UF closer Byrne named Stopper of the Year

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Florida's pitcher Michael Byrne in Game 2 against FAU in the NCAA Regionals. [Cyndi Chambers/Gainesville Sun Correspondent]

Special to Gatorsports.com

OMAHA, Neb.— Florida junior closer Michael Byrne was named the Stopper of the Year on Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park. The award is presented annually by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association to the nation’s top relief pitcher.

Byrne is the first UF player to win the award since its inception in 2005.

The junior from Orlando is a two-time All-American and All-SEC First Team selection. Byrne holds the school record for saves in a season (19 in 2017) and saves in a career (34).

Byrne has been dominant in 2018, posting a 1.59 earned run average with 15 saves in 34 appearances. He has 60 strikeouts to just five walks in 56.2 innings pitched while limiting opponents to a .197 batting average.

In the Gainesville Super Regional, Byrne appeared in all three games with 10 strikeouts in 6.1 innings. He picked up the win in the decisive Game 3 with four shutout innings out of the bullpen to lead the Gators to the College World Series for the fourth year in a row.

Byrne has a 1.88 earned run average in 85 career appearances. He has 168 strikeouts with only 23 walks in 148.1 innings in three years at Florida. 

Only two players have been finalists for the Stopper of the Year Award: Shaun Anderson (2016) and Byrne (2017 and 2018).

Byrne was selected in the 14th Round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds.

On Friday, junior teammate Brady Singer won the Dick Howser Trophy as college baseball’s player of the year.

3 COMMENTS

  1. What are the odds that he returns for his senior season with hopes of getting drafted higher? Not really sure what that means in the baseball world though as to where you get drafted other than an automatic signing bonus in the first few rounds.

  2. It sure would be nice if he would come back and help us again. Maybe let him be a starter if he wants? Instead of going to the minors for who knows how long. A lot of guys never make it to the majors. If he gets drafted higher he would get a signing bonus next summer.
    All I know is I get a calm feeling when he comes into the game. Really though, he needs to do what’s best for him and his family.