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Apr '18 11

Africans in the Majors and Minors through April 10, 2018



By DZ

Leading off the 2018 season, we look at the South Africans in professional baseball. With one major leaguer and three others knocking on the door, what the continent lacks in quantity it is making up for in quality.

Callan Pearce, Minnesota Twins.
Before we get into results thus far, a quick mention of Callan Pearce, who was released during spring training. Signed in 2013, Pearce pitched three seasons for the Gulf Coast League Twins. He did not appear in an official game in 2017. The Durban native threw in 51 games and he leaves the organization with a 4.00 career ERA (1.99 in 2016 in 31.2 relief innings).

Gift Ngoepe, Toronto Blue Jays
Current team: Toronto Blue Jays (MLB)
The first African to play in MLB, Ngoepe appeared in 28 big league games last season for the Pittsburgh Pirates after a 9 year climb through their minor league system. The 28-year old was traded in November, and he defied the odds entering spring training to make Toronto’s opening day roster. Ngoepe has 10 at bats across 6 games thus far, scoring one run on one hit and a walk.

Anthony Phillips, Colorado Rockies.
Current team: Albuquerque Isotopes (AAA)
Phillips has bounced around organizations as a defensive specialist, first playing professionally in 2007. He has played in 2 games this season in Triple-A, his first games at the top minor league level since 2010. Phillips hit a home run and has two singles amongst his 6 at bats thus far. The shortstop from Bellville is 28 years old and is playing his second season in the Rockies organization.

Tayler Scott, Texas Rangers.
Current team: Round Rock Express (AAA)
Traded at the 2017 deadline for Jeremy Jeffress, the Jo’burg native finished the 2017 year in Round Rock and has made his first two appearances of 2018 at the same level. The 25-year old right-handed pitcher has worked almost exclusively as a reliever since the end of the 2014 season.

Dylan Unsworth, Los Angeles Angels.
Current team: Mobile BayBears (AA)
Right-hander Unsworth was a minor league free agent this offseason after advancing to Triple-A with the Mariners organization. He begins his Angels career in Double-A Mobile, having made a 4 inning start Monday night with 6 hits, 6 strikeouts and a walk.

Kieran Lovegrove. Cleveland Indians.
Current team: Lynchburg Hillcats (High-A)
The Jo’burg righty has 122 appearances in his now-6th year of minor league baseball. Drafted in the 3rd round in 2012, Lovegrove will begin this season in Lynchburg, where he pitched for the entirety of the 2017 season. So far, he’s thrown 4.1 innings and allowed one run.

Now in Extended Spring Training in Florida until the rookie league seasons begin in June:

Vince Deyzel, Pittsburgh Pirates.
Current team: GCL Pirates (rookie)

Victor Ngoepe, Pittsburgh Pirates.
Current team: GCL Pirates (rookie)




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