MLB starts with most players from Puerto Rico since 2011
NEW YORK — Major League Baseball started the season with its most players born in Puerto Rico since 2011.
Nineteen players on opening-day rosters were born on the island, an increase of three from last year, the commissioner’s office said Friday.
The overall percentage of players born outside the 50 states was 29 percent, down from last year’s record 29.8 percent figure. This year’s percentage tied 2007 for third behind last year and 2005 (29.2 percent).
Toronto infielder Gift Ngoepe is the first player from South Africa on an opening-day roster and Pittsburgh pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas is the first from Lithuania.
The Dominican Republic led with 84, down from 93 last year. Venezuela was next with 74, followed by Puerto Rico, Cuba (17), Mexico (11), Japan (eight), Canada and South Korea (six each), and Colombia and Curacao (five apiece).
Australia, Brazil, Nicaragua and Panama had three apiece. Aruba, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, South Africa, Taiwan and the U.S. Virgin Islands each had one.
The Texas Rangers (14) had the most for the second straight year, followed by the Chicago White Sox and Miami (13 each).
Figures include 750 active players on opening day rosters, 118 on disabled lists, eight on the restricted list and one on the paternity list.