Our final 2014 Dodgers player review is of closer Kenley Jansen, one of the best relief pitchers in franchise history. His 2014 was the latest in a series of exhibits that could end with the removal of "one of" as a qualifier.
What went right
Jansen was one of the best relief pitchers in baseball for a fourth straight season. Among the 260 major league relievers with at least 20 innings, Jansen ranked 90th in ERA (2.76), but near the top in other categories: 12th in FIP (1.91), fifth in xFIP (1.93), and eighth in SIERA (2.64).
He struck out 101 batters, one of seven major league pitchers with triple-digit strikeouts in relief in 2014. It was Jansen's second straight year with at least 100 strikeouts, and his 407 strikeouts from 2011-2014 is the most by a Dodgers relief pitcher in a four-year period.
Jansen's 37.7-percent strikeout rate in 2014 ranks sixth all-time among Dodgers relief pitchers with at least 20 innings. He owns five of the top seven such seasons in franchise history.
After making a mechanical adjustment in San Diego on June 21, Jansen put up a 1.26 ERA in his final 35 games of the season, with 52 strikeouts and eight walks in 35⅔ innings, converting 24 of his final 26 save opportunities.
On the season Jansen saved 44 games in 49 tries, tied for fourth-most in a single season in Dodgers history, with only Eric Gagne ahead of him. On Aug. 27 Jansen saved his 100th career game, the sixth Dodger to do so.
In his one postseason appearance in the NLDS, Jansen retired all three batters, including two strikeouts to save Game 2 against the Cardinals.
What went wrong
Before those mechanical adjustments Jansen relatively struggled, though his 4.55 ERA in his first 33 games was partially fueled by a .426 batting average on balls in play (conversely, his BABIP was down to .180 in those final 35 games). Jansen did have 49 strikeouts and 11 walks in those games, so it wasn't all bad.
Jansen's roughest patch came in April, when in a span of eight days he blew two saves and suffered the loss in another game. He was victimized by Victor Martinez on back-to-back nights at Dodger Stadium, allowing the game-tying single on Apr. 8, then a game-winning home run on Apr. 9. The Dodgers weren't worried, and rightfully so.
Jansen batted once, on Aug. 14 in Atlanta, but he struck out.
Salary: $4.3 million
Game of the year
On May 26 against the Reds, Jansen entered the game with two outs in the eighth inning with a 3-2 lead and the bases loaded for Cincinnati, a game that began with Hyun-jin Ryu retiring the first 21 batters of the game. Jansen struck out Brandon Phillips in an eight-pitch battle to end the eighth, then pitched a scoreless ninth for the save, one of his three four-out saves on the season.
Jansen has four years, 73 days of service time, and is eligible for salary arbitration for a second time. MLB Trade Rumors projected he will earn $8.2 million in 2015.