The 10 Best Baseball Gloves Fully Reviewed
BB mitts are just as famous if not more so than the sport itself. Today, we’re going to count down the greatest BB mitts out there on the market today. Prepare to take the field with these top 10 baseball gloves!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Size, as it applies to BB mitts, is a very fascinating subject. Because it isn’t simply a debate about what size can apply to what person, it’s about what size is best for which position. Indeed, different sizes are needed for different points on the field. For instance, if you’re an infielder, your purpose is to cleanly field the ball and make quick transfers from mitt to throwing hand. And while you feasibly can do that with a larger mitt, it just makes more sense to use a smaller mitt with a shallower pocket. Whereas if you’re in the outfield, then a smaller, shallower pocket is not going to do a lot to stop a ball that’s flying through the air fast and far enough to reach where you are. And if the ball gets out of your hand, you’re out. You need a mitt that’s larger with a deeper pocket in order to catch the ball effectively.
If you haven’t really played BB before, allow us to walk you through what the average game is like for a catcher.
Your job is to run out as far out into the field as you are instructed and just…wait. Just stand there, out in the hot summer sun, likely at high noon in July, and just wait until the ball flies your way. You’re standing there, eternally grateful that BB uniforms being cool, reflective white is the norm. However, there is still another problem: the mitt. Thick, brown leather is hardly the attire suited to a hot summer’s day, as you will no doubt learn when you remove the object when it’s your turn to bat or when the game has concluded. Wherein, if you were not wearing a mitt that breathed properly, you find your hand now covered in sweat and smelling like the pungent, unwashed version of whatever animal made that leather. A smell that does not wash out easily, we assure you.
Breathability is one of the most sought-after qualities in a BB glove. Because a BB glove that breathes well is one that will leave your hand nice and cool, and thus not covered in an unreasonable amount of sweat (if it’s a hot summer’s day, sweat is inevitable. But at least a breathing uniform will keep it down to a minimum). Which is definitely good when it’s your turn to bat, and you need your hands to be as dry as they can possibly be.
A BB mitt’s webbing is the material that connects the thumb of the mitt to the other finger slots. This part is considered to be just as essential at catching the ball as the pocket itself. The biggest problem that these BB mitts face is that their larger size makes the space between your fingers and thumb an even bigger escape route for the ball. So, the webbing is there to patch that hole, making it impossible for the ball to escape.
While a mitt manufacturer will come up with whatever catchy buzzword for the net that’s catchier and buzzier than the other manufacturers, the net of a BB mitt typically falls into one of two categories: closed and open nets.
Open nets: An open web will use cross-like patterns of leather strips that show little gaps in the webbing. These gaps are important if you work in the very far outfield where the kind of fly-balls you have to run a half mile in reverse to catch go. The reason is that it makes it easier to catch the ball when you don’t have to look past that big mitt and can instead see through the little gaps in the mitt.
Closed nets: Meanwhile, a closed net is meant for players who, for instance, work one of the bases, or are deep in the infield. A closed net is basically the same; only there are no gaps. This way, no one can actually see what you’re doing with your ball, and when every member of the opposing team is looking at you, especially the ones moving between bases, you want to make sure as few of them as possible know whom you’re aiming at.
When it comes to what material you want for your BB mitt, you pretty much just have to ask what kind of leather you want. Your three choices come down to synthetic, top grain, or full grain leather. You want a leather, no matter what type it specifically is, to be nice and stiff, even after you’ve broken it in. Because the stiffer the leather, the longer it’s going to last you.
Generally speaking, you have one of two camps when it comes to pricing and BB mitts. On the one hand, you have the recreational BB gloves, which are excellent in their own right but are meant more for the hobbyist rather than the professional ball player. And on the other end, you have the pro grade BB gloves, used by athletes, and available to the public for those who want to get into the professional scene themselves. It should be obvious to anyone observant which of the two is the more expensive. Now, you are of course getting your money’s worth when you buy the more expensive mitts; however, if you aren’t playing professionally, then there’s no reason not to buy the normal variety. They’re typically the same general quality but for way less.
Top 10 Picks
1. Wilson A2000 Infield
Kicking off our list the right way, we have the Wilson A2000 Infield Glove. Now, many older people who grew up playing baseball may be familiar with the earlier model of this glove, the A1000, which was about as immediately identifiable as you could get for a baseball glove. However, Wilson is back with the upgraded model of their famous glove, and we’re proud to say that it’s a very worthy successor.
Dri-Lex wrist lining
Want to know what every pro baseball player hates the most about wearing these otherwise very useful gloves? They make you sweat like you stuck your hand in a sauna. Not a fun experience for anyone who uses a baseball glove. Fortunately, this glove comes with a Dri-Lex Wrist Lining that helps to let the air in to keep your hand cool and dry, while still staying nice and snug on your hand.
