Dodgers Dugout: How does Kenley Jansen compare to other possible playoff closers?

Kenley Jansen has 26 saves this season, but he's had his struggles and his statistics show it.
(Erik S. Lesser / EPA)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and only in baseball can you outscore a team 24-2 in two games and then get routed by that same team in the third game.

Kenley Jansen

It appears that for the next six weeks of the season most Dodgers fans will be focusing on the bullpen (and rightfully so), specifically Kenley Jansen. But how does Jansen compare to the other closers who could be in the playoffs? We’ve compared team bullpens in the past, but what about the closer, specifically?


To be as fair as possible, I have chosen 14 teams by the best records in baseball as of Thursday morning. This leaves teams such as San Francisco, Arizona and Texas on the outside looking in, but I had to draw the line somewhere. The Mets are one of the 14 teams, but they have demoted Edwin Diaz from the closer role and are basically using a closer-by-committee, so we will eliminate them. We can revisit all of this as we get nearer the end of the season. Reminder: The three division winners and two wild-card teams will make the playoffs in each league.

The teams: Dodgers, New York Yankees, Houston, Minnesota, Cleveland, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Washington, St. Louis, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee, Boston, Philadelphia. And all numbers are through Wednesday.


1. Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees, 33

2. Brad Hand, Cleveland, 29

2. Sean Doolittle, Washington, 29

4. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers, 26

4. Roberto Osuna, Houston, 26

6. Josh Hader, Milwaukee, 25

7. Hector Neris, Philadelphia, 21

8. Taylor Rogers, Minnesota, 18

9. Carlos Martinez, St. Louis, 13

10. Emilio Pagan, Tampa Bay, 13

10. Liam Hendriks, Oakland, 13

12. Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs, 9

13. Brandon Workman, Boston, 7

14. Mark Melancon, Atlanta, 2

Note: Kimbrel was signed midseason and is on the IL. … Boston really uses a closer by committee, but Workman has been given a lot of closing opportunities lately, so I’m going with him. … Melancon was named Braves closer last week. He was acquired from San Francisco at the trade deadline and his numbers include both teams.

Blown Saves

1. Emilio Pagan, Tampa Bay, 7

2. Taylor Rogers, Minnesota, 6

3. Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees, 5

3. Sean Doolittle, Washington, 5

3. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers, 5

3. Roberto Osuna, Houston, 5

3. Josh Hader, Milwaukee, 5

3. Brandon Workman, Boston, 5

9. Brad Hand, Cleveland, 4

9. Liam Hendriks, Oakland, 4

9. Hector Neris, Philadelphia, 4

12. Carlos Martinez, St. Louis, 3

13. Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs, 2

14. Mark Melancon, Atlanta, 0



1. Liam Hendriks, Oakland, 1.56

2. Emilio Pagan, Tampa Bay, 1.95

3. Brandon Workman, Boston, 1.96

4. Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees, 2.45

5. Brad Hand, Cleveland, 2.74

6. Josh Hader, Milwaukee, 2.91

7. Roberto Osuna, Houston, 3.04

8. Taylor Rogers, Minnesota, 2.68

9. Carlos Martinez, St. Louis, 3.41

10. Hector Neris, Philadelphia, 3.44

11. Sean Doolittle, Washington, 3.73

12. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers, 3.74

13. Mark Melancon, Atlanta, 4.18

14. Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs, 5.68

Inherited runners who scored % (The lower, the better. If you come in with the bases loaded and no one scores, you have a 0. If two of the three score, 66.7)

1. Brad Hand, Cleveland, 0% (0 of 14 inherited runners scored)

2. Hector Neris, Philadelphia, 7.14% (1 of 14)

3. Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees, 10% (1 of 10)

4. Brandon Workman, Boston, 14.3% (2 of 14)

5. Josh Hader, Milwaukee, 20.83% (5 of 24)

6. Roberto Osuna, Houston, 25% (2 of 8)

6. Mark Melancon, Atlanta, 25% (4 of 16)

8. Carlos Martinez, St. Louis, 28.6% (4 of 14)

9. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers, 33.3% (5 of 15)

10. Emilio Pagan, Tampa Bay, 37.5% (9 of 24)

11. Liam Hendriks, Oakland, 38.24% (13 of 34)

12. Taylor Rogers, Minnesota, 40% (6 of 15)

12. Sean Doolittle, Washington, 40% (8 of 20)

Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs, has not had an inherited runner this season.

Home runs allowed

1. Josh Hader, Milwaukee, 13

2. Hector Neris, Philadelphia, 8

2. Emilio Pagan, Tampa Bay, 8

4. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers, 7

4. Sean Doolittle, Washington, 7

6. Roberto Osuna, Houston, 6

6. Taylor Rogers, Minnesota, 6

8. Brad Hand, Cleveland, 5

9. Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs, 4

10. Mark Melancon, Atlanta, 3

11. Carlos Martinez, St. Louis, 2

12. Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees, 2

12. Liam Hendriks, Oakland, 2

14. Brandon Workman, Boston, 1


1. Josh Hader, Milwaukee, 0.808

2. Emilio Pagan, Tampa Bay, 0.868

3. Roberto Osuna, Houston, 0.908

4. Brandon Workman, Boston, 1.000

5. Hector Neris, Philadelphia, 1.007

6. Liam Hendriks, Oakland, 1.026

7. Taylor Rogers, Minnesota, 1.062

8. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers, 1.073

9. Brad Hand, Cleveland, 1.135

10. Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees, 1.175

11. Carlos Martinez, St. Louis, 1.263

12. Sean Doolittle, Washington, 1.342

13. Mark Melancon, Atlanta, 1.471

14. Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs, 1.658

I can hear you now. ENOUGH STATISTICS! OK, you win. What does all of this show? Jansen is about in the middle of the pack, but no team has a closer that is dominant. The two best, in my opinion, are Chapman and Hand.

