Latin American Countries Producing the Most MLB Players

Laura DeptaFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2015

Latin American Countries Producing the Most MLB Players

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Major League Baseball recently announced that 230 players on 2015 Opening Day rosters were born outside the United States. This number was taken from a total of 868 that includes both active roster athletes as well as inactive players on the disabled or restricted lists. Other than the U.S., 17 countries are represented, many Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking.

    Latin American countries produce some of baseball’s top talent, with the Dominican Republic and Venezuela leading the way. Here is a look at the largest producers and some of their most notable active players.

Dominican Republic

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    The Dominican Republic leads MLB with 83 players on the list of Opening Day rosters. Alex Rodriguez is perhaps one of the most well-known players associated with the Dominican Republic, but he wasn’t actually born there. Here are a few guys that were. 

     

    Notable Players

    Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Three-time National League MVP, nine-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion with a career line of .316/.402/.586 (through April). Joined the ranks of MLB’s highest-paid players with a 10-year, $254 million mega-deal in 2010. 

    David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox: Nine-time All-Star, six-time Silver Slugger, three-time World Series champion. Widely considered one of the two greatest designated hitters in the history of baseball. 

    Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners: Six-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove Award winner, signed 10-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners in 2013. 

    Bartolo Colon, New York Mets: Cy Young Award winner, three-time All-Star, led American League with 21 wins in 2005. 

    Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers: Four-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove third baseman, four-time Silver Slugger.

Venezuela

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Venezuela is the second-highest producer of non-U.S. born MLB players. Its total of 65 is the country’s second-highest ever.

     

    Notable Players

    Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers: Triple Crown winner, two-time American League MVP, nine-time All-Star, recognized as one of the game’s all-time great right-handed hitters. 

    Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners: Cy Young Award winner, five-time All-Star, threw MLB’s 23rd perfect game in 2012. 

    Pablo Sandoval, Boston Red Sox: Two-time-All Star, won three world championships with the San Francisco Giants. 

    Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers: Five-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger.

Cuba

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Third on the list is Cuba with 18 players, some of whom defected to the United States for the sole purpose of playing baseball. 

     

    Notable Players:

    Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers: Hit .319/.391/.534 his rookie season and finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, made the All-Star team his sophomore campaign, one of the most polarizing young players in MLB. 

    Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox: Unanimous 2014 American League Rookie of the Year, led the majors in slugging percentage with .581, one of the best rookie campaigns in recent memory, maybe ever. 

    Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins: NL Rookie of the Year in 2013, made the All-Star team and finished third in the Cy Young voting that year. Coming off Tommy John surgery, but poised to make a return soon.

Puerto Rico

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Thirteen major leaguers hail from Puerto Rico this year, following in the footsteps of perhaps the country’s most famous player, Roberto Clemente. 

     

    Notable Players

    Carlos Beltran, New York Yankees: 1999 American League Rookie of the Year, eight-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove outfielder, two-time Silver Slugger. 

    Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals: Six-time All-Star, winner of seven consecutive Gold Gloves, two-time World Series champion. Part of a sibling trio of great defensive catchers along with brothers Jose and Bengie.

Mexico

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    According to Baseball Reference, 116 players across major league history were born in Mexico. In 2015, the number is nine. 

     

    Notable Player

    Yovani Gallardo, Texas Rangers: All-Star right-handed pitcher, Silver Slugger, finished seventh in the Cy Young voting in 2011.

Colombia and Panama

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Colombia and Panama each have four players on this list. That matches Colombia’s previous record set in both 2013 and ’14. 

     

    Notable Player

    Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies: Hails from Panama, All-Star catcher, received National League MVP votes four consecutive seasons. 

Brazil and Nicaragua

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    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Brazil has two players in MLB for the first time in history and Nicaragua also has two.

     

    Notable Player

    Everth Cabrera, Baltimore Orioles: Hails from Nicaragua, All-Star shortstop, led the National League in stolen bases in 2012 with 44.