Carpenter was just 22-years-old when he absorbed a 12-2 loss in his major-league debut on May 12th, 1997 in Minnesota. The Toronto right-hander made two more appearances before getting sent back to Triple-A Syracuse, but by late July he had reclaimed a spot in the Blue Jays’ starting rotation. Armed with two different fastballs that topped out in the mid 90’s, and a curveball that hitters routinely beat into the ground, Carpenter was quickly labeled one of the most promising young starters in the American League. His first two full seasons produced encouraging and highly similar results (12-7, 4.37 ERA over 175 innings in 1998 and 9-8, 4.38 ERA over 150 innings in 1999), but the next year proved to be a step back. After allowing a combined 34 home runs the prior two seasons, Carpenter was taken deep 30 times in 2000 and saw his ERA balloon to 6.26. Temporarily relegated to the bullpen, he finished with a 10-12 record in 27 starts and seven relief outings.