After essentially losing his role as closer in the 2020 postseason and entering a season where he’d be playing at age 33 for most of it, baseball pundits weren’t quite sure what to expect out of long-time Dodgers’ reliever Kenley Jansen.
The narrative surrounding the veteran stopper was that his best years were likely behind him as he struggled with velocity and command. But through the first two months of 2021, angry Kenley is looking like the Kenley of old.
After securing his 12th save of the season in convincing fashion, manager Dave Roberts was asked if this was the best he’s seen Jansen in some time.
We’ve seen him really good but I think this run is really good obviously. … This is as good as any reliever in the game right now I would argue.
Kenley’s 1.25 ERA is the best it’s been since 2017. Additionally, he’s walked only 1 batter over his last 7 outings after issuing 14 free passes over his first 13 games of the season.
The veteran closer has pointed to work that he did in the offseason where he focused on mobility over heavy lifting. He showed signs of success in spring training, but still with old inconsistencies along the way. Now, the big man is pitching with a focus, an anger, and a purpose that has him looking like an All-Star once again.
Kenley Jansen, Mechanics. pic.twitter.com/8BSe2M4qEQ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 28, 2021
He’s pitching, quickly, confidently, and like a man on a mission to quiet the haters and prove to the game that he’s still among the elite. It’s a good look on him.
Jansen is in the final year of a 5-year deal he signed with the Dodgers in the 2016-2017 offseason.