The Major League Baseball (MLB) season of 2020 will forever be remembered by the worldwide Covid pandemic. The season was adjusted so that all involved in the national pastime could be played in conditions deemed as safe as possible. MLB continued its international appeal although surprisingly the number of players as part of each team’s 40 player active roster, dropped by 3 from the previous year. Cuba is the Caribbean’s largest country and also known as a Latin powerhouse. For the 2020 season twenty-two players are part of MLB’s thirty team active rosters. Cuba is the Caribbean’s largest country and prides itself as a Latin baseball powerhouse and ranks in the top five around the globe. A key metric not openly discussed is the national team has lost some of its lustre through defections as stars lucky enough to be noticed by an MLB team gladly make the transition. Similarly to the Negro Leagues before Jackie Robinson broke the color-barrier was its popularity. However once Robinson opened the door the rest is history as many wanted to see those “stars.” Thus the Negro Leagues “prime product” was diluted and eventually disappeared. Hopefully high level baseball in Cuba can be sustained.
One more point about this year’s lineup, two star studded players have experience in MLB but as of this writing are not officially on any teams roster.
Above photo: ‘Ted Williams, Minnie Minoso’ Boston Red So, baseball player Ted Williams and Cleveland Indians player Minnie Minoso, posed in dugout for 1959 All Star Game, Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 1959. (Photo by Charles ‘Teenie’ Harris/Carnegie Museum of Art/Getty Images)
[Havana] The 2019 All Star Game (ASG) will feature 15 players that were born outside of the United States. Behind the Dominican Republic, Cuba is number two and will feature three players who will be part of the July 9th festivities.
[Havana] For the third year we feature Cuban national baseball players who are play in MLB (Major League Baseball).
I was in Havana on my way to Estadio Latinoamericano when MLB, the MLB Players Association and the Cuban Federation reached a historic agreement allowing Cuban nationals to achieve a path to play in the MLB. The agreement eliminated the need for players to defect or leave under negative circumstances. Unfortunately, four months later the Donald Trump administration maintained its posture of dismantling anything viewed as positive which the Obama administration was part of, and abruptly canceled the agreement. In the meantime, many have adopted a slogan adopted by MLB last year which simply states, “Let the kids play!!!!”
Ranked #5 in the World
Baseball is still an important part of Cuban culture. With a population of approximately 11 million their impressive ranking is 5th as determined from the World Baseball Confederation. While it is great that MLB fans get a first-hand opportunity to see the players perform, one can only imagine how good the national team would be had there not been defections, which have impacted the talent pool?
25 player v 40 player?
This year’s edition has been expanded to include the 40-man roster instead of the 25-man roster. This was done since technically they are eligible to play at a moment’s notice.
To understand the difference please read here
25 player roster – known as the Active Roster – A club’s 25-man roster is its full roster of active Major League players.
40 player roster – The 40 Man roster is the group of players who are eligible to be added to the active (25 man) roster.
Currently there are 25 players who are Cuban nationals who meet the criteria. Of the thirty MLB teams, Houston is the leader with five players.
Now that Major League Baseball (MLB) just completed its 89th All Star Game (#ASG) and players have a day or two off before the second half of the season resumes, we thought it would be a good opportunity to update those players who are from Cuba and play on one of the thirty MLB teams (active roster).
Why the interest?
Baseball is the national sport of CUBA. Their players have been known for their talent which is why it was remarkable to see defections. Now that MLB has solid policies and agreements are in place, teams have shown a healthy appetite in adding those players to their roster.
Currently there are 20 Cuban players on the MLB rosters. That number represents about three percent of the total 750 players as each active roster is comprised of twenty-five players. The number is down by one, as last year there were twenty-one. However, one must keep in mind there are many more Cuban players making their way through the rigorous process of making the active twenty-five player roster (there is single A, double A, triple A, etc.)
Here is a peek of this years crop of Cuban born players in MLB.