Baseball / Peden Claims Second Straight Top Reliever Award

Peden Claims Second Straight Top Reliever Award

Date:  Source: Florida Collegiate Summer League

The Florida League Board of Directors has selected Drew Peden of the Leesburg Lightning as the winner of the 2017 Florida League Top Reliever Award. This is the second consecutive year that Peden has earned the honor.

Peden, a rising senior at Florida Atlantic University, spent his third season as a member of the Lightning this summer. Similar to his first two years, he was an absolute force out of the bullpen for Coach Rich Billings. The sidearm reliever appeared in 13 games, totaling 19 innings on the mound. In those innings, he allowed only 14 total baserunners on nine hits and five walks. Of those 14 runners, one player … Zack Goble of DeLand on July 13th … came around to score.

"Drew has been one of the most consistent pitchers in Leesburg Lightning history," said Billings. "He has been one of the league's best closers each of the last three years, and has provided stability and confidence at the back end of our bullpen."

Hitters failed to make hard contact against Peden all summer long. Against 67 total batters faced, they combined for a batting average of .145, an on-base percentage of .209 and a slugging percentage of .161. In fact, Peden allowed only one extra base hit … a double … all year.

Peden converted all seven of his save opportunities, and was also able to secure three wins for the Lightning. His most impressive run came at the end of the season as the Lightning battled for playoff position. Heading into the last week of the season, eight of his ten appearances had been one inning or less. He ramped things up during that last week of play, however. He pitched three innings against Winter Park on July 24, 2.1 innings against Altamonte on July 26th, and three innings against Altamonte on July 28. Peden allowed three hits, four walks and struck out seven over those three games, all of which ended as Ws in the standings for Leesburg.

 

2015

2016

2017

Games

17

21

13

Innings

23.1

31.1

19

Hits

12

23

9

Runs

4

7

1

Earned Runs

3

6

1

Walks

7

9

5

Strikeouts

19

33

24

Saves

8

3

7

Average Against

.148

.207

.145

 

The Florida League record books were rewritten at the conclusion of this season. Drew Peden is now the all-time Florida League leader in appearances (50) and saves (18). He totaled 73.2 innings in his career. Had he reached 75 innings, he would qualify and hold the record for average against (.167) and would be second all-time in ERA (1.22). Peden was named to the North All-Star team all three years that he played in the League.

"Not only is he a great competitor, but he has also become a fan favorite with the Lightning faithful," continued Billings. "This is such a tremendous honor for him, and one that he is undoubtedly deserving of. He will certainly be missed, but has left an outstanding legacy both as a player and person with the Lightning."