By Jason Shetler
Gift Ngoepe will be representing South Africa in the World Baseball Classic qualifier February 11-14. His country will compete against Australia, the Philippines and New Zealand for a spot in the 2017 WBC.
Ngoepe became the first ever black South African player to sign a professional baseball contract, doing so with the Pirates in 2008. The 26-year-old middle infielder played for both AA Altoona and AAA Indianapolis last season, as he posted a .333 on base percentage. Ngoepe is known for his solid defense. As a matter of fact, most publications consider him the best defensive infielder in the Pirates system. His younger brother Victor was just recently signed by the Pirates.