Now that the minor league regular season is complete, here’s a summary of the seasons for all South Africans in MLB organizations.
Tayler Scott, Baltimore Orioles.
The Johannesburg native, drafted out of an Arizona high school by the Cubs in 2011, became the first African pitcher (and 2nd African overall) to make the major leagues. He debuted with the Seattle Mariners in June and made 5 appearances before being claimed by the Baltimore Orioles, where he pitched in 6 more MLB games. Currently on the Orioles Triple-A roster, Scott finished the season with 33 appearances in Triple-A (51 innings, 4.59 ERA, 68 strikeouts, 22 walks) and those 11 between the two big league organizations (15.07 ERA in 14.1 MLB innings, 10 strikeouts and 11 walks).
Ngoepe the elder played in the major leagues in 2017 and 2018 for the Pirates and Blue Jays, respectively. He started 2019 with the Phillies Triple-A team, played about a month with the Pirates Double-A squad, and recently signed with an independent league team for the playoff stretch. Whether this is the end of affiliated baseball for the 29 year old or not, he defied all odds to become the first African major leaguer after an 8 year minor league career with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Kieran Lovegrove, Baltimore Orioles.
Lovegrove, also from Johannesburg and (like Scott) having moved to the US for his teenage years, split 2019 between High-A Frederick and Double-A Richmond, having gone from the Giants organization to the Orioles in June. Lovegrove ended the season on the injured list, putting up a 2-4 record and 9.00 ERA in 26 innings between the two clubs.
Victor Ngoepe, Pittsburgh Pirates.
The younger Ngoepe infielder made it to full-season A-ball for 6 games, in addition to his 28 games at rookie level West Virginia. In 111 at bats this season, Ngoepe hit .216 with 9 walks and 30 strikeouts while stealing a pair of bases. He is 21 years old.