Kentucky Baseball has dealt with plenty of departures this offseason, but today, they got some good news. Right-handed pitchers Sean Harney and Daniel Harper will both return to Kentucky for the 2022 season, giving the Bat Cats’ bullpen even more experience. Harney and Harper both received interest from teams during the Major League Baseball Draft this week, but elected to use their final season of eligibility in Lexington before going pro.
“We could not be more excited to welcome Sean and Daniel back for another season,” Nick Mingione said in a press release from UK. “Both are extremely talented and proven arms that provide leadership and experience to our pitching staff.”
Last season, Harney was 3-2 with a 3.69 earned run average in 46.1 innings. He led the team in saves with six and started six games in conference play, making him the only pitcher in school history to save that many victories while also starting at least six. He struck out 58 and walked just 17, held opponents to a .248 batting average and provided a steadying hand in the weekend rotation when incumbent Mason Hazelwood went down with a season-ending injury.
Harper had a team-high 23 appearances last season, going 4-1 with a 4.35 ERA in 31.0 innings, striking out 30 and holding opponents to a .239 average. The Fairway, Kansas native ranks ninth in school history with 74 career appearances and could chase Lohrn Frazier (1990-93) for the most at 104. He has 11 career wins and two saves in 135.0 innings as both a starter and reliever.
ICYMI, the 2021 MLB Draft concluded today, with three Kentucky Wildcats hearing their names called: OF John Rhodes (3rd Round, Baltimore Orioles), OF Austin Schultz (10th Round, Detroit Tigers), and today, RHP Holt Jones (14th Round, Miami Marlins). Since taking over as head coach back in 2017, Nick Mingione has produced 27 total MLB Draft picks.