Grading the Dodgers: Bullpen

9 of 10

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Kenley Jansen– A

Despite missing the first month, Jansen still pitched the third-most innings on the team and did exactly what was expected of him. His cutter is still arguably the best in baseball, and he messed around with a four seamer a little too much this year, but he showed an at-times unhittable slider and if that can become another go-to pitch Jansen can become even more dangerous.

Jansen had a 13.7 SO/9 rate, which somehow is below his career average of 14.0. He gave up more home runs per nine than he ever has, and he gave up some memorable bombs, but most of them came in low-leverage situations. He was still dominant in high-leverage and medium-leverage situations, which is really where the team needs him to dominate. He had the best walk numbers of his career, only walking eight of the 200 batters he faced this year while striking out 80.

One of the most frustrating parts of last year’s postseason was that the bullpen was directly or indirectly the cause of all three losses, and Jansen was only used in one inning. This year, the bullpen was slightly improved and Jansen threw in three of the five postseason games, which makes it microscopically less frustrating. At least they didn’t get eliminated without using their best reliever.

Jansen is arbitration eligible this year and can be a free agent next year, and the Dodgers will likely pay whatever it takes to keep him in blue. Barring some sort of miracle, he should be the closer next year and we can all thank our lucky stars that the Dodgers didn’t trade for Jonathan Papelbon.

Next: Overall Grade