Just one year removed from being ranked the best relief pitcher in all of baseball by MLB Network’s The Shredder, Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen has fallen off the model’s updated list entirely entering the 2019 season.
Jansen was the highest ranked reliever to be excluded from the rankings, with Andrew Miller, Zach Britton and Wade Davis among the other snubs that just missed the cut.
Free agent Craig Kimbrel claims the No. 1 spot after a solid 2018 campaign with the Boston Red Sox. Rounding out the rankings in order are Sean Doolitte, Josh Hader, Edwin Diaz, Blake Treinen, Felipe Vázquez, Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman, José Leclerc and Brandon Morrow.
MLB Network analysts Ben Lindbergh and Mike Petriello featured Jansen on their top-10 relief pitchers lists, penciling him in at No. 8 and 9, respectively.
The 2018 season marked a bit of a down year for Jansen, who went 1-5 while posting career highs in ERA (3.01) and FIP (4.03) across 71.2 innings pitched and 69 appearances.
Jansen additionally yielded a personal-worst 13 home runs, which is seven more than he previously gave up in any of his other eight MLB seasons. He still excelled at limiting baserunners, accumulating a sub-one WHIP (0.99) for a fourth consecutive year.
Jansen bounced back from a heart scare in August to finish his 2018 campaign on a positive note, posting a 2.35 ERA over 23 innings of work between September and October. He compiled 38 saves on the year — the fifth straight season in which he exceeded the 30-save threshold.
Dating back to 2017, Jansen ranks second in WPA (7.2) and fifth in ERA (2.19) among qualified relief pitchers. He has accumulated 15.7 WAR (Baseball-Reference) since making his debut in 2010 — the fifth-most of any relief pitcher during that span.
Jansen was not pleased with his performance last season and hopes to be more aggressive in Spring Training as a way to better prepare him for the start of 2019. He reported to Camelback Ranch having already thrown five bullpen sessions and plans to pitch in Cactus League games.
|Rank||The Shredder||Mike Petriello||Ben Lindbergh||Vince Gennaro|
|1||Craig Kimbrel||Josh Hader (MIL)||Edwin Diaz (NYM)||Edwin Diaz (NYM)|
|2||Sean Doolittle (WSN)||Edwin Diaz (NYM)||Josh Hader (MIL)||Blake Treinen (OAK)|
|3||Josh Hader (MIL)||Blake Treinen (OAK)||Ryan Pressly (HOU)||Josh Hader (MIL)|
|4||Edwin Diaz (NYM)||Dellin Betances (NYY)||Aroldis Chapman (NYY)||José Leclerc (TEX)|
|5||Blake Treinen (OAK)||Sean Doolittle (WSN)||Blake Treinen (OAK)||Kirby Yates (SDP)|
|6||Felipe Vázquez (PIT)||José Leclerc (TEX)||Felipe Vázquez (PIT)||Ryan Pressly (HOU)|
|7||Chad Green (NYY)||Aroldis Chapman (NYY)||Dellin Betances (NYY)||Craig Kimbrel|
|8||Aroldis Chapman (NYY)||Craig Kimbrel||Kenley Jansen (LAD)||Jeurys Familia (NYM)|
|9||José Leclerc (TEX)||Kenley Jansen (LAD)||Craig Kimbrel||Andrew Miller (STL)|
|10||Brandon Morrow (CHC)||Ryan Pressly (HOU)||Corey Knebel (MIL)||Aroldis Chapman (NYY)|