Dariel Alvarez is not only representing Venezuela in the 2016 Serie del Caribe, he’s representing the Baltimore Orioles. The 27-year old Cuban-born outfielder signed with the O’s in 2013, after defecting to Mexico in 2012. As one of the O’s up-and-coming prospects, I’ve been following his career closely from his 2013 debut with Frederick Keys, to his participation in the All-Star Futures Game in 2014, to his most recent stint with the Orioles in September 2015.
Before we knew him, Alvarez played for the Ganaderos de Camaguey in Cuba from 2006 to 2011. During those six seasons he hit 45 home runs and had a batting average of .292. In the summer of 2012, he defected from Cuba to Mexico where he hit .317 for Tuxpan in Mexico. In January 2013 MLB declared him a free agent and in February 2013 he was approved by the U.S. government to enter into an MLB contract. The Orioles signed him in July 2013 for $800,000.
After signing, Alvarez was sent to Sarasota where he played three games for the Gulf Coast Orioles, hitting .444 with 4 home runs. Next he went to the single-A Frederick Keys where he hit .436 and 2 home runs in 10 games. Alvarez finished off the 2013 season in class AA Bowie, where he hit just .194 in nine games. He spent the off-season with the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.
In 2014, Alvarez started the season with the Bowie Baysox where he hit 14 home runs in 91 games and had a batting average of .309. That July he represented the Orioles in the All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field and then finished the season at AAA Norfok with a batting average of .301 in 44 games. Back in Norfolk for e 2015, Alvarez played in 130 games, hitting .275 with 16 home runs. In July 2015, he won the Home Run Derby at the AAA All-Star Game. At the end of the season he was called up to the Orioles, making his major league debut on August 28, 2015.
This winter, Alvarez played for the Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan League. There he hit .295 with 13 home runs. Aragua won the league championship over Magallanes on January 28, 2016, propelling them into the Serie del Caribe.
I’m looking forwarding to watching Alvarez this week during the Serie and next month at Spring Training. With any luck, we’ll be seeing him in Baltimore real soon!