Greg Golson Looks To Learn His Craft

Greg Golson is the 19 year old centerfielder of the future for the Philadelphia Phillies. He currently patrols centerfield at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, for the struggling BlueClaws after being drafted in the first round of the 2004 draft straight out of John B. Connally High School. In his first stint with a full-season club, Golson is putting up strong numbers in his climb up the Phillies minor league ladder.

Greg Golson believes it has helped him to gain confidence by being able to put up a .300 average through the first 13 games of the South Atlantic League season after putting up a .295 average for the Phillies Gulf Coast team last year.

Despite being one of only a few Phillies prospects drafted out of high school, Golson doesn't believe his lack of experience has hurt him. "The older guys have been giving me pointers. I just have to be open to the suggestions that the older guys and the coaches give me," said Gamble. His lack of experience certainly hasn't hurt his prospect rating. Both Baseball America and rank Golson as the fourth best prospect in the organization . With all of these pressures weighing down the young old outfielder, you would expect him to be pressing every time he takes the field, but he takes it all in stride.

"I really don't worry about prospect ratings because they are based on what you've done, not what you're going to do. You just have to go out there and play your game," explains Golson.

Golson shares a lot of similarities with a young Kenny Lofton. He brings speed to the top of the BlueClaw lineup and a solid defense to center field. Golson is also a threat to lay down bunts and he possesses an ability to get above average breaks on fly balls in the outfield. He's extremely flattered by the Lofton comparisons and says that Lofton is one of the players he looked up to. "(the Lofton comparisons) are flattering. He's actually one of the players I went to Spring Training early to see play. Obviously, anything that got him to the Major Leagues that could help me, it would be nice to pick up," admits Golson.

But Lofton isn't the player Golson looks up to most.

Greg Golson is making the most of his first full season in the Phillies' organization. As their number one pick in 2004, Golson has pressure on him to succeed, although he's taking it all in stride. (Photo by Patrick Teale)
That player would be Torii Hunter, the All-Star caliber center fielder for the Minnesota Twins. Says Golson, "I don't know if I can be that kind of player, but that's the kind of player I would like to be." Hunter is certainly a good role model for the young, budding outfielder and Phillies fans hope that someday they might have that type of player in Golson as their All-Star center fielder.

Golson spent the off-season playing in the Florida Instructional League with many of his BlueClaw teammates. This has served to build a camaraderie among many of the players on the BlueClaws team and install a confidence in their abilities to win. "I got to know guys like Gamble and others in the organization," says Gamble. This familiarity of the BlueClaw players with each other allows them to have confidence that they will break out of the current slow start to the season and play respectable baseball. "There's a term in baseball; ‘snakebit' and that's what we are right now. In the last couple of games, we've run ourselves out of innings but we know we have a good team and that we just haven't put it all together yet," believes Golson. "Most times we fight back and we think we can win."

If Golson's production holds up throughout a healthy portion of the season, does he think he might be due for a plane ticket to Clearwater before the season is out? "It doesn't matter where I play. I'll play wherever I can," says Golson. He justifies his high prospect rating every time he steps on the field with both his defensive and offensive prowess. With the center field door in Philadelphia revolving as it is, Golson could find himself playing 70 miles west of Lakewood at Citizens Bank Park sooner rather than later if he continues his ascent through the Phillies system.

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