Kenley Jansen Hopes to Find Peak Form Early

(Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

While the state of the Dodgers‘ bullpen was one of the most heavily discussed topics of the winter, it comes as no surprise that many eyes have been focused on Kenley Jansen during the early days of spring camp at Camelback Ranch.

In previous years, Kenley was known for his very slow starts in spring training, as he preferred to take very cautious approaches at the beginning.

In 2018, after he threw just 4-2/3 innings over five appearances during Cactus League play, Jansen strained a hamstring early during the regular season. He struggled mightily—his velocity dipped (much to the chagrin of the fans) and his ERA rose to a whopping 5.59 ERA with three blown saves and three homers allowed over the first few weeks of the season.

Eventually, Jansen remedied his mechanical issues and regained his All-Star form in early May of 2018. He had a 1.41 ERA over 41 appearances from May 1 through August 7, converting 29 of 30 save opportunities and lowering his season ERA to 2.15.

Last year, Jansen’s approach in spring training was also a slow one, primarily because of the heart procedure he endured the previous winter. He ended up throwing a little bit more than he did in 2018—6-1/3 innings over seven appearances—but probably not as much as he would have liked.

This year, though, it seems as if Jansen will be taking a more aggressive approach.

Bill Plunkett of the OC Register noted on Saturday morning that Jansen sought out the help of Driveline Baseball over the winter with hopes of rediscovering some of his old traits that led to success in previous seasons.

During the 2019 regular season, Kenley posted a 3.71 ERA (the highest of his career) and a 1.063 WHIP (the second-highest of his career) over 62 appearances and an even 63 innings of work. His ineffectiveness—especially towards the latter part of the year—conceivably led skipper Dave Roberts to lean towards alternate options, most notably in Game 5 against the Nationals in the NLDS.

Nevertheless, one of the potentially biggest additions of the offseason came with righty reliever Blake Treinen arriving in Los Angeles. With the inclusion of the always-dependable Pedro Baez and an effective Joe Kelly (among several others), there’s some conjecture that the Los Angeles bullpen could be among the best in baseball.

Especially if Kenley can find his peak form early.


14 thoughts on “Kenley Jansen Hopes to Find Peak Form Early

  1. Hopefully going to work in ST this season will actually pay off for Jansen. The days of pitching himself into form during the season are over and should be over. He really has something to prove, hopefully father time will not have more to prove. I still say that Jansen’s main problem is location, probably due to trying to overthrow the ball and thus his form breaks down, his veloctiy breaks down and his location heads to Disneyland. He probably needs the Sandy approach, play catch with your catcher.


    1. Hit your spots. High and tight, low and away. Never throw the same pitch twice. 93 this time in. 91 next time out. That’s what used to drive me crazy about Baez and Garcia. They would throw 93 over the middle for a strike, then do it again. And again. And get hit. From what I recall, Jansen was doing the same thing last year. The cutter ain’t unhittable anymore you need to be better at pitching.

      Garlick traded for a LH reliever. Might be good.


      1. Philly should be a good landing spot for Garlick. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to play some for them.
        Let’s hope Tyler Gilbert, the guy we got back turns into something special. He’s from CA and went to SC. At least we got something and didn’t just wind up having to release Garlick.


  2. Looks like things weren’t bad enough for Astros, so Carlos Correa decided to shoot his Twitter mouth off, in regards to Bellingers comments the other day, concerning Altuve. Jim Crane is stupid enough to come out and say he doesn’t think the cheating really effected the games, none of the players have really seemed remorseful for their actions, and now the players are coming back with angry f bombs trying to defend themselves. I’m sure this is not what Manfred envisioned when he doled out the lenient penalties on the Astros, and gave all the players a presidential pardon. The Astros actions, and arrogance are proof that Manfred did not penalize them anywhere near severely enough, now Manfred has an astrodome sized mess on his hands.
    No good deed goes unpunished.
    I hope the first pitcher that faces them drills the first batter with the first pitch, I would, and I know bear would.
    I did hear that Manfred was not happy with the way the Astros handled their opening day of ST, and planned on having a talk with Jim Crane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Had to play some music today at the VFW in Penrose Colorado. So missed most of the news. Hope Garlick enjoys the city of Brotherly love……..Verdugo diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back. Bsn not sure he will be ready for opening day. Red Sox fans pretty pissed right about now. Looks like Pillar will get most of Verdugo’s reps. What I would like to know is how come it took this long to find the stress fracture, and when the hell did that happen> /??? Was he dugout dancing too hard? He hasn’t done anything since August. I totally forgot the SD got rid of Andy Green. Myers was saying how he and Green had some problems last year. Baseball will be played in 7 days!


  3. I have gone back and watched some of the games from last season and I looked at games Jansen lost or blew the save. In everyone of those games he threw 2 or 3 pitches,usually cutters in almost the exact same spot. If he did it the 3rd time, they teed off on it. I forget who the hitter was, a lefty and Jansen came on the inside portion of the plate, looked like a really good pitch, but the hitter got the bat head around and crushed it deep into the RF bullpen. Location location, location.


  4. Giants made their first trade with the A’s in 30 years today sending Burch Smith to the A’s for cash. That is a long time to hold a grudge! LOL..


    1. Really?

      The other side of the Joc debate is that he leaves next year no matter what, so why not try to recoup some value and get him somewhere he may be able to get even more ABs.


      1. I think the hand has been tipped. Friedman had a different plan than this.

        Joc may be here for a while, but I think he’s gone by August. This is a contract year for him and he’s going to want to play every day. That just won’t happen here. It may not happen anywhere he goes but the Dodgers have too many good outfielders for Joc to get the at bats he wants heading into free agency.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with Badger….they have already tipped their hand. They have Beaty who if he played as much as Joc would easily hit in double figures in HR’s. He is more of a contact hitter than Joc. Joc would be a good piece to dangle for what they need at the deadline. Of course that depends on what kind of a season he is having at the time. He won’t be the leadoff hitter anymore, that will be Betts. Not many players have that kind of natural power. I also think the Angels are really going to regret pulling out of that deal. Even on days he was not in the outfield, Joc could DH. I for one am glad it fell through simply because I do not think the Dodgers were getting an equal return. And I am glad a talent like Pages is still a Dodger. 19 and plenty of pop. Watch this kid. Tony Fernandez passed away today at 57. Part of the Jays WC team. Traded for Roberto Alomar once. Verdugo has to get some new jewelry. Wearing # 12 now.


  5. Graterol will throw his first BP tomorrow. He has been ill. Jansen jumped on the Red Sox yesterday. You normally do not hear KJ say much. But he seemed pretty pissed.


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