Kenley Jansen

Kenley Jansen

Jansen with the Los Angeles Dodgers
Free agent
Born: (1987-09-30) September 30, 1987
Willemstad, Curaçao
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
MLB debut
July 24, 2010, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB statistics
(through 2016 season)
Win–loss record 19–13
Earned run average 2.20
Strikeouts 632
Saves 189
Career highlights and awards

Kenley Geronimo Jansen (born September 30, 1987) is a Curaçaoan professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jansen made his MLB debut in 2010, and he appeared in the MLB All-Star Game in 2016.

Early life

Kenley Jansen was born in Willemstad, Curaçao,[1] the youngest of three sons of Isidor and Bernadette Jansen.[2] His father worked in construction until suffering a stroke when Kenley was 12; his mother is a travel agent.[2]

Baseball career

Minor leagues

Jansen was signed as an undrafted free agent catcher by the Dodgers in 2005 and was assigned to the Rookie Class Gulf Coast Dodgers, where he played in 2005 and 2006. He split 2007 between the Ogden Raptors and the Class-A Great Lakes Loons. In 2008 with the Loons, he hit .227 and 9 home runs in 79 games.

Jansen batting for the Great Lakes Loons in 2008

In 2009, he was the starting catcher for the Netherlands team in the World Baseball Classic. In the Netherlands' upset of the favored Dominican Republic team, Jansen threw out Willy Taveras on an attempted steal of third base in the ninth inning, a key play in the game.[3]

With the Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino in 2009, the Dodgers began an attempt to convert Jansen from a catcher into a relief pitcher. After the season, he pitched in the Arizona Fall League and was added to the Dodgers 40 man roster. On May 15, 2010 he was promoted to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, where he was selected to the mid-season Southern League all-star game.

Los Angeles Dodgers


On July 23, 2010, Jansen was promoted to the Dodgers.[4] He made his Major League debut in relief on July 24 against the New York Mets, where he pitched a scoreless inning, retiring all three batters he faced and striking out two. The very next day on July 25, he recorded his first Major League save, when he pitched a 1-2-3 inning against the New York Mets.

On August 26, 2010, Jansen walked and scored a run in his first Major League plate appearance at Miller Park in Milwaukee against Yovani Gallardo. He collected his first Major League hit on August 31, 2010 at Dodger Stadium. The hit was a single up the middle against Kyle Kendrick of the Philadelphia Phillies. He recorded his first Major League win against the Houston Astros on September 11, 2010 in Minute Maid Park. He appeared in 25 games with the Dodgers in 2010, working 27 innings with a 1–0 record and a 0.67 ERA. He also saved four games in 2010.


In 2011 Jansen became a key member of the Dodgers bullpen. He was 2–1 with a 2.85 ERA in 53 23 innings and saved 5 games. He also struck out 96 batters, setting a new Major League season record with 16 13 strikeouts per nine innings.[5]


In May 2012, Jansen became the Dodgers closer after Javy Guerra struggled in the role.[6] At the end of the season, after missing some time due to heart problems (see below), Jansen was replaced as closer by Brandon League.[7] He appeared in 65 games with a 5–3 record, 2.35 ERA, 99 strikeouts and 25 saves.


Jansen was a late addition to the Netherlands national baseball team for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, as he was added to the roster for the semi-finals but did not appear in the game.

Jansen began 2013 as the setup man in the bullpen but resumed the role as closer when League struggled. He was in 75 games with a 4-3 record, 1.88 ERA and 28 saves.


On February 11, 2014 he avoided his first arbitration hearing by signing a $4.3 million contract with the Dodgers.[8] Fully established as the Dodgers closer in 2014, Jansen worked in 68 games with a 2.76 ERA, 101 strikeouts and 44 saves. He became just the fourth Dodger pitcher in history with 40+ saves in a season, joining Éric Gagné (who did it three times), Todd Worrell and Jeff Shaw.[9]


On January 16, 2015, he again avoided arbitration by signing a one-year $7.425 million contract with the Dodgers.[10] However, on February 17, he underwent surgery to remove a growth from a bone in his left foot. The recovery time kept him out of action until May.[11] Jansen was eventually activated off the disabled list on May 15 and rejoined the Dodgers roster.[12] Jansen struck out 23 batters in his first 14 games of the season, without giving up a single walk. This broke Jay Howell's team records (set in the 1991 season) of 13 games without a walk to start a season and 20 strikeouts without a walk to start a season.[13] He wound up striking out 27 before he finally walked a batter on June 30, eight shy of the major league record.[14] He made 54 appearances for the team in 2015 with a 2.41 ERA and 36 saves. He also struck out 80 batters, while only walking 8 all season.[15] He became the first Dodgers pitcher with five seasons of 80 or more strikeouts in relief.[16] In his final year of arbitration, Jansen signed a one-year, $10.65 million, contract with the Dodgers on January 15, 2016.[17]


