#MLBPlayers411 | Kenley Jansen
For the second-straight season, Dodgers closer and today's #MLBPlayersAllStar17 #MLBPlayers411 subject, Kenley Jansen is All-Star Game bound.
After a first half in which Kenley posted a 0.98 ERA, held opposing hitters to a .146 batting average and 56 strikeouts over 36.2 innings, selecting the 29-year-old to lead the National League's bullpen in Miami was what Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called “a no brainer.”
Kenley, already the Dodgers' career saves leader, also has 20 saves in as many opportunities and only Craig Kimbrel of the Red Sox (0.52) tops his 0.53 WHIP.
Following a dominating 47-save performance and a first trip to the All-Star Game during the 2016 regular season, he had 19 strikeouts in 11.2 innings in the postseason before the Dodgers fell to the Cubs in the NLCS. He ended up winning the 2016 Trevor Hoffman Award as the National League's top closer.
Now Kenley has his sights set on becoming to the Dodgers' bullpen what future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw is to the club's rotation.
“He's the guy here,” Kenley recently told The Los Angeles Times. “Me, in my role in the bullpen, I'm the same thing, I'm the ace and the leader in my department. I have to take care of my responsibility.”
The Willemstad, Curaçao native began playing baseball at the age of six, but pitching wasn't always his forte. Kenley played around the infield in youth leagues and started out as a shortstop before being moved to third base to accommodate Andrelton Simmons, who also hails from Willemstad. Kenley also saw time at first base and catcher, the position he was playing in 2004 when the Dodgers signed him as an international free agent.
Kenley batted .307 in his first year of rookie ball but his hitting didn't progress as he moved up in the Dodgers system, so the club asked him to trying pitching during the second half of the 2009 season.
In 2010, Kenley made the Double-A All Star Game and finished with a 4-0 record, a 1.67 ERA and eight saves. The Dodgers were convinced, and on July 24, 2010, promoted Kenley to the big leagues. In his debut, he struck out two Mets in a scoreless inning. He recorded his first big-league save the next day, when he pitched a 1-2-3 inning against the Mets.
Kenley has played for his native country Netherlands in the 2009 World Baseball Classic as a catcher, as well as 2017's tournament as a reliever.
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