Updated roundup: Byrne decides to skip senior year, sign with Reds

Florida relief pitcher Michael Byrne throws against Auburn during the deciding game Monday of the NCAA super regional at McKethan Stadium. Byrne has a 1.59 ERA in 56.2 innings, 15 saves, 60 strikeouts, 5 walks and a .197 batting average against this season. [Matt Stamey/Associated Press]

[Updated 7-3-18, 8:32 p.m.] There wasn’t good news for the Florida baseball team over the weekend as closer Michael Byrne decided to forego his senior season and join the Cincinnati Reds.

Byrne had told UF coaches he planned to be back but sometimes an agent can be  persuasive. Byrne would likely make less if he waited a year because he’ll have no bargaining power and, really, what else could he do at Florida.

He’s got a ring, is the all-time saves leader (35) and will always be remembered as one of the best to ever come through Gainesville.

He was named the 2018 Stopper of the Year. 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). He was 3-1 with a 1.61 ERA this season and made 16 saves.

Byrne was selected in the 14th round (409 pick overall) of the MLB draft last month by the Reds. He signed with the Reds on Tuesday, receiving a $260,000 bonus, according to MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

Third baseman Jonathan India also agreed to a contract with the Reds, who drafted him in the first round, pending a physical Tuesday, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

India, the SEC Player of the Year, completed his junior season with a .350 batting average, 21 home runs and 52 RBI. As the No. 5 overall pick in the draft, India received a $5.3 million to sign with the Reds on Tuesday, below the pick’s slot value of $5,946,400, according to Callis.

UF ace Brady Singer, the Dick Howser Trophy award winner, signed with the Kansas City Royals, the team which drafted him 18th overall in the first round, on Tuesday afternoon. Singer signed a contract with a $4.25 million bonus, the Kansas City Star reported.

On Monday, the Kansas City Royals agreed to terms with UF pitcher Jackson Kowar, their second pick and the 33rd overall selection from the draft last month, the Kansas City Star reported.

Kowar received a $2,147,500 signing bonus, about $28,000 above the slot value of $2,118,700 assigned to the 33rd pick. He was also awarded a $2,500 contingency bonus that will not count against the Royals’ MLB-best spending pool of $12,781,900 million.

Kowar had a 10-5 record and 3.04 ERA while striking out 115 during his junior season at Florida.

Shortstop Deacon Liput, a 10th-round pick by the L.A. Dodgers, signed for $134,300, according to MLB.com.


  1. Byrne got his lifetime ticket punched, can’t blame him for leaving now and getting started a year earlier making huge money. A millionaire at 20, not bad at all. Good luck Byrne, looking forward to seeing you in the bigs.

    • They aren’t . And he is not a 14th round talent. He’s better than that. That would be a factor in my decision to come back.But I wish him the best. I know it will all work out in the end for him.

  2. Very pleased that top Gotors got their due.
    Sorry Byrne is signing but absolutely the right move for him. He’s got a shot and you gotta take. Good luck to all the new Gators pros… you brought us great joy during your remarkable three years in Orange and Blue ….Best class I can remember. The Mac won’t be the same without you guys….

  3. This was a huge signing for the Reds and to get him in the 14th for $265,000 was a great deal. I have no doubt he will be pitching in cincy soon perhaps 2020 or sooner. He will make gator nation proud…coming from a cats fan.