On June 20, 2016, Jansen picked up his 162nd career save against the Washington Nationals, breaking the all-time franchise record held by Éric Gagné.[18] He was also selected to the National League team for the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, his first all-star selection.[19] On August 24, 2016, Jansen tied Jim Brewer's franchise record for strikeouts by a reliever with the 604th of his career.[20] In 71 games, he was 3–2 with a 1.83 ERA and 47 saves, earning him the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award. [21]

Pitching style

Jansen relies almost exclusively on a cut fastball topping out at 98 mph, making his much faster than Mariano Rivera.[22] In 2012, he used this pitch about 93% of the time. His other main pitch is a slider in the low 80s. He experimented with a changeup in the 2009–2011 seasons and debuted a four-seam fastball at the end of the 2012 season.[23]

Jansen has recorded extremely high strikeout rates, garnering 14.6 strikeouts per 9 innings through the 2012 season. This is the second-highest total in history among pitchers who have thrown at least 140 innings (behind only Craig Kimbrel).[24]

Health issues

Jansen was diagnosed in 2011 with an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) and he missed some time that season while he was placed on blood thinners to correct the problem. However, the problem resurfaced late in the 2012 season and he again missed considerable time while being treated.[25][26] On October 24, 2012, Jansen underwent a three-hour procedure in which a surgeon identified abnormal tissue in his left atrium that was generating abnormal electrical signals and cauterized it.[27]


Jansen lives with his parents in Curaçao during the offseason, and they live with him in Los Angeles when they visit him during the season.[2] Jansen has a daughter who was born on March 16, 2013, Natalia Hannah Jansen and a son Kaden Isaiah Jansen born on August 16, 2015.[28]


  1. "Kenley Jansen". 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 Plaschke, Bill (September 11, 2013). "No man is an island, especially Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  3. "Kenley Jansen plays a big role in the Netherlands' upset of the Dominican Republic". March 7, 2009. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  4. "Dodgers call up Kenley Jansen; designate Justin Miller for assignment -". July 23, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  5. "Jansen struck out hitters at record pace in '11". Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  6. Hernandez, Dylan (May 7, 2012). "Kenley Jansen replacing Javy Guerra as Dodgers closer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  7. Dilbeck, Steve (September 30, 2012). "Brandon League, the Dodgers' unexpected closer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  8. Gurnick, Ken (February 11, 2014). "Jansen, Dodgers reach $4.3 million deal". Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  9. Eric Stephen (September 5, 2014). "Kenley Jansen 4th Dodgers pitcher with 40 saves in a season".
  10. Stephen, Eric (January 16, 2015). "Kenley Jansen, Dodgers avoid arbitration with $7.425 contract". Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  11. Weisman, Jon (February 17, 2015). "Kenley Jansen expected to miss 8-12 weeks after foot surgery". Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  12. Stephen, Eric (May 15, 2015). "Dodgers activate Kenley Jansen from DL, option Daniel Coulombe to Triple-A". SB Nation. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
  13. Stephen, Eric (June 25, 2015). "Stingy Kenley Jansen off to great start". SB Nation. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  14. Stephen, Eric (June 30, 2015). "Howie Kendrick, Yasmani Grandal do extra in Dodgers win". SB Nation. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  15. "2015 Los Angeles Dodgers Batting, Pitching, & Fielding Statistic". Baseball Reference. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  16. Stephen, Eric (October 3, 2015). "Dodgers postgame notes: Zack Greinke, Kenley Jansen, Yasiel Puig, home field advantage". SB Nation. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  17. Stephen, Eric (January 15, 2016). "Dodgers reportedly sign Kenley Jansen for 2016, avoid salary arbitration". SB Nation. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  18. Stephen, Eric (June 20, 2016). "Kenley Jansen sets all-time Dodgers franchise record for saves". SB Nation. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  19. Weisman, Jon (July 5, 2016). "Jansen, Kershaw, Seager named to NL All-Star team". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  20. Baer, Jack and Chris Haft (August 25, 2016). "Hill outduels Cueto in Dodgers debut". Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  21. Stephen, Eric (October 29, 2016). "Kenley Jansen wins 2016 Trevor Hoffman Award as top NL relief pitcher". Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  22. Newport, Kyle (August 6, 2014). "Dodgers Closer Kenley Jansen Unbelievably Threw a 98 Mph Cutter". Bleacher Report. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  23. "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool - Player Card: Kenley Jansen". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  24. "Major League Leaderboards » 2012 » Pitchers » Dashboard". Fangraphs. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  25. "Recurrence of heart condition sidelines Jansen". Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  26. "Jansen excited for first action since heart trouble". Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  27. "Kenley Jansen of Los Angeles Dodgers undergoes heart procedure - ESPN Los Angeles". October 23, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  28. Hernandez, Dylan (April 8, 2013). "Dodgers' Kenley Jansen has a healthy outlook". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 25, 2015.

External links

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