JABO: Kenley Jansen, Doing It All With One Pitch

Last Wednesday night, there was a moment when Carlos Gonzalez probably thought he might be able to come up big. Down two runs with two out in the bottom of the ninth, Charlie Blackmon had managed to single off of Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen just before CarGo stepped to the plate, and with a man on, one swing of the bat could’ve tied the game.

Then reality set in. The count went quickly to 0-2, and in that situation, Gonzalez was likely going to strike out. That isn’t an indictment of CarGo, just a statement of fact: Jansen strikes out 42.5% of all the batters he faces, and that figure rises to almost 67% after he’s ahead in the count 0-2. After managing to take a close pitch and foul another off, Gonzalez got a rare Jansen slider he couldn’t handle:

We often get used to dominant relievers being consistently great. For the elite guys, the end of the game is almost automatic most days, and the warm and fuzzy feeling you get as a fan knowing you have proven options at the end of a game is a special one. However, sometimes we need to take a step back and measure just how ridiculous the stats are that some of these great relievers are producing.

And so we have Jansen. We know he’s great. He’s been great for a few years now; with his almost sole use of a hard cutter, it’s easy and fun to compare him to a version of Mariano Rivera. With that lofty comparison made, it might not be surprising that he’s putting together a very unique, special season.

Consider this fact: Jansen went the first month and a half of his season without walking a batter. He was injured for April, but after he debuted in mid-May, he didn’t issue a walk until June 28th. During that time, he struck out 26 batters in 15.2 innings. That’s a mind-boggling mix of dominance and control, and it’s formed the basis of what Jansen has become in 2015.

Read the rest at Just A Bit Outside.

Owen Watson writes for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. Follow him on Twitter @ohwatson.

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8 years ago

17.7% SwStrk