Where Does Dariel Alvarez fit in 2015?
By Mike Franz
On July 25th, 2013, the Baltimore Orioles signed Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez. In his final season playing in Cuba, Alvarez batted .272/.343/.392 with Camaguey. After taking a year off, he came over to the United States to play with the Gulf Coast League Orioles in 2013.
He was quickly brought up to Single-A Frederick to play with the Keys after just three games with the GCL Orioles. In 39 at-bats, Alvarez hit .436/.463/.641 with two home runs and seven RBI. He was tested yet again and promoted to Double-A with the Bowie Baysox in the same season.
This past season he started out with the Baysox and really impressed the scouts there. In 91 games played with the team, he maintained a .309 batting average, hit 14 home runs and drove in 68 runs. Just like in 2013, Alvarez was promoted again in the middle of the 2014 season. And just like before, he thrived in the higher level of competition.
Finishing out 2014 with the Norfolk Tides in Triple-A ball, he batted .301/.328/.439 with 20 extra-base hits and 19 RBI in 44 games.
Alvarez has excelled at every level of the Orioles’ Minor League system. The last hurdle he needs to overcome is making it in the Majors. Although this is near certain, the question remains: Will 2015 be the year Orioles’ fans get to see Alvarez put on a jersey with “Orioles” across the chest and play in Camden Yards?
The outfielder played most of his games in center field (98 games) and right field (58 games). If the Orioles sign Nick Markakis to an extension, then both of those spots are locked up. The only options Alvarez has in Baltimore are left field and designated hitter.
He has never played left field while in the Orioles’ farm system. The designated hitter role may suit Alvarez well. With 15 collective home runs hit in 2014, there is some pop in the 26-year-old’s bat. Also, looking at his numbers, Alvarez will hit and hit with consistency which is something the Orioles need moving forward in 2015.
This player has got some talent and would be a spark in the lineup if given the chance. Time will tell if Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette choose to bring him up to the Majors in 2015. Needless to say, this Spring Training is going to be a very important one for Alvarez.