When spring training began in 2015, the New York Mets' bullpen was far from an established group. Injuries, suspensions, and poor performance created many opportunities for a fringe player like left-handed relief specialist Dario Alvarez, but unfortunately Alvarez failed to seize his chance last season. This season holds another chance for Alvarez to break through and become an everyday big league player, but the expanded crop of left-handers on the Mets' roster creates a difficult challenge for Alvarez, who was sent to minor league camp earlier today, this season.
A spot for a left handed reliever in the Mets bullpen was ripe for the taking last year. The Amazins’ had lost Josh Edgin and Jerry Blevins to injury and Jenrry Mejia to suspension. Alex Torres struggled with command issues. Alvarez didn't make the Opening Day roster and spent the majority of the 2015 season split between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas. The Dominican native excelled at striking out minor league batters, with 62 strikeouts in 42 innings in his time there. He joined the Mets as a September call-up but didn't play much. Totaling only six appearances, Alvarez had a 12.27 ERA in three innings pitched.
Looking ahead, Antonio Bastardo, Jerry Blevins, Sean Gilmartin, a potentially-fully recovered Josh Edgin, and Josh Smoker could prevent Alvarez from getting much major league time this year. Alvarez faces mixed projections in 2016, as it is hard to anticipate how much time he will actually spend in MLB. If it does play out that he spends a significant time with the Mets, he's projected to be about average, posting an ERA somewhere in the mid-to-upper-3s with roughly just above one strikeout per inning.
It’s a steep hill to climb, but its not impossible that we'll see Alvarez with the Mets this season. But the most likely scenario is that has 27 year-old will spend the grand majority of his season as depth in Triple-A Las Vegas.