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Jul '15 01

South Africans in the Minors through June 30, 2015

Africans in the USA Comments Off on South Africans in the Minors through June 30, 2015


With the announcement two days ago that South Africa’s Gift Ngoepe has been promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis, it seems like a good time to catch up on the handful of South Africans in the minor leagues. With the continued development of baseball across the continent, particularly in Uganda, it is only a matter of time before there is a greater geographic spread of African players in professional baseball.

Gift Ngoepe, Pittsburgh Pirates. South Africa.
Current team: Indianapolis Indians (AAA)
The Pietersburg-born infielder spent his second year in major league spring training before being assigned to return to Double-A Altoona. Ngoepe was a switch hitter and second baseman for most of last season, but he now hits only right-handed and was the everyday shortstop in Altoona. Through 71 games, he came out of the gate hitting better than he has in some time, putting up a .260/.338/.362 line with 66 strikeouts and 3 stolen bases (in 9 attempts).
Gift has played two games at Triple-A since his promotion, getting his first hit (a double) at the level last night, as well as adding a walk and a stolen base. The Pirates major league middle infield is strong, but Ngoepe is now one step away from being the first major leaguer developed on the African continent.

Dylan Unsworth, Seattle Mariners. South Africa.
Current team: Bakersfield Blaze (High-A)
Durban’s Unsworth has progressed as well, starting 3 games earlier this year at the Double-A level (his first taste of that level) before being assigned to High-A, where he spent all of last season. In his 10 games for Bakersfield, he has a 3.38 ERA with 39 strikeouts and 4 walks in in 34.2 innings. He gave up 11 earned runs in his 11 Double-A innings.

Callan Pearce, Minnesota Twins. South Africa.
Current team: GCL Twins (rookie)
Pearce, another product of the Durban region, has 3 appearances thus far in the Gulf Coast League. After his first 21 professional innings at the level last season, the righty has thrown 4 more in the first week of this season. He’s allowed 3 hits and one run, while walking 4 and striking out 2.

Rowan Ebersohn
, Minnesota Twins. South Africa.
Current team: GCL Twins (rookie)
Ebersohn, an outfielder signed out of Benoni last year, made his professional debut June 22nd. He’s had 13 at bats thus far and is still seeking his first professional hit. He’s struck out four times.

Has yet to appear in 2015:

Vince Deyzel, Pittsburgh Pirates. South Africa.
Assigned to: GCL Pirates
The third Durbanite on this list, Deyzel signed earlier this year and reported to Florida two weeks ago after finishing his school term. The right-handed pitcher is training with the Gulf Coast League team for the next month before returning to South Africa for school and to play with the U18 national team in the U18 Baseball World Cup in Japan.

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