With Opening Day less than a month away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2016 Orioles every day as they try to return to the playoffs for the third time in five years this season.
OF Dariel Alvarez
Contract status: Under contract at least through the 2021 season
2015 stats: .241/.290/.379, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R, 0 SB, 31 PA
Why to be impressed: The Cuban outfielder may have the best throwing arm in the organization and recorded 10 assists for Triple-A Norfolk in 2015. Alvarez posted a .792 on-base plus slugging percentage against left-handed pitching for the Tides last year, making him a potential platoon partner in the Orioles outfield at some point this season.
Why to be concerned: A .729 OPS in the International League in 2015 doesn’t exactly scream that Alvarez is ready for an extended stay in the majors, and manager Buck Showalter offered him just 31 plate appearances when he was promoted to the big leagues in late August. Rapidly approaching a non-prospect age, Alvarez is another hitter in the Orioles system incapable of drawing walks.
2016 outlook: After Alvarez posted impressive numbers at Double-A Bowie in 2014, it was disappointing to see last season’s drop-off and you now wonder if he’ll be anything more than a bench player. The likelihood of Mark Trumbo being the everyday right fielder now makes it very likely that Alvarez will begin the year in Norfolk, barring injuries.
2016 not-so-scientific projections: .245/.280/.380, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 13 R, 1 SB, 115 PA