Son of opera singer has big league, British baseball dreams

Parker, a 19th-round pick in 2023, starred on JUCO scene ahead of Combine

July 9th, 2024

PHOENIX -- Ask a young ballplayer his favorite part of the game and you’re sure to hear some familiar refrains: Hitting a home run. Making a game-saving catch. Striking out the opposing batter to win Game 7 of the World Series.

But for Sam Parker, it’s a much more refined and holistic experience.

“I would say everything when you're on the field -- the dirt, the smell of the grass, the bat on the ball, being with a bunch of guys that want to do the same thing and love it.”

That Parker emerged as a two-time MLB Draft Combine participant in fewer than two decades is surprising given his birthplace -- London, England. The son of operatic soprano Tailse Trevigne, Parker was born overseas and spent the first three years of his life in the U.K. before moving to New Jersey, where he developed his love for the game. He burst onto the prospect scene in Marietta, Ga., a sweet-swinging left-handed hitter whose biggest fan and No. 1 supporter just so happen to be a Grammy-nominated classic vocalist.

A peripatetic professional journey has allowed Trevigne to traverse coast-to-coast, but there was no way she was missing out on the opportunity of seeing Parker on the Combine stage -- twice.

“It's awesome, she's my best friend,” Parker said of getting some quality mom time at the event. “She's been through it all and she's helped me get here. I wouldn't be here without her. So there's no one else that I want to be here for both years to see me blossom as a player.”

At last year’s event, Parker wowed evaluators in Phoenix when he clobbered the longest home run during the batting practice portion of proceedings with a 456-foot tape-measure shot. That, along with an impressive two-way stint during his high school playing days, put him on the map of big league organizations, including the Twins, who selected him in the 19th round as a draft-and-follow.

But entering the 2024 Combine, an event Parker planned to “soak in every moment” of, he sported a more substantial track record following a standout year at Chipola College, a JUCO in Marianna, Fla. In the past decade, Chipola has pumped out 12 Draft selections within the first nine rounds, including Cam Collier, the Reds’ first-round choice in 2022 and currently MLB’s No. 84 prospect.

Collier, like Parker, was a longtime member of the MLB Develops program, an initiative focused on getting youth from underserved communities a longer look on the competitive prep baseball scene.

“We always have group chats, we're always keeping up with each other,” Parker said of MLB Develops participants. “We're letting each other know that we're proud of them, and if not, we'll get on them. We keep it pretty competitive and we always keep those lifelong relationships pretty good.”

After a year spent leading Chipola with a .358 average and posting a .999 OPS across 51 games, Parker, still just 19, spent time at the Combine showcasing how an extra year of development has helped hone his skill set.

“Chipola really leveled up my game, especially as a hitter -- the fast pace, all of that. It was definitely something that got me to slow down my heartbeat,” Parker said. “I think I'm definitely a lot stronger and a lot more advanced as a hitter, and actually in all facets of my game.”

Parker’s connection to international baseball followed him into his amateur career. Gifted the nickname “The British Bomber” by a high school teammate for his propensity to send baseballs into orbit, along with his unique roots to a nation not traditionally known for producing ballplayers, Parker sat back and watched the 2023 World Baseball Classic with one eye on the future.

“Yeah, that's definitely something I've been thinking about,” Parker said of donning the Union Jack in international competition. “When I saw the WBC last year, I'm like, 'Yeah, I gotta go for Great Britain.’ I wanna honestly do probably Great Britain first and then try [Team] USA, but Great Britain is definitely gonna be the first team I'm trying to rock with.”

By virtue of a third-place finish in pool play in 2023, Great Britain has already punched its ticket to the 2026 tournament. Just five players from that squad were born on British soil (with seven born in the Bahamas and one in the Virgin Islands). But the appeal of the game within the nation is blossoming as evidenced by the London Series -- which began in 2019 and has enjoyed successful stints the past two years -- and the near-folk hero status of Mariners prospect Harry Ford (MLB No. 23), who is a fellow Georgia high school standout.

Much like British baseball, Parker’s stock is ascending. From international waters to countless ballfields across the United States, mother and son are ready for a story that began nearly 20 years ago in a soccer-mad nation to write its latest chapter during the 2024 MLB Draft.