Phillies happy with Day 1 selections06/07/2004 11:50 PM ET
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Already deep in pitching throughout the
organization, the Phillies entered the First-Year Player Draft looking to fill in with players who can catch the ball behind them.
The Phillies walked away from Day 1 pleased with their
initial haul, in which they selected 11 position players from among 18 picks, and nine of their first 11 selections overall.
Leading the way was lightning-fast center fielder Greg Golson, a product of John Connally High School in Austin, Texas. The Phillies are also excited about Oklahoma State catcher Jason Jaramillo (62nd overall). The Phillies selected the switch-hitter four years ago out of a high school in Wisconsin, but he opted for college.
"He's a switch-hitter, and we think he has a chance to be a very good big leaguer," said Marti Wolever, the team's director of scouting.
Philadelphia took two other high school catchers: Louis Marson, from Coronado High School in Colorado, and Charles Creswell from Perryton High School in Texas. Both could head to college, but Wolever hopes that won't be the case.
"We have a good feeling about signing both of them," Wolever said.
With Mike Lieberthal approaching his 33rd birthday (in January) and former top prospect Johnny Estrada calling games for the Braves, the Phillies focused on catching more than in previous years.
"I think this year had a little more catching depth than in the past couple of drafts, and by that I'm talking about rounds two through eight or nine," said Mike Arbuckle, assistant general manager/scouting and player development. "Most organizations are struggling to come up
with good catching, and I think it's a product of society.
"Catching is tough. It's dirty. You get beat up. It takes a special mentality for a young kid to want to start catching. It takes a special mentality. That's not a position most guys like."
The Phillies took a break form the offense to select
Northwestern University left-hander James Happ (92), and took Oregon State righty Andrew Baldwin (152) after Marson.
Following Baldwin, the Phillies took six straight position
players, then five straight pitchers. Of the 18 picks, only four were in high school.
"We think Greg (Golson) is going to have some good teammates coming up," said Wolever. "We got some players in those first 10 rounds who we think have a chance to be good Major League players."
The Phillies also feasted on college players on Day 1, to the tune of 14 of their 18 selections.
The Phillies selected Sean Gamble, son of former big league outfielder Oscar Gamble, with the 182nd overall pick.
As with any draft, the Phillies hope to see "a player and a half" at the Major League level some day.
"[Paul Owens] Pope always told me, if you get a player and a half every year in the big leagues, it's a good draft, and I believe that," Arbuckle said. "I try to work on the philosophy of two decent players a year. If we can do that, hopefully one is a front-line guy, maybe the other is a role player."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.