By Contributing Writer: Chuck Boemmel Jr.
Well-known Baltimore Orioles' farmhand, outfielder Dariel Alvarez had a very solid season at the plate in 2016 with the AAA Norfolk Tides. He did not exhibit a lot of home run power, but did lead the International League in doubles and continues to be productive at the plate.
Photo: Patrick Cavey
Alvarez, a 27 year old outfielder for the Norfolk Tides, had a decent season in 2016. Playing in 130 games for the Tides, Alvarez produced a stat line of .288 batting average, .324 OBP, .708 OPS, 49 RBI and four home runs in 524 at-bats.
His batting average was good enough for 14th place in the International League for the season while his OPB and OPS were in the 30’s in IL standings. He also led the league in doubles (38) and was third in hits (151).
Alvarez was also called up to the Baltimore Orioles two separate times in 2016; first appearing as a pinch hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 6th where he walked and then starting against the Colorado Rockies on July 25th in right field where he went 1-3 with a double during a 7th inning game tying rally; a game the Orioles won in 10 innings.
Born in Camaguey, Cuba on November 7, 1988 Alvarez started playing for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series in 2006 at the age of 17. He spent six seasons there playing first base and finished with a .292 career batting average with .345 OBP, .785 OPS, 216 RBI and 45 home runs. Alvarez also pitched in the Cuban National Series going 1-4 with a 3.62 ERA over three separate seasons.
The Orioles signed Alvarez, an international free agent, to a minor league contract on July 24, 2013 and assigned him to the Frederick Keys as an outfielder.
That 2013 season saw Alvarez moved to the Gulf Coast Orioles, moved back to the Frederick Keys and promoted to the Bowie Baysox. His cumulative stats in 2013 were: .342 batting average, .373 OBP, .943 OPS, 10 RBI and one home run.
The 2014 season saw Alvarez start the year in Bowie where he batted .309 with a .332 OBP and .819 OPS. He hit 14 home runs with 68 RBI in Bowie. Selected to play in the MLB Futures Game as well as being named a Mid-Season and Post-Season All Star in the Eastern League, Alvarez earned a promotion to Norfolk on July 17, 2014 and finished the 2014 season there with a .301 batting average, .328 OBP, .767 OPS, one home run and 19 RBI.
Alvarez spent the 2015 season in Norfolk where he played 130 games, hitting .275 with a .305 OBP, .729 OPS, 72 RBI and 16 home runs. These numbers earned him not only Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star accolades in the International League; they earned him a call up to the Orioles on 8/28 where he made his major league debut on 8/28 against the Texas Rangers in Arlington where he went 0-3. Playing in 12 games for the Orioles, Alvarez hit .241 with one home run before being sent to Frederick on 9/3. Alvarez was also voted as having the best outfield arm in the International League for the 2015 season.
Still under team control for two more seasons, Alvarez is expected to be assigned to Norfolk in 2017. His fielding in the minor leagues (.981 fielding percentage in 872 career chances) and bat should earn him a spot in the Orioles outfield in the near future (depending on how the roster takes shape in the off season). Alvarez will need to work on his plate discipline (227 strikeouts in 1695 at bats and 75 walks in 1802 plate appearances) however to be considered a productive hitter in the Major Leagues. All things considered, Alvarez’s future looks bright and we may see him playing in the Orioles’ outfield soon.