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Evaluating the Gary Henderson Hire

Let's take a look at how Kentucky's pitchers performed under Gary Henderson during his time as a head coach and a pitching coach under John Cohen.

Kelly Price/

Gary Henderson was with Kentucky for a long time. A very, very long time. He was an assistant coach from 2003-2008 and then their head coach from 2009-2016. That's the majority of the years that this century has been happening. And many people, specifically Kentucky fans, have been happy that he's leaving, despite the fact that he is one of the most successful coaches in their program's history.

And that has brought many Mississippi State fans to question the hire, and Kendall Rogers to field a question or two.

So, to get a feel for who we're getting as a pitching coach, let's take a look at the stats and see how Henderson's pitching staffs performed under him.

Starting with their team ERA:

As you can see, Henderson's teams didn't seem to excel when it came to keeping their opponents off of the scoreboard. Though, they weren't necessarily awful during their more successful years. For comparison purpose, Mississippi State's team ERA this past year was 3.35, which isn't too far off from Henderson's 2012 team mark of 3.41, which was his best season at Kentucky.

Looking at total strikeouts:

As a whole, it appears that there is a slight trend that Kentucky's pitching staff improved at getting strikeouts as Henderson's career wore on. To compare to our pitching staff this season, Mississippi State struck out 576 opponents, which is far better than any of Henderson's squads at Kentucky.

That being said, these comparisons are a bit unfair as Henderson didn't have a pitching staff that featured guys quite like Dakota Hudson, Austin Sexton, Konnor Pilkington, or Zac Houston. Despite that, he's sent 7 pitchers into various MLB organizations in the past 5 years, the most of any SEC team in that span.

As a whole, I believe this is a pretty good hire. Henderson's familiarity with Cohen will make this a pretty easy transition for all involved. But of course, we'll have to wait and see as to how this will pan out. Henderson will have his work cut out for him trying to rebuild a starting rotation where now sophomore Konnor Pilkington is likely our ace. It'll be interesting to see what he can do to improve the young guys in the bullpen.