MLB's percentage of international-born players drops slightly to 27.8%, lowest since 2016

Seattle Mariners center fielder Julio Rodríguez holds up his Silver Slugger award for last season, after a presentation before the team's opening-day baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Thursday, March 28, 2024, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

NEW YORK (AP) — The percentage of Major League Baseball players born outside the 50 states dipped slightly to 27.8%, its lowest level since 2016.

There were 264 players from 19 nations and territories outside of the 50 states among 949 players on opening day active rosters and injured, restricted and inactive lists, the commissioner's office said Friday.

The percentage was down from 28.5% last year and the lowest since 27.5% in 2016. It has remained in the 26-29.8% range since 2002, peaking in 2017.

The total international players was the fourth-highest behind 291 in 2020 (when there were expanded 30-man active rosters), 275 in 2022 (when there were expanded 28-man active rosters) and last year (270).

The Dominican Republic led countries outside the U.S. with 108 players, its second-highest behind 110 in 2020. Canada's 13 was its most since 17 in 2013 and Japan's 10 its highest since 11 in 2013.

Venezuela was second at 58, followed by Cuba (18), Puerto Rico (17), Canada (13), Mexico (12), Japan (10), Colombia and Panama (five each), Curaçao (four), South Korea (three), Australia (two) and Aruba, Bahamas, Brazil, Germany, Honduras, Nicaragua and South Africa (one apiece).

Houston Astros pitcher Tayler Scott became just the second South African on an opening-day roster after Toronto shortstop Gift Ngoepe in 2018.

Houston topped teams with 16 international players, followed by San Diego (15), Boston (14), Miami (14) and Cleveland (12).

The 19 nations and territories outside the U.S. matched last year and were two shy of the high, set in 2018 and matched in 2022.