Boom: Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals
Eric Hosmer received plenty of hype when he was recalled early last season, but as the year moved along, he didn't quite get the respect he deserved as one of the game's top first basemen.
The skill that really separates Hosmer from the rest of the crop at first base is his speed. In 563 plate appearances last season, Hosmer swiped 11 bags. No 1B-eligible player had more steals in 2011.
With more at-bats this season, Hosmer will absolutely build on that total.
The speed is great, but Hosmer is far from a novelty act at first base. His power is still developing, but he showed strong signs in his rookie season. His .172 ISO last season isn't particularly impressive, but keep in mind that Hosmer was only 22 years old. As he continues to grow, those numbers will increase.
Hosmer hit 19 homers last year in less than a full season's worth of opportunity. This season, he'll absolutely crack 20 homers and has the potential to touch 25 or 30.
Bust: Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers
Prince Fielder is an unquestionably elite first baseman, but his move to the American League may portend a downturn in 2012. He won't experience an Adam Dunn-esque faceplant, but Fielder has some serious bust potential this season.
Comerica Park's stifling effect on offense is generally overstated, but there's no question that the Tigers' yard holds back more than its share of home runs. Fielder possesses prodigious power, but he's going to feel the effects of leaving Milwaukee.
In his two best seasons, 2009 and 2011, Fielder hit at least 23 homers per year in Miller Park. Production at that level would be unprecedented in Detroit.
Since joining the Tigers, Miguel Cabrera, whose power is beyond reproach, has never hit more than 19 home runs in a season at Comerica Park.
Prince Fielder won't exceed that number, and as a result, he won't reach 35 homers this season.