Last week I took a look at possible comeback players for 2010. Today, Caught Looking prepares a list of potential breakout candidates for the upcoming season. There are no rookies on this list and with good reason because I was looking for real breakout possibilities who already have significant Major League time.

Carlos Gonzalez – The Rockies are ready to take advantage of the key prospect in the Matt Holliday deal with Oakland last offseason. Gonzalez showed growth in all five fantasy categories, hitting 13 home runs, 29 RBIs, 53 runs and 16 steals with a line of .284/.353/.525. What’s even more telling is those modest numbers were in a small sample size of 278 at-bats through 89 games. Gonzalez really caught fire in the Rockies brief postseason run, hitting 10-for-17 (.588) with a homer, two doubles and two steals. So what can Gonzalez do in a full season in his third year in the Majors while hitting in Coors Field? Expect big numbers all around in 2010.

Howie Kendrick – The Angels second baseman enters his fifth season in the Majors in 2010, but has failed to play more than 105 games due to inconsistency and injuries. After being demoted to the minors last year, Kendrick returned and went on a tear with a .351 average over the last 54 games. Kendrick has the skills to be one of the top second baseman’s in the league and finally may be ready to take the next step if he can stay healthy.

Adam Jones – Obviously Jones won’t fly under the radar in fantasy leagues this spring, at least he shouldn’t. Jones already broke out last season with 19 homers, 70 RBIs with a line of .277/.335/.457 in 119 games, but he’s on the cusp on a major season as he’s going to continue to improve especially in a young loaded Orioles lineup. If Jones is patient at the plate and learns to draw more walks, he could be the next 30+ home run hitter.

Matt LaPorta – The Indians picked up LaPorta as the big prospect name in the CC Sabathia deal to Milwaukee at the trading deadline in 2008. LaPorta soared in the minors with a career line of .291/.384/.557, but wasn’t overly impressive in his first call-up with Cleveland last year, hitting .254/.308/.442 in 52 games though he did hit seven round trippers in the Majors. With Russell Branyan starting the season on the DL, it’s LaPorta’s job at first base. I expect LaPorta to break out with this opportunity to start and prove himself and could provide some much-needed power in the middle of the Indians lineup.

Travis Snider – Similar to LaPorta, Snider is another slugger that will break out with more at-bats and a starting job will do just that. Take a look at Adam Lind’s performance from last year once he finally received significant playing time. If the Jays hand Snider a starting role, look for the former first round pick to break out in a big way for Toronto. Snider only played in 77 games last year, hitting .241 with nine homers, but playing time will allow Snider to get into a groove and get his bat going.

Max Scherzer – I love watching Scherzer pitch. His 2009 numbers were impressive for a 24-year-old in his first full season. Scherzer put together 9.2 K/9 along with a 2.76 K/BB while staying healthy to make 30 starts for Arizona. The strikeout machine is ready to take the new step. Two things that should improve his overall numbers—moving to a pitcher-friendly ballpark in Detroit and an offense that will put up crooked numbers at times that will increase his win totals, hell anything would be better over the anemic Diamondbacks offense last year. Scherzer is an ace in the making and this season will put him in the next tier for pitchers.

Here are a few others to watch for this year in no particular order: 3B/SS Brandon Wood, SP Jeff Niemann, 3B Andy LaRoche, SP Brett Anderson, SP Kevin Slowey, 3B Chase Headley, OF Lastings Milledge, OF Drew Stubbs

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