Adler: 2015 MLB draft highlights league’s challenge to recruit black players

From Lindsey Adler at Buzzfeed on June 16, 2015, with mention of SABR member Mark Armour:

Dillon Tate, a right-handed pitcher out of UC Santa Barbara, entered the world of professional baseball singing “Billie Jean” when he was picked in the first round of last week’s 2015 draft.

Tate was one of nine black players chosen in the first round — an increase compared with prior years. In 2014, there were four black players selected in the first round; in 2013 there were six; and 2012 brought seven black prospects into the MLB farm system, which the league said was the highest number since 1992.

“It’s our hope,” MLB Senior Vice President for Youth Programs Tony Reagins told BuzzFeed News, “that these numbers will continue to rise.”

MLB has for decades struggled to recruit black American players, and the issue was reignited after the Society for American Baseball Research published a comprehensive study in 2012. The report found that, in 2012, 7.2% of MLB players were black — on average less than two players on a 25-man roster.

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Originally published: June 18, 2015. Last Updated: June 18, 2015.