The Friar Thermometer (8/31-9/6)

The San Diego Padres minor league affiliates are all done, and we will continue to look back at how their seasons went. Meanwhile, the Friars are still playing and playing relatively well.

Majors

On-Fire Friars:

1) Mark Loretta - .444 BA, HR, 5 RBI, 1.135 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage)
• 99% of Padres' fans will tell you Loretta has been the team MVP this season. This week did nothing to contradict that notion. The second baseman was 8th in the league in batting as of September 7.

2) Phil Nevin – .333 BA, 3 homers, 10 RBI, .889 slugging percentage
• Nevin clearly deserves to be here for the second straight week. It's obvious that his shoulder is at full strength since one of his three homers this past week went to the opposite field off of a knuckleballer. That's tough to do, folks. For the season, Nevin has 36 RBI in only 38 games.

3) Trevor Hoffman – 2 appearances, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
• Hoffy is here not for his performance this past week, though he pitched well, but for the comeback he has made. Out of action since last September with two separate shoulder surgeries that threatened his career, Hoffy returned Tuesday night jogging in from the bullpen to do what he does best, get major league hitters out. The only thing missing from this fairy tale was AC/DC's "Hells' Bells" blaring over the Qualcomm sound system.

Frozen Friars:

1) Jay Witasick – 3 appearances, 3 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 0-1 record
• Witasick has been hot and cold this season. It seems he puts together two or three decent outings in-a-row and follows that with a poor outing. Witasick's poor outing Saturday night against the Astros turned a tie game into the beginnings of a Houston route.

2) Luther Hackman – 2 appearances, 1 inning, 3 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, 54.00 ERA
• Hackman may or may not be in the Padres' plans for 2004 after his mediocre season. He had two horrendous outings this past week and seems to really struggle with his control when he is not "feeling it".

3) Kevin Jarvis – 1 start, 4 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs, no decision
• Jarvis has really been struggling since his red-hot month of July. On the season, the 34-year-old has allowed 136 baserunners in only 87 2/3 innings. Should the Padres not pick up Trevor Hoffman's option (which I assume they won't, but will plan to re-sign him to a more economical deal), Jarvis is scheduled to earn much more than any Padres' pitcher on staff in 2004.

Minors:

The minor league regular season has ended. Two Padres' affiliates, the Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore Storm and the Class A Fort Wayne. Unfortunately, both lost in first-round match-ups.

In the next two weeks, look for a season-long analysis of players who were, for the most part, "on-fire" and who were "frozen" for the Padres' six minor league teams in 2003. I will tackle (sorry, bad term to use for Chargers fans) the lower three levels in the organization, rookie league Idaho Falls, short-season Class A Eugene and Class A Fort Wayne next week. The week after that, I will identify the "shooting stars" and the "fallen friars" from the top three levels, Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, Class AA Mobile and Class AAA Portland.

Dave Holtzman can be reached at dholtzman@hotmail.com

Check out Dave's website to find more information on the Friars. The news is always fresh and insightful at:

http://friarfan.com

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