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Baseball Hotbeds: Where Do Pro Baseball Players Come From?



A Heat Map For All 50 States

Using high school locations for nearly 12,000 players active in the majors or minors from 2011 to 2017, we found each state's rate of pro players per 100,000 residents.          

             
0-0.9 1-1.9 2-2.9 3-3.9 4-4.9 5-5.9 6.0+  
  State State Players 2017 State Population Players Per 100,000
  Florida 1,311 21,312,211 6.15
  California 2,268 39,776,830 5.70
  Georgia 539 10,545,138 5.11
  Mississippi 149 2,982,785 5.00
  Arizona 339 7,123,898 4.76
  Louisiana 211 4,682,509 4.51
  Alabama 219 4,888,949 4.48
  Oklahoma 175 3,940,521 4.44
  Hawaii 60 1,426,393 4.21
  Texas 1187 28,704,330 4.14
  Connecticut 148 3,588,683 4.12
  Washington 289 7,530,552 3.84
  Nevada 114 3,056,824 3.73
  South Carolina 183 5,088,916 3.60
  Tennessee 237 6,782,564 3.49
  Kansas 99 2,918,515 3.39
  North Carolina 351 10,390,149 3.38
  Missouri 204 6,135,888 3.32
  Delaware 23 703,608 3.27
  Illinois 403 1,2768,320 3.16
  Virginia 259 8,525,660 3.04
  New Jersey 267 9,032,872 2.96
  Kentucky 127 4,472,265 2.84
  Rhode Island 30 1,061,712 2.83
  Nebraska 54 1932549 2.79
  Colorado 152 5,684,203 2.67
  Indiana 176 6,699,629 2.63
  Massachusetts 172 6,895,917 2.49
  Arkansas 75 3,020,327 2.48
  Iowa 74 3,160,553 2.34
  Pennsylvania 294 12,823,989 2.29
  Ohio 266 11,694,664 2.27
  Oregon 94 4,199,563 2.24
  Idaho 37 1,753,860 2.11
  New Hampshire 27 1,350,575 2.00
  Minnesota 112 5,628,162 1.99
  Utah 62 3,159,345 1.96
  Maryland 110 6,079,602 1.81
  New Mexico 37 2,090,708 1.77
  D.C. 17 971,180 1.75
  New York 345 19,862,512 1.74
  North Dakota 13 755,238 1.72
  Michigan 154 9,991,177 1.54
  Wisconsin 84 5,818,049 1.44
  West Virginia 22 1,803,077 1.22
  Wyoming 6 573,720 1.05
  Montana 10 1,062,330 0.94
  South Dakota 8 877,790 0.91
  Maine 12 1,341,582 0.89
  Alaska 6 738,068 0.81
  Vermont 2 623,960 0.32

SEE THE COMPLETE DATA SET

Methodology 

To answer the question, "Where do pro baseball players come from?", Baseball America crunched the numbers. We took a snapshot of all players in the majors and affiliated minors from 2011 to 2017 and determined how many come from each state. To control for variances in state populations, we ranked the states by determining the number of pro players per 100,000 state residents, according to 2017 population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. Players are assigned to the city and state where they attended high school. We give a nod to each state's hotbed city - the one that produced the most players, which is denoted by a flame on the map. 

Test Story

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California, Florida and Texas have long been known as the volume dealers for professional baseball. Year-round warm weather plus strong baseball tradition plus pockets of wealth equal perfect conditions to hatch baseball players.

Yet those states also have three of the four largest populations in the United States—New York slightly outranks Florida for No. 3—giving them strength in numbers. That’s why Baseball America approached the topic of baseball hotbeds from a slightly different perspective. To control for variances in state populations, we ranked the states by determining the number of pro players per 100,000 sate residents, according to 2017 population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

When viewed this way, Florida emerges as the pound-for-pound champion of baseball hotbeds. The Sunshine State produced 1,311 players who were active in affiliated baseball from 2011 to 2017—our sample period—against a state population of roughly 21 million. That’s more than six players per 100,000 people, the highest rate for any state.

We categorize players not by birthplace but by the city and state in which they attended high school—regardless of whether they were subsequently drafted out of college in a different state.

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