Bridgewater, NJ – Pitcher Justin Jensen has been named #14 on the Patriots Top 15 list, a part of the team’s 15th Season Anniversary, designed to celebrate the best players in team history as voted on by fans, Patriots players and coaches, and team officials.
Jensen introduced himself to the Atlantic League and Somerset Patriots fans with an extraordinary 1999 season that saw him named Atlantic League Pitcher Of The Year. He led the league with his 12-5 record, 2.76 ERA, and 111 strikeouts in 156.1 innings pitched in 24 games.
Prior to joining the Patriots, Jensen had experience in the Detroit Tigers organization at the Single-A level.
“My time in Somerset made me a better pitcher,” Jensen said. “I was told no by Major League organizations, but there I was facing established hitters, some with Major League experience, and succeeding. It brought out the best in me.”
His dominant pitching in Somerset led to his signing with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees organizations.
He returned to the Patriots for the 2002 season, and despite his 3.68 ERA, struggled with a Patriots team that failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1998.
Jensen returned to form in 2003, finishing with a 9-3 record, a 2.88 ERA, and 79 strikeouts in 125 innings pitched in 19 games started. Despite being on previous Patriots playoff teams, 2003 marked his first and only championship in Somerset.
“That team was a very tight unit. Everybody pushed each other to go out there and be better. It was a great feeling to win it all. As a competitor, no matter where you are, your intent is always to win,” Jensen said.
Jensen ranks among the Patriots career all-time leaders with his 35-24 record, 3.62 ERA, and 385 strikeouts in 527 innings pitched in 89 games. He is the team’s leader in innings pitched and second in wins, games started, strikeouts, and complete games.
“I was treated very well at Somerset. I felt respected by everyone and it was great to have a place to play when it seemed that all I needed was the chance to prove myself,” said Jensen.
Throughout the 2012 season, the Patriots will be counting down the Top 15 players in team history and then highlight the chosen players on baseball card giveaways and a special lithograph during the year.