International players, particularly from Latin American countries, are featuring more predominantly in Major League Baseball. Up until the 1950s, baseball players from this region did not play in the MLB.
A few decades back, people knew baseball as the American thing. But currently, the sport is transcending traditional boundaries to become a favorite pastime for millions of people worldwide.
The past years have seen baseball’s glory gradually diminish in favor of other popular sports leagues in the United States. Basketball and football are growing more popular sports, but MLB is still in many hearts.
The globalization of baseball has given rise to talent from all over the world. Contrary to the beginning, in the early 20th century, there is an influx of international players in Major League Baseball. Latin American countries like Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic (amongst others) are producing highly prolific talent. As fans of sports betting begin to speculate on this season’s potential winters, let us see what the 2020 roster looks like.
The MLB 2020 Opening Day Lineup
The 2020 opening day lineup reveals that 192 out of the 300 professional players are American, seconded by the Dominican Republic, making up about 11.6% of the 36% spot held by international players. Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Cuba follow suit with 31, 12, and 11 players, respectively.
There are viable contributions from other countries where baseball is a mainstream sport, such as South Korea, Japan, and Canada. The first two each had two players on opening day rosters, while the latter doubled the number (4).
Aside from these mentioned above, there are other countries from Europe, Asia, and South America.
How The MLB Has Transformed?
There is a notable increase in the number of non-American players in the MLB. In the 60s, players in the international bracket made up only 8.33% compared to the 36% we see today.
It all began 57 years after the inception of Major League Baseball; the year was 1960. There were 12 foreigners. The number grew to 26 in 1980. and now there are 108 players from overseas.
Why The Latin American Boom?
Chico Carrasquel was the first Latino to play in the 1951 All-Star Game. And it wasn’t until five years later that Latin America overpriced produced Rookie of the Year, Luis Aparicio.
We trace this back to 1947 when African American Jackie Robinson began a revolution. As soon as he broke the color barrier, more Latino talent was steadily observed in the MLB.
Since then, there have been a couple of Latin-born players who have received various accolades in baseball. Most notable is the 1973 Hall of Fame star Roberto Clemente. There is also Mike Cuellar and Zoilo Versailles from the 60s. They took the Cy Young Award and AL MVP, respectively, in that decade.
These great men much inspired the success of Latinos in the baseball field. The American fan base began to openly accept that the overseas could produce significant players to the MLB. Executives had to act on this.
Currently, all 30 teams have talent farms in various Latin American countries.
What Does The Future Hold
Major League Baseball is projected to feature more international players, particularly Latin Americans.
The minor leagues are abundant with ambitious young Latinos. Fernando Tatis Jr., Ronald Acuna Jr., and Marvell Ozuna, amongst others, are trailblazers who emerged from the minor leagues to become MLB champs.
As baseball’s popularity becomes increasingly popular in the South Americas, we anticipate seeing an upsurge of players from Latin America and other overseas countries in Major League Baseball.
Who knows, probably the World Series will take the spotlight in a few years.