Potential can be a dirty word in baseball. Unfulfilled potential can get general managers fired.
Every team in the majors has a talented young player who has not reached his ultimate potential. Some finally do and some never do. For each player, the reason he has not fully blossomed can be different: maturity, mental toughness, character, instincts, opportunity, strength, health, etc.
Last season, three players who previously had been unable to deliver on their potential absolutely exploded: Adrian Beltre of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Carlos Guillen of the Detroit Tigers and J.D. Drew of the Atlanta Braves. For Drew and Beltre the timing couldn't have been better, since they were in the last year of their contracts. This translated into huge multimillion dollar contracts for both Drew and Beltre. Guillen's year finished with an unfortunate knee injury and subsequent surgery, but he is now back and could be ready to do it all over again.
Who will be this year's breakout star? Let's take a look at my pick for each position.