The “BREAKOUT Athletes” of 2010 …..

December 23, 2010 |

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5) Hakeem Nicks – nearly every NFL team will be able to say it passed up Nicks in the 2009 Draft. He was finally selected by the Giants with the 29th overall pick – and he hasn’t disappointed.

New York Giants' wide receiver Hakeem Nicks runs for yards against the Washington Redskins during the fist quarter at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on December 21, 2009. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Nicks has seized the 2010 season to establish himself as one of the premier wideouts in the league. Through 14 games, the ultra-quick receiver has nabbed 10 touchdowns, while closing in on 1000 yards.

It’s looking like Nicks will become a fixture for Giants fans to enjoy for many seasons to come. And, to think …. The Oakland Raiders selected Darrius Heyward-Bey with 7th overall pick in the same draft.
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4) David Price – he’s just another example of the Tampa Bay Rays enriched scouting and development wing. Price has been on the radar as a “future star” since appearing as a reliever in the 2008 postseason.

July 13, 2010 - Anaheim, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02247668 Tampa Bay Rays' David Price pitches during the first inning of Major League Baseball's All-Star game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, USA, 13 July 2010.

In 2010, he firmly asserted himself as an ace performer in the Rays starting staff, with 19 wins and just 6 losses. Price’s stardom was further buoyed by his 2.71 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, while dominating throughout a 200 inning stretch.

If you missed seeing David Price, last season, don’t despair …. he’s likely going to torment the Orioles for many years to come.
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3) Tyreke Evans – the defending NBA “Rookie Of The Year” finished out his freshman campaign by averaging 20 points per game and becoming a force with the Sacramento Kings. The ultra-talented guard is proving his worth as the #4 overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft.

March 16, 2010: Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings during the game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA. Ben Munn/CSM.

Evans has kicked off his sophomore campaign with numbers very much reflective of his first full season. His name is whispered among legends, when it comes to full potential. It’s still too early to really suggest his mark on the NBA, but he’s undoubtedly a breakout-caliber player.

Regardless, the Maloof brothers undoubtedly latched onto one of the future stars with their investment in Evans …..
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2) Arian Foster – once again, just another name most NFL insiders and fans did not recognize when training camps opened, a mere 5 months ago. As the Texans convened for the 2010 season, Foster was buried in the depth chart of running backs.

Houston Texans' running back Arian Foster prepares to take the field against the Washington Redskins' at FedEx Field in Washington on September 19, 2010. The Texans defeated the Redskins 30-27.  UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

His story is more than impressive …. as an undrafted player from the University of Tennessee, Foster spent most of the 2009 season on Houston’s practice squad. With a season ending injury to 2nd round rookie, Ben Tate, Foster got a shot and simply skyrocketed.

Through 14 games, Foster has achieved 2200 all-purpose yards (1600 rushing, 600 receiving) and 18 touchdowns (16 rushing, 2 receiving). He has also mounted 100+ yards on the ground in 7 contests, in 2010.
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#1) Carlos Gonzalez – look out WORLD, you might be seeing the next GREAT player emerging before your eyes. In 2010, Carlos Gonzalez delivered a true MVP season, but he was ultimately beaten out by Joey Votto.

Colorado Rockies center fielder Carlos Gonzalez enjoys the dugout just befoe play begins against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field in Denver on May 26, 2010 in Denver. UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

The numbers don’t lie – .336 avg., 197 hits, 34 homeruns, 34 doubles, 26 steals, 117 RBI …..

At 24 years old, Gonzalez is primed for stardom in the big leagues. Two years ago, the Oakland A’s traded the young phenom to the Rockies, in exchange for Matt Holliday. I’m certain Billy Beane regrets the deal each and every day.

Damn, why can’t the Orioles be so lucky? Oh, that’s right …. Andy MacPhail doesn’t trade his veterans for prospects. What was I thinking?

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