Pro stock leather
Manufacturers have to be very particular about the leather they choose to use for their gloves. It has to be long lasting, and it also has to be receptive to being fiddled with, such as excessive sewing, lacing and tying. Fortunately, the pro stock leather used to make this glove is very long lasting and sure to stay strong for you for years.
Cost and Value
The big problem with this glove is the price. This is going to be a regular occurrence here, though, since we’re looking at professional grade gloves, made from high-class materials. Thus, the gloves on this list are incredibly expensive, though they are most definitely worth the price.
2. Rawlings Select Pro Lite Youth Series
In our number two spot, we have the Rawlings Select Pro Lite Youth Series, an 11-1/2-inch all-leather baseball glove created to match the power, comfort, and aesthetics of the original Manny Machado glove. Specifically created for teens who enjoy the sport this glove comes fully equipped to compete with the big leagues.
Prodigy Youth Pro Taper Fit
Featuring the latest technology in baseball gloves this one comes armed with Rawlings Prodigy Youth Pro Taper Fit. This technology allows for smaller hand openings and lower finger stalls giving young users and their growing hands the comfort they need. Having this feature allows the glove to mold to the hand without losing its strength.
While not all leather gloves are constructed the same; with that being said, Rawlings took it a step further and created full-grain gloves that are able to be broken in quite easily and quickly while still retaining its classic shape. Furthermore, the construction of the glove allows for better mobility.
Cost and Value
Due to it being of higher-quality this glove is a bit on the pricey side; however, when compared to the quality that you’re receiving it's actually quite cost-effective while offering an in-between price point.
3. Rawlings Player Preferred
In our third place, we have the Rawlings Player Preferred Glove. Prepare to see our friends at Rawlings a lot from here on out. They’re not the only real game in town, but they’ve been making baseball equipment for a long time, so they know how to do it right. As we shall demonstrate with the Player Preferred Glove.
Zero shock palm padding
When you catch a pop fly in midair, you need to be able to throw the ball at the guy that hit it as fast as possible before they hit the base. That is a reaction time of milliseconds, so you cannot afford to let the force and shock of the ball hitting your hand slow you down at all. Luckily, this mitt comes equipped with a zero-shock palm padding that drastically reduces the force of a ball’s impact on your hand.
Sometimes you’ll read the label on a baseball glove to find it being referred to as an infield or outfield glove. The thing is that the discerning eye can pick up various differences between the glove models, and this is no coincidence. Some gloves are meant for the infield, and some are meant for the out. Fortunately, you don’t have to buy two different gloves, because this glove comes with a special basket net that makes it usable in any field during a game.
Cost and Value
In stark contrast to the previous entry, which was firmly placed in the triple digits, this glove is actually very affordable by comparison. While nowhere near the cheapest pro grade glove out there, it’s still very affordable for what it’s giving you.
4. Rawlings Sandlot
In the #4 spot, yet another Rawlings entry, with the Sandlot glove. As the name suggests, this is a much more casual glove than its predecessors. Meant to be played with your friends, rather than a high octane, stadium event. However, do not take that to mean that this glove is inferior. As you will see, it is exactly the opposite.
Padded finger back lining
One of the most common places in a BB glove said to be uncomfortable is the finger area. There’s always some part of the interior that scratches or rubs your finger every time you move around in it, which is inevitably irritate you to no end. Fortunate, then, that this glove comes with a padded finger back lining that protects your finger and gives it a maximum sense of comfort.
90% broken in
Let’s say you want to use your brand-new Rawlings BB glove right now. Not later, not tomorrow, right now. Then don’t worry about having to deal with a non-broken in BB glove, because this glove comes 90% broken in already straight from the factory.
Cost and Value
Since this is a more casually minded BB glove, the price is once again rather low. On average, if you want a professional grade BB glove meant to be used by pro players, then you’ll have to deal with incredibly high prices. However, more recreational BB gloves, like this one here, will be priced much more affordable.
5. Mizuno Prime SE
As our number 5, we have the Mizuno Prime SE baseball glove. This glove is not only aesthetically pleasing but its functional- allowing you to have the mobility you want and need to successfully have control of the ball.
Strong Edge Control
This glove has a particular advantage to it, and it is all due to the quality of the material that it’s created from. Featuring strong edge control technology this glove gives you the gripe control you need while keeping your thumb and pinky stable yet protected. Having this feature ensures you have the strong control you need but in a softer more pliable manner.
When you’re purchasing a glove one of the very first things you want to take notice of is the material. Essentially, you want a high-quality glove that gives you enough wiggle room that you can move your hand with ease without compromising the material it is made out of- this glove allows you to do just that. Made out of oiled leather this glove gives you the perfect blend of sturdy yet soft and comfortable.
Cost and Value
This glove is a bit on the pricier end of our guide. However, when you compare the quality of the materials that you’re getting this glove practically pays itself off.
