SEATTLE -- If there was any question whether Mariners prospect Eric Filia got the attention of general manager Jerry Dipoto with his outstanding Arizona Fall League season, rest assured. Dipoto revealed in his second weekly Wheelhouse Podcast on Wednesday that the 25-year-old will be given a chance to make a
SEATTLE -- If there was any question whether Mariners prospect Eric Filia got the attention of general manager Jerry Dipoto with his outstanding Arizona Fall League season, rest assured. Dipoto revealed in his second weekly Wheelhouse Podcast on Wednesday that the 25-year-old will be given a chance to make a big jump up the organizational ladder next year.
"He's doing things now to force you to notice who he is," Dipoto said of Filia, who won the Arizona Fall League batting title at .408 after hitting .326 during the 2017 regular season for Class A Advanced Modesto. "It was a true breakout season. Eric has done nothing but hit from the day he stepped into a Mariner uniform."
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After missing two seasons at UCLA due to injury and suspension, Filia wasn't drafted until the 20th round in 2016, and he was older than most of his competitors at Modesto. But Dipoto noted Filia excelled when pushed up in competition in the Fall League, and now he will be given a chance to advance quickly in 2018.
"Next year he'll play at 26 years old, we feel it's a chance to move two or maybe more levels," Dipoto said. "You can do the math if it's maybe more."
Two levels of advancement would put Filia at Triple-A Tacoma, three would be in Seattle. Dipoto said Filia is drawing internal comparisons to Daniel Nava of the Red Sox, if he can prove capable of playing the corner infield and outfield positions. Mostly he just needs to keep hitting.
"He understands how to manage an at-bat as well as anybody in our organization," Dipoto said. "It's not a huge power bat, more of a contact, gaps bat. He has a .422 on-base percentage [in two years in the Minors]. Guys who do that play in the big leagues. That's as simple as I can make it."
Dipoto talked in depth on a number of other topics in the 50-minute Podcast with Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith, including some insight into the hiring of new coach Jim Brower, who will essentially be a second pitching coach to supplement Mel Stottlemyre Jr.
The third-year GM also gives his thoughts on Dr. Lorena Martin and his belief that she'll help reduce injuries in the organization, plus he gave some interesting analysis on how Pitch-f/x, Statcast™ and Trackman help evaluate pitchers, as well as how spin rate affects what pitchers are trying to do.
Dipoto talked of his own history of both playing on the same Puerto Rican Winter League team with Edgar Martinez and then facing him in the Major Leagues, as well as taking on greats like Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn.
Dipoto also said Kyle Lewis, Seattle's No. 1 prospect, has been working out in Arizona for the past three weeks, rehabbing his right knee after being pulled out of the Arizona Fall League with patellar tendinitis.
"Kyle is a special talent," Dipoto said. "He has all the tools to be a star-quality player. He hits, has power, throws, can defend, run. We want to make sure in taking care of his long-term, we don't put him back on the field until he's ready to run with it.
"He was effective last year in Modesto, dynamic in the brief look we got in the Cal League postseason, he was awesome in the very brief look we had in the Fall League. Now we need to find a time to put all that together and get through a 144-game Minor League season, and we feel like that's in 2018."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.