Positions Of Need
June 7, 2004
PHILADELPHIA--After several pitching-intensive drafts, the Phillies looked to restock their dwindling supply of position-player prospects in the early rounds of the 2004 draft.
They selected 18-year-old outfielder Greg Golson from John Connally High School in Austin with the 21st pick in the first round, then addressed a major need by taking three catchers in the next nine rounds.
As Phillies' scouts assembled for pre-draft meetings, one name kept popping up: Golson. He has the type of athleticism that the Phillies have valued under the Mike Arbuckle/Marti Wolever scouting regime. The Phillies envision him covering center field and burning up the base paths at Citizens Bank Park.
"We had as much interest in Greg as anyone else that went in the first round," said Wolever, the scouting director. "His skills are better than many of the players selected ahead of him."
Golson was the first outfielder taken in the draft.
Baseball America rated Golson as the best high school athlete and the best five-tool high school player in the draft.
Golson, 6-1, 180 pounds, bats and throws righthanded. He hit .487-4-26 this season with 32 runs scored and 20 stolen bases.
Golson's speed rates 80--the highest mark given--on the scouting scale and he has been timed from home to first in 3.8 seconds. He projects as a player who could hit for average and power. Golson has been hitting with a wood bat regularly for a year.
Golson has earned a scholarship to the University of Texas, but he is expected to sign. Last year's 21st pick earned a $1.45 million bonus.
The Phillies were impressed with Golson's makeup and work ethic. His brother, Justin, is a recent Naval Academy graduate who played football at Annapolis.
"We saw Greg play quite a bit," Wolever said. "Nothing ever gets in his way. Once you meet him and his family you're even more impressed."
Golson said one of his strengths is his willingness to be coached.
"I'm always trying to get better," he said, adding that he gave up basketball because "baseball seemed to be going down the right road."
With Mike Lieberthal aging and no catching prospects to speak of, the Phillies redrafted Jason Jaramillo in the second round. The Oklahoma State switch-hitter was rated as the best defensive player in the college ranks by Baseball America. The Phillies also took high school catchers Louis Marson (fourth round) and Charles Creswell (10th). Wolever believes both can be signed.
• The Phillies picked Auburn outfielder Sean Gamble, son of former big leaguer and one-time Phillie Oscar Gamble--in the sixth round.
• The Phillies have never hesitated to take high school players, but they picked only four high school players in the first 18 rounds this year.