Nothing energizes a fanbase more than watching a young prospect explode onto the national landscape with a breakout season, whether a frustrating injury risk like Jacoby Ellsbury or a fresh face like Jeremy Hellickson.
There is a huge wave of incredible young talent ready to become all-star caliber players in short order and in my opinion, each player on this list is ready and able to reach that potential in 2012.
The main restrictions for choosing worthy "young guns" are:
1. Must be under 25 years of age.
2. Cannot have been given major awards for performance (All-Star, Rookie of the Year).
3. Must be in line for a big role with a big club in 2012.
There are many close calls for omissions on this list. Some of the more regrettable cuts include Michael Pineda, Mike Trout, Aroldis Chapman and Mike Moustakas.
Pineda in particular was a difficult decision and would be No. 7 [or even No. 6(b)] if included, but his transition to the AL East makes him a more risky proposition for an instant breakout campaign.
Feel free to add any other omissions in the comment thread and I look forward to debating some baseball with all of you.
We begin the list with a Seattle Mariners top prospect at No. 6...
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