Kyle Anthony Botha
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 150-189 lb.
Catcher Kyle Botha has played for the South African national team at times since 2005. He went 1 for 9 with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts as a 17-year-old in the 2005 Baseball World Cup. He was 1 for 4 with a walk, run and RBI in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He made the All-Tournament team as the top catcher in the 2006 World Junior Championship. He spent time in the MLB European Academy in 2006.
In 2008, Botha was 4 for 22 with a double, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts in the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament; opponents stole six bases in seven tries against him. He was 1 for 6 in the 2009 World Baseball Classic; his lone hit was a single off Luis Ayala. He was 0 for 5 with two walks, four whiffs and a run in the 2009 Baseball World Cup.
He signed with Germany's Mannheim Tornadoes for 2011. He went 2 for 4 in his debut and was 13 for 25 with 3 walks, 4 doubles and 7 RBI after six games. He finished the season at .358/.418/.505 with 21 RBI in 24 games as a 3B/C. He was 10th in the Bundesliga-1 South in average (between Petr Čech and Sammy Torreira), tied for 5th in hits (34) and had the highest percentage of runners caught stealing (gunning down 3 of 8).
He moved to the Paderborn Untouchables in 2012, splitting catching with Björn Schonlau. He hit .314/.379/.431. He starred for Paderborn in the 2012 European Cup, batting .412/.444/.765 with four runs and four RBI in five games. He homered off the Hoboken Pioneers' Kenny Vandenbranden and had two of their runs in a 3-1 win and also took Yulman Ribeiro of T&A San Marino deep. He tied Daniel Hinz for 8th in the event in average, tied Hinz for 7thi n slugging, tied Percy Isenia and Wesley Connor for 4th in slugging and tied G.G. Sato and Hinz for 8th in total bases (13).
In the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, he was 1 for 9 with two walks, five whiffs and a run. He was much better in the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, hitting .308/.438/.615 with 3 runs and 7 RBI in four games. His single off Warwick Saupold scored Anthony Phillips with their lone run in a 4-1 loss to host Australia. He hit a three-run double in a win over New Zealand to earn a rematch with Australia with a spot in the 2017 World Baseball Classic at stake. In the finale, he hit a three-run homer in the 6th off Carl Michaels to put South Africa ahead 4-3, but they were unable to hold on and lost 12-5. He hit cleanup for a South African squad that had current or former US minor leaguers in the 1-3 and 5 spots in the batting order (Gift Ngoepe, Jonathan Phillips, Anthony Phillips and Brett Willemburg) but he clearly had done his job in that role. For the Sydney Qualifiers, he was second in RBI (one behind Boss Moanaroa), tied for first in homers and tied for 4th in runs. He was second on South Africa in slugging (behind Keegan Swanepoel), first in RBI (3 over Willemburg) and 3rd in OPS (after Swanepoel and Anthony Phillips).
Botha was MVP of the 2019 Africa Cup Baseball Championship. He hit three-run homers in both the semifinals (against Burkina Faso and in the finals (off Allan Kabenge of Uganda after having scored the winning run in the finale earlier (he had drawn a 1st-inning walk from Kabenge and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rowan Ebersohn). He hit .583 in the event and led in runs (11 in 5 games, one ahead of Charl Cordier) and RBI (10, tied with Cordier). He finished one homer behind leader Ebersohn, tied with Shepherd Sibanda for 2nd. He was 6th in average, 2nd in OBP (.737, .063 behind Darren Boltman), 3rd in slugging (behind Ebersohn and Sibanda) and 4th in OPS (between Sibanda and Dayle Feldtman). He did not fare as well in the 2019 Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier at .105/.150/.105 with 9 steals allowed in 9 tries.