High risk, high reward.

The Phillies are labeled as having that philosophy in the first-year player draft, and when things go bad it's a line of thinking that can make a scouting director and organization look awful.

"If you hit, you can get an all-star-type player," a National League scout said. "Miss on them and it doesn't look good at all. I think Greg Golson is the poster child for missing."

If Golson, the Phillies' first-round pick in 2004, is the poster child, then double-A Reading outfielders Anthony Hewitt and Zach Collier are bordering on becoming the first cousins to the pain that is felt when first-round picks with tremendous athletic ability fail. Hewitt and Collier were both taken in the first round in 2008.

"If you're going to make that your philosophy you better be willing to have a lot of patience and you better be OK with not being right all the time," the scout said. "It's more of a problem, of course, when you don't have people to plug the holes."

The Phillies' draft misses are more evident than ever at the moment because the team is struggling and getting very little production from center field and right field at the major-league level.

Immediate help from the minor-league system is not on the way.

On the other hand, Domonic Brown, another player who fits into the high-risk, high-reward category, appears to be making good on his potential after some excruciating growing pains.

"I know they picked him in the 20th round, but everybody thought he was going to play football and they gave him a lot of money," the scout said.

The Phillies gave Brown a $200,000 signing bonus, well above typical 20th-round money.

"They showed a lot of patience with him and they should be commended," the scout said. "It would have been real easy to give up on him. It works both ways. You can be really patient and give them every opportunity and it still doesn't work out. That's Golson."

Marti Wolever, the Phillies' assistant general manager in charge of amateur scouting, admits that the misses make you look long and hard at your approach, but he does not like the label of being a team that selects only high-ceiling athletes.

"We take high ceiling, but if you look back you'll see we're not just a shoot-for-the-moon organization," Wolever said. "We've taken some kids here that have contributed and are more polished. I always call it a balanced approach."

Myriad factors go into the decision, including the current success and makeup of the big-league club.

"Honestly, when you pick at the bottom . . . and you have a club that is in the prime of its career, sometimes it's advantageous in our minds to take players who are further away because it gives them more time to develop," Wolever said. "If they put the tools together, they become an impact guy. If they don't, then you swing and miss. That's kind of the decision we make as we go through the process."

While Hewitt and Collier have struggled, the outfield duo of Aaron Altherr, taken in the ninth round of the 2009 draft, and Kelly Dugan, a second-round pick the same year, have emerged as quality prospects at single-A Clearwater. They were both high school kids who were solid athletes.

"I'm not really sure how to look at it," Wolever said. "A couple of them have had a little more opportunity time-wise and at-bat-wise. A couple of them have been hurt off and on. There are just a lot of growing pains to get where they're at. I think you see a lot of times in not only this organization but a lot of organizations, those type of athletes usually grow into the type of players we thought they would be after they leave the organization."