I wrote last week about how Kenley Jansen had the second-highest strikeout rate in baseball history, but the Dodgers rookie was so dominant down the stretch that he vaulted into the top spot.
Jansen ended up striking out 34 of the final 56 batters he faced this season–which is absolutely ridiculous–and finished the year as the first pitcher in baseball history with more than 16.0 strikeouts per nine innings.
Here’s the new all-time leaderboard (among pitchers with at least 40 innings):
KENLEY JANSEN 2011 16.1
Carlos Marmol 2010 16.0
Eric Gagne 2003 15.0
Billy Wagner 1999 15.0
Brad Lidge 2004 14.9
Jensen racked up 96 strikeouts in 53.2 innings while posting a 2.85 ERA and .159 opponents’ batting average. Not bad for a 23-year-old rookie who was a light-hitting catcher in the minors as recently as two seasons ago.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?