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Foreign Born Players in MLB

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#1 JB_Iowa

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 03:02 PM

Jon Morosi has been tweeting some statistics about the number of foreign born players in mlb:

Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi · 17m
MLB announces 26.1% of players on Opening Day rosters are foreign-born. Yan Gomes becomes first Brazilian on an Opening Day roster.

Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi · 18m
Texas Rangers, with 15, have most foreign-born players on their Opening Day roster.

Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi · 13m
36.8% of foreign-born players are from the Dominican Republic, the largest share of any country.



The Twins, with 5 players born outside the U.S. on their 25-man (Deduno & Florimon from the Dominican Republic and Pinto, Escobar and Arcia from Venezuela) are a little below the average on foreign born players (20%) but I'd expect the numbers to change as some of the prospects mature.

I have to think that the the large percentage of players from the Domincan in mlb (approximately 72 players or 10% of all players) is due, in part, to the academy system.

Question: are there other parts of the world (Carribbean, Latin America or elsewhere) that are ripe for baseball academies? Obviously political climate has something to do with it as does concentration of players.

I have to think that if Cuba ever opens up (how long can Castro live? He's 87 now), it would be ripe pickings but I wonder if there is anywhere else where a group of teams working together might make an impact. (And obviously we still have a discrepancy in the U.S. when talking about players of African American background but I haven't seen those statistics yet this year).

#2 Thrylos

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 04:35 PM

Question: are there other parts of the world (Carribbean, Latin America or elsewhere) that are ripe for baseball academies? Obviously political climate has something to do with it as does concentration of players.

I have to think that if Cuba ever opens up (how long can Castro live? He's 87 now), it would be ripe pickings but I wonder if there is anywhere else where a group of teams working together might make an impact. (And obviously we still have a discrepancy in the U.S. when talking about players of African American background but I haven't seen those statistics yet this year).


I suspect that they count Canadians as foreign as well and the Twins are minus 2 this season.

As far as African Americans in baseball go and the decline in their numbers, is more complicated than race: there is a huge decline in baseball participation in urban areas in general. Baseball has become a suburban and small town sport. Imagine kids try to play ball after school on an urban street or a parking lot or where? Not a race or even socioeconomic thing; more of a space and exposure thing.

Academies? On this hemisphere always surprised that Mexico, with its large population is somewhat ignored as a baseball source here. I think that this is a huge market to tap. Europe as well (and making it an Olympic sport for a tad really helped, but now...)
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#3 Willihammer

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 05:46 PM

Its also weird that we get all these Dominicans and not a single Haitian.

#4 Thrylos

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 06:00 PM

Its also weird that we get all these Dominicans and not a single Haitian.


Voodoo

Kidding aside, there is a single Haitian. Maybe a half: Felix Pie and he moved to the other side of the island to learn baseball ;)

Soccer is the big sport in Haiti followed by boxing. They do not have organized baseball as far as I know...
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#5 Sconnie

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 06:01 PM

Cuba has openly discussed allowing its citizens play for MLB. This past Winter Cuba relaxed the rules for its players. I think we'll see many more Cuban players when/if the embargo is lifted regardless of which Castro is in power.

#6 kab21

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:00 AM

Baseball is spreading to more countries but for the most part soccer is king in many of those countries and will continue to be.

Cuba will likely see some changes in the next decade. They allowed a player or two to play in Mexican leagues this year with special permission so something similar with the MLB is possible in the future.

#7 BigTrane

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:49 AM

Great thread!

Best I can offer is a possible opportunity/emerging area.

I'm in China right now, and obviously Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan are all baseball hotbeds. Baseball was making inroads in the mainland, then the bottom fell out. When baseball was dropped as an Olympic sport following the Beijing Olympics, government funding dried up overnight, and the China Baseball League closed shop 4 seasons after.

Following the Australia opener this season, I saw a story that MLB is considering opening the season in Taiwan next. I see this as a far-sighted move (if it pans out). Consider: baseball is huge in Taiwan and a good number of players have made the jump to MLB.

With the end of the CBL in the Mainland (and Olympic status)- but considering the popularity of baseball in Taiwan... and also the desire on both sides to bridge the cultural and social gaps between them- then baseball would seem to be an ideal 'bridge'. Imagine Taiwanese players and coaches injecting life into the game here...

Consider, then, the population of China... if only a small percentage adopt the game, you're still talking about millions. If even a fraction of that develop into MLB-level talent, it's a huge win. Hopefully MLB is truly serious about expanding the game worldwide. Australia was a big pain to many, but from my vantage point it looked like a wise gamble and a healthy investment in the future. Let's see the game go global!
Feel free to pile on about Suzuki.