The Los Angeles Dodgers prioritized re-signing many of its top free agents last offseason, including longtime closer Kenley Jansen, who ultimately remained with the organization on a lucrative five-year deal.
In the first year of his new contract, Jansen enjoyed another brilliant season as the anchor to the Dodgers bullpen. As part of his annual position rankings, ESPN’s Buster Olney ranked Jansen as the best reliever in all of baseball.
The all-time Dodgers saves leader placed third on the list last season, only behind the Baltimore Orioles’ Zach Britton and Cleveland Indians’ Andrew Miller.
Jansen solidified himself as one of the best closers during the 2016 season and built on that campaign with an even better showing last year, where he posted minuscule numbers across the board.
In 68.1 innings during the regular season, Jansen put up a 1.32 ERA, 1.31 FIP and 0.75 WHIP with 107 strikeouts to just seven walks. The 30-year-old was nearly flawless in the postseason, where he allowed just three runs over 16.2 innings (1.62 ERA) and racked up an additional 20 strikeouts compared to just three free passes.
Jansen had sported a perfect postseason ERA until the World Series, where he was tabbed for all three of his runs against the Houston Astros. Despite this, Jansen still limited the dynamic offense to the tune of a 0.92 WHIP across 8.2 innings (six games).
For the second consecutive season, Jansen was selected to the National League All-Star team, where he proceeded to lead his peers with 41 saves on the year. Jansen accumulated 2.9 WAR (Baseball-Reference) for his efforts and finished fifth and 15th, respectively, in Cy Young and MVP voting.
Jansen will return to the Dodgers for his ninth season in 2018, where he looks to continue his dominant run as one of the sport’s best relievers in recent memory.