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2015 Dodgers review: Kenley Jansen

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers have been blessed with some excellent relief aces over the last decade and a half, with Kenley Jansen adding another notch to his belt in 2015 as he builds his case for being the best one of them all.

What went right

The Dodgers closer had another typically excellent season in 2015, with a 2.41 ERA and 2.14 FIP right in line with his career marks of 2.28 and 2.02, respectively. But in many ways, Jansen was more efficient in 2015.

He struck out 80 of his 200 batters faced, a 40-percent strikeout rate that ranks third in Dodgers franchise history among pitchers with at least 30 innings, behind only Eric Gagne's 44.8 percent in 2003 and Jansen at 44 percent in 2011.

Jansen allowed just one run in his first 16 games. He struck out 27 batters before his first walk of the season, which came on June 30 in Arizona.

On the season, Jansen walked only eight batters all season, a minuscule 4-percent walk rate that shattered Jansen's previous career best of 6.2 percent in 2013.

Opposing batters hit .176/.215/.298 on the season, with right-handers especially neutralized, hitting only .151/.190/.269 with a .201 wOBA against Jansen.

In his season debut on May 16 against Colorado, Jansen tied a major league record with four strikeouts in one inning.

Jansen, who saved 36 games in 38 chances in 2015, moved up three spots on the Dodgers' all-time save list in 2015, passing Jim Brewer, Todd Worrell and Jeff Shaw. Jansen's 142 saves are 19 shy of Gagne's club record.

Jansen pitched 3⅓ scoreless innings in the National League Division Series against the Mets, allowing one hit and three walks (one intentional) with four strikeouts. He saved both Dodgers wins in the series, and Jansen's five career postseason saves are the most in Dodgers franchise history.

What went wrong

Jansen missed the first 34 games of the season after February surgery to remove a bone growth in his left foot. Jansen has been dominant pretty much from the moment he first stepped on a major league mound in 2010, but this early-season wait to claim the Dodgers closing role is something he's used to, having to wait for his rightful spot in both 2012 and 2013.

There was a brief scare on June 3, when Jansen was unavailable for a save at Coors Field in Denver because of high bloodpressure. Not because the Dodgers lost the game — they did, blowing a ninth-inning lead — but rather because of Jansen's history of high bloodpressure and cardiac arrhythmia, for which he had surgery in October 2012. But thankfully, the 2015 scare was limited to this one-day instance.

Jansen allowed two runs on July 18 at Washington, and three runs on Sept. 13 in Arizona, but other than that he never allowed more than one run in any appearance in 2015.

2015 particulars

Age: 27

Stats: 2.41 ERA, 1.91 FIP, 36 saves, 80 K, 8 BB in 52⅓ IP, 1.4 rWAR, 1.7 fWAR

Salary: $7.425 million

Game of the year

Jansen got a four-out save on Aug. 16 against the Reds, preserving a 2-1 victory. He not only struck out two of his four batters faced, but Jansen also saw the birth of his son Kaden on the very same day.

Roster status

Jansen is eligible for salary arbitration for one more season, with MLB Trade Rumors projecting the right-hander to earn $11.4 million. Jansen will be a free agent after 2016, making him a prime candidate for a multi-year contract extension.