The Orioles announced the signing of Dariel Alvarez, a 24-year-old outfielder from Cuba.
Alvarez had modest numbers in his final season Cuba and the skeptical scouting reports to match. Playing for Camaguey in Serie Nacional in 2011-12, Alvarez hit .272/.343/.392 in 319 plate appearances, which puts him a little below league average in both on-base percentage and slugging in the Cuban league, and eighth on his own team in OBP.
Scouts didn’t have many positive things to say about Alvarez. Several scouts said he struggles against live pitching, with an uppercut righthanded swing that has effort in it to try to lift the ball with occasional power. His best tool is his arm, and at one point there was talk about Alvarez converting to pitching, but the Orioles signed him as a hitter.
Alvarez, who is 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, did hit better the previous season in Cuba in 2010-11, when he batted .363/.404/.613 with 20 home runs in 376 plate appearances, his only productive season in the league.
The Orioles said Alvarez will report to high Class A Frederick after reporting to Sarasota this week. His signing is not subject to the 2013-14 international bonus pools.