Twenty-nine percent of players on Opening Day rosters are foreign born

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Major League Baseball just released its annual report about Opening Day roster composition and, not surprisingly given historic patterns, the 2018 rosters are the most diverse of all time.

There were 877 total players counted on rosters for these purposes: 750 active 25-man roster players and 127 players who are either on the disabled list, are suspended, are restricted or are on paternity leave. Of that group, a total of 254 players — 29% of all players — were born outside of the 50 United States, with U.S. territories like Puerto Rico being counted as a separate geographic entity for these purposes. These players came from an all-time record 21 different countries.

The previous high mark of 19 countries and territories represented on Opening Day rosters came just last year. The 254 foreign-born players are the second-highest total in history, trailing last year’s 259. The 29% figure is tied for the third-highest percentage, behind only 29.8% in 2017 and 29.2% in 2005.

As has been the case ever since Major League Baseball has been keeping track of such things, the Dominican Republic leads the Major Leagues with 84 players born outside the United States. Venezuela ranks second with 74, and Puerto Rico is third with 19 players. After that is Cuba (17); Mexico (11); Japan (8); Canada (6); South Korea (6); Colombia (5); Curaçao (5); Australia (3), Brazil (3); Nicaragua (3); Panama (3), Aruba (1); Germany (1); Lithuania (1); Netherlands (1); South Africa (1); Taiwan (1); and the U.S. Virgin Islands (1).

The Texas Rangers have the most foreign-born players with a total of 14, followed by the Chicago White Sox (13), Miami Marlins (12), Minnesota Twins (11), Philadelphia Phillies (11) and Toronto Blue Jays (11). The Los Angeles Dodgers have players from eight different countries and territories outside the U.S., marking the most in the Majors. They are followed by the Atlanta Braves (7), Marlins (7) and Seattle Mariners (7).

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