2016 Orioles preview: Pedro Alvarez

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With Opening Day less than three weeks 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.

March 1 – Adam Jones
March 2 – Chris Tillman
March 3 – Jonathan Schoop
March 4 – Brad Brach
March 5 – Nolan Reimold
March 6 – Yovani Gallardo
March 7 – Matt Wieters
March 8 – T.J. McFarland
March 9 – Dariel Alvarez
March 10 – Brian Matusz
March 11 – J.J. Hardy
March 12 – Mychal Givens
March 13 – Ryan Flaherty
March 14 – Ubaldo Jimenez
March 15 – Mark Trumbo
March 16 – Darren O’Day

DH/1B Pedro Alvarez

Age: 29

Contract status: Under contract through the 2016 season

2015 stats (with Pittsburgh): .243/.318/.469, 27 HR, 77 RBI, 60 R, 2 SB, 491 PA

Why to be impressed: The second overall pick of the 2008 draft has homered 27 or more times in three of the last four seasons and possesses a left-handed swing suited perfectly for Camden Yards. Alvarez has also decreased his strikeout rate over the last couple seasons while slightly elevating his walk rate to improve his overall offensive value.

Why to be concerned: Manager Buck Showalter has suggested that Alvarez will see some opportunities to play defense, but everything about his history says he should solely be a designated hitter. For a team already possessing too many one-dimensional power hitters, Alvarez sports a career .309 on-base percentage and an abysmal .601 on-base plus slugging percentage in his career against lefties.

2016 outlook: Alvarez’s addition would have been much more intriguing if the Orioles didn’t already have Mark Trumbo, who is now projected to be the starting right fielder despite his own defensive limitations. The AL is perfect for Alvarez, but he is a “light” version of Chris Davis, meaning he won’t homer quite as often, strike out quite as often, or walk quite as often.

2016 not-so-scientific projections: .245/.316/.473, 29 HR, 68 RBI, 64 R, 3 SB, 473 PA

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