M's stick with righties, draft Fillinger in 16th

When Seattle drafted Santa Clara University's Chad Fillinger in the 16th round Monday, so continued the Mariners trend of drafting experienced right-handed pitchers. InsidethePark talked to Fillinger's head coach Mark O'Brien to get his take on the 21-year-old control pitcher.

With their 16th round pick yesterday, the Seattle Mariners continued to focus on right-handed pitching by choosing RHP Chad Fillinger out of Santa Clara University.

At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Fillinger became the fourth righty to make his way on the Mariners' draft board at the time.

Santa Clara head coach Mark O'Brien told InsidethePark yesterday that the 21-year-old pitcher "will sign for sure" with Seattle.

Noted for having command of all of his pitches, Fillinger has a heavy fastball with late sink that clocks in anywhere from 88-to-91 mph. He compliments his heater with a hard slider and a changeup that works well to deceive batters.

"He locates his fastball really well," said O'Brien, calling Fillinger one of his "weekend guys."

"Chad throws his slider and changeup for strikes as well."

Fillinger recorded a 5-9 overall record with a 6.08 earned run average as a senior this past season. He made 18 appearances, 17 coming in a starting role, and pitched a team-high 106.2 innings. His 105 strikeouts in 2004 was the second-most in the West Coast Conference

Heading into 2004, Fillinger had compiled a 12-5 record with a 4.94 ERA and struck out 129 in 169.1 innings.

"He's very composed and doesn't get too excited on the mound," said O'Brien. "He just goes out and competes and gives your team a chance to win every team he goes out there."

Fillinger ends his college career with 223 strikeouts, good for eighth-best in Santa Clara history.

Will he have success as a pro?

"He can because he's a strike thrower," said O'Brien. "He'll get some guys out, there's no question."

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