Kenley Jansen is the greatest closer in Dodgers history. I’m not sure how long Dodgers baseball will be around after my time here is finished, but it’s safe to say he’ll remain the greatest closer in Dodgers history.
At the moment, he’s likely a borderline Hall-of-Famer, but he might just miss out. Who knows, there’s a solid chance he can get in and his number No. 74 will be retired by the Dodgers.
With only a few weeks left in the season, we need to accept the fact these could be Kenley’s final weeks in Los Angeles. He’s a free-agent at the end of the season and I have no clue what direction Jansen or the front-office will take moving forward.
Luckily, we don’t have to worry about that for at least a few months. What matters is that we have Jansen as our closer now.... and we really need to appreciate that.
It’s been an up-and-down roller coaster with Jansen over the last few years. He’s had a number of shaky outings, notably coming in the postseason. Lots of Dodgers fans have written him off entirely. Lots of Dodgers fans have completely lost trust in him.
There was a three-game stretch this season in which Jansen blew three consecutive saves for the Dodgers. He was awful. Dodgers fans still remember that.
With that being said, if you were to take out those three games from back in July, Jansen would having one of the best seasons of his big-league career.
In the first half of the season, Jansen appeared in 36 games. He converted 21 of his 23 save opportunities, while posting an ERA of 1.24 and a WHIP of 1.012. Jansen also held opponents to a .129 average and .433 OPS. Somehow, those numbers weren’t good enough to be named an All-Star. In his 12th big-league season, it was one of the best first-halves we had seen from the closer.
Following the break, Jansen had his worst three-game stretch of his career. He blew three saves for the Dodgers and allowed eight runs in only two innings of action. It was awful, and Dodgers fans let him hear it.
Since that stretch, Jansen has continued his dominance.
In 22 games since, he’s posted a 1.17 ERA, 2.38 FIP, 0.74 WHIP, .115 AVG and 33.3 SO%. He’s also converted all 12 of his save opportunities. To put it simply, Jansen has been amazing. He’s been lights out. He’s been one of the best closers in all of baseball.
For some reason, it still feels as if he’s been under-appreciated because of those three games. I still see people on Twitter calling for Blake Treinen to be the closer instead of Jansen. I guess they must have missed Jansen’s last 22 games.
Seriously, if you were to take out those three games, Jansen would be having arguably the best season of his career. His ERA would be 1.21, which would be the lowest of his career, including 2017 when he finished fifth in Cy Young voting with a 1.32 ERA. His WHIP would be 0.91, which would be the lowest since that 2017 season.
I think the Dodgers still bring back Jansen this offseason, but like I said earlier we just have no idea. In case these are his final weeks in Dodger blue, we really need to sit back and appreciate the greatness that is Kenley Jansen.
He’s a Dodgers legend.