By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
6:00 AM EDT, August 23, 2013
Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez is off to a promising start, hitting .425 through his first 11 professional games in the Orioles organization.
Despite a 0-for-4 night on Thursday, Alvarez is 13-for-31 in eight games for high Class-A Frederick, including five multi-hit games in that span.
It’s a small sample size, but the early reviews on the 24-year-old Alvarez are that he’s a promising aggressive hitter with promising power and a strong arm who could move through the Orioles’ minor league system quickly.
Alvarez reportedly received an $800,000 signing bonus last month.
On Wednesday night, Alvarez displayed his power with a solo homer to left field in the sixth inning, taking a quick, powerful swing on a 1-2 fastball that drew oohs and ahhs from the crowd in Frederick.
Alvarez could finish this season in the Carolina League but might also be added to a playoff roster at a higher-level affiliate -- Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk are both in postseason contention.
Ultimately the organization’s goal is for Alvarez to continue to build professional at-bats. He is a likely candidate to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
Fellow Cuban defector Henry Urrutia, who began his pro career at Double-A Bowie, needed just 67 games before making his major league debut last month.
Alvarez won’t get that many games in 2013. But given the power he’s already displayed, the organization believes he could help the major league club sooner than later, possibly in 2014.
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