Michael Byrne, former Florida Gator pitcher, joined the Steve Russell on Sportscene Show recently to reflect on his time at Florida and discuss his experience with the Cincinnati Reds organization thus far.
Byrne’s career as a Gator
In 2016, Byrne joined Florida’s baseball program. His role was limited as a freshman, but in 2017, he became the team’s go-to closer. During his sophomore year, Byrne broke UF’s save record with a nation-leading 19 saves.
Also during Byrne’s sophomore season, the Gators made it all the way to Omaha.
They didn’t just make it there. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s Gators became national champions when they beat LSU in the championship series. Byrne recorded three saves during the 2017 College World Series.
In 2018, Byrne won the Stopper of the Year Award.
He decided to forgo his senior season when he was drafted in the 14th round of the 2018 MLB draft by the Cincinnati Reds.
Currently, Byrne is a member of the Daytona Tortugas, the Reds’ minor league Class A team.
Byrne said he is thankful for the University of Florida, especially coach O’Sullivan and the Gator coaching staff.
In Byrne’s favorite game wearing the Orange and Blue, the Gators beat Auburn at home in the Gainesville Super Regional. That win sent the team to the College World Series in 2018.
Byrne said he hopes to be back in Gainesville soon to check out the new stadium and the place that gave him a chance to pursue his dream.
“They gave me an opportunity to come play there when not many schools did,” Byrne said.
The state of baseball and the pandemic
Currently, Byrne is trying to take advantage of this time and improve himself. He has been working out with some one who has a home facility and training frequently.
The Reds organization has kept in touch with its players but has not indicated when the minor leaguers will find themselves back on the field. The organization is waiting to see what happens with the virus and the rest of the world.
Byrne said he hopes things will return back to normal soon.
Oftentimes, when players are drafted, professional coaches will try to alter players’ styles and type of play in baseball. This has not been the case with Byrne.
Byrne says his ultimate goal is to continue working to one day make his way to the big leagues.