The Double-A Mobile rotation has an ongoing, unofficial competition to see who will prove the most durable when all is said and done.
The way David Holmberg's season has been going, you have to like his chances.
The BayBears left-hander provided another extended outing Friday night, allowing four hits while striking out eight over eight innings in a 1-0 blanking of the visiting Jacksonville Suns.
The effort marked the eighth time in 16 starts that the D-backs' No. 7 prospect has lasted at least seven frames. He leads the Southern League with 102 2/3 innings, 11 more than Tennessee's Alberto Cabrera.
"All the starters here, we compete with each other, see who can get the most innings in the least amount of pitches, a little competition," said Holmberg, who did not factor in the decision in the BayBears' walk-off win. "Someone will go nine innings on 100 pitches and then somebody will go eight on 90, so it's a pretty tight race between everyone right now. But I feel pretty confident I can keep my pitches below 20 an inning, and that'll get you pretty deep in games."
The 21-year-old is 4-4 with a 2.45 ERA that places him seventh in the league. He also has 72 strikeouts against 26 walks, with his punchout rate increasing over his last few starts.
Holmberg had recorded at least six strikeouts only twice in his first 13 starts; he's notched six or more in each of his last three outings.
"I don't think it's something I worry about too much, the strikeouts always come," he said. "The real thing we all look at is getting outs and getting your team a chance to win. My catchers [Raywilly Gomez and Rossmel Perez] have been putting us in good counts, and when you get in a good count you can make a good putaway pitch where you want. And that's when they come."
The 2009 second-round pick wasn't too disappointed after coming away without a win Friday, saying he was just excited to see the team walk off.
Second baseman Mike Freeman provided the decisive blow with a two-out double to center field that scored shortstop Nick Ahmed, who walked.
"That was a lot of fun. I'm glad we pulled it out," Holmberg said. "They had a great pitcher going, a big league rehabber, and we hung in and made it happen in the ninth."
Alvarez, a Marlins right-hander making his second rehab start for the Suns, matched Holmberg zero for zero. The 23-year-old right-hander yielded two hits, struck out seven and did not walk a batter over 7 2/3 frames.
Freeman and Ahmed -- the D-backs sixth-ranked prospect -- provided all three hits for the BayBears, with Freeman going 2-for-4.