Will Leitch is a solid baseball writer with a keen feel for the game nationally. Recently, he penned a column on MLB’s top 10 relievers of the past decade, and the Dodgers have some relevance due to a current active Dodger placing high on the list.
Indeed, Kenley Jansen checks in at number two on Leitch’s list; only behind Craig Kimbrel. It’s remarkable to realize that Jansen is closing in on a full decade not only in the game, but with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
— Will Leitch (@williamfleitch) July 5, 2019
Furthermore, Leitch says that Jansen’s remarkable consistency despite relying on one pitch earns him the high spot amongst the game’s best.
Kenley Jansen (LAD 2010-19): Straight from the Mariano Rivera school of throwing one pitch over and over until someone proves they can hit it — psst, it’s a cutter — Jansen has been remarkably consistent since he arrived in Los Angeles in 2010. (Which happens when you have perfected your one pitch.) His best season was 2017, when he led the NL with 41 saves, had a 1.32 ERA and finished fifth in Cy Young voting (and 15th in MVP voting, for that matter). Plus: He invented the intentional balk, which is worthy of Cooperstown consideration on its own.
While Leitch mixes in some dental humor at the end, do you feel like Jansen is carving out a Hall of Fame career in a Dodgers uniform?
First off, it’s nice that all of his accolades have been with Los Angeles. It seems like that would help one’s standing amongst relievers who made the list that pitched for several teams. Then, a look at the sheer numbers Jansen has posted certainly give him credentials as one of game’s finest relievers over the past ten years.
Looking back at some of the reasons you love Kenleys, that 2017 season stays firm in the front of the mind. Leitch mentions it because it was the stuff of legends.
Where would you place Kenley amongst baseball’s best relief pitchers in the past decade? Is the ranking of second accurate, or was someone like Aroldis Chapman better? Does it matter that he hasn’t won a World Series ring? Let us know in the comments below.