1. Avisail Garcia, RF -- The Sox considered replacing Garcia over the offseason. They were linked to two major outfield free agents in Alex Gordon and Yoenis Cespedes before apparently deciding the price was too high. As it stands now, the 24-year-old Garcia is getting another kick at the can, and it's likely make-or-break time for him. He's trimmed down since last season, so expect to read stories about him "being in the best shape of his life." He also will try a new batting stance this spring after a recent three-day session with hitting coach Todd Steverson. Even with the acquisition of Todd Frazier to bat cleanup, the Sox need Garcia to become a run producer in the fifth or sixth spot in the lineup. If he's still the 6-foot-4, 240-pound punch-and-judy hitter we've seen in the past, the Sox will need to move on from him.
2. Tim Anderson, SS -- The team's No. 1 prospect is a long shot to make the roster. Barring an acquisition from outside the organization, good-glove, no-hit Tyler Saladino is likely to be the Sox's shortstop on Opening Day. However, he's likely just keeping the seat warm for Anderson, who figures to get extensive playing time this spring. Many fans have read the glowing reports on him, but those who watch spring training games will get to see him play more frequently for the first time. It will be interesting to see how close he is to ready. Anderson improved in all facets of his game last season, and there's not much question he's eventually going to get a shot with the big club. But will he live up to his star potential and become a core player, or will he be just another guy?
3. Adam LaRoche, 1B/DH -- Like it or not -- and chances are you don't like it -- the Sox are stuck with LaRoche, so they have to pray he rebounds from the worst full season of his career, which saw him hit .207 with only 12 home runs. LaRoche has 10 seasons of 20 or more home runs in his career. That's the player the Sox thought they were getting when they signed him before the start of the 2015 season, and they need him to be that guy -- there is no other left-handed power threat on the roster. But at age 36, last year's woes could be a sign that LaRoche is simply washed up. Everyone will feel much better going into the year if LaRoche has a productive spring and provides some hope that he still can be a presence in the middle of the lineup.
4. Mat Latos, SP -- We've already stated a couple times on this blog that Latos could be a bargain at $3 million this year for the Sox. He was one of the top 50 pitchers in the sport before he hurt his knee, and if he returns to that form, the Sox will have a legitimate, playoff-caliber starting rotation. Of course, that's a big 'if,' given that Latos has been hurt the past two years. When watching him this spring, don't worry so much about results. Check to see if his velocity is back. Pitchers tend to see their velocity dip when they have a lower-body injury. Despite his veteran status, Latos is only 28, so you would think time would be on his side in terms of injury recovery. It's not like he's in his mid-30s and at the end of his baseball life.
5. Carson Fulmer, SP -- General manager Rick Hahn has gone out of his way to put the brakes on high expectations for the Sox's 2015 first-round draft pick. Fulmer is not a candidate to make the team. He likely needs a full season in the minors, and he wasn't as advanced coming out of college as Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon were. When the season begins, Fulmer is likely going to be at Double-A Birmingham. That said, he is a high-end pitching prospect, and it will be exciting to see how he fares in his first big-league spring training.