In his first season exclusively at the MLB level, Dan Jennings had a solid year out of the White Sox bullpen. Although his WHIP remained the same at a very pedestrian 1.40, the left-hander posted a stellar 2.08 ERA. This success was possible due to an outstanding 0.2 HR/9 over the course of the season. Although things seem to be looking great for Jennings, these results will be difficult to replicate given his other numbers. His already-low strikeout rate dipped even further, his BB/9 ascended to 4.2, and his FIP sat at 3.43. To add insult to injury, the reliever's average fastball velocity (90.8 mph) also dropped by nearly two miles per hour from 2015. He made things work in 2016, but look for significant regression this season, as he will be fortunate to hold onto a low-leverage role for the entirety of 2017.
Jennings (1-0) allowed one hit in a scoreless inning and was credited with the win in Friday's 2-1 victory over Minnesota. Jennings has been an effective reliever for the White Sox despite a less-sanguine sabermetric view of him. He's posted a 1.93 ERA in six appearances this season, but his 5.77 FIP is an ominous sign.
Jennings pitched two scoreless innings, striking out four without allowing a hit or a walk in Friday's exhibition against Milwaukee. Aside from one bad outing, Jennings had a strong spring training with 11 strikeouts over nine innings. He was effective for the White Sox in 2016, posting the bullpen's lowest ERA over a career-high 64 appearances. He'll be used similarly in 2017, throwing in the sixth and seventh innings while sometimes getting more than three outs.
Jennings agreed to a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the White Sox on Thursday, avoiding arbitration, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Jennings parlayed his strong 2016 into a significant pay increase for the 2017 season as he'll serve as Chicago's best left-handed weapon out of the bullpen. He's not an elite source of strikeouts given his 48 K's in 60.2 innings in 2016, but his 2.08 ERA and .217 batting average allowed against lefties are valuable qualities in a reliever.
Jennings picked up a one out save with a strikeout Tuesday against the Royals. David Robertson blew the save in the ninth inning, and after the White Sox regained the lead in the 10th, they played matchups. Jennings did his job, as he struck out fellow left-hander Eric Hosmer to end the game. Robertson hasn't been at his best this season, but it isn't worth expecting too many more situations like this for Jennings the rest of the way.
Jennings picked up his fourth win of the season after throwing two-thirds of an inning against the Cubs on Monday. He was only eligible for the win after allowing an inherited runner to score the game-tying run in the top-half of the ninth inning. Interestingly, manager Robin Ventura turned to Jennings in an incredibly close situation (runner on third, one out, and up only one run) with both David Robertson and Nate Jones unavailable due to recent workloads.
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