Before having a big game last night at Harry Grove Stadium, Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez was a guest on the Frederick Keys radio network’s pregame show.
Through his interpreter, O’s minor league coach Ramon Sambo, Alvarez took a few questions from Keys broadcaster Adam Pohl.
The 24-year-old Alvarez talked about playing baseball in the United States. Has it been about what he expected?
“It has been hard, like I expected it to be. I’m facing the pitching I thought I would, but you just do your job when you get to the field and do the best you can do,” he said.
He has certainly been doing that. After going 4-for-9 with a triple and homer in three games in the Gulf Coast League, Alvarez joined the high Single-A Keys on Thursday and went 2-for-5 in his Carolina League debut.
After two hits in that first game with Frederick, he had three in his second and four hits last night, when he went 4-for-5 with a three-run homer in the first inning, two doubles and four RBIs. He finished a triple short of becoming Frederick’s first player to hit for the cycle since Jeff Fiorentino did it on May 2, 2005. The Keys won the game 8-7 over Winston-Salem on a bases-loaded walk in the last of the ninth. Alvarez started that winning rally with a double.
In six games so far between the two teams, Alvarez is 13-for-24 (.542) with four doubles, a triple, two homers and seven RBIs. He has a slugging percentage of 1.042 and OPS of 1.602.
Yeah, nice start for the player the Orioles signed to an $800,000 bonus in July.
“I like to play aggressively and just work hard,” Alvarez said. “Coming from Cuba, that is all we do, play baseball. Whatever I need to do to win the game, I’ll do.”
The outfielder has a very strong right arm and some teams looked at him possibly as a pitcher, he said.
“I did a showcase in Mexico as a pitcher, but decided to stay as a hitter. That is what I’ve been doing all my life,” he said.
So far, that bat has looked good real good on the O’s farm in his first half-dozen games.
In a few days, I’ll check in with Ben Badler of Baseball America to get his scouting report on Alvarez.
Click here to listen to the Alvarez interview.