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The Dodgers are the whitest team in MLB, and fans don’t seem to mind

LA fans love the Dodgers despite the team having no Latino starters

Look, before we get into this, I want to make it clear that there is no MLB team with a better record on race and diversity than the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their resume starts with Jackie Robinson, and continues with trailblazers like Fernando Valenzuela, Glenn Burke, Hideo Nomo, and Chan Ho Park. I in no way intend to insinuate that the Dodgers are doing anything sinister or intentionally bigoted with their roster construction.

With that said: Have you noticed how white the Dodgers are?

The Dodgers have no Latino starters

On any given night the Dodgers play, fans are only likely to see one non-white Dodger (Mookie Betts) take the field. Only one Latino position player (Edwin Ríos) sees any regular playing time for the Dodgers, and he’s missed a large chunk of the season due to injury. Hanser Alberto and recent acquisition Eddy Álvarez mostly sit on the bench, though Alberto has so far gotten the most playing time of any of the bench players besides backup catcher Austin Barnes. The team’s ten other position players of note, including seven regular starters, are white.

As for the pitchers, the only Latinos of note are Julio Urías, Brudsar Graterol, and Alex Vesia, with the latter two coming out of the bullpen. Reyes Moronta and Yency Almonte also get their share of appearances, but just as it is with the position players, the overwhelming majority of work goes to white pitchers. 

No team in MLB is this white

It’s not just that the Dodgers are so white, it’s that they’re the only team in baseball that is this white. The only other MLB franchise that features one or fewer non-white players in their regular starting lineup is the Cincinnati Reds, who currently own the worst record in the National League. The only other MLB franchise that features one or fewer non-Latino position players and one or fewer non-Latino starting pitchers is…no one! The Dodgers are alone in that regard.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, either. The only Latino batters to get any significant playing time for the Dodgers in 2021 were Ríos and Albert Pujols. In 2020, it was just Ríos. You have to go back to 2019 to find more than one regular Latino position player to play for the Dodgers (Alex Verdugo and Kiké Hernández), and they were both traded to Boston in the offseason to acquire Mookie Betts. 

The Dodgers have signed the biggest names on the market

So, what gives? Honestly, it’s probably nothing. Fast Company noticed this trend a few years ago and wrote a very smart piece tying the lack of diversity on the Dodgers to the lack of diversity in MLB as a whole. But a year after the piece came out, the Dodgers traded for Betts because he was the best player on the market. And then a year and a half later they traded for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, because they were the best pitcher and arguably the best position player available at the trade deadline. 

And then a few months later they signed Freddie Freeman, because he was the best free agent available this past offseason. The Dodgers have demonstrated over the past couple of seasons that they have the money to sign the best players available, whether they be Black, Asian, white, or Latino. It just so happens this time around they weren’t Latino, which is a strange coincidence, but probably nothing more. 

The team’s Latino fans don’t seem to care

It is worth pointing out that the Dodgers have a fanbase that is almost certainly more than 50% Latino, and is likely the only franchise in MLB whose fanbase features a non-white majority. It’s also worth pointing out that not having a Latino star besides Urías since 2019 has not hurt the team’s popularity. 

As they have for each of the past ten seasons (2020 excluded), the Dodgers currently lead all of baseball in attendance, and three Dodgers appeared on the list of most popular jerseys sold in 2021. In other words, Dodgers fans in general don’t seem to care that the team is so white, nor should they as long as the team keeps winning. 

But still, it’s pretty weird, right??