The term breakout can be used to describe multiple situations.
For a long time veteran who never quite reached their MLB potential, a breakout season could be one where they finally perform to the level they were expected. Whether they achieve a new level of success in the big leagues or record high statistical numbers around the board, a breakout season for a vet could make the difference between being a bench player or an everyday guy.
For a rookie, a breakout season can be the same as above. The player can have great stats or replicate stellar minors performances on their way to big league stardom, but a rookie can also breakout in another way. In some ways, a rookie who breaks into the league is already having a breakout season as they are breaking out in the form of reaching the level of major league baseball.
For a guy with a few years major league experience, a breakout year could mean moving up a level in stardom from an average player to a star. It could be having a year like Jose Bautista did in 2010 by discovering power he or the league didn't even know existed. It could even be as simple as bettering what is expected based on previous seasons and minor league experience.
Whatever the reason, any player, even a star, is capable of having a breakout season. Whether it be a handful of guys achieving rookie success, two pitchers who never really lived up to expectations, or a few stars in the making who are ready to make their mark on the league, here are 15 guys in no particular order who could have big seasons in 2012.