting against him, but if we’re going to be making absolute statements like Mike77, than the better one is the exact opposite of his.

          1. You are right. A lot of guys will be wondering why Mathieson is in AAA come August… for the same reasons they think he is better than the major Leaguers right now.
            They will see that he threw a couple pitches 99, and assume major Leaguers can’t hit him. The won’t look at his FIP, HR/9 or FB/GB rate, (just K/9) and assume he would get major Leaguers to miss high fastballs too.

            I am nobody’s expert, but it only takes a person with eyes to see that Stutes and Herndon out pitched Mathieson, by keeping the ball down and showing better secondary pitches.
            If you can’t see that, then yeah, you will be asking the same questions in August.

            1. Is this the same argument you would have made last year as Herndon couldn’t miss a bat in the bigs and Stutes walked over 5 per 9 inn in AAA? At the same time Mathieson had a 3.5 K/BB rate, and 1.13 whip?

              HR rates on the # of innings you’re talking about is not a very meaningful stat. Ask Brad lidge. For that matter, Mathieson only gave up 1 hr in 32 innings the year before. How about we use those numbers instead?

              The best (or should I say Only) way to predict the future is to look to the past. The Phillies think they see something more persuasive than these pitchers’ actual results and a few people on here are doing their best Nostradamus in agreeing with them.

              Whatever the case, those of us scratching our heads saying, “shouldn’t last year mean anything?” have got history on our side, and I’ll take that over your (or my) eyes any day.

            2. I am hardly a big fan of Stutes or Herndon. In fact, I argued with PP and Alan, not too long ago, that Stutes had no chance to make the big club because of his control.
              If Stutes would have performed in Spring the way he performed during last season, he wouldn’t be ahead of Mathieson now. Fact is, Stutes came ready to perform and Mathieson was unable to match him.
              The Phillies shouldn’t be taken to task for that. The player didn’t earn the spot. You can not get an audition in late March, and look as bad as Mathieson did last week and then blame the team for not trusting him.

  18. You guys are coming down way to hard on NEPA. It’s one thing to disagree with his analysis and point out what specifically is flawed in his logic, a complete different thing to put him down as a person and call him a moron etc…

    One topic he touched on in his post is the comparison between JDef and Mathison… this stat comparison is not nearly as out of line as many of you seem to think. 1. yes there is a 3 year age difference, but you’ve also neglected to mention that the 3 years of experence mathison has is completely negated by injury, perhaps a better way to relate current age to final potential is to look at innings pitched, with consideration given to injury rehab. You can’t claim his injuries devalue you him (which btw has no bearing on if he should be pitching in philly or not) and at the same time say he’s a normal 27 year old pitcher and should be devalued as such. I would be shocked if Justin puts up a line as good as mathisons was last year in AAA this year. The numbers are just so much better (and I like Justin). That said, I will point out that JD clearly has more prospect value, and a higher upside long term becuase of lack of injury and time to maturity, but that doesn’t mean he’s a better pitcher right now.

    The main two issues I have with NEPA as others pointed out is compairing major to minor league stats, and compairing starters to relievers. If he had done those two things in his break down, I would have given his arguements more weight. But the bottom line is Scott had the best stat line of any pitchers on our minor league roster and likely would again this year. I think he’d make the vast majority of bullpens in the majors right now and deserved a more comprehensive chance to win a roster spot this spring. Perhaps with 20 ip and if he was inline with his career, should have started the season on the active roster. I also agree that continued mastry of a splitter will only help him in the majors. As for PP’s comments about his lack of fastball command, it is true, but IMO not as big of an issue as it appears. People change becuase they’re forced to, he is not forced to at the minor league level, he needs to learn on the job.

    Alright, i’m done, close rant.

  19. I won’t address the long comment, everyone else did a good enough job with that. Comparing Mathieson and De Fratus isn’t a good exercise, because of the age, and because they are different pitchers. On a scouting level, De Fratus has better raw stuff and better command. He was obviously a little nervous this spring, understandably, because it was his first time in big league camp facing big league hitters. Mathieson has big league experience, yet he struggled commanding his pitches and was wild in the strikezone and out of it. His numbers were okay. But I’m sure the Phillies scouts saw the lack of command of all his pitches and the lack of movement on his fastball and felt he wasn’t at a place to help the big league club right now. So they sent him down. If he improves his command and there is a need at the big league level, I’m sure he’ll get his shot.

    He’s out of options next year, so he’ll get his chance, if its deserved, at some point in the next 2 years. Winners prepare for their chance, and when they get it, they do their best to take it. Sometimes it doesn’t work out on the timeline you want it to happen with, but eventually it works out.

