2011 Top 25 Prospects

ProspectNation 2011: #16 Scott Mathieson- RHP

Scott Mathieson has been a name that has intrigued Phillies fans for several years. A 17th round draft pick in the 2002 amateur draft, out of Vancouver, BC, the right-handed Mathieson rose through the Phillies minor league ranks as a starting pitcher and made his Major League debut with Philadelphia in June, 2006.

That season, Mathieson was on the opening day roster for the Double A Reading Phillies. In 19 starts, Mathieson posted a 10-3 record with a 3.40 ERA and 99 strike outs in 92 2/3 innings pitched. Those efforts earned him a promotion to Triple A Scranton-Wilkes Barre where he went 3-1 with a 3.93 ERA and 36 strike outs in 34 1/3 innings. With such solid stats, the Phillies rewarded Mathieson with another promotion.

The 6-feet-3, 200-pounder stepped up another level but didn’t have the same results, allowing opponents to hit .312 and going 1-4 with a 7.47 ERA in 9 games, 8 of which were starts, with Philadelphia. By September that season, however, he was sidelined with a torn elbow ligament and required Tommy John surgery.

With some bad luck, Mathieson, who represented the Phillies in the MLB Futures Game in 2005, became a rare case in the currently rather common world of big time elbow surgery, when he required an ulnar nerve transposition procedure following 7 rehab outings in August of 2007. By the start of the following season, Mathieson needed to go under the knife for a third time, with a second Tommy John surgery. All together, his rehabilitation process was considerably long, due to his recurring arm trouble.

On the comeback trail, Mathieson pitched at three levels of the Phillies’ system in 2009 and dominated. Combined between time spent with the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies, High A level Clearwater and Double A Reading, Mathieson posted a 4-0 record with an ERA of 0.84 and struck out 34 batters while allowing only one HR in 32 innings pitched. Mathieson followed up his exceptional 2009 regular season with a solid collection of outings in the Arizona Fall League.

As he continued climbing back toward the Majors, exclusively as a reliever, Mathieson’s fastball range was clocked in the high 90’s, which is well up from the 92-93 MPH that he used to average when he initially broke into big leagues.

In 2010, Mathieson, whose pitching repertoire also includes a good slider and a change up that Ryan Madson helped him improve last spring, shined for the Phils’ Triple A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. In 55 games there, he posted a 3-6 record with a 2.80 ERA and 26 saves in 54 games while holding opponents to a .212 batting average.

With the exceptional efforts in the minors and improved velocity, the Phillies recalled Mathieson to the big club in June last season. In a mop-up assignment during an interleague game against Minnesota, Mathieson had a rough outing that got him designated for assignment shortly after. However, the former ace for the Team Canada World Baseball Classic team remained a Phillie and returned to the active roster as a September call up. Mathieson had one more MLB outing in 2010, a 1 2/3 inning appearance against the Brewers in which he allowed an unearned run.

Despite the ups and downs that Mathieson has dealt with, he remains a hurler that could contribute for the Phillies, in a relief role, in the near future.

Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league contributor.  You can read more from Jay by checking out his site, PhoulBallz.com.

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  1. Josh

    January 26, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Last year this guy was robbed out of major league innings because the Phills were unwilling to eat Dannys Biez’s contract or risk losing David Herndon back to the Angles. While I understand the reasoning, it was still a crime to waste this arm in AAA.

    This guy has nothing left to prove at that level and should be given a chance at a full time spot in the 2011 bullpen. At one point he was considered to be a future major league setup man / closer. Kudos to the Phillies for not giving up on him, but the last thing that they should allow to happen is for him to get hurt again while pitching well in the minors. They have invested too much time in him and he has done everything in his power to make a case for a chance at a spot.

    • Pat Gallen

      January 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      Josh, I completely agree with you. However, they made a mistake with Baez and basically have to live with it. The Herndon pickup was a tough one because he looks like he has the tools to be a very good bullpen arm. Still, everyone would surely like to see more of Mathieson. The kid has some tools. Lets see if he can put himself in the mix in March.

  2. tavian

    January 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    If I were Amaro, I would make a decision on Baez in Spring Training. If we let him go, then Mathieson or another deserving Phil would be in the bullpen. To waste Mathieson, after all he has been through, is a sin. He is not getting any younger and after all the medical issues,it is time to make a spot for him or let him get on with his life or career. Baez has made money, and it would be a big mistake to sacrifice the future of a potential bullpen star for a ‘has-been”, if indeed that is what Spring Training tells us about Baez. Moreover, it is also up to Mathieson to show the Phils what he is capable of in Spring Training.

  3. Jay Floyd

    January 27, 2011 at 1:47 am

    I expect to be speaking with Mathieson before the week is over. I was planning to ask something along the lines of if he felt held back at all last season.

    If you guys have more questions for him, let me know here…

    • Josh

      January 27, 2011 at 9:05 am

      While a lot of people, including myself, feel he was held back, he will never admit it. In fact he probably feels a sense of gratitude toward the Phills for sticking with him through two major arm injuries. I guess what I’d like to hear is if he feels ready to pitch in major pressure situations at the big league level.

    • Josh

      January 27, 2011 at 9:06 am

      BTW great article and thanks for the response.

  4. Pingback: ProspectNation Top 25 – So Far… « Phillies Nation

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