This year's crop includes Catcher Pete Daley, up from Louisville. Many of Boston's younger players, even after a year or two in majors, seem like rookie hopes still.
THE BIG IFS:
The infield. If Higgins can construct a solid foursome from the basketful of candidates, the Sox could shake down into a pretty fair team.
Bright. The worst appears to be over in Fenway Park. Good chance for fourth again.
THIS YEAR'S PROSPECTS:
Youth, speed and hustle, as a result of an extensive rebuilding job over the last two years. Good catching, competent infield, excellent young outfield. Tigers have genuine stars in Third Baseman Ray Boone, Shortstop Harvey Kuenn, potential stars in youngsters Tuttle, Kaline, Hoeft, House. Two good veteran pitchers: Steve Gromek (18-16 last year) and Ned Garver (14-11).
Tigers have a pretty fair starting lineup and three or four reasonably dependable starting pitchers. But the lack of bench and relief strength is appalling. And the team has no bona fide power hitters. Boone and new First Baseman Fain come closest.
Freckle-faced J. W. Porter (he has no given names, just initials) has caught, played outfield, first base, is lead-pipe cinch to help club. Outfielder Bubba Phillips. Several young pitchers.
THE BIG IFS:
Pitching and first base. Harris must find starters and relievers from an unholy mess of rookies and proven undependables. Fain has to recover from last season's bad knee and supply needed run-producing power.
Cheerful. Tigers are on way back up and wherever they finish, they'll be fun to watch.