Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Twelve Mexicanos make MLB Opening Day rosters

When Major League Baseball opened its 2016 season this week, 12 Mexican-born players dotted team rosters.  Another 16 Mexican-Americans were listed for a total of 28 players of Mexican descent on 18 MLB teams.  Five were in uniform for the Blue Jays and another three wore Nationals togs on Opening Day.

The vast majority of Mexican big leaguers are pitchers, including such notable hurlers as Michoacan native Yovani Gallardo, a former Brewers star who signed with the Orioles in the offseason; Monclova's Joakim Soria, a two-time All-Star closer who has returned to the Royals after stints with Pittsburgh and Detroit; Culiacan-born Oliver Perez, a longtime MLBer now pitching for the Nationals; and Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna (pictured above), a 21-year-old Sinaloan whose uncle Antonio spent 11 seasons in the bigs.

A number of prominent Mexican-Americans have also made their presence felt on MLB diamonds. San Diego-born Adrian "El Titan" Gonzalez of the Dodgers is a five-time All-Star first baseman; fellow Californian Matt Garza of the Brewers was the 2008 ALCS Most Valuable Player for the Rays; and another Californian, Giants reliever Sergio Romo, has pitched for three World Series winners and pitched in the 2013 All-Star Game.

Here is a list of Mexican and Mexican-American players on MLB's 2016 Opening Day rosters (players in italics were born in the USA):

BALTIMORE (1): P Yovani Gallardo
BOSTON (1): P Noe Ramirez
COLORADO (1): P Jorge de la Rosa
HOUSTON (1): C Jason Castro
KANSAS CITY (1): P Joakim Soria
LA ANGELS (2): OF Daniel Nava, P Fernando Salas
LA DODGERS (1): 1B Adrian Gonzalez
MILWAUKEE (2): P Matt Garza, P Carlos Torres
MINNESOTA (1): P Ricky Nolasco
NY YANKEES (1): P Luis Enrique Cessa
OAKLAND (1): P Fernando Rodriguez
PHILADELPHIA (2): P David Hernandez, P Vince Velazquez
ST. LOUIS (2): IF Greg Garcia, P Jaime Garcia
SAN DIEGO (1): IF Adam Rosales
SAN FRANCISCO (1): P Sergio Romo
SEATTLE (1): P Vidal Nuno
TORONTO (5): P Jesse Chavez, P Marco Estrada, P Arnold Leon, P Roberto Osuna, P Aaron Sanchez
WASHINGTON (3): 2B Danny Espinosa, P Oliver Perez, 3B Anthony Rendon

In his Calientes Comentarios column on the Solo Beisbol website, Felipe Silva Durazo decried the lack of Mexican-born players in the majors, stating that over 20 such players were on MLB rosters in the late 1980's and early 1990's.  Silva adds that while there are more Mexicanos in AAA and likely to be called up, he also says "perhaps the much-vaunted LMB Baseball Academy is not doing its job, or perhaps the goal of the Academy is only to develop players for the LMB...In the end, it does not increase the number of Mexicans in the big leagues."