Phils draft fast outfielder Greg Golson, considered to be the best high-school athlete in the draft, was the team's primary target.

Posted: June 08, 2004

As Phillies scouts hunkered down in their draft war room the last few days, one name was mentioned frequently:

Greg Golson.

The 18-year-old outfielder from John B. Connally High School in Austin, Texas, was a five-tool talent who scouts envisioned chasing down fly balls in center field and burning up the base paths at Citizens Bank Park.

Just after 1 p.m. yesterday, scouting director Marti Wolever selected Golson with the team's first pick, 21st overall. The Phillies had gotten the man they wanted.

"We had as much interest in Greg as anyone else that went in the first round," Wolever said. "His skills are better than many of the players selected ahead of him."

Baseball America rates Golson as the best high-school athlete in the draft and the best five-tool high-school player in the draft. The tools are hitting, power hitting, throwing, fielding and running.

Golson, 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, bats and throws righthanded. He hit .487 this season with 32 runs scored, nine doubles, three triples, four home runs, 26 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.

His speed rates 80 - the highest mark given - on the scouting scale, and he has been timed as fast as 3.8 seconds going from home to first. He projects as a player who could hit for average and power. Golson has been hitting with a wooden 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, the first outfielder taken in this year's draft, 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."

The Phils have a need for position-player prospects after several pitching-intensive drafts and the loss of a handful of high picks because of free-agent signings.

They especially need catching help, and they addressed that by taking three catchers in the first 10 rounds, including second-rounder Jason Jaramillo of Oklahoma State, who was rated by Baseball America as the best defensive player in the college ranks. The Phils also took high-school catchers Louis Marson (fourth round) and Charles Creswell (10th). Wolever believes both can be signed.

The Phillies made 18 picks - seven pitchers - on the first day of the draft, which continues today. They chose Auburn outfielder Sean Gamble, son of former big-leaguer and onetime Phillie Oscar Gamble, in the sixth round.

Contact staff writer Jim Salisbury at 215-854-4983 or jsalisbury@phillynews.com.

Phillies Draft Selections

Pick Player Pos. College/high school

21. Greg Golson CF Connally HS, Austin, Texas

62. Jason Jaramillo C Oklahoma State

92. J.A. Happ LHP Northwestern

122. Louis Marson C Coronado HS, Ariz.

152. Andrew Baldwin RHP Oregon State

182. Sean Gamble CF Auburn

212. John Hardy SS Arizona

242. Samuel Orr SS Biola

272. Andrew Macfarlane LF Treasure Valley CC

302. Charles Creswell C Perryton HS, Texas

332. Carl Galloway 1B Biola

362. Joseph Bisenius RHP Oklahoma City

392. James Adkins LHP Wilson Central HS, Tenn.

422. Jason Martinez LHP Mesa State

452. Zachary Cline LHP West Virginia

482. Kyle Allen LHP Lewis and Clark

512. Ryan Frith RF Southern Mississippi

542. Gregory Isaacson 2B-SS Washington

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