No position player in the Mariners system had a better 2017 season than Eric Filia. It's going to be a while before anyone gets to see what he can do for an encore in 2018.
The Mariners' No. 21 prospect was suspended for the first 50 games of the season after his second positive test for a drug of abuse, the Commissioner's Office announced Friday afternoon.
A 20th-round pick out of UCLA in 2016, the 25-year-old outfielder jumped out of the gate in his first full season, hitting .326/.407/.434 with five homers, five triples and 28 doubles in 128 games at Class A Advanced Modesto in 2017. Those numbers earned him spots on the California League's end-of-season All-Star list as well as the MiLB.com's Mariners Organization All-Stars squad. He continued to rake in the Arizona Fall League, where he proved to be one of the prospect showcase's best hitters. Filia won the AFL batting title with a .408 average over 22 games with Peoria and also led the circuit in on-base percentage (.483), OPS (1.088) and hits (31).
2018 Minor League suspensions
The left-handed-hitting outfielder/first baseman was scheduled to begin 2018 at Double-A Arkansas and looked like one of the bright spots in a relatively weak Mariners system.
This is not Filia's first run-in with discipline as part of a baseball program. During his time at UCLA, Filia was suspended from school for 2014-15 for a plagiarized philosophy assignment, though he returned to college the following year. The Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program defines the following as drugs of abuse: marijuana, hashish, THC, synthetic THC, cocaine, LSD, opiates (such as oxycodone and heroin), ecstasy, GHB and PCP.
"The Seattle Mariners are disappointed that Eric Filia has violated the terms Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," the team said in a statement. "Our organization fully supports the program and its efforts."
The Commissioner's Office announced three other suspensions for violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Cubs right-hander Wilfre Delgado and Red Sox right-hander Antonio Police received 72-game bans after positive tests for the performance-enhancing drugs Stanozolol and Boldenone, respectively, while free agent right-hander Joel Romero, who was released by the Mets on Oct. 12, will miss 80 games (once he signs with a new club) following a positive Stanozolol test. All three pitchers have played exclusively in the Dominican Summer League.
These are the first four Minor League drug suspensions of 2018.