KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Playing in the big leagues has always been Parker Noland’s life-long dream.
“I thought about that since I was probably seven or eight years old,” Noland said. “When I was watching my brother play at Farragut High School, I saw Nicky Delmonico, Philip Pfeiffer and all those guys get drafted and go play professional baseball so that was kind of like, ‘wow, I kind of want to do that’.
Noland’s name popped up on Twitter on the last day of the MLB Draft when the Miami Marlins selected him in the 31st round. What most didn’t know at the time is the Toronto Blue Jays wanted the Farragut third baseman in the fourth round. Noland turned down the Blue Jays’ $489,000 offer to continue his commitment to play baseball at Vanderbilt, a decision that he didn’t have the answer to when the draft began.
“I wasn’t sure,” Noland said. “I actually was 50-50 to be honest with you. I just knew it was going to depend on the situation that came out in front of me and I knew it would be clear which one I was going to take. I know that in the long run it will benefit me more to go to school and get that education and degree that I need for the rest of my life. It’s tough to turn that down. Thoughts kind of ran through my head like, ‘do I want that or do I want to go to school?’ It was a really hard time for me to think about what I was going to do. I kind of had to lock myself in my room and think about it.”
Noland spent his senior season playing in front of Major League scouts and did not disappoint, hitting seven home runs with a whopping .464 batting average at Farragut. His numbers showed that he could be ready for pro ball, a thought still hard to wrap his head around.
“I’m 18 years old and I’m going all by myself to play professional baseball,” Noland said. “It seems a little scary but this definitely appeals to me that I can go and develop as a player and also as a person.”
Originally committed to play baseball at Middle Tennessee State, Noland flipped to Vanderbilt when the Commodores offered him after his junior year. Now, he’s hoping to watch them win the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
“It’s been awesome,” Noland said. “It’s kind of crazy thinking about. I’ve watched some of these guys play on TV and I’m going to be playing for them. It’s kind of crazy to think about.”
The third baseman did it all in his senior season. On top of getting drafted, Noland took home the state’s Mr. Baseball Award in his school’s classification before leading the Admirals to their first state championship since 2014. Now, he’d like to check a few more goals off the list before turning his attention to the big leagues.
“My lifelong dream is obviously to be a major leaguer but I want to win a national championship at Vanderbilt,” Noland said. “SEC championship, national championship, all those.”
Noland will be watching the College World Series from Albany New York, where he’ll be playing summer ball with the Albany Dutchmen this summer before arriving to Vanderbilt in August.