Eric Filia Scouting Report & Game Video
Dates Observed: June 1-3, 2018
Team/Organization: Arkansas Travelers (Seattle Mariners)
League/Level: Texas League (Double-A)
Scouting Notes: All Eric Filia has ever done as a pro is hit for average—at an exceptional clip—in every single league at which he’s played. In early June 2018, fresh off returning from a drug of abuse (marijuana) suspension, the Seattle Mariners traded him to the Boston Red Sox as the PTBNL in the Roenis Elias deal — after failing a physical with Boston, Filia was then returned to the Seattle Mariners … Filia has a thick frame, particularly through his top half with strong, broad shoulders; some football-playing experience in his background, but he’s plenty athletic even with a little bulk; good flexibility and exceptional quick-twitch movements for baseball, particularly in his hands and wrists at the plate. Decent foot speed considering size, and it’s improved every time I’ve seen him; timed him 4.35 up the line last summer with Modesto; later, got him at 4.28 at the Arizona Fall League last November; then, last week in the Texas League, I had him 4.24 up the line, along with 4.73, 4.74, and 4.78 turns at first base, and an 8.32 sliding double. Foot speed and first-step quickness have both improved … Defensively, he’s somewhat limited; accuracy and carry on throws are both fine, but he lacks ideal arm strength to play right field every day, which has thus far to date been his primary position in the minor leagues. The Seattle Mariners have experimented with him at first base some, and maybe he’ll find a home there, but he lacks raw power ideal for that (or a corner outfield role). Most likely, he’ll move around between left field, right field, first base, and designated hitter to get his bat in the lineup as often as possible and mix and match based on need against opposing pitchers. Wherever/however he fits defensively, he’ll tread water—slightly below-average to average—but don’t expect him to stand out … The real story of Eric Filia’s career to date has been his truly exceptional hit tool. Filia has it all: barrel control, full plate coverage, ability to hit with authority to all fields, strong pitch tracking skills, understanding of sequencing and how he’s being set up, exceptional balance and explosiveness without getting out on his front foot, and above-average bat speed through the zone to produce line drive pop with regularity. He’s not going to produce a ton of power with his all-fields approach, but Filia has a truly preternatural ability to put the barrel on the ball the likes of which I’ve never seen before at this level … Reputation/character concerns held by other evaluators—most of whom have little to no on-site experience with Eric Filia and his teammates–mean nothing to me; he made a dumb decision in college years ago (plagiarism), grew from it, and then made a separate dumb decision (marijuana) for which he paid dearly earlier this year; unrelated incidents, and Filia came to grips with the 2018 suspension and owned the mistake like he should have. He has three children—a five-year-old and twin infants—that have matured him, and I’ve yet to find a teammate or opponent who knows Filia who doesn’t rave about him as a person and a player … For me, taking all his tools into account, Eric Filia is a bona fide 60 FV prospect with at least a legit 70 FV hit tool; he needs to be in the right lineup to really flourish, considering his lack of over-the-fence power despite playing a defensive position that essentially requires it, but if the Seattle Mariners feel like they can effectively use him in as a two-hole hitter who will hit for average and get on base at a prodigious clip without being expected to hit too many home runs, he’ll fit. I haven’t personally been this high on a prospect since seeing the Texas Rangers‘ Jose Trevino catch in 2016, and all Trevino has done since then is win two straight minor league Gold Glove awards as the best defensive catching prospect in all of baseball who now waits on the doorstep of the big leagues. In that same vein, Eric Filia has been the best hitter in the minor leagues the last 18 months, and at least as far as hitting for average is concerned, I don’t see that slowing down too significantly once he reaches The Show. We’ll see soon enough whether I’m right.
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