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MLB Rookie Report: Dariel Alvarez, OF, Baltimore Orioles

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles promoted outfielder Dariel Alvarez to the major league roster yesterday. Originally signed out of Cuba in 2013, he's spent the last two years primarily at the Triple-A level, looking for a job on the major league bench. His 2014 season was quite good (.306/.330/.472 in the high minors) but his 2015 (.275/.325/.424) was less impressive. He hit .241/.290/.379 in a 12-game trial with the Orioles last summer.

From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:

Dariel Alvarez, OF, Baltimore Orioles
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-2 WT: 180 DOB: November 7, 1988

2014: Grade C; 2015: Grade B-

I gave Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez an optimistic Grade B- last year but that looks like a mistake. He’s not without positive attributes: he has some power, is adept at making contact, and is a competent defensive outfielder. However, he is a very impatient hitter and his OBP is almost entirely dependent on his batting average, which is a big problem when you look like a .260 hitter as Alvarez does. He’ll either need to significantly boost his isolated power or his on-base abilities to play regularly, and unfortunately at age 27 that’s not terribly likely. He still has a chance as a role player and bench asset. Grade C.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY

Alvarez has remained just so-so this year in Triple-A, hitting .271/.309/.363, and the pre-season assessment hasn't changed. On the right day he'll show some nice doubles power but his on-base abilities are spotty and without more home run power (or a seemingly unlikely surge in batting average), there doesn't look like there's enough offense here for him to start regularly for a good team.

He does beat up lefties fairly well (.295/.333/.459 last year, .300/.320/.414 this season) and is a good defender at either corner so he does have the potential to be a useful role player. At his age, huge, sustained improvement seems unlikely. On the other hand, he is right at the age 27/28 window where some players have an offensive surge. It's not happening yet, but I suppose it is possible he could out-perform expectations at some point.