AFL Scout's View: Greg Golson

When the Phillies took outfielder Greg Golson with the 21st overall pick in 2004, they knew he was raw, but they were also willing to wait.

Golson showed flashes of being a five-tool player as an amateur in high school in Texas, but speed has been the only constant to his game in three years as a pro--and even that has been more valuable in center field than it has been on the basepaths.

After scuffling to handle the strike zone for two seasons in the lower levels of the minors, Golson was promoted to Double-A in 2007 . . . where it was much of the same story. He carried a 49-2 strikeout-walk ratio in just 153 at-bats at Reading, and ended up leading the minors with 173 whiffs.

There is no questioning Golson’s skill-set, but the inability to make consistent contact might ultimately rank him with the Reggie Taylors of the world when it's all said and done.

But scouts haven’t given up on Golson, and neither have the Phillies--which makes sense, considering they handed him a $1.475 million bonus.

He shows the ability to hit for power, his speed is an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale and while he’s a plus-plus defender in center, Golson has taken over right field for the Peoria Saguaros this fall where it gives him more of an opportunity to show off another tool--his plus arm strength.

We caught up with a veteran National League scout to give us a breakdown of what he’s seen out of Golson in a brief look this fall:

"He’s improved so much," the scout said. "I know that’s hard to believe given the amount of strikeouts he’s had, but I’m a believer and I know I’m far from the only one.

"I didn’t think he’d ever have the tools to play when I saw him as an amateur--he was just real rough at the plate and I didn’t think he’d have enough instincts, but his tools are very, very good.

"It doesn’t surprise me he led the minors in strikeouts because he’s still a is a top-hand, layout guy that’s knobbed up right away so the low pitch--wherever it is in the zone--is going to kill him.

"But he’s an 80 arm with 80 speed . . . those guys with those kind of tools . . . if he figures it out . . . wow. He could be a late bloomer.

"This is one of those guys that you don’t ever want to give up on despite what the numbers say. You fall in love with him. It’s hard not to. And this is a smart kid who just turned 22. If he leaves his brain in the clubhouse and just goes out there and reacts, he’s one of the best prospects in the game. I know that can be a pretty big if with some guys, but you can’t just throw this guy away."