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Kenley Jansen racking up strikeouts at historic rate

Sep 15, 2011, 12:16 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

Last season Carlos Marmol set the all-time record by striking out 16.0 batters per nine innings, becoming the first pitcher in baseball history with a strikeout rate above 15.0.

Marmol’s record is probably safe, but Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen looks set to join him in the 15-plus club. Last night Jansen closed out a 3-2 victory for his fourth save of the season and struck out the side in the process, giving him 83 strikeouts in 48 innings overall.

That works out to 15.6 strikeouts per nine innings, which is the second-highest rate of all time:

                  YEAR     SO/9
Carlos Marmol     2010     16.0
KENLEY JANSEN     2011     15.6
Eric Gagne        2003     15.0
Billy Wagner      1999     15.0
Brad Lidge        2004     14.9

Predictably the top five spots all belong to relievers from the past 15 years. In terms of strikeout rates for starting pitchers Randy Johnson has the all-time record with 13.4 in 2001, when he whiffed 372 batters in 250 innings for the Diamondbacks.

Jansen, who began his pro career as a light-hitting catcher and didn’t move to the mound until 2009, has a 2.28 ERA, .156 opponents’ batting average, and 124 strikeouts in 75 innings as a big leaguer.

  1. adcoop22 - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Dbacks fan here, this guy was a beast last night. What is with LA and there big boys they put on the mound.They have to have the largest pitching staff in baseball, 3 guys at 240, one at 235, and this guy is 255! That doesn’t include Broxton who is 300lbs. Maybe they could build that NFL stadium and these guys could play both sports.

  2. dailyrev - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Scully, as he often does, had me laughing last night (maybe he was consciously trying to offer some comic relief to the Kershaw-Parra-Umpire tension). Young came to the plate with his 120-odd K’s so far this season to go with his 20HRs, and Scully goes and pulls a 65-year old factoid out of his vast memory banks (who needs computers?). “In 1945, Tommy Holmes of Brooklyn had six hundred (odd) plate appearances, 28 HRs, and nine strikeouts — Nine!.”

    This is what makes him unique, that he carries stuff in his memory that an ordinary broadcaster would have to whip an intern or researcher to get for him. And he delivers this stuff like he’s sitting in the family den turning the pages of today’s paper and reading the interesting bits aloud. I sometimes find myself talking — aloud — right back to him: “But Vin, wasn’t the war still on that summer, so the pitching that year had to be pretty depleted and weak….”

    This is an old school phenomenon, kids — you won’t encounter this even on twitter; not the way Vin does it and always has — the ability of a broadcaster to start rather than finish conversations with his audience. That’s the genius of Scully.

  3. purnellmeagrejr - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    epic headline – almost awesome, really.

  4. dracko19 - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    Go look up al alberquerqe’s rate for the Tigers this year.

    • adcoop22 - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:24 PM

      14.2, woohoo

  5. seanmk - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    craig kimbrel is currently at 14.86 k/9 and last year in 20 innings was at 17.42

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