The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed talent from some untraditional places over the last few years. They signed the first players out of India when they added Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel. They've signed several guys out of Australia. They signed Alex Lukashevich out of Belarus. Dovydas Neverauskas is a pitcher who was signed out of Lithuania.
Then there's Gift Ngoepe, who was the first black player signed out of South Africa.
A lot has been written about Gift over the last few years, typically focusing on his background. In 2011, the middle infielder started to become an interesting story on the baseball field for more than just his background. He started to look like a real prospect.
The 2011 season was cut short for Ngoepe. He only saw 85 at-bats before going down for the season with a hamate injury. In his time in West Virginia he hit for a .306/.359/.459 line. That was a big jump from the .205/.315/.319 line he put up in State College the year before, and the...
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.