International Diamondbacks

A man, a plan, a canal: Delgado - Jennifer Stewart

In the Republic yesterday, Nick Piecoro wrote about how the D-backs are expanding their international horizons. But how global a team have they been to date?

In the 15 seasons the Diamondbacks have been in existence, 359 players have appeared for the team. 269 of those were born in the United States, leaving ninety outside the 50 states. That's an overseas rate of 25.1%, which is fractionally lower than the rate for major-league baseball as a whole over that same time. From 1998-2013, 1,130 of the 4,418 players were born outside America, working out at 25.6%, and it's a number which seems to be increasing overall.

Last season, it was 27.6%, but the D-backs were below average, with only eight of the 44 players we used coming from overseas. There were the three who appeared for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic (Martin Prado, Gerardo Parra and Miguel Montero), Dominicans Alfredo Marte and Eury de la Rosa, our first Panamanian Randall Delgado, Puerto Rican Wil Nieves and Didi Gregorius who hails from the Netherlands. Didi isn't actually our first European-born player: that honor belongs to Edwin Jackson, who was born in Germany and lived there until he was eight - his father was a a military cook.

Our eight was tied with the Reds and Cubs for the lowest in the National League. Top were the Cubs and Giants, with 20 apiece, and our number was actually the second-lowest in team history, so it doesn't seem any international focus has yet translated into the locker-room - obviously, that will take time. The lowest all-time was 2012, when there were six: our trio of foreign catchers, plus Parra, Takashi Saito and Jonathan Albaladejo. At the other end of the spectrum, 2003 was a veritable United Diamondback Nations, with a total of 15, from Puerto Rico (2), the Dominican Republic (6), Mexico (4), Japan (1), South Korea (1) and Cuba (1).

The world map below shows the locations where all 359 Diamondbacks were born - you can click on any pin to see a player's name (or one of them, if there were multiple players born there) and the place-name, or scroll through the box on the right to find a particular player, and click there to see where they were born. Usual Google maps scrolling and zooming should also work, if you want to see what Diamondback was born closest to you!

Here's the full tally of locations for overseas D-backs:

  1. Dominican Republic - 36 players
  2. Venezuela - 15
  3. Puerto Rico - 12
  4. Mexico - 8
  5. Cuba - 6
  6. Japan - 2
  7. Australia - 1 each
    Canada
    Curacao
    Germany
    Jamaica
    Korea
    Nicaragua
    Netherlands
    Panama
    Philippines
    Virgin Islands

Kinda fun to look at the countries at the bottom of the list, and see if you can figure out [without clicking on the map!] who the sole representatives are. I imagine no-one would take long to figure out the Korean, but some of the others might prove problematic: Jamaica and the Philippines in particular. Hell, even with the map, tracking down the sole Canadian representative is tricky, since his hometown is very close to the border.

Another things that stands out is how few home-state players we've had: only seven, and never more than one on the roster at a time - the closest was 2010, when D.J. Carrasco and Bob Howry passed each other in our bullpen at opposite ends of the season. There have been one each from Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Tucson and Safford, along with three from Mesa. Other places with three or more are Atlanta (3); Caracas, Venezuela (3); Fort Worth (4); Houston (7); Lexington (3); Los Angeles (5); Maracaibo, Venezuela (3); Oklahoma City (3); Portland (4); Sacramento (3); San Diego (3); San Juan, Puerto Rico (5); San Pedro, DR (3), Santo Domingo DR (8) and Van Nuys (3).

Be interesting to re-visit this map in a few years and see whether the team's global initiative has led to more pins from far-flung corners of the globe. If Ryan Rowland-Smith makes the roster at any point, we'll get to stick another one in Sydney, beside Trent Oeltjen's....

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