P.J. Poulin of Marion realizes dream of playing pro baseball
On June 6, P.J. Poulin was sitting on his couch in Marion with his brother and mother, watching the third day of the Major League Baseball draft on his laptop.
It was the eleventh round of the draft, and the Colorado Rockies were on the clock when the 21-year-old left-handed pitcher saw his name his appear on the screen. Simultaneously his phone rang. It was the Rockies’ northeast regional scout, telling him that he had been drafted into the major leagues.
“I didn’t know what to say. Just getting that call was incredible. Like wow, everything I worked my whole life for is coming true. It’s tough to describe,” Poulin said.
Poulin grew up in Mattapoisett and played much of his early years of baseball at the youth fields across the town line in Fairhaven.
“That’s where I started, from tee ball on up … I was down there a lot,” Poulin said, recalling the layout of the fields and the popular snack shack that kids would flock to after games.
As a kid, Poulin also played basketball, but said baseball was always his favorite sport. He played on travel teams and practiced long hours with his father with the dream of one day playing in the MLB.
“My dad was pretty much always coaching me growing up … he was always there and was a huge help in my development,” Poulin said.
When Poulin got to high school, his dream of playing professional baseball all of a sudden started to look like a real possibility. He played his freshman and sophomore year at Old Rochester Regional and excelled, garnering attention from college scouts.
“When I started to get attention from colleges, that’s when I really honed in and focused,” Poulin said.
After two years at ORR, Poulin transferred to Tabor Academy and repeated his sophomore year there. He continued to hit throughout high school, but focused on pitching and was recruited by the University of Connecticut, where he ultimately committed.
Poulin was a versatile player for the Huskies and continued to make occasional appearances at the plate. But he had clearly established himself as a pitcher, finding his niche as reliever and closer, armed with a 90-plus mile-per-hour fastball.
This past season, Poulin set a UConn record for saves in a season with 16. He also started a pivotal elimination game against Coastal Carolina, throwing six innings and leading the Huskies to a victory.
After playing three seasons at UConn, Poulin said he plans to someday go back and finish the final year of his college degree. But for now, he is jumping head first into professional baseball, continuing on the same road that began on little league diamonds across the South Coast.
Just three days after being drafted, Poulin flew to Boise, Idaho, to get his first taste of professional sports, joining the Boise Hawks, a Single A affiliate of the Rockies.
“It’s going great. I’m loving it,” Poulin said. “It’s pro baseball. It’s what I’ve wanted to do my whole life.”
His personal goals for this season with the Hawks include improving his fastball location and further developing his secondary pitches, like his change-up and slider.
Where Poulin’s career will go from here is uncertain, but its roots are right here on the South Coast.
“I just want to thank everyone who’s helped me along the way, from all my coaches to my family, who have made a lot of sacrifices so that I could be here,” Poulin said. “Now, I just gotta perform.”