    1. Just out of curiosity, where did you get the intel on his being wild in the strike zone and out of it this spring? When I saw him, he looked pretty good, and he got several major leaguers to strike out on pitches in the dirt. I realize he had six walks in nine innings, but that’s not an altogether atrocious number, especially given that he was working on demonstrating his ability to get hitters out with his breaking stuff. I’m not suggesting there’s some conspiracy within the Phillies front office to make the bullpen worse. But might it be possible that this is a case of a potentially useful arm being crowded out by pitchers a little more versatility (Herndon) or large guaranteed contracts (Kendrick/Baez)? My personal feeling is that I’d rather send KK to Triple A and stay stretched out as a starter (esp. given Worley’s struggles this spring), while giving Mathieson (or Stutes for that matter) a relatively low-pressure audition while Lidge is out. They’re not even going to need a 5th starter much in April, let alone a spot starter. But obviously teams don’t usually pay $2.5 million to Triple A insurance.

      Anyway, the point I’m respectfully trying to make is that teams don’t always make these calls because of what the scouts see on the field.

    2. I respectfully disagree on the raw stuff comment. Mathieson’s raw stuff is just as good as defratuses’.

      1. imo, if he can command his fastball and improve his splitter and slider, than he could close for the Phillies. Look, I know his fastball is straight but if he can command it to all four quadrants of the strike zone it’ll be a double + pitch. It sits 93-97 and touches 100 on occasion

        1. Close over Madson. He has zero pitches, while Madson has two. Hmmmm, I’ll take Madson.

  20. I think the 2 biggest issues with Mathesion are no secret.

    He has no movement on his fastball-
    Even if he can locate it (which he hasn’t been able to) its still going to be a hittable pitch because there’s absolutely no lateral movement on it what-so-ever. I think the cat is out of the bag that big league players can hit a fastball in the mid to high 90’s with little movement…..take a look at what’s happened to Broxton and Papelbon, although I think papelbon is a culprit of some lost velo…but both throw in the mid 90’s..same as Mathesion. It’s crucial to have movement on a fastball in order for hitters to be kept guessing, or they will just sit on the secondary offerings and tee off on the fb.

    He can’t command his his pitches-
    His slider was scraped because he couldnt’ throw it for strike…so now he’s tinkering with the splitter that has showed some variances of success…Until he can get some consistency on the location of both that splitter and concentrating on keeping the fastball down in the zone, there’s really no reason to move him to the big leagues where he’d get inconsistent appearances and the possibility of demolished confidence if he has a few rough outings….just my opinion!!!

    1. I’ve seen Mathieson throw a few sliders this spring, so I don’t think they’ve given up on that pitch. Also,Gavin Floyd’s fastball is straight and he’s had success in the majors…And yes he has three pitches, with his curveball being outstanding. But that’s my point…If he can go to lehigh valley and work on his command and his off-speed pitches and have at least two of those pitches-(Fastball, slider, and splitter) be good piches then yes-He can close. btw-M adson also nthrows a pretty good cutter as well as his fastball and changeup.

      1. I get what you’re saying, but let’s also be realistic….there’s alot of if’s in your statement and it seems to me that “In a perfect world, if X,Y,and Z happen then good things follow…How many mlb minor league players are in the same boat as this guy? No doubt that he will get every chance to correct those things, but to the contrary, he still has a ways to go to actually put everything together on the ML level…It’s much easier to go against roster filler and a few great prospects and the such…then to come up to the big leagues and get three outs in an inning, nevermind the 9th inning…I’d just like to see him make some scoreless appearances in the bigs before I annoint him closer-material….Madson’s been in the big leagues for a while now and no one is even sure he’s closer material

          1. Same to you my friend, the underlying thing is I think we both want the best for the guy who just has to put everything together and realize that potential! I’m sure we’ll be pulling for him!

  21. I can throw a splitter.

    It comes in at like 64 miles per hour, and I can’t throw it for strikes. My 71 mph fastball is also straight and I struggle to command it to the glove side.

    I have two pitches.

    Can I pitch in the majors?

    The Phillies aren’t trying to screw Mathieson over. He has options. They felt he wasn’t ready to contribute. I think its that easy. The fact that they carried Herndon all of last season indicates that when they see something they like in a player, they’re willing to give that player a chance. if they don’t think Mathieson is ready, they won’t keep him on the roster to appease a handful of commenters here.

    1. I’m not saying it was a bad idea to option Mathieson. He definately needs to work on some things.I’m just disagreeing about his potential.

    2. Hey, look, life is too short to fight about about Scott Mathieson’s secondary pitches. I was only questioning where you got the “wild in and out of the zone” thing from, since it’s not something I personally observed (in my admittedly small sample of spring games) or read in the beat reporting. I do think, however, as someone who has often pleaded for courtesy and respect from commenters, you might reconsider your own tone. I’m not looking to be “appeased” by anyone, least of all you, but I am looking to have an intelligent conversation about baseball, and I feel like I’ve done my best to hold up my end of that bargain.

      1. I can’t tell if you’re serious or not. My tone? I rarely ever post in the comments section, and these comments are the reason.