6. Mizuno Youth Prospect
In our 6th place spot, we have the Mizuno Youth Prospect Ball Glove. And with this, we complete the big three of BB accessories: Rawlings, Wilson, and now Mizuno. Mizuno has garnered quite the reputation over the years for being more than worthy of taking on the big two American brands. And nowhere is that more evident than with the Youth Prospect Ball Glove.
This being a youth BB glove, first and foremost, it’s of course built to help the kids wearing it catch as many balls as they can, as easily as they can. And this glove does it through its patented Powerclose design. This design choice is guaranteed to help young players learn how to catch the right way: in the pocket.
Power lock closure
The last thing any young player wants is to have to put their glove back on in the middle of a game because they moved the wrong way and their glove flew off. This glove, however, comes equipped with a power lock closure system that secures your glove to your hand and makes sure that it won’t move.
Cost and Value
This is one of the cheapest entries on this entire list. A good $10-20 cheaper than the previous two entries, this glove is the perfect starting mitt for your BB star-to-be.
7. Rawlings Heart of the Hide
And in #5, we have another Rawlings entry with the Heart of the Hide Glove. This is considered by many to be the best glove that Rawlings currently has in their lineup, and as we will demonstrate, the reasons why are self-explanatory.
Just stiff enough
Baseball gloves usually start off stiff, but there’s a point where it’s okay and a point where it isn’t. And it all has to do with how fast you’re able to break it in. And this glove is, generally speaking, just stiff enough that you can break it in the way you need it to be. But flexible enough that you can totally just take it out and start playing with it right away.
Fits very well
It may take a minute to break in, but once it does, it redefines fitting like a glove. This BB mitt fits almost as if it were custom made just for your hand. So, while it may be pretty stiff at the beginning, that will not take long to change.
Cost and Value
You probably thought we were pulling your leg with the whole expensive thing at the start, didn’t you? Well, the cheapness of those previous entries got them rather far on this list, but now we’re back to our regularly scheduled wallet-draining prices.
8. Wilson A360
In our third to final entry, we have the Wilson A360 Glove. This is a good example of the classic, all-rounder BB glove. It may not do as much as previous entries, hence why it’s all the way down here, but it still does quite a bit.
The downside of using leather as an interior is that it can get rough with your hands if rubbed against it for too long. Especially during those first few times when you’re still breaking it in, and the glove is incredibly stiff. Which is why this glove makes sure to have a very soft, cushioned interior since it’s made of rather stiff leather that would distract you from the game otherwise with how irritating it gets.
Pigskin palm and web
People don’t really use pigskin for sports stuff anymore. Mostly because other, better leathers became more mainstream, so there was no need for it. But pigskin leather still has its uses. For one, it has great traction, so no more of that ball sliding or bouncing out of your hand when you catch it.
Cost and Value
While not as cheap as the previous entry, this is still one of the cheapest entries on the list. At least, it is when you get it in small. Unlike other entries on this list, this glove determines its price by what size you get it in, and latter sizes can get very expensive.
9. Wilson Advisory Staff
In our 9th entry, we have the #10 pick, the Wilson Advisory Staff Glove. If what you’re looking for is a great all-around BB glove, then you’ve definitely come to the right place with this one. This is one of the best affordable BB mitts on the market, whether you’re amateur or pro.
It’s rare to find a BB glove that can be used in all positions at once, so when we find one, we love to point it out. This glove is specially designed so that you can use it no matter what position you’re currently in.
Dual welting is a common practice with Wilson, especially when it comes to their A2000 line, to which this glove is related closely with in design. This design component’s purpose is to help make the shape of the fingers more curved and the pocket more durable. Making for an easier time using it.
Cost and Value
If we had to rank them, we’d put this glove at generally being the 3rd cheapest entry on this list. You’ll typically find this BB glove for a very reasonable price, considering what it’s offering you.
10. Franklin Sports Master Series
The Franklin Sports Field Master Series Glove takes our 10th position. While Rawlings is an excellent service and manufacturer, getting away from them was a net positive, as the criminally underrated Franklin Sports also has plenty to offer. As we will now demonstrate with the following.
Premium synthetic leather
Many purists turn up their nose at synthetic leathers, but the material really has come a very long way in the years it’s been around. For one, while it can never truly match the suppleness of the real thing, it breaks in 3X as fast as normal leather. Making this glove much quicker to get used to and faster to get to the fun of using it, that’s supposed to be its main appeal, to begin with.
Hand formed pocket
There’s always an element of awkwardness when it comes to dealing with the pocket of a BB glove. It always seems just a tad too big or too small. Which is why the pocket of this glove was specially crafted to match the shape and contours of a human hand. This makes scooping and catching tremendously easier.
Cost and Value
We previously named one entry as being one of the cheapest on this list, well say hello to the absolute cheapest on the entire list. This glove is incredibly affordable compared to other entries on this list, and just BB mitts in general. And given that it’s such high quality to boot makes this one of the best deals on the market.