Well, Javon Moran is having a good season (hitting .298 with 24 stolen bases) at Reading, but that doesn't mean there's not room for another speedster with a good bat.
Golson was putting up plenty of good numbers himself this season with Clearwater. Coming into play Wednesday, Golson was leading the Florida State League in hits (119) and ranked in the top five in stolen bases (25), doubles (27), extra-base hits (42) and runs scored (66). Earlier this season, Golson was named the Phillies Minor League Player of the Month for April when he hit .308 with nine doubles, eight stolen bases and 16 runs scored and played in the Florida State League All-Star Game where he stole a base and scored a run for the West Division team.
Golson, who was the Phillies first round pick in the 2004 Draft and came in with fans expecting a lot from him because of his first round status. Others though expected him to struggle and thought that perhaps the Phillies had reached a little when choosing Golson. It all led to a tough time for Golson when he made it to the pro ranks. "I came in with the expectation that I was going to struggle and when I heard that, I was like 'what are you talking about' and I wanted to prove to everybody that I wasn't going to struggle," believes Golson. In trying to show that he wasn't going to struggle, guess what? Golson didn't struggle, hitting .298 in the Gulf Coast League. The problem really came when he tried to prove the same thing when he was moved to Lakewood the following season. That's when the struggles started and they got even worse in 2006 when the Phillies didn't promote him and again sent him to Lakewood. "When I got sent to Lakewood, I wanted to prove to people too much that I belonged in Clearwater," said Golson. It turned out to teach him though as he learned an important thing about professional ball. "All this has just helped me learn that I've got to let stuff happen and be relaxed," said Golson.
When you're judging Greg Golson, you have to keep in mind that he could have easily headed off to college - he had a scholarship to the University of Texas in hand, which is tough for a kid from Austin to give back - and played college ball. In that scenario, he might have just been drafted less than two months ago having completed his senior season. Golson is just 21 and has gained a lot of experience with the decision to go pro and knows that the additional games that he's played as a pro helped him more than his time in college would have. "I started my career early and a lot of the problems that I'm working on right now, I don't think that I would have gotten a chance to work on them in college," said Golson. In fact, Golson is familiar with this year's first round pick, Joe Savery because the two played together in high school showcase games. "We had our showcase at Minute Maid in Houston and we were using wood bats and he was the only guy that hit the ball out of the park as a junior in high school, so I always thought that he was a real good hitter. I didn't even know he was pitching until I saw him on the National Championships," laughed Golson.
Now that Golson is in Reading, if he looks very closely, he can see Philadelphia off in the distance. After all, some of his former teammates are now in Philadelphia as members of the big league club. Seeing former teammates Mike Zagurski, who he played with this season in Clearwater and Kyle Kendrick, who he roomed with earlier in his minor league career, as members of the Phillies has given him a lot of inspiration. It's also helped because he knows that both of those players also hit rough spots in their minor league career and succeeded. "He [Kendrick] was contemplating 'what am I doing with my life?' and now he's in the big leagues," recalls Golson.
Before too long, there may be another minor league player remembering watching Golson go through his struggles only to see him wind up in the Majors.
It's funny how some of these things work.
Audio Extra: Premium users can take advantage of our audio vault. Greg Golson was a guest on Philly Baseball News Radio and talked about a number of things, including a potential promotion to AA Reading.
Greg was selected to the FSL Western Division All-Star team where he stole a base and scored a run. He was also selected to compete in the Outfield Throwing and Base running Competitions.