Scott Mathieson will spend part of his spring doing something he's very familiar with; pitching for Canada in international competition. Mathieson will be a member of Team Canada in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. It shouldn't interrupt his regimen too much, since coming into camp, Mathieson already knows that he'll be ticketed for AA Reading when the season begins. Mathieson has pitched on several Canadian national teams, including as a part of their World Cup team last September.
The Phillies weren't sure if they would be able to sign the 6' 4" right-hander when they drafted him in 2002, but figured that he was worth a shot. When it came time to offer a deal, the Phillies came up big and made an offer good enough to convince him to sign, rather than heading off to junior college as Mathieson had originally figured on doing. Mathieson started slowly in his professional career, posting a 5.09 ERA in his first two seasons. Since then though, he's turned things around and has a 4.23 ERA in his last two seasons.
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Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 17th round of the 2002 Draft out of Aldergrove Community High School (Canada).
Repertoire: In 2005, Mathieson pretty much gave up on his curveball and started throwing his slider more. It turned out to be a good move, since his slider is more effective than his curveball ever was and it could become a very effective pitch for Mathieson. His fastball usually hits in the low-90s and sometimes creeps a little higher. He also has an above average change-up that has good movement and keeps hitters well off balance.
Pitching: There never really were any flaws in Mathieson's mechanics. He's got a smooth delivery and is consistent in his release point. He also has good walk / strikeout numbers and is known as a power pitcher. One problem he has though is that his pitches many times stay too much in the strike zone and become hittable. At the lower levels, he could sometimes get away with that, but as he moves up that could be an issue. That was one of the reasons why he gave up 17 homeruns last season, more than he had given up in his three previous seasons as a pro.
Projection: Mathieson should join Giovany Gonzalez and Cole Hamels in the prospect laden rotation at AA Reading in 2005. With the exception of the homeruns, Mathieson's numbers have been improving and there's no reason to believe that AA should be too much of a struggle for him. With the addition of the slider, Mathieson could well become a number two type starter at the major league level. There has been some thought given to converting him to a closer, but that's somewhat on the back burner.
Comparison: His mechanics and maturity rival those of Gavin Floyd and the two have been compared to each other over the last couple of seasons. One scout noted that late in the 2003 season, a light went on for Mathieson and he saw that same sort of spark in Brett Myers last season. He believes that with Mathieson's maturity level and work ethic, he could be poised to get better and better.