Kenley Jansen: Freak of Nature

Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

Tonight in the Dodgers’ 2-0 win, Matt Kemp hit his 37th home run of the season to keep himself in the hunt for the triple crown; and yet somehow, he’s not even the guy I wanted to write about after the game.

Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect 8th and struck out the side. Ho hum. What else is new? This guy has been so dominant lately, it’s to the point now where I’m wondering what’s wrong with him if the batter merely makes contact with a pitch.

Some of these numbers that Jansen has been putting up since he returned from shoulder inflammation on June 18th are ridiculous. Let’s run through the list:

28 appearances, 30.1 Innings Pitched, 1-0 Record, 3 Saves, 0 Blown Saves, 7 Holds

Ok, not bad. But here’s where it gets fun…

In those 30.1 IP, he has a 0.59 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, and 16.61 K/9IP (no, that is not a typo). Since June 18th, he has struck out 50.45% of the batters he has faced and his opponents are batting .090. Since September 3rd, he has struck out 25 of his last 38 batters (65.78%) for an insane 21.78 K/9. For some perspective, the major league record for an entire season is 15.99 K/9, held by Carlos Marmol. Jansen currently sits at 15.47 K/9 for the 2011 season.

Despite a horrific start to the season (his ERA on April 19th was 11.42), his ERA on the year is an impressive 2.98. What’s crazy is that if I were a betting man, I’d expect him to be even better next year. His BABIP is slightly higher than average at .295, while his FIP is 1.85 and his xFIP is 2.16, all of which indicate he has been somewhat unlucky.

Javy Guerra, don’t get too comfortable in that closer role.


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