It's never too early to prepare for the 2007 fantasy baseball season! So many things can change between now and next opening day, but in order to give you a head start on your research, here are my early starting pitcher rankings. Since there are so many pitchers, I'll break them down into two parts, with this week's column covering the top 40 National Leaguers. (Free agents are listed in the league in which they most recently played.)
(Catchers, first basemen, second basemen, shortstops, third basemen, AL outfielders, NL outfielders and designated hitters have already appeared, and I'll cover a new position each week of the offseason.)
1. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals: Now are you convinced he's free of the injury issues that plagued him back in his days in Toronto? Carpenter has a 3.10 ERA and 1.083 WHIP in three years in St. Louis, averaging 17 wins, 183 strikeouts and -- most importantly -- 31 starts and 215 innings during that span. Tommy John surgery (2003) seems to have done him some good, and at 31, he should again be a top Cy Young contender in 2007.