Of all the prospects the New York Mets could have considered for a September call-up, left-handed reliever Dario Alvarez wasn’t high on anybody’s list. That’s why it was a surprise to most when the Mets included him among those who got the call to the big leagues on September 1. That said, Alvarez is an intriguing call-up who may have a long-term future with the Mets if all goes well in September.
Alvarez has only been with the Mets for two seasons, but he’s 25 years old, meaning he’s right around the age where most players are trying to break into the big leagues. He originally signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as a teenager in the Dominican Republic, and after three seasons in the Dominican Summer League, Alvarez dropped out of affiliated baseball for three years. He resurfaced in 2013 with the Mets’ minor league affiliate in Brooklyn, where he put together a solid season, making 12 starts and putting up an ERA of 3.10.
Alvarez has spent most of 2014 in Low-A ball, moving back and forth between starting and relieving, and dominating every step of the way. He has struck out 95 in 61.1 innings with an ERA of 1.32. It wasn’t until August that the Mets started moving him up the ladder, giving him just 12 innings above Low-A ball before his call up to the majors. However, that doesn’t mean he’s unprepared for the big leagues and destined to fail.
Alvarez throws his fastball in the low 90s, which is plenty of velocity for a lefty reliever, and he complements that with a slider that features plenty of movement. That may not sound like much, but it could be enough for Alvarez to survive in the majors as a lefty specialist.
Even in his brief stint at Double-A, Alvarez allowed just four hits in 5.2 innings while striking out nine. He doesn’t have a lot of experience against upper-level hitters, but he may have the stuff to get them out, and that’s something fans should find out if Alvarez makes enough appearances for the Mets in September.
With a strong performance in September, Alvarez could easily become a part of the Mets’ plans for 2015. They could use a second hard-throwing lefty out of the bullpen to complement Josh Edgin, and outside of Alvarez, there aren’t a lot of candidates from within the organization.
That need is part of the reason why the Mets decided to give Alvarez a call up in September, and it’s a big reason why he’ll be one of the more intriguing young players on the Mets’ roster throughout the month of September.