And remember, the last two World Series winners basically demoted their closer during the playoffs.

The Dodgers will give Jansen every chance to right himself during the season. They don’t have a lot of other options at closer. Joe Kelly was getting booed off the field earlier this season, and he turned it around. Jansen might too.


Now watch the Dodgers offense be so dominant in the playoffs that the bullpen really won’t come into play. Unlikely, I know, but the baseball gods have a strange sense of humor.

Ask Orel Hershiser … back on!

After the last newsletter came out, I had a nice conversation with Orel Hershiser on the phone and Ask Orel Hershiser is back on! We both agreed that Apple needs to come out with an app to alert you that you have an unanswered text message you need to respond to. If you were down on him after the last newsletter, restore him to your good graces, because he is truly a class act. And if you are down on me, then you must be someone I know. So, continue to email in those questions. If the schedules work out, the answers will appear next week.

Have you noticed?

It seemed all the talk in the offseason centered on who would sign Bryce Harper. His loss was supposed to spell doom for Washington, and Philadelphia became the NL favorite in the eyes of some when they signed him.

Well, if the playoffs ended today, Washington would be in, Philadelphia would be out. Just goes to prove that it is extremely rare for a free-agent addition to turn a team’s fortunes around, and equally rare for a free-agent loss to mean doom.

Ask Ross Porter


Ross Porter will once again answer reader questions this season. All you have to do is email me your question at I will forward the email to Ross, and he will answer some each week. Take it away, Ross.

Richard Mintz of Sherman Oaks asks: Ross, when the Dodgers go on the road, besides the players, manager and coaches, who accompanies them on the plane?

Ross: Seven trainers, three interpreters (Japanese, Korean and Spanish), team broadcasters, SportsNet LA crew, two video staff members, a representative of public relations and baseball operations and a staff photographer. Plus, David Vassegh who covers the team for flagship station KLAC. The Dodgers never enter an airport, but go by buses to their chartered plane on the tarmac and to the hotel on the road.

Dennis Devine asks: When a player is called up, does the team pay for his room and board?

Ross: The team pays for seven nights in a hotel and seven days per diem. After that, if it looks like he will remain for a while, the player can pay for an apartment or stay in a hotel, checking in and out when he’s going on a road trip.

Mark Muir of Burbank asks: Are there more foul balls these days?

Ross: There sure are, Mark, and it is a significant increase. In each of the last two years, there were more foul balls than balls put in play. The average number of foul balls hit per game is 46. That means 63,000 foul balls a season, which is 14,000 more than in 1998. Why? Quality of pitching has improved and batters have to be more defensive, so they foul off pitches. Last year, Brandon Belt of the Giants saw 21 pitches in one at bat to tie a record, and 16 were foul balls. By the way, the average life span of a baseball is six pitches.

Sources: and fivethirtyeight


Dave Peden of Florence, Ore., asks: I’m curious, Ross. What do runners arriving at first base and first basemen talk about?

Ross: Who better to give you an answer than the man who played 1,601 games at first base for the Dodgers over 12 years. His worst fielding percentage in one season was .990 and his 270 home runs are a Los Angeles Dodgers record — Eric Karros. EK tells me, “Sometimes just a general ... ‘What’s going on, how’s the family?’ Can also be about restaurants or places to go after a game. Discussions about how good the pitcher is, and not sure how I got to first. This happened a few times with Darren Dreifort. Guys would get to first and talk about how unreal his stuff was and say they had no idea how they got to first. Remember one time Rickey Henderson actually had a conversation with himself about stealing a base. Good stuff.”

You can follow Ross on Twitter: @therossporter

Best record in baseball

The Dodgers are clinging to a narrow lead in the NL West, so let’s take a look at the race for best record in baseball, which will be used to determine home-field advantage in the World Series:

Dodgers, 81-42, ---

New York Yankees, 81-42, ---

Houston Astros, 78-43, 2

Minnesota Twins, 73-48, 7

Cleveland Indians, 73-49, 7.5

Atlanta Braves, 72-51, 9

The first tiebreaker for World Series home-field advantage is head-to-head record, which makes the upcoming three-game series at home against the Yankees (Aug. 23-25) very important. The second tiebreaker is best record against teams in their respective division (Dodgers vs. NL West) and the third tiebreaker is best record against teams in their own league (Dodgers vs. NL teams).

In case you missed it


Some stories you might want to catch up on:

Dodgers believe Rich Hill can build enough stamina to start in the playoffs

Postcard From L.A.: A classic ballyard that feels like home, even in the nosebleeds

Felipe Vazquez, the closer the Dodgers didn’t acquire, hits 100 mph against Angels

More KTLA games

Five more Dodgers games will be televised on KTLA Channel 5 this season. They are:

Saturday, Aug. 31, 5 p.m. at Arizona

Saturday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m. vs. San Francisco

Saturday, Sept. 14, 4 p.m. at New York Mets

Saturday, Sept. 21, 6 p.m. vs. Colorado Rockies

Saturday, Sept. 28, 1 p.m. at San Francisco

Up next

All times Pacific

Tonight: Dodgers (Kenta Maeda) at Atlanta (Mike Soroka), 4 p.m.

Saturday: Dodgers (*Hyun-Jin Ryu) at Atlanta (Mike Foltynewicz), 4 p.m.

Sunday: Dodgers (Dustin May) at Atlanta (*Max Fried), 10 a.m.


And finally


A closer look at Dodgers great Zach Wheat. Watch it here.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston. Subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.