It's been a little while since we gave you a pile of links to sift through, so let's do it today. Everyone enjoys bulleted fantasy content, right? Great. Do the do...
• Johan Santana was rocked in Atlanta last week, giving up four hits, one walk and six runs (four earned) over just 1.1 innings. But he pitched his way back into the circle of trust — or at least the circle of semi-trust — with an impressive effort against Miami on Tuesday. Johan struck out 11 Marlins over 6.2 innings, using the same old nasty change-up you're all familiar with. Highlights here, via MLB.com. Yeah, he's only at 89-90 mph with his fastball, but he can still use it as a finishing pitch when batters are flummoxed by his change. Santana's next scheduled start isn't the friendliest possible match-up (at Colorado), but the stuff he brought on Tuesday would play in any park.
• Please take the time to read through Tim Brown's Q&A with Chipper Jones. And if you can't get to the piece right this minute, just skip down to the final question. Well played, Larry Wayne, well played.
• You might have already heard that the Nationals, as a team, are pretty good at pitching. Over at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron takes a look at how historically great the Nats have been at home run prevention so far. Essential quote right here:
The Nationals have allowed one home run for every 215 batters that have stepped in against them. The Nationals home run prevention rate is 3.6 times better than the next best rate this year.
Goodness. The Nats are at Petco tonight, with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound, so there's a decent chance that the no-homer thing will continue.
• Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus offered an excellent take on Yu Darvish's 10-K win over the Yankees, pointing out that broadcasters may have misidentified a shuuto (or reverse slider) as a standard-issue two-seam fastball. Darvish has something in his arsenal that he throws 94-95 with crazy horizontal movement, breaking in on the hands of RHBs. Totally unfair.
• While we're linking to BP, check out Sam Miller's piece on Albert Pujols' changing approach over the past two seasons. More swinging, less unintentional walking. It's interesting stuff. There's a little something in there for everyone, whether you think Pujols is in the decline phase of his career or not. Note that Miller isn't saying that Pujols is a lesser hitter than he used to be, just that he's a different hitter.
• This is a real thing that happened in the world: Razzball interviewed Corbin Bernsen.
Yup, this Corbin Bernsen. That is the guy they talked to. Of course they did.
The Razzball podcast is not safe for work, which you probably could have guessed. And the interview has zero fantasy relevance, obviously, because the subject is Corbin [expletive] Bernsen. The preamble is all baseball talk, though, so give it a listen.
• Hopefully you've noticed that Mike Aviles is on a tear, hitting .333/.365/.567, leading off for the Red Sox. Here's some propaganda from the Boston Globe, following Aviles' 4-for-5 performance on Tuesday. He's still available in 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues and eligible at 2B-SS-3B, yet it I field questions every day about whether he should be picked up and/or started. At this point, he's clearly an all-league fantasy add. Even if you have better starting options at every infield spot, Aviles is a useful bench option, a guy who can cover short term absences.
• The Phillies are hopeful that Ryan Howard will be able to resume baseball activities in a week, reports Matt Gelb. "Baseball activities" are just a step, of course. We still don't have a full rehab plan, nor an ETA. Realistically, we have to view Howard as a second-half fantasy asset, not as a near-term contributor. If you're more optimistic than that, please share your sunshine in comments...