UMass Dartmouth pitcher signs with Red Sox
Growing up, UMass Dartmouth pitcher Nate Tellier loved watching Jonathan Papelbon close out games for the Red Sox.
Now, the Attleboro native may end up pitching at Fenway Park himself after signing a three-year contract with the team on Sept. 1.
“This is still sinking in,” Tellier said.
Tellier had been talking with Red Sox scout Ray Fagnant over the summer when Fagnant asked for a meeting — something Tellier thought would go over what a potential signing would entail.
Instead, he was offered a deal with his favorite team. Tellier said he “didn’t think twice.”
"He asked me 'Do you want to be a Red Sock?’, and it really took me by surprise,” he said. “The answer was a very quick yes—there's no better feeling in the world."
The pitcher added that his parents were ecstatic to hear the big news, saying his mom “couldn’t believe it.”
In 2019, his last full season as a Corsair, Tellier played in the outfield but also pitched as a reliever, appearing in 14 games and tossing 27 innings. He posted a 1-3 record with seven saves and a 2.00 ERA.
This year, he appeared in just four games — getting only five innings of work before the pandemic shut down the college season.
“We were doing pretty well — we went 9-1,” he said. “But I’m thankful I was able to play at least some baseball.”
Corsairs Coach Bob Prince said he was “very proud” to see one of his own get signed by a major league team, touting Tellier’s 98 mph fastball and love of being in high-pressure situations.
“He thrives under that,” Prince said. “I think it’s the perfect role for him.”
The coach said the most valuable asset Tellier will bring to the Sox is his work ethic.
He recalled seeing the reliever pushing a car down a campus road late at night with some of his fellow teammates after the season was cancelled.
Prince thought they were helping someone jump-start a car, but learned they were doing a makeshift workout to stay in shape.
“They had no season anymore, but were still preparing like there was something coming,” Prince said. “But that’s just how [Tellier]’s always operated — he’s very dedicated.”
Following the season’s cancellation, Tellier joined the Brockton Rox of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New England, where he had three saves and 19 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched during the summer.
“It was a lot of fun,” Tellier said. “Just a great group of guys on that team — a lot of talent there.”
Tellier’s road to "The Show" begins next March when he will head to the Red Sox training facility in Fort Myers, Florida. Six months may seem like a long wait, but Tellier said those days will fly by as he prepares for the next chapter.
“It’s crazy,” he said. “It still feels unreal.”