MLB sees slowly improving diversity in its youth pipeline, despite record-low Black major leaguers

For much of Lee Allen Jr.’s childhood, baseball seemed quite far from him.

Major League Baseball’s Royals played in his hometown Kansas City, Missouri, but Allen — who is Black and lived in the inner city — didn’t come across many baseball opportunities until late in his high school years.

In January 2020, a 17-year-old Allen was invited to one of MLB’s development programs, the DREAM Series, where for the first time he was put in front of scouts and coaches to display his skills in a competitive environment.

Four years later, Allen stood on the field at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida, wearing a purple, white and gold baseball uniform representing the historically Black college Prairie View A&M University, his eyes set on a pro career.