Two-hundred and thirty-eight players on 2016 Opening Day 25-man rosters and inactive lists were born outside the 50 United States, Major League Baseball announced today.
The 238 players born outside the U.S. (27.5 percent) come from the pool of 864 players (749 active 25-man roster players and 115 disabled, suspended or restricted Major League players) on April 3rd rosters and represent a record-tying 18 countries and territories outside the U.S. There were also 18 countries and territories represented on Opening Day rosters in 1998. The 238 foreign-born players and the percentage of 27.5 are both the highest figures since 2013 (241 players, 28.2 percent).
As it has each year since MLB began releasing this annual data in 1995, the Dominican Republic again leads the Major Leagues with 82 players born outside the United States. Venezuela ranks second with 63 players, and Cuba places third with 23 players, its highest total since Opening Day data has been tracked, eclipsing the 19 players in 2014. Rounding out the totals are Puerto Rico (17, its highest total since 20 in 2011); Mexico (12); Japan (8); South Korea (8, surpassing its previous high of five in 2003, 2005 and 2006); Canada (6); Panama (4); Colombia and Curaçao (3 each); Brazil and Taiwan (2 each); Aruba, Australia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua and the U.S. Virgin Islands (1 each). San Diego's Jabari Blash is the first player from the U.S. Virgin Islands to appear on an Opening Day roster since the Padres had Callix Crabbe in 2008. New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius is the first player from the Netherlands to appear on consecutive Opening Day rosters since Florida's Rick Vandenhurk in 2008-09.
The Seattle Mariners have the most foreign-born players with a total of 13 on a roster that spans five different countries and territories outside the U.S. Seattle is followed by the Kansas City Royals (11), the Atlanta Braves (10), the Los Angeles Dodgers (10), the New York Mets (10) and the Yankees (10). The Royals, Los Angeles Angels and the Yankees each have players from seven different countries and territories outside the U.S., tied for the most in the Majors. They are followed by the Boston Red Sox (6), the Dodgers (6) and the St. Louis Cardinals (6). The Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates are tied for having the most players from one nation outside the U.S. with six Dominican players apiece. The Cleveland Indians, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Minnesota Twins and the Mariners each have five players from the Dominican Republic, while the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies each have five players hailing from Venezuela.