Monday, September 26, 2011

Potential Dodgers' award winners: Kemp, Kershaw... Jansen?

While guys like Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are getting plenty of play for postseason awards, one member of the Dodgers is being grossly overlooked.

This tweet by Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts reminded me of something:
Jansen now at 16.02 K/9 with that strikeout - currently all-time single-season leader
That's right: Kenley Jansen is a rookie.

Despite pitching 27 innings for the Dodgers last season, was still technically a rookie heading into the 2011 season because he did not reach the 50-inning limit in 2010.

He should get some consideration for National League Rookie of the Year, but I'm not saying he should win it. I'm even skeptical he'll garner any votes.

So, why should get be considered? Well, his 16.10 K/9 rate is one reason. If he maintains that rate in the last three games, it will be a Major League record -- a record set by the Cubs' Carlos Marmol in 2010 (15.99).

Jansen has 93 strikeouts in 52 innings.

Let that sink in for a moment.

He also sports a nifty 2.94 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 5.02 H/9 and 3.72 K/BB ratio. All this despite missing time this season with a right shoulder injury and an irregular heartbeat.

I wrote a piece on his dominance nearly a couple weeks ago, and he's only been more dominant since.

In his last seven games, he has 16 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings (22.7 K/9). He's struck out 16 of the 23 batters he's faced. That just simply does not happen -- not even in the minors.

Handicapping the race, it would seem a trio of Braves are in better position to nab the award. Freddie Freeman with his .806 OPS, 21 home runs and 76 RBI; Brandon Beachy, who boasts a 3.68 ERA, 169 strikeouts in 141 2/3 innings; and Craig Kimbrel, who leads the Majors in saves with 46 saves and owns a 14.86 K/9 in 76 1/3 innings.

The Diamondbacks' Josh Collmenter and the Phillies' Vance Worley might get some votes -- probably more than Jansen -- but neither will come close to Freeman, Kimbrel or Beachy.

While it looks like Kershaw all but locked up the NL Cy Young Award and Triple Crown -- Cliff Lee would have to pitch 10 2/3 scoreless innings with 17 strikeouts to overtake him in both -- and Kemp is in a heated battle with Ryan Braun for the MVP, Jansen should not be overlooked by voters, even though he probably will be.

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