Right-hander Kenley Jansen was the most consistent arm out of the bullpen for the Los Angeles Dodgers this past season.
The closer was dominant at times, but threw just one inning in the postseason as the Dodgers were eliminated in four games by the St. Louis Cardinals. Manager Don Mattingly was unable to find a bridge from starting pitcher to Jansen and it cost the team in every game of the series. Despite that, Jansen enjoyed his best season as a closer, ending the season with 44 saves.
According to Cary Osborne of Dodger Insider, the catcher-turned-closer broke down what he must improve for next season:
I think my location has to get better,” Jansen said. “I’ve been doing this only five years, and I talk to one of the best setup men in the game back in the day, Chuck Crim and our coach Kenny Howell. Chuck tells me I’m not even at the peak of my career. I believe that, and I can get better. That’s one thing I make sure of. I get to the ballpark and make sure I get better.”
Jansen finished the year with the 44 saves, a 2.76 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 65.1 innings. Though his ERA went up from 1.88 in 2013, the 27-year-old was adjusting to his first full season as closer. Much of his struggles came at the beginning of the year and his ERA after June 20 was just 1.98 with 24 saves.
The right-hander had more to say about his future and goals with the team:
My thing is I don’t worry about that stuff. I worry about winning ballgames for the Dodgers. All that other stuff is extra,” Jansen said. “Yes, I definitely want to be one of the greatest at the end of my career. But I can’t worry about that stuff or people’s opinions. I just have to get the job done for the Dodgers and help them win and be out there being the last one standing. That’s my dream and what I want to accomplish.”
With aspirations like that the Dodgers’ closer role is in good hands for their World Series push.