Major League Baseball is the most profitable pro baseball league in the world. If players want to make as much money as possible, and they are good enough to do so, they come to the United States. Given that the league is based in the United States, it should come as no surprise that the United States has the overwhelming majority of professional baseball players. There are close to 1,100 players in the MLB who come from the United States, representing more than 70 percent of total players at the major league level. Keep in mind that these numbers can fluctuate slightly from time to time because there are players who get called up from the minors and sent back down to the minors. These numbers do not include minor league baseball players.
Yes, there are a lot of professional baseball players who come from the Caribbean. Even though close to three-quarters of all major league baseball players come from the United States, approximately 11 percent of all major league baseball players come from the Dominican Republic. In addition, another two percent of professional major league baseball players come from Puerto Rico, and another two percent of MLB players come from Cuba. Therefore, the Caribbean is well-represented in the MLB.
Yes, it can be very difficult for someone who is from Cuba to join the MLB. Given that the United States and Cuba do not exactly have positive relations, it can be very difficult for someone to get out of Cuba and join the MLB. The player sometimes has to wait for a time when the professional Cuban baseball team is playing outside of Cuba. Then, they need to flee the baseball team, find a way to get to the United States, and consider the possibility of never returning home again. Even though this could be a way for them to provide a better life for themselves and their family, Cuba does not like its professional athletes defecting to the United States. Therefore, there are some challenges that baseball players have to overcome if they want to leave Cuba.
Baseball has also become incredibly popular in Asia. There are some people who believe that the second-best professional baseball league in the world is in Japan. Therefore, Japan has a lot of players who play in the major leagues as well. During the past few years, Hideki Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki, and Daisuke Matsuzaka have all come from Japan. Right now, there are eight players in the major leagues who are from Japan and seven players in the MLB who are from South Korea. These are two Asian countries with a very strong history of successful baseball players, and they send professionals to compete in the MLB from time to time.
Number of Players
% of MLB Players
About 30% of all Major League Baseball players come from countries that are not the United States. 11% of those come from the Dominican Republic.