Where they come from

By Allan Simpson
January 16, 2003

With baseball's continued globalization and the prospects for a worldwide draft, the number of foreigners playing Major League Baseball is both a relevant and growing number. But figures citing the number of foreign-developed big leaguers as 35 to even 48 percent are erroneous. BA research has shown the numbers are lower. Of 1,218 players who played in the majors last year, 299–or 24.5 percent–were foreign-born. By definition, a foreign-born player is anyone who did not attend his final year of high school in the United States. The breakdown by country:

Dominican Republic 114
Venezuela 54
Puerto Rico 47
Mexico 17
Japan 13
Canada 12
Cuba 11
Panama 8
Australia 6
South Korea 6
Aruba 3
Colombia 3
Curacao 2
Nicaragua 2
Taiwan 1

We also looked at the growing influence of college baseball as a development tool. Of 940 major leaguers from 2002 who signed out of American schools, 507 (53.9 percent) signed out of four-year schools. Another 148 (15.8 percent) signed out of junior colleges:

Four-year colleges 507 53.9%
Two-year colleges 148 15.8%
High school 285 30.3%