Cuban National Players in MLB v2022

This year’s edition is late but once again we note professional baseball players who hail from Cuba and are now playing in Major League Baseball (MLB). The list is compiled from those making the 40 player roster of the thirty MLB teams. Like many professional sports in the United States the rosters have become more diversified representing players from all over the globe.

Cuba has a tremendous baseball legacy. It is the national sport. It became a key topic in my journey to explore the Negro League’s presence in a country where the teams were welcomed and a strong brotherhood was created. Before the U.S. imposed embargo players and many teams took great joy to make the trek to the Caribbean’s largest country. Even though key players have departed resulting in a sharp decline of their status in World Baseball Rankings, they still pose a threat to teams that take them lightly. In the last decade they were consistently in the top 5 and currently have jumped two spots to claim the 9th position.

A critical observation of my research is posing the question – will CUBA baseball go the way of the Negro Leagues? From my perspective the answer is no because while the talent has decimated during the last decade, baseball in Cuba is a national commodity whereas the Negro Leagues were part of the African-American culture making it much easier to transition into the broader society.

A couple of notes from this year’s edition

  • The 2022 lineup totals 27 players, an increase of two.
  • American league teams have the majority of players at 17, unchanged from last year.
  • The National league has 10.
  • Surprisingly 15 teams have ZERO players.
  • Cuban National players account for approximately 2% of all players.
  • MLB escalated investing in Latin America in the early ’60’s and it is not surprising that Dominican Republic leads the pack.
  • Another important feature of this list is understanding Cuban baseball is still strong but over the years the top talent has been diluted as more players have defected or made it over to the U.S.A.

TEAMS20212022Change 2022 v 2021
Arizona Diamondbacks001
Atlanta Braves322
Baltimore Orioles130
Boston Red Sox000
Chicago Cubs000
Chicago White Sox441
Cincinatti Reds221
Cleveland Indians000
Colorado Rockies010
Detroit Tigers000
Houston Astros332
Kansas City Royals100
Los Angeles Angels101
Los Angeles Dodgers111
Miami Marlins010
Milwaukee Brewers000
Minnesota Twins000
New York Mets000
New York Yankees111
Oakland Athletics111
Philadelphia Phillies000
Pittsburgh Pirates010
San Diego Padres101
San Francisco Giants000
Seattle Mariners000
St. Louis Cardinals101
Tampa Bay Rays220
Texas Rangers121
Toronto Blue Jays110
Washington Nationals111

Bibliography/Additional References

The Last Out (Doc)

The Last Out | POV (

Last Seasons in Havana: The Castro Revolution and the End of Professional Baseball in Cuba

Brioso, C├ęsar

The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball

Gonzalez Echevarria, Roberto

Major League Cuban (Doc)

Island Baseball

Jailed for Smuggling Players

Whether you are a serious fan of Cuban baseball or the Negro Leagues you will find this documentary an outstanding piece to help you better understand the history. It came out in 2020 and I viewed it as part of my Amazon account.

Here is another good doc to give more perspective. The material is good but the authors appear somewhat bias towards to bitterness to the Castro regime. For me, of all the interviews and voices presented I did not count one from an Afro-Cuban perspective, but still good information to balance your thoughts. The doc is part of public broadcasting so you will need to match up your local channel and when it (if) will be shown.

Fred is a baseball historian who has studied and researched the game at length. His relationship to Cuba stemmed from understanding how the Negro Leagues operated during segregation. Further he has been able to visit many stadiums in Cuba while taking in various games. Currently his visits have escalated and allowed him to visit many landmarks as well as interview those in Cuba who understand the current dynamic as well as a historical appreciation of when the Negro Leagues were prominent and how the sport was a common denominator to bridge the communication gap.