The switch-hitting shortstop Ngoepe’ s signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates was somewhat overshadowed by the unusual (and seemingly quite gimmicky and desperate) signings of Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, the two Indian pitchers who won a reality TV show to get their contracts. Ngpepe is viewed as a project, but has the most potential of reaching the majors of any player on South Africa’s roster. After the Classic, Ngoepe will likely be sent to the Pirates’ Single-A affiliate.
South Africa second baseman Npho "Gift" Ngoepe, 19, is a Sotho tribesman who grew up on a baseball field; his mother worked at the clubhouse in Randburg. He's also a longtime A's fan, and he wanted to see Giambi, Eric Chavez and Bobby Crosby.
"On PlayStation, I'll be like, 'Giambi's up, he hits all the home runs, that's big!' " Ngoepe said.
Based on this photo, he needs work on his fielding.
I guess there is something to be said for the Pirates finally addressing their need for better international scouting and talent development under Neal Huntington and Frank Coonelly, but I hope they are concentrating their efforts on the proven areas of Latin America and Asia.