Kenley Geronimo Jansen 74
Bats: Switch Throws: Right 6’5″ 255 lbs.
Born: September 30, 1987 in Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
Kenley Jansen was signed by the Dodgers as a free agent in 2005 originally as a catcher. He was the starting catcher in the 2009 World Baseball Classic for the Netherlands. His career batting average in the Dodgers farm system was a low .229 and .647 OPS which wasn’t good enough for a position player. In 2009 while with the Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino, the Dodgers began to convert Jansen from a catcher to a pitcher. His fastballs clocked in at 93-94 mph, and it looked like he had discovered a natural gift. Kenley’s rise to prominence came quickly, and within two years he would impress Dodger fans with his incredibly dominating fastball. He quickly worked through the minor league ranks. On May 5, 2010 Kenley was promoted to the AA Chattanooga Lookouts.
On July 23, 2010 Jansen was called up to the Dodgers, and he appeared in his first Major League game on July 24th vs. the New York Mets out of the bullpen. He pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two batters. The next day Jansen captured his first career save. He pitched a 123 inning against the Mets. His first win came on September 11, 2010 in Minute Maid Park vs. the Houston Astros.
Jansen appeared in 25 games in 2010 for the Dodgers. He pitched 27 innings, and finished with a 1-0 record, 4 saves, and a 0.67 ERA. He finished 7th in the Rookie of the Year voting. His ERA was the 4th lowest of any rookie in MLB history with a minimum of 25 innings.
In 2011 Kenley Jansen had a breakout year despite being placed on the DL in late July due to an irregular heartbeat. He was unable to pitch while on blood thinners, but once reactivated picked up where he left off by continuing his dominance out of the pen. Yet if you remember, Jansen started off the season shaky. In his first 8 2/3 innings his ERA quickly ballooned to 11.42 after allowing 4 runs in one inning in his first game coupled with a disastrous outing vs. the Braves on April 19. He was demoted to AA Chattanooga for a week, but was recalled after Jonathan Broxton was DL’d. Once he returned, he threw nothing but fire. He retired 97 of 120 batters he faced. He finished with a 2-1 record, an excellent 2.85 ERA, and 5 saves in 53.2 innings pitched. He struck out an impressive 96 batters which was good enough for a new Major League record with 16.10 strikeouts per 9 innings.
This upcoming season should see Jansen play an even bigger role in the bullpen since Jonathan Broxton has moved on and signed with the Royals this offseason. Jansen and Guerra will most likely anchor the pen, and one or both will take on the closer role. Jansen, the young fireballer, will be exciting to watch as he continues to craft his skills. It’s pretty remarkable that just a few years ago he was the other half of the battery.
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