Why Can’t Butch Thompson Turn Elite Pitching Talent into Solid SEC Starters?


Have you noticed how Mississippi State never has a dominant starting pitcher? At least not since Chris Statton in 2012. In fact, Stratton is pretty much the only dominating pitcher we’ve had under John Cohen, and he only did it for one year.

MSU hasn’t won the SEC since 1989. That’s because we can’t seem to dominate on the mound. 2014’s soft schedule led to an 18-12 conference mark which was the best since the late 1990s. Can you believe we went over 15 years without a winning percentage better than .600 in the SEC?

Butch Thompson gets a lot of credit as State’s pitching coach for turning average pitchers into really good ones. Look what he did with Ross Mitchell for his first three years or Chad Girado in his final year. There are a number of other pitchers who weren’t highly regarded until they began working with Coach Thompson….Johnathan Holder being one of them.

Then there are the top pitching prospects that seem to flake out when they get to MSU. Take Brandon Woodruff or Evan Mitchell for example. They had completely worthless college careers but had all the talent in the world.

Jacob Lindgren was supposed to be a stud in the rotation. After toiling for two years he finally found his way in the bullpen. But it’s starting pitching that means the most. State can’t seem to muster any.

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The current starting rotation of Lucas Laster, Preston Brown and Vance Tatum/Austin Sexton isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire. Laster and Brown are nice pitchers, but a far cry from top of the rotation guys at programs contending for Omaha each year.

Sexton has done pretty well this year, but what has happened to Dakota Hudson? This guy was supposed to be the next Chris Stratton but he’s barely pitched in two years.

The question has to be asked – why can’t Butch Thompson develop elite pitching talent? He seems to do pretty well with average arms, but that’s not what wins championships on a consistent basis. State has to find a way to cultivate the talent they are bringing in and turn it into production on the pitching mound.