Last year, Los Angeles Dodgers Kenley Jansen found himself having cardiac ablation surgery to fix an irregular heartbeat. This year this catcher prospect, turned great reliever, finds himself as one of the best set-up man/closers in Major League Baseball.
He has attacked pitching a baseball with a fierceness, and toughness that has skyrocketed him through the minors in only eight months. His bullet train ride to Los Angeles, is much like his 94 mph fastball he throws over 86 percent of the time. He used his fastball to strike out 16.1 batters per nine innings. This is a tremendous achievement from a rookie catcher—turned pitcher.
Jansen is from the island of Curacao. He pitched some in Little League, but he wanted to be a great catcher. However, playing in the World Baseball Classic, the scouts found his strong arm when he threw out Hanley Ramirez, the now Dodgers’ speedy shortstop.
Since his transformation to pitcher, Jansen has struck out 236 batters, with only 63 BB. He is blazing a trail in the Dodgers’ bullpen with a 2.58 ERA, and a .94 Whip in the last two years. This hard-throwing right hander is a reliable reliever for LA. The Dodgers organization knows Jansen can be counted on when his number is called.
Jansen is also showing his heart to his Island nation by giving back. He wants to build a gymnasium for the kids in Curacao. Jansen sees the huge need that is out there for children to have a place to play sports. He also believes that kids are our future.
The future is bright for Jansen. Jansen is ahead of schedule since his recovery from heart surgery and is on his way to competing for set-up man or closer. He gives everything he has on the mound and off the field. Jansen is another Dodger that’s all heart.