Two of the top prospects in the Phillies' farm system these days are centerfielder
, 22, and catcher
, 21, both of whom are playing in double-A Reading.
Golson, the team's first-round pick in the June 2004 draft, is hitting .322 with six homers, 32 RBIs. Marson, the team's fourth-round pick in 2004, is hitting .344 with two homers and 33 RBIs.
"Defensively, Golson could play center field right now in the big leagues," Phillies minor-league director Steve Noworyta said.
The problem has been Golson's bat. He entered this season hitting .260 in four seasons in the minor leagues. But most alarming were his strikeouts for somebody who did not hit with much power. He struck out 173 times with 15 homers in 571 at-bats last season for single-A Clearwater and Reading. He has struck out 48 times in 163 at-bats this year.
"I think they'll continue to go down because of what he's doing with his approach at the plate," Noworyta said. "It's the improvement of making contact and being able to handle the outer half of the plate. That's been a big improvement for him."
Noworyta said Golson once again projects to be an everyday player in the big leagues.
He said the same for Marson, who also is hitting the ball much better than he had in the past.
"He's improving offensively, and he already calls a good game," Noworyta said. "The pitchers like throwing to him."
Could a promotion to triple-A Lehigh Valley or better be in the future?
"Lou is a high school kid who has made his way up to double A, and right now we want to continue to see what he can don at double A," Noworyta said. "Golson, if he keeps swinging this way, it could be soon. It could be all-star break. He's done well. If he's not in the big leagues, we have to see what he can do in triple A. But I think it won't be any different than what he's doing in double A."
It's certainly not a stretch to think Golson could be in a Phillies uniform in September, when the team can expand its roster. Golson can play excellent defense, and he can run. Manuel probably would not mind having an option like that late in the game.
will open the series against the Florida Marlins tonight. He is 0-5 with a 6.92 ERA in his last seven starts. Much as
needed a win - he won his first game since last September on Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies - manager
says said a win could work wonders for Myers' confidence.
"I think it definitely could help him," Manuel said.
The Phillies play nine of their next 13 games against the Marlins and the Atlanta Braves. They open a 10-game road trip through Atlanta, Florida and St. Louis on June 6 at Turner Field in Atlanta.
is scheduled to start for single-A Clearwater on Monday against Tampa. He originally had been scheduled to pitch Sunday.
returns to Citizens Bank Park for the first time since the Phillies designated him for assignment and ultimately traded him to the Marlins on April 5.
Helms is hitting .235 with three home runs and 15 RBIs for the Marlins. As part of the trade, the Phillies are paying all of Helms' $2.15 million contract this season, although the Marlins are paying his $750,000 buyout for a 2009 club option.
"It's been good for me and good for them," Helms said. "I have no hard feelings. I understand. I just couldn't find my swing over there. Coming over here, I've gotten a lot of at-bats. My role is like it was in '06. I feel like I'm in a good routine."
The Phillies have moved up the NL East standings in recent days largely because of their hot hitting. Here's how they compare to their division foes over the last eight games:
Team (Rec) H-AB Avg.
Phillies (6-2) 99-301 .329
Braves (4-4) 69-261 .264
Mets (3-5) 71-289 .246
Marlins (5-3) 64-272 .235
Nationals (3-5) 61-270 .226
Marlins (Hendrickson, 7-2) at Phillies (Myers, 2-6),