        The reports I had on Mathieson from AAA last year indicated he had trouble controlling the ball, and frequently missed high in the zone and high out of the zone. From the 3 times I watched him pitch in spring training, the same issues were there. He missed up in the zone quite a bit, and the control of his splitter was below average. That’s what I’m basing my scouting view of him on. I only saw him pitch 3 times. Rich Dubee saw him pitch every time. If they felt his command was big league ready, I’m sure they’d have kept him around. Also, the velocity readings I saw had his fastball in the 91-95 range, I didn’t see many/any 99’s. Maybe they were there in the games that didn’t have the velo readings on the TV broadcast.

        Hes a max effort guy, which impairs his command. His walk rate was okay last year, that’s control though, not command, and I’ve always been quick to point out the difference. Like everything else, its all personal opinion. From what I’ve seen and read, his issues are still the same as they were last year. Until his command improves, I don’t think hes going to succeed at the big league level.

        1. It depends what you mean by serious. No, this discussion is not serious. Nuclear meltdowns are serious; we’re talking about baseball. Maybe I took your dismissive response too personally. Certainly, there’s no reason for touchiness in this argument. Thanks for the fuller explanation of your reasoning. Sounds like your 3-game sample size was the same as mine–we must have just seen different outings.

          1. I don’t want to come off rude, but it seems as though you just may be a bit more high on Matheison than PP, and you’re using your emotion to overrule scouting reports and such…

            What PP posted wasn’t breaking news about Matheison…he did well against sub par AAA hitters, yes he had a high K/9 but his walk rate wasn’t great, and he has no great secondary offering…yet….and unless you can put your fastball wherever you want (which he can’t), you will be sorely exposed at the Major League level…what would that do to his confidence then?

            Who knows, maybe he goes down to Triple A and is lights out and his skills will demand a promotion..that just hasn’t happened yet in anyone in the organization’s eyes

            1. No, you don’t come off as rude at all! I don’t look at this emotionally, I don’t think. I look at this as: who would I rather see pitching regularly in a relief role, at least to start the season: Kendrick or Mathieson? To me, Kendrick seemed like he was getting rocked, and it’s not like he has a track record to suggest that’s a fluke. As PP points out, the coaching staff apparently disagrees with me. (Or maybe not… they brought Stutes north with them and just outrighted Rizzotti to AAA, so that suggests a move is in the offing, probably Castillo but who knows?) Anyway, my point, such as it is, is that … oh god, this has gone on long enough! I surrender. You’ve got a point–it’s probably better for him to work on his breaking pitches in Lehigh Valley. I suspect he’d prefer to work on them in Seattle, and that he’d turn out ok, but for now that’s just a big ol’ hypothetical that’s not worth getting worked up about.

        2. I just saw your tweet: “The Phillies must hate Rizzotti, just like they hate Mathieson.” You are right. That is exactly what the comments on this thread indicate. I believe that the Phillies front office is not just mistaken about, but actually truly despises Scott Mathieson, who throws harder than Walter Johnson and would surely be mowing down major league hitters in bunches if only the front office were not so cruelly set against him, in contravention of its self-interest. Oh, when will the cancer of anti-Canadian prejudice finally be cleansed from our society?


          The Straw Man

  22. Now, if I might slip in some minor league stuff-

    Lakewood website has an online version of the Media Guide with pictures bios and where they signed and by whom, all that, for what looks like a conception of any of the players might possibly play there this season.

    From Clearwater website: Troy Hanzawa named winner of Bill Giles Award for outstanding player in 2011 Spring Training. Says award based on work ethic, dedication to game, pride in being a Phillie, like that.

    So, don’t look like he’ll be released, and after all that , how could they not promote him.

    1. Noticed that Musser and Lino Martinez did not make the media guide, but Nunez, Walter, and Pointer did.

      1. The media guide is speculation obviously; lists players who have already been released (i.e. Hutchison, Erwin and Blanks).

        1. Yeah, but seems like word of the 10 recent releases was yesterday, and I guess they don’t print things like that instantaneously. Must be 100 names on there, thought they added in everybody who might possibly be there during the course of the season.
          Didn’t see where Drew Erwin was released, still have him on a list somewhere.

          Also Media Guide is good for more current heights and weights on some players , it appears.

  23. Saw Mathieson over the last two years and some of you should do some better research. Rarely saw low 90s, mostly 95-99 with a few 100 and 101s and actually seemed to have late life. If the Phillies did not like him they would not have named him the top pitcher in the minors last year. He is simply the only guy with an option other than Herndon and Charlie likes familiarity. Mathieson, Stutes and Zagurski will be up in Philly or traded this year. If not, they are all great options for next season when the cupboard will be bare.

    1. Robinson Tejada and Mike Zagurski won the minor league pitcher of the year in 2005 and 2007. So winning that award really is an indicator of future Major League value and success.

  24. From what I can tell, the Phillies really try to be fair when they dole out minor league player of the year awards. They are simply trying to reward the player who performed the best – they are not making a commentary on the future of the prospect. So, for example, if Austin Hyatt wins this year, it will not make him a better prospect than Jared Cosart.

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