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Dodgers links: When Kenley Jansen caught Clayton Kershaw in the minors

Kershaw and Jansen were a battery together five times with Class-A Great Lakes in 2007.

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Divisional Round - Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Great Lakes Loons conducted an online poll to select their all-time team, which was a nice stroll through the last 13 years of Dodgers prospects. The Loons organized the team by position, but what drew my eye was the battery.

It’s no surprise Clayton Kershaw made this list. He’ll make just about any Dodgers-related list, majors or minors, and his time in the Class-A Midwest League was no exception. Kershaw had a 2.77 ERA in 20 starts in 2007 for Great Lakes, with 134 strikeouts in 97⅓ innings.

On first glance it might not be a surprise that Kenley Jansen made the team, except that Jansen wasn’t a pitcher when he was with the Loons. He was a catcher, still two years before making the switch to the mound. He also couldn’t hit, and was just 6-for-59 (.102/.214/.169) in 20 games with the Loons in 2007 before getting demoted to rookie-level Ogden once the Pioneer League started its season.

Not surprisingly, one thing that stood out for Jansen was his arm, which was on display two years later for Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, when he threw out runners left and right from behind the plate.

It’s also important to note that both Kershaw and Jansen were just 19 years old during their time with the Loons. In his brief time with Great Lakes, Jansen did cross paths with Kershaw five times, forming the battery chosen by current Loons fans above.

Kershaw had a 3.91 ERA in those five starts throwing to Jansen — seven of his 11 runs allowed were in one start — with 35 strikeouts and 11 walks in 23 innings. Jansen at the plate was 3-for-14 (.214) with two walks, one run scored and one batted in in those games catching Kershaw. Considering Jansen was 3-for-45 in his other games, maybe it was Kershaw who was the good luck charm for Jansen, and not the other way around.