A record total of 259 players on 2017 Opening Day 25-man rosters and inactive lists were born outside the 50 United States, Major League Baseball announced today.
The 259 players born outside the U.S. (29.8 percent) come from the pool of 868 players (749 active 25-man roster players and 119 disabled, suspended or restricted Major League players) on April 2nd rosters and represent a record-high 19 countries and territories outside the U.S. Previously, there were 18 countries and territories represented on Opening Day rosters in 1998 and 2016. The 259 foreign-born players and the percentage of 29.8 are both the highest figures in history, eclipsing the previous record totals of 246 players on 2007 Opening Day rosters and 29.2 percent of players on 2005 Opening Day rosters.
As it has each year since MLB began releasing this annual data in 1995, the
Dominican Republic again leads the Major Leagues with 93 players born outside the United
States. Venezuela ranks second with 76 players, the country's highest total in history, far
eclipsing its previous high of 66 (2012). Cuba places third with 23 players, matching the record total set in 2016. Rounding out the totals are Puerto Rico (16); Mexico (9); Japan (8); Canada (6); South Korea (5); Curaçao (4); Nicaragua (4, surpassing previous high of three in 2012 and 2014); Panama (4); Australia (2); Brazil (2); Colombia (2); Aruba (1); Germany (1); Netherlands (1); Taiwan (1); and the U.S. Virgin Islands (1). Minnesota's Max Kepler, a native of Berlin, Germany, is the first German-born product of MLB's European Elite Camp to appear on an Opening Day roster in Major League history. Didi Gregorius of the New York Yankees is the first player from the Netherlands to appear on three consecutive Opening Day rosters.
The Texas Rangers have the most foreign-born players with a total of 14 on a roster that spans six different countries and territories outside the U.S. Texas is followed by the San Diego Padres (12), Seattle Mariners (12), Chicago White Sox (11), Cleveland Indians (11), Los Angeles Angels (11) and Philadelphia Phillies (11). The Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners have players from eight different countries and territories outside the U.S., marking the most in the Majors. They are followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers (7). The Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Rangers each have six players from the Dominican Republic, while the Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Phillies and Padres each have six players hailing from Venezuela.