Foreign-Born MLB Players Reaches All-Time High

The 2017 Major League Baseball 162-games regular season opened on Sunday with just a few games and saw a full schedule of games on Monday.

This year teams in the majors started the season with a record number of players who were born outside the United States. A record 29.7% of the players on major league rosters were not born in the U.S. which topped the previous record of 29.2% back in 2005.

Leading the way with players born outside the U.S. was the Dominican Republic with 93, followed by 77 from Venezuela and 23 from Cuba, said Major League Baseball’s Commissioner’s office on Monday.

Venezuela’s previous high mark of 66 during 2012 was topped with this year’s 77, while Cuba’s 23 players tied a high mark set a year ago.

Puerto Rico fielded the fourth highest number of players with 16, followed by 9 from Mexico, 8 from Japan, 6 from Canada, 4 from South Korea, Nicaragua and Curacao, 3 from Panama and 2 apiece from Australia, Brazil and Colombia.

The Netherlands, Aruba, Germany, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Taiwan each had one player.

The total of 19 nations or territories is a record topping the 18 set back in 1998 as well as last year.

The team was the most foreign born players in the majors is the Texas Rangers with 14 players, while Seattle and San Diego were second with 12 players each born outside the 50 states.

The Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels as well as the Philadelphia Phillies each have 11 foreign-born players.

The total number of players, as of opening day on active rosters was 749, while there were 119 on either the disabled list or restricted list.

Restricted list players born outside the U.S. included Jeurys Familia and Jung-Ho Kang. Both are expected to play at some point this season.

The totals did not include Jenrry Mejia a reliever with the New York Mets who is on the restricted list because of a lifetime suspension. Prince Fielder the former first baseman with the Texas Rangers is listed as being on the disabled list but is not expected to see any action all season.

The numbers of players from foreign countries playing in MLB could increase even more going forward as teams have built training facilities in places such as the Dominican Republic so players can start training at an earlier age.

 

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