OF, Boston Red Sox
Now that Ellis Burks is injured, this hard-hitting 24-year-old might start in center. While at UC Irvine he hired his own speed-and-conditioning coach and bulked up from 160 to 190 pounds. He batted .320 over his last two years in the minors. TELLING STATISTIC: In 1986 he led the Florida State League with 107 walks in 417 at bats.
P, Chicago White Sox
McDowell, 22 and a fastballer, pitched Stanford to the NCAA championship last year and then went 3-0 for the Sox in September. "You'll have to go a long way to find a kid with more drive and intelligence," says Chicago general manager Larry Himes. TELLING STATISTIC: In his four major league starts, he allowed 22 base runners in 28 innings, but his ERA was only 1.93.
SS, New York Mets
After Elster, a smooth-fielding 23-year-old, hit .310 at Triple A Tidewater last year, the Mets dealt away Rafael Santana to create a spot for him. He should be up to the job. "There's no way the pressure will get to him," says Tidewater manager Mike Cubbage. TELLING STATISTIC: In 1987, Elster set Tidewater season records for hits (170), putouts (219) and assists (418).
2B, Cincinnati Reds
Hits like the young Pete Rose. A 25-year-old lefthanded batter, he averaged better than .300 five times in the minors and hit .333 with the Reds in September. TELLING STATISTIC: In '87 he had the best fielding average (.980) for second basemen in the American Association.
March 21, 1988
DH, Milwaukee Brewers
Even though an injury limited him to only 79 games at Denver in Triple A last season, Meyers, 25, had 29 home runs and 92 RBIs. Unlike most sluggers, he has a short, quick swing, and he doesn't strike out much. TELLING STATISTIC: His slugging percentage in 1987 was .689.
SS, Oakland Athletics
Weiss, 24, might become Oakland's third straight Rookie of the Year. He hit .462 for the A's in September, though his Triple A average was .263, and he's so slick at short the club traded veteran Alfredo Griffin. TELLING STATISTIC: He was 32 for 38 stealing last year.