Dariel Alvarez with the Norfolk Tides at the Triple-A All-Star Game in July 2015. (Photo by Minda Haas and UCinternational via Wikipedia.)
A few days ago, I blogged about Dariel Alvarez and Henry Urrutia, former Cuban baseball players and former Baltimore Orioles, who are playing for Los Charros de Jalisco in the Mexican Pacific League playoffs. After highlighting Henry’s career, I promised to share Dariel’s story.
Dariel Alvarez was born on November 7, 1988, in Camagüey, Cuba. He played for the Ganaderos de Camagüey in the Cuban League from 2006 to 2012. There he had a batting average of .297 with 37 home runs and 180 RBIs. He also pitched in three seasons in Cuba – 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2009-10. In 22 games over those three seasons, he had an ERA of 3.62 and a win-loss record of 1 and 4.
Alvarez defected to Mexico in 2012, and played for Los Tigres de Tuxpan in La Liga Invernal Veracruzano (the Veracruz (Mexico) Winter League). According to The Baltimore Sun, Alvarez hit .317 in 192 plate appearances with Tuxpan (other sources had similar, but not quite the same stats). In July 2013, he signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles and received an $800,000 signing bonus. Unfortunately, his career with the Orioles was full of twists and turns.
Initially, Alvarez was assigned to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League (GCL) Orioles in August 2013, but was quickly promoted to the high-A Frederick Keys. He then spent a couple weeks with the Keys before being promoted to the double A Bowie Baysox on August 26, 2013. He spent that fall in the Arizona Fall League with the Surprise Saguaros, who are affiliated with the Orioles and a few other teams.
Alvarez spent the first half of the 2014 season in Bowie and represented the Baysox in the All-Stars Futures game in July. He was then promoted to the triple A Norfolk Tides, where he stayed through the 2015 season. He was called up to the Orioles on August 28, 2015. He found himself in Norfolk again for the beginning of the 2016 season, though was recalled to the Orioles on July 4 (returning to Norfolk on July 7) and again on July 22 (returning on July 26).
In March 2017, the Orioles announced that they’d decided to convert Alvarez to a pitcher; after all, he’d had pitching experience in Cuba. However, after experiencing elbow soreness, an MRI showed that he would need Tommy John surgery. In early April that year, the Orioles released Alvarez from his contract, but then signed him to a minor league contract five days later. The surgery was performed on April 18, 2017. The following April, Alvarez was assigned to the low-A Delmarva Shorebirds and immediately placed on the disabled list. He began a rehab assignment with the GCL Orioles on June 25, 2018. According to Baseball America, the Orioles assigned him to the Mexican Pacific League in late September.
Alvarez and the Orioles soon parted ways, however, when Alvarez elected free agency on November 2, 2018. Alvarez remained with the Charros de Jalisco through the end of the season (and is currently with the team for the championship series between Jalisco and Los Yaquis de Obregón began last night). Just last week, Los Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican Baseball League announced that they had signed Alvarez for the 2019 season.
I guess I’ll be a Toros fan this year!