Darvill making most of Arizona Fall League opportunity
Versatile infielder gets unexpected call to extend playing season
MESA, Ariz. -- Wes Darvill didn't waste his first at-bat in the Arizona Fall League. The Cubs prospect hit a home run, a two-run shot in the eighth inning, on Oct. 9 in a game in which Albert Almora and Kris Bryant also homered.
Jorge Soler, the fourth Cubs position player on the Mesa Solar Sox, drove in three runs on a double, and he, Almora, Bryant and Darvill finished the game 8-for-14 with 11 RBIs.
"There was some joking around for sure," Darvill said about the Cubs quartet providing the power in Mesa's 13-3 win. "That was awesome. All the Cubs guys had good days. It was definitely fun to watch and fun to contribute."
Darvill has done more watching than playing in the AFL. He was on the taxi squad, which meant he played twice a week. Darvill didn't expect to be playing at all. Top Cubs prospect Javier Baez was originally on the Solar Sox roster but the team decided the shortstop had done enough this season, so Almora was switched from the taxi squad to the regular roster, and Darvill was added.
"He's an interesting player and does a lot of things well on the field and has good instincts," Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, said. "It'll be a nice opportunity for him."
Darvill, 22, began the 2013 season at Class A Kane County, where he batted .347 in 15 games before he was promoted to High A Daytona. A fifth-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, the left-handed hitter batted .253 in 79 games with three home runs and 14 doubles.
He was playing golf and relaxing in Langley, British Columbia, when he got the phone call to tell him his baseball season had been extended.
"I was home, resting, getting close to getting back into my offseason lifting program," Darvill said. "They called me, and I went outside and threw a little bit and hit off a tee.
"I was definitely very excited," he said. "I had to get back into baseball shape. It was probably good I got some rest. I was really excited when I got the phone call."
Darvill isn't the only Langley ballplayer. Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie played at the same high school and was the Brewers' first-round pick in the 2008 Draft.
Aren't all Canadians fitted for hockey skates as soon as they're born?
"I never played hockey," Darvill said, laughing. "I played everything else -- soccer, basketball, football growing up. For some reason, hockey wasn't in the cards for me. ... I'm a rare breed who didn't play hockey growing up."
He was drawn to baseball.
"I think I just always loved baseball growing up," he said. "I loved other sports, too. I liked basketball and football a lot but growing up, my first love was always baseball. I put a ton of work into that. I always enjoyed playing it."
Now, he's wrapping up his extended baseball season as the AFL winds down this week. The Solar Sox have two games remaining to secure the East Division. The AFL championship game will be played Saturday in Scottsdale.
Darvill may not get as many at-bats or as much attention as Almora, Soler or Bryant, but he took advantage of the opportunity to play in the AFL. The Cubs are looking for versatile players and Darvill fits that description. The slender infielder was easy to spot during batting practice. He was the one taking grounders wherever he could, moving from short to third to second.
"I'll be ready wherever they put me, that's for sure," Darvill said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.