Just a short time ago, some were predicting Stephen Parker to be the Oakland A’s third baseman of the future. He came up through the Oakland organization, and was with the Athletics as recently as Spring Training. But as the end of spring approached, the A’s found themselves in need of another pitcher. Coincidentally, the Brewers needed third base depth. And just like that Parker was a Milwaukee Brewer, with Darren Byrd going to Oakland in exchange.
Parker was drafted by the Athletics in the 5th round of the 2009 draft out of BYU, where as a freshman, he shared the MWC Freshman of the Year award with San Diego State’s Stephen Strasburg. Upon signing, he played three games for the A’s Arizona Rookie League team before quickly being promoted to Class-A Kane County where he finished out the 2009 season.
It was his 2010 campaign at High-A Stockton that put Parker on the prospect map. in 139 games, Parker hit .296 with 21 home runs and 98 RBI. He made the jump to AA Midland to begin the 2011 season, and though his power numbers slipped some, he still managed a .286 average and earned a brief promotion to AAA to end the season. In 5 games with AAA Sacramento, Parker hit .320. He returned to Sacramento for the 2012 season and hit a respectable .256 with seven homers.
Coming in to the 2013 season, Parker was ranked by Baseball America as the 27th best prospect in the Oakland organization. The A’s, however, had another third base prospect, Miles Head (ranked #7) nipping at Parker’s heals, and chose not to protect Parker on the 40-man roster. With Milwaukee in need of AAA depth at third base, the two teams swung a deal.
Changing teams is never easy, but doing so just prior to the start of a season, after spending almost all of Spring Training with one organization has to make it even tougher. Parker, however, saw an opportunity with Milwaukee and embraced the change. So he shaved off his beard, traded in his white shoes for some black ones, and began his career as a Milwaukee Brewer. In a recent interview with Nashville Sounds play-by-play man Jeff Hem, Parker said the transition has been a relatively smooth one. “Since the day I got over to the Brewers side, everybody has been so good to me” Parker said. “[they] made me feel comfortable, made me feel a part of the organization since the second I stepped over there. It has been really great so far.”
One thing making the transition a bit smoother for Parker, is that his brother-in-law, Taylor Mangum was already in the Brewers organization. Mangum was signed by the Brewers in June of 2012 and began the 2013 season pitching for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
Parker was assigned to AAA Nashville to begin 2013 and has connected for a pair of home runs through his first 14 games with the Sounds. He’s hit for average throughout his career and has really improved his defense at third base. Still just 25 years old, if he can continue to improve at the plate and in the field; and put up decent power numbers while doing so, he could work his way in to the Brewers plans for the future.