Kenley Jansen is with a new team and he has a new set of rules to abide by to boot. The new Red Sox closer was one of the slowest pitchers in the league last year and now has to speed things up with the pitch clock.
According to BaseballSavant, Jansen was the slowest pitcher with runners on base last season at a rate of 31.4 seconds between pitches. He was a bit faster with the bases empty, but 25.6 seconds between pitches was still the third-slowest in the league.
Jansen, who signed a two-year contract with the Red Sox in December, is embracing the change.
He joined WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” and explained why he thinks the pitch clock is great for baseball.
“As much as us as players hate it, just being rushed, I think it’s going to be great for baseball, honestly,” Jansen said (13;29 in player above). “I think for me being the slowest guy in the league last year … I feel much better pitching now, being on the clock. Sometimes it’s very uncomfortable, you can’t step out and stuff like that, but it’s a game of adjustments.”
Baseball is in fact a game of adjustments and this is one that the whole league is having to adjust to.
The new pitch clock gives pitchers 20 seconds with runners on base – more than 10 seconds less than Jansen’s average time in 2022 – and only 15 seconds with the bases empty – once again just over 10 seconds quicker.
Perhaps it’s going to be a bit tougher for Jansen than it is for quicker workers, but he’s taking it in stride and feeling good about it.
“I think we don’t like it as a player but I think for fans they’re probably going to love it because the game’s going to be a whole lot smoother and faster and entertaining,” he said. “I think that starting there it’s a good thing already what baseball is doing.”
Jansen is also a fan of every team playing in every city over the course of the 162-game season, noting that every city wants to see Mike Trout play. Also, the first time Jansen himself pitched at Fenway Park was in the 2018 World Series despite breaking into the league in 2010.
MLB is trying to speed up the game for its fans and the slowest pitcher in the league is embracing it. There are some kinks that need to be worked out but that’s a great sign for the future of the pitch clock.
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