WINDHAM, N.H. -- The Boston Red Sox tried to lure Brandon Dufault away from Northeastern University last year immediately after the COVID-19 shortened 5-round MLB Draft.
The Red Sox wanted the electric reliever, whose fastball has touched 97 miles per hour, to sign as a free agent. But teams were only allowed to offer $20,000.
Sure it was the Red Sox, but it wasn't enough to leave college with nearly two years of schooling ahead of him.
It ended up being a great decision as Dufault not only checked a lot of boxes, including his role in Northeastern's first-ever Colonial Athletic Association tournament title and NCAA tourney team, but he was drafted for real by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Tuesday.
He was selected in the 16th round by the Angels.
Dufault was on the 2018 team that also played in the NCAA tournament.
“I’m so glad I went back,” said Dufault, whose fastball has hit 97 mph while regularly being in the low-to-mid 90s. “We had a great year together and I’ll never forget that.”
While Dufault didn’t have a big year statistically -- 2-4, 3.79 ERA, with 16 relief appearances -- he did average over one strikeout per inning (22 in 17.1 innings), his arm is still considered electric with a mid-90 mph fast ball and very good slider.
“It was a stressful day, but to say I feel really good is a bit of an understatement,” said Dufault, whose parents and grandparents were all present for the announcement on TV. “This has been a dream of mine as long as I started focusing on baseball as my number one sport.”
Dufault expects to finalize the bonus money and then take off for the Angels training facility in Tempe, Az.
“I’m just excited to get going,” said Dufault, who is 6-fot-5 and 200 pounds. “It’s exciting to know I’ll be getting professional coaching, where they hopefully can get a few more miles per hour on my fastball, and professional trainers, who can add some strength and pounds to my skinny body.”
You can email Bill Burt at email@example.com.