Last year, a player that emerged from obscurity in the Oakland Athletics farm system was third base prospect Stephen Parker.
In 2010 he hit .296, with 21 home runs and 98 RBI, yet coming into 2011 he was still largely overshadowed by fellow prospects Grant Green and Michael Choice. Despite his breakout 2010 campaign, he solidified his position as the team's third baseman of the future with his consistent and solid play last season.
Parker, like Green and Choice, was drafted out of college. That's usually been Billy Beane's draft philosophy, select players out of college who'll be more prepared for professional ball, and therefore advance through the minors quicker. In recent years, however, he's started to value high school players more in the earlier rounds.
Though a lot less is known about the high school players, there's generally more of an upside to them even though they have the potential to become boom or bust kind of prospects. But it also means that they may not scratch the surface of their true capability until two or three years into their minor league careers.
Here are five prospects who can break out in 2012.