The Braves have a new closer, as they announced an agreement Friday evening with Kenley Janssen Contract worth $16 million for one year. (Atlanta discloses its terms of contract.) The Wasserman agent has spent his entire career with the Dodgers, but he’s headed to one of the other powers in the National League this season.
A three-time All-Star and two-time Hoffman (National League Best Savior), Jansen is one of the best late-game arms in recent memory. The Premier Closer has never scored an ERA above 3.75 in his 12-year league career, and has scored an ERA below 3.00 in eight separate seasons.
Jansen remained great last season, reaching 2.22 in 69 games. He saved 38 games and hit 30.9% of the confrontational hits. This wasn’t quite at its peak – when Janssen was taking out more than two-fifths of opponents while allowing less than two earned rounds per nine – but it was nonetheless among the league’s best productions. Of the 138 dwells with over 50 runs, Jansen scored 15th in the ERA and 29th in hitting percentage. He did swing strokes on 15.2% of his pitches, which is the highest mark of 22 among that same group.
In addition to his ability to miss bats, Jansen has consistently excelled at reducing difficult contact. Possessing a solid cutter that sticks out of the barrels, he consistently ranks among the top teams in the league in terms of checking opponents’ exit speeds and strong call rates. That continued last season, with opponents making a hard hit (defined as a hitter with an exit speed of 95 mph or higher) on only 26.1% of the balls played against him. That’s nearly ten points below the league average of 35.4%, although it’s on par with Jansen’s trajectory.
More is coming.
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