Kenley Jansen

© Sarah Morris, 2020

Since 2011, Kenley Jansen has been the Los Angeles Dodgers’ closer. A case of COVID-19 affected Jansen’s effectiveness in late of the 2020 season. During the postseason, Jansen’s ineffectiveness caused him to lose his closing role even though he won his first World Series ring.

Jansen has the most saves in the Dodger franchise history. For his career, despite having serious health problems, he has a pitching style designed to retire hitters.

In March 2020, Jansen looked great. His natural cutter had tremendous movement though his velocity had decreased. He was poised to have a great 2020 season when baseball stopped because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the 2½ months of no baseball played, Jansen from his children contracted COVID-19. Because of his illness, Jansen arrived late for summer camp. When he arrived, his velocity was greatly decreased, but his cutter and slider still had great movement.

In both July and August, Jansen was almost perfect. He seldom struggled during the ninth inning, and Jansen contributed tremendously to the Dodger dominance of the Western Division.

Something happened to Jansen at the beginning of September. Before September, Jansen had a 1.18 ERA and was dominating the opposition. In September, Jansen might have developed a mechanical problem affecting his movement on his slider and cutter. During September, Jansen had a 6.52 ERA. Sometimes at the postseason, Jansen looked dominating, but mostly, he was ineffective.

Many people think Jansen has seen his better days since he is 33 years old. His velocity had decreased. However, velocity does not mean much for effectiveness. It is exciting to see a pitch over 99-miles-per hour on the radar gun. Nevertheless, a straight pitch is easy to hit, no matter how fast the pitch goes. A location of pitch makes it harder to hit. Jansen still can be effective if he can throw 90-miles-per-hour. He must regain the movement on his slider and cutter. If Jansen can maintain his terrific control and regain the movement, he can be an effective relief pitcher. He might not be able to be an effective closer.

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