Q&A with Oklahoma State Commit RHP Luke Matheny (Westminster, 2015)

Shon Plack
Missouri Scouting Director

Luke Matheny (Westminster, 2015) is one the top right-handed arms in Missouri and has recently committed to play college baseball in the Big 12 Conference at Oklahoma State.  Matheny is a 6-foot-2 170-pounder and 2013 attendee of the Midwest Future Games Powered by Under Amour.  At the Future Games, Matheny pounded the strike zone with all of his pitches, throwing only five pitches that missed the strike zone. He showed good knowledge of when to throw what pitched and had no problem throwing any pitch in any count. Mechanically, Matheny has deceptive delivery and an extremely quick arm with smooth rhythm and easy effort, the ball looks to really jump out of his hand. 

Matheny was a member of the Team Missouri at the Junior Sunbelt Games last summer, where he sites Oklahoma State seeing him play. The son of the St. Louis Cardinals Manager, will enter his senior season at Westminster as a three-time State Champion in Missouri Class 4. In 2014, Matheny tallied 73 strikeouts in 48.3 innings, finishing with an ERA of 1.88 and a 6-2 record.  

Below is a glimpse of how Luke Matheny landed at Oklahoma State.  

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Mathney: Since I've already had two siblings go through the recruiting process I kinda knew what to expect and I also had some help from my parents who both went through it. It's still hard trying to figure out what place you think you'll fit in best.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?
Matheny: Location did not play a factor in the decision for me at all. I was prepared to go as far or close as I needed to to play. I told the coaches that I talked to that distance wasn't an issue as long as I was wanted there and would atleast get a chance to make an impact on the team and play.

PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?
Matheny: OSU saw me first in McCallister, OK at the Junior Sunbelt games. They also saw me at the Midwest futures games and another time at Kaufman Stadium for the Midwest scouts association game. They didn't really have any interest in me at that point because I hadn't quite developed my velocity, but then I went to their showcase for a final evaluation in August and threw pretty well and they like me.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in Missouri, and why?
Matheny: Logan Anderson from Fort Zumwalt West, I pitched against them last year and the kid can play. He about broke our scoreboard off me and almost did it again later in the game. He plays hard and has some serious skill. I also got to play with him on the Saint Louis Pirates at the end of the summer and he is a great teammate and never gives up until the game is over, he plays the game how it's meant to be played. Also, Cole Bornhop from Lutheren South. Another kid that can flat out kill the ball and gives a hundred percent until the last out. One of the more talented catchers in the area and a guy that we at Westminster have yet to figure out how to pitch to. 

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were an elite player and became serious about taking your game to the next level? 
Matheny: I was never an "elite" player. Especially not at WCA. I knew as a freshman that I wanted to be like my brother and play in college. I wasn't even on the JV team as a freshman so I knew I needed to start putting in the time and work to get better. My sophomore year I made varsity and had a pretty good year and I've been slowly improving every year since then but I have never really made a huge jump or stood out as an elite player by any means. Now I get to be considered an elite high school player because I'm a committed D1 athlete but I still have to earn being an elite player at that level.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at? 
Matheny: I'm just looking for a program with coaches that are willing to put in the time and effort to develop me and bring out the potential I have as a young pitcher just starting to develop. I also want to go to a place that I will eventually be able to make an impact in the rotation and be one of their main guys after a couple years. I hope to eventually get drafted as well.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are? 
Matheny: My best advice would be just to work hard and give it all you have. I've been fortunate enough to be on an extremely successful team and play under guys that really lead by example and coaches that push us pretty hard. I know it's cliche and cheesy to say work hard but that's really what it boils down to. Once I finally started getting with a pitching coach and a trainer I was able to make big gains and get on people's radars. You only get to play the game so long so just keep striving to make that last. Keep working hard and playing and the game will let you know when you're done. 

PBR: What do you do in the offseason to keep yourself in baseball shape and prepare for the upcoming season.
Matheny: As a pitcher I usually shut down throwing for a few months, usually from September through November. In that time I workout with a strength coach and do mechanical pitching drills with my pitching coach who is Brian Delunas with P3 out of the Bud Dome. My strength coach also works for P3 and Maryville and his name is Josh Kessel. I will start throwing again in November to be ready for my first start in Florida for school ball in May.

PBR: Obviously, winning three state championships at Westminster is special. What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?
Matheny: I think the most memorable thing for me was when Travis Ralls hit the walk off homerun against Lutheren South last season in sectionals. It really got our team going and gave us momentum to finish the last three games of the season.

PBR: What do you like most about Oklahoma State and what were the key factors in making your decision?
Matheny:  I think the coaches are great at Oklahoma state. They showed genuine interest in me and were up front with me through the whole process. I also love the campus and everything around that part of Oklahoma.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision? 

Matheny: I had offers from SLU and Miami of Ohio that I waited until the final decision to turn down. I also had other offers that I turned down earlier from SEMO, and Morehead state. I had scheduled to throw for Dallas Baptist in September but I canceled that after I committed. 

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?
Matheny: The recruiting process really heated up when I came back in town this summer from playing with the Midland Redskins. I joined the STL Pirates for a tournament and there were a lot of schools at that tournament in town. Then I went to New York with the Midwest Mets and sparked some interest there.

PBR: Preview your Westminster team for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals? Name some players that will play a key role at Westminster in 2015. 
Matheny: Our team should be pretty good this year. We won't have the same kind of power players we have had the last couple years but we will be a good team. My brother Jacob, a junior, will be a huge factor in our lineup as our power hitter and as our captain of the field behind home plate. Nathan Scott and Michael Failoni, both seniors, will be big factors in the pitching department as well. We have a lot of juniors coming up that will need to step up and fill in the missing pieces. Nick Glanville will be a big addition at first base and to the lineup. Benjamin Sems will be a returning junior that had a big role last year and will look to be shortstop this year. We have all the potential to be a great playoff team again, but it's not going to come easy. All our young guys need to put in work and learn how we do things here.

PBR: Where to do you play in the summer? And, what has been your most memorable experience with them? 

Matheny: This past summer I played for the midland Redskins in Ohio and played with some of the best high school players from all over. It was cool getting to play with all those guys including Lee Summit West's Alex Lange. Next summer I am leaning towards playing with the Louisville Slugger warriors. That is my younger brothers select team who will be playing in some 18u tournaments for me to join in on. I will go to school in July to start my school and training at OSU.

For More News on Luke Matheny