The Quebec Capitales made a big catch by formalizing the signing of Gift Ngoepe. The South African shortstop played 40 games in the Major Leagues in 2017 and 2018 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays. He became the first player from the African continent to play Major League Baseball. With more than 1000 professional games under his belt, the 31-year-old veteran will be a mainstay for the Quebec team.
Gift Ngoepe has an inspiring career in professional baseball. In 2009, at the age of 19, he made his debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and eventually rose through the ranks of affiliated baseball one by one. During his career in affiliated baseball, the dynamic outfield produced statistics showing a combination of batting power and speed on the trails (50 home runs and 95 stolen bases).
The veteran is all the more recognized for his defensive skills. Five times, he was named Pittsburgh player of the year for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system. A regular in spectacular games, Ngoepe has the necessary qualities to play both at shortstop and second or third. This versatility helped as Ngogpe was used in all these positions during his promotion to the Major Leagues.
“Gift is our player with the most experience and will bring a lot of leadership. We can expect good production both offensively and defensively. I am excited to see him in action with us and his know-how will also be put to good use by supporting me in my duties as a batting instructor,” said Capitales’ manager Patrick Scalabrini.
Despite the pandemic, Gift Ngoepe remained active. He played with the Melbourne Aces, the 2020 Australian Baseball League champion team, whose caliber was particularly high with the participation of several affiliated players due to the cancellation of their North American baseball season. After Yordan Manduley, Jonathan Malo, Ivan Naccarata and others, Gift Ngoepe will join this line of Capitales shortstops excelling defensively. Ngoepe will serve as one of the three coveted veteran players in 2021.