The Toronto Blue Jays bullpen has been a mess lately. Part-time closer Jon Rauch is on the disabled list, and current closer Frank Francisco might join him too. Regardless of whether or when they return, both pitchers will be free-agents after the season. Unless the Blue Jays sign a closer during the off-season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them hand the job to Casey Janssen.
Janssen’s success in 2011 is hardly shocking. The right-hander debuted as as a reliever back in 2007, and was quite the workhorse–hurling 72.6 innings, while owning a 2.35 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 1.95 K/BB. He also saved 6 games. But the then 25 year-old endured a torn labrum in the beginning of 2008, which forced him to miss all of 2008, and hampered his 2009 season.
In fact, after posting a seemingly dismal 5.85 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, and 1.71 K/BB in 2009, most people assumed Janssen was toast. To Janssen’s credit, his peripherals told a different story. His .367 BABIP suggested too many of his groundballs–which he rolled out at an elite 49.7% rate–resulted in hits. In addition, despite posting a bloated 5.85 ERA, the reliever’s more down-to-earth 4.38 xFIP illustrates how unlucky 2009 was, overall, for Janssen. Continue reading