FLB: 2007 AL starting pitcher rankings

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. The top 50 National League pitchers were ranked last week, so this week's column covers the top 50 American 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, designated hitters and NL starting pitchers have already appeared, and closers will appear Friday.)

1. Johan Santana, Twins: He's the one sure thing among pitchers, but his No. 1 ranking amounts to more than that. Santana didn't simply lead the majors in ERA (2.77), WHIP (0.997) and strikeouts (245); he led by 21 points in ERA, 72 points in WHIP and by 29 strikeouts! Plus, only four times in 34 starts was he left out there for 110-plus pitches, so you can't call his arm abused. A case can absolutely be made for him at No. 1 overall.