So it should come as no surprise that the two players representing the organization in this year's Futures Game are hurlers Jarrod Parker and Leyson Septimo.
The 11th annual XM All-Star Futures Game, pitting the best Minor League prospects from the United States against the best from the rest of the World, will be held at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on All-Star Sunday, July 12, at 11 a.m. MST. MLB.com will provide complete coverage before, during and after the game, which can be seen live on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on Gameday.
Jarrod Parker, RHP, Double-A Mobile (U.S. Team)
The team's first-round pick (ninth overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Norwell (Ind.) High School lit up radar guns and caught the attention of D-backs scout Mike Daughtry.
Parker, 20, signed a couple of months after the Draft, and the team decided to have him pitch in the instructional league that fall rather than go out on a Minor League assignment.
Last season, he spent the entire year at Class A South Bend, where he was 12-5 with a 3.44 ERA. This year, the team has been more aggressive with him. After he dominated hitters with Class A Visalia -- 0.95 ERA in four starts -- he was promoted to Double-A Mobile, where his success continued.
Parker had a scare recently when he was hit in his right wrist by a line drive on June 13. X-rays and an MRI exam showed no damage, and he was back on the mound on Wednesday and allowed one run on three hits for his fourth win. He is a likely candidate for the big league rotation in 2010.
Leyson Septimo, LHP, Visalia (World Team)
Septimo is one of the more unlikely Futures Game participants, because just two seasons ago he was an outfielder in the Arizona system trying to find his way at the plate. One thing he always possessed was a cannon for an arm, and the organization decided to switch him to the mound in 2008.
In his first season as a pitcher, Septimo was 0-2 with a 5.49 ERA for Visalia and struggled mightily with his control. While he fanned 44 in 41 innings, he also walked 33.
This season he has begun to harness some of his vast potential.
While there are still some control issues -- 21 walks in 33 1/3 innings -- he has held opponents to a .184 batting average and is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA and four saves in his first 22 games of the year.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.