Which Countries Produce The Most MLB Players?
For a while, conventional wisdom around baseball said that the draft had dealt a crushing blow to baseball in Puerto Rico.
The birthplace of Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda has long produced great baseball players, but after Juan Gonzalez, Benito Santiago, Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga and Ruben Sierra’s generation aged out of the game, there did not seem to be another wave of Puerto Rican greats.
So the logic was that the change in rules that brought Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, into the draft in 1989 had laid the seeds for the demise of baseball in Puerto Rico.
It’s harder to make that argument now. There are 19 active MLB players on Opening Day rosters who were born in Puerto Rico. That’s more than Cuba, Mexico, Canada or Japan.
And Puerto Rico not only has a large number of active MLB players, it has impact talent. Between Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Javier Baez, Yadier Molina and Jose Berrios, the island has stars to go with a nice smattering of role players as well.
WIth Puerto Rico included, roughly three of every four players in the big leagues on Opening Day came from the United States. As you would expect, the United States leads with 561 players born in the 50 U.S. States. Adding Puerto Rico would push that number to 580.
The Dominican Republic leads all other countries with 80 players on active rosters. Venezuela ranks third with 54.
Curacao remains remarkable in its ability to produce players at a rate far beyond its population. With just 165,000 in population, Curacao has five active big leaguers. Those five include Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies and Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
Here’s a breakdown of the birth country for all 780 MLB players on the Opening Day active rosters. When we last studied this in 2019, the D.R. had 86 players on Opening Day rosters. Venezuela had 59. Cuba had 17 so it remains steady with its numbers from two years ago. Canada has seen a big jump, from five players in 2019 to nine today.