Phillies Prospect #6: Greg Golson

Last season, Greg Golson took a big step forward when he showed some of the power potential that scouts thought would be there all along. Now, he just has to get on base a little more and the whole package will be there.

Acquired: Selected by the Phillies in the 1st round of the 2004 Draft.

B:T: R / Height: 6' 0"   Weight: 190 lbs.

Birth Date: September 17, 1985

2007 Team: Clearwater (99 g), Reading (37 g)

Positions Played in 2007: LF (132 g), RF (1 g)

School: Connally High School (Texas)

Last Year's Ranking: 13

Why he moved from #13 to #6: Greg Golson finally started to show all facets of his game last season at Clearwater. After playing with the Threshers for the last part of the season in 2006, Golson started last year with the Threshers and improved on every part of his game. The biggest jump was in his power numbers, going from 18 career home runs over his first three seasons to 12 last season with the Threshers. Golson also started last season with a career .254 average, but hit .285 at Clearwater, earning himself an in-season promotion to Double-A Reading. While at Reading, Golson was a little slow to adjust to better pitching, but put up respectable numbers for a guy getting his first shot at that level.

Batting and Power:  It was always thought that Golson would show more power than he did in his first three seasons. Some were starting to believe that his power potential had been overrated, but others weren't surprised with he started to hit more longballs as a member of the Threshers. He's never going to have huge power numbers at any level, but can help out with a home run in a key spot here and there. With Golson's speed, the key is to simply get on base and make things happen, but unfortunately, the downside to his game is plate discipline and he needs to walk more and strike out less, because a guy with his speed is wasted when he can only post a career .304 OBP in the minors. A lot of the problem is that Golson tends to think too much at the plate and is looking for one pitch and can't adapt when he gets another, which led to his minor league leading 173 strikeouts in 2007.

Baserunning and Speed: As mentioned, Golson's speed is significant and a huge part of how he plays the game. He swiped a total of 30 bases last season between his two stops and keep in mind, that's even with a weak on-base percentage. He gets a quick first step and uses that on defense to get to balls hit to either side of him in the outfield.

Defense: Golson will sometimes get too aggressive defensively and make mistakes, allowing the door to open for the opponents. He made 7 errors last season and needs to learn when to take chances and when to play it safe defensively. His arm is decent, but his throwing mechanics could use some improvement. As for his arm, Golson can throw out runners with an above average, accurate arm.

Projection: Michael Bourn's progression with the Houston Astros this season should give us at least some indication of the player that Golson could eventually become. Both have speed and use it well, but Bourn is more adept at finding ways to get on base. A lot of Golson's problem is simple youth; he makes the basic mistakes that many young players are prone to make, but he's learning and not repeating as many of the mistakes that he's made in the past. The key is strike zone discipline, since getting on base is the primary thing for Golson to do in his career.

ETA: If he and the Phillies stick to form, Golson should get an in-season promotion to Lehigh Valley, considering that he's jumped a level about two-thirds of the way through each of the last two seasons. In 2006, Golson was even struggling when given the chance to move to Clearwater from the Lakewood BlueClaws. That jump actually went well, as did the jump to Reading last season. If he's in Lehigh Valley by the end of the season, don't discount a late season call for him to join the club late this year. By next spring, he should be fighting for a spot on the Phillies roster.

Comparison: Pedro Feliz has slightly more power, but both are similar offensive players. Both need to get on base more, especially in Golson's case. If he can pull everything together, Golson could become the type of player that Shane Victorino has become with plenty of work on his part, but would likely wind up having a little more power than Victorino has shown so far.

Greg Golson's career stats

YEAR / TEAM HR RBI AVG G AB R H 2B 3B SB BB KO OBP SLG
2004 GCL Phillies 1 22 .295 47 183 34 54 8 5 12 10 54 .345 .410
2005 Lakewood 4 27 .264 89 375 51 99 19 8 25 26 106 .322 .389
2006 Lakewood 7 31 .220 93 387 56 85 15 4 23 19 107 .258 .333
2006 Clearwater 6 17 .264 40 159 31 42 11 2 7 11 53 .324 .472
2007 Clearwater 12 52 .285 99 418 66 119 27 3 25 21 124 .322 .450
2007 Reading 3 16 .242 37 153 20 37 5 2 5 2 49 .255 .359
Minor League Totals 33 165 .260 405 1675 258 436 85 24 97 89 493 .304 .399



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