By Jim Lane
CURVE, Pa. – Like a lot of young people, Wyatt Mathisen admits he didn’t always take care of his body as a kid.
The Curve third baseman had to battle through shoulder injuries and a weight problem early in his pro career, but that appears to be behind him now.
A standout at Calallen High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, Mathisen earned Max Preps All-America honors after hitting .433 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs as a senior.
He committed to the University of Texas, but signed with the Pirates after the Bucs selected him in the second round (69th overall) of the 2012 MLB draft.
“I caught a little in high school,” Mathisen said. “I also played shortstop and did some pitching, but I showcased as a catcher.
“I was drafted as a catcher and caught my first year in the GCL,” he noted. “I moved to third base my second full season at West Virginia.”
He actually was listed at 6-foot-1 and 241 pounds in the media guide, but said he’s playing at 195 or 200, and it’s due to plenty of offseason work.
Mathisen started the 2013 season in West Virginia at the age of 19, but suffered a shoulder injury and eventually had labrum surgery.
“Being young and not knowing how to take care of my body, I just played and didn’t worry about taking care of my body when I was young,” he said. “My weightlifting in high school wasn’t great. It wasn’t baseball oriented.
“Then I hurt my shoulder at West Virginia in 2013 and hurt my leg the next year at West Virginia and was on the disabled list for a month,” he said.
Mathisen played in 103 games and batted .280 for the Power in 2014. He was promoted to Bradenton in 2015 and played a career-high 118 games as the Marauders’ third baseman, hitting 263.
It was back to Bradenton in 2016, but he didn’t play until June because of a shoulder injury. As the club’s third baseman and designated hitter, Mathisen played in 36 games and batted .296.
“I reinjured my labrum and rehabbed the first half of the season,” he said. “When I got on the field, I played well. We won the championship and that made it even better.”
Mathisen said he played at 235 or 240 last season, but is down to 200 this season.
“Since I dropped the weight, it’s been all good,” he said. “In the off season, I cleaned up my diet. I stopped eating carbs, maybe 50 or 60 a day, and I eat a lot of meat.”
He’s been one of the Curve’s best players, playing third base, and earning Eastern League All-Star honors. He started at third base for the Western Division and went 0-for-2 in the game.
“The All-Star Game was good,” he said “It was my first one and the best part was getting to meet new players from the other teams. Plus, my dad and my fiancé came to the game which made it special.”
The move from catcher to third base has played well for Mathisen.
“As a young catcher, I worried a lot about the game and wasn’t able to focus on hitting,” he said. “Moving to third freed up my bat and really helped my hitting. And, now I’m comfortable at third base with my fielding.”
Curve manager Michael Ryan is happy with Mathisen’s play.
“Along with (Edwin) Espinal, Wyatt’s been our most consistent player,” Ryan said. “He’s been really good at third base all year.
“He did a great job in the offseason to get his body ready for this season, and it’s showing,” Ryan added.