The Pirates are set to promote infielder Gift Ngoepe to the majors for the first time, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Upon making his MLB debut, Ngoepe will become the first player born in Africa ever to appear in the majors, as MLB.com’s Adam Berry notes on Twitter.
Ngoepe, who is represented by Josh Chetwynd and Steve Schneider of Elite Sports Group, had already been added to Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster in the fall of 2015 to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. The 27-year-old South African has nevertheless remained at Triple-A in the meantime, awaiting an opportunity.
Though he doesn’t offer much with the bat, Ngoepe is considered an excellent defender and has shown some base-stealing ability at times. (He has swiped 88 bags in the minors, though he hasn’t been very efficient.) Ngoepe is slashing .241/.308/.379 over his first 66 plate appearances of the current campaign.
It has been quite a week for the international market-to-Pittsburgh pipeline. Just two days ago, the Bucs made Dovydas Neverauskas the first Lithuanian player ever to reach the big leagues. For more on Ngoepe’s unlikely path to the majors, check out this recent piece from Berry and Carrie Muskat.