Kenley Jansen is not of planet Earth. He is plain nasty. If you’re a hitter, you do not want to see him on the mound. You probably don’t want to see him in a stadium hallway.
Jansen has very quietly put together a phenomenal sophomore season. Been so good it’s just stupid. Been so good that despite Javy Guerra’s remarkable success, you have to wonder if the heat-throwing Jansen isn’t the Dodgers’ closer of the future.
He’s had only two bad outings all year, and both came the first three weeks of the season when his shoulder was probably already bothering him. Since returning from the disabled list June 18, he’s been as close to unhittable as you can dream.
I wrote in jest -– anyway, I pretended it was in jest -– back in July that Jansen had become the world’s greatest reliever. All he’s done since is make that overstatement appear modest.
Even after going on the DL again with an irregular heartbeat, he has returned same as he ever was. Which is absolutely lights out.
In his 21 games since returning from his shoulder problem in June, Jansen has fashioned a stunning 0.38 ERA. He has struck out 40 in his 23-2/3 innings, allowed one run, only five hits (.068 batting average) and 10 walks.
This has been somewhat lost because his overall season numbers are more modest (2-1, 3.22 ERA). Yet subtract those two poor April outings which accounted for nine of the 16 runs he’s allowed all season, and his ERA is 1.45.
Jansen doesn’t turn 24 until the end of the month and is in only his third year as a reliever after starting his career as a catcher. So much about the Dodgers right now is cloudy, but Jansen is a supernova.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen after striking out Colorado's Dexter Fowler to earn a save in a 3-2 win on July 26 at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images