Despite a disappointing end to the 2019 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers enter the upcoming campaign as heavy favorites to win an eighth consecutive National League West title.
The club reloaded over the offseason, acquiring the likes of Mookie Betts and David Price while returning the majority of their 106-win core from a year ago. Among the holdovers is Kenley Jansen, who opted into the remaining two years on his contract.
He now looks to bounce back after a rough 2019 campaign in which he posted some of the worst statistics of his big league career.
The 32-year-old pitched to a 3.71 ERA, 3.48 FIP and 1.06 WHIP with 80 strikeouts and 16 walks in 63 innings across 62 regular-season appearances while converting 33 of 41 save opportunities.
To combat his struggles, Jansen will be more aggressive with his throwing program this spring. He also is hoping to benefit from a visit to Driveline Baseball over the offseason to refine his mechanics.
“I went to Driveline right after the season was over,” Jansen said. “I figured out some stuff and it went well. I followed the programs and I’m liking it so far.”
The Dodgers have an excellent relationship with Driveline Baseball, hiring multiple coaches away from the training academy in recent weeks, as well as signing former intern Bradley Gonzales to a Minor League contract.
Alex Wood also worked with Driveline Baseball during the winter from the advice of former Cincinnati Reds teammate Trevor Bauer.
Jansen went into detail why he decided to give Driveline Baseball a try. “Just get back to where I used to be, let the ball go,” he said.
“My delivery changed so much and you don’t even know that until you go there and they put all that stuff on your body and you figure out that you lost eight percent on the cutter, eight percent on the rising, so I saw some videos of how I used to be and they just give you exercises to put you back in that position to fire the ball all the way.
“I’ve just been following those drills and it’s been great so far. They have everything, they have videos that you can see what I was in ’16, ’17 and ’18, ’19 how things changed.”
Jansen’s motivation to checking out Driveline was to improve from a trying 2019 season. “Each day you play this game you want to get better no matter how your season is,” he said. “If you have a bad year or a good year, you still want to continue to get better and improve.
As long as I’m playing this game, that’s what I’m gonna keep doing, try to get better. That was a good thing for me to figure out and I feel really good about it.”
Jansen has noticed the early results from his sessions at Driveline Baseball, specifically as it pertains to his cutter. “It feels like the ball has life on it,” Jansen said.
“So that’s what everybody is telling me. I feel like it looks like it, the one thing I’m seeing is it doesn’t go down, it stays in one lane but a lot of people are telling me it has a lot of life.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our live shows, and more!