Playing the catcher positions is one of the most difficult jobs for an everyday baseball player. Not only are you tasked with making sure that you maintain a strong relationship and command of your pitching staff, you also need to be able to stop a ball or throw out a base stealer in a second’s notice. This is why it is necessary to have the best catcher’s mitt possible in order to secure the ball and make sure you are ready to react to anything. These are some ways to ensure you have the best catcher’s mitt possible that will unleash your best catching ability.
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How To Choose The Best Best Catcher’s Mitts
Making sure you have the best catcher’s mitt is integral to improving your defense behind the plate. If you aren’t wearing a glove that is best for you, you will be more likely to drop balls and have trouble throwing out runners when exchanging the ball from the mitt to your hand. These are just a few things to consider when buying a catcher’s mitt.
Throwing Hand – This is one of the simplest things to take into account when looking for a new glove but some people will forget to even consider if the glove they are looking at allows them to throw with their dominant hand. It is important that if you are a right-handed player that you choose a glove marked "regular" and if you are left-handed, you select a glove marked, "all right."
Pocket Size – The size of the pocket on your mitt can make a big difference on how well you are able to trap the ball behind the plate. As a catcher, you are going to want a pocket that is deep because you are going to be catching high velocity balls and you do not want the possibility that the ball will bounce out on contact. This is also advantageous for catchers, as they have more space to trap a wild pitch as it bounces off the dirt.
Webbing – There is a multitude of options when choosing the webbing of a glove. The webbing can be fully closed, partly closed, or even loose and open. Catcher’s will want a mitt that has closed webbing to ensure that the ball will stay in the back of their glove when a fastball comes into contact with the glove rather than slipping through an open webbing.
Padding – Baseball gloves are made with a large amount of padding to protect players from possible injury. This may be the most important factor to consider when choosing the best catcher’s mitt because a catcher’s glove hand takes a beating catching up to 100 pitches a game on a consistent basis. Making sure that your mitt has a suitable amount of padding that will avoid injury is crucial to anyone who hopes to thrive at the position.
Wrist – Changes to wrist adjustments have become popular in recent years. These adjustments are mostly made for comfort. This comfort can come from adjustment straps that will allow for a tight fit of the glove on your hand. More importantly for a catcher’s mitt, however, is that these adjustments can also increase padding on a vulnerable part of the glove hand. So if a wild pitch comes into contact with your wrist instead of landing in the glove, this extra padding could come in handy.
Material – Material is the last big thing to consider when choosing a new catcher’s mitt. Mitts can be made of many different materials, most often leather, mesh, and synthetics. The most common mitt uses leather because it is comfortable and durable but mesh gloves provide a lightweight alternative while synthetic mitts are available for younger players. The material you choose for a glove is up to the comfort preferences of the player but as a catcher, a material that is durable enough to catch high quantities of pitches a game is especially important.
Trying to figure out what size catcher’s mitt a player is going to need can get difficult because it is not the same process as sizing a player for a normal glove. This is just one way that you can size a mitt, using the size of your regular glove, to make sure that your best catching gear’s most important piece is sized properly.
Differences in Size – The first thing that you need to be aware of is that catcher’s mitts are sized differently than regular gloves. While gloves are sized by length, typically 9 to 12 ½ inches from heel to the top of the glove, catcher’s mitts are measured in circumference, between 31 to 34 ½ inches.
Measure your Regular Glove Size – The first step in converting the size of your catcher’s mitt is to make sure you know the size of your typical glove. This number will be used in an equation that will yield the size of your mitt.
Do the Math – Now that you know the size of your glove, subtract that number from 12 ½. Once you have found that number, take the difference and subtract that from 34 ½. This is done because 12 ½ inches and 34 ½ inches are the largest sizes for gloves and mitts. Since the difference from a glove’s largest size should be the same difference between a mitt’s largest size, this conversion is a good rule of thumb.
Try on Mitts – While this conversion is a good starting point, you should definitely try on a few mitts to make sure that the mitt fits well. The best catcher’s mitt for you should have a snug fit on your hand so if the size you got through conversion doesn’t feel right after adjusting straps, you shouldn’t be afraid to try on some other sizes to see if any of them fit better.
Top 5 Best Catcher’s Mitts Reviews
While there are not nearly as many players that are natural catcher’s, there are many different types of mitts that are available on the market today. This is because companies realize that catcher is one of the most important positions on the field and it is essential to have the best catcher’s gear possible. These are just a few examples of the best mitts available.
Many may not be familiar with the AllStar baseball brand, as they are not as big as someone like Rawlings or Louisville Slugger, but the company makes only high quality products, which is demonstrated by this catcher’s mitt and its state of the art design.
- Extra Padding – One of the biggest advantages of this glove is that it is loaded with padding. If you are worried about injury from catching so many pitches, this mitt will soften the blow.
- Durability – Not only does this glove have the padding that ensures comfort, it also is made with extremely durable leather. This will be a mitt that will last through years of play.
- Soft Feel – Many catcher’s mitts will sacrifice comfort for durability but this mitt is one of the softest on the market, combining comfort with durability.
- Professional Grade – This glove can catch up pitches that hit 90+ mph
- Hard to Break-In – One of the only problems with this glove is that it is relatively stiff at first and hard to break in. If you don’t have a problem spending the time to break it in, the glove will reap benefits.
- Limited Options – Only available for right handed throwers
- Difficult to Close – If you have smaller hands, this mitt could be hard to shut
Unlike AllStar, Mizuno is one of the most recognizable names when it comes to baseball equipment. And just like with all of their products, this catcher’s mitt is one of the highest quality mitts on the market.
- Power Close – This glove comes with a special “power close” feature that allows for younger players to close the mitt easier than it would be with a normal mitt.
- ParaShock Palm – The palm of this mitt is filled with a lot of padding that is meant to absorb the shock that comes from catching a pitch. This provides ultimate comfort for players new to catching.
- Easy Break-In – Unlike other catcher’s mitts on the market, this mitt is one of the easier ones to break in for those who do not have the time to take months of play to make comfortable.
- V Flex Notch – helps those with smaller hands close the mitt.
- Youth Size – This glove is designed specifically for youth players, so even though it is sized to a point that it could fit on adults’ hands, it is more suited for younger catchers.
- Dries Out Easier – many recommend to treat the mitt because it dries out quickly.
- Only Right Hand Throw – there are no options in this model for lefties.
While some would say that Rawlings isn’t as quality of a brand as some of the others that are on this list, they still create strong products at an affordable price. The Renegade Series is the best model that Rawlings has to offer and this catcher’s mitt has proved to be one of the best on the market.
- Durable – This model mitt is made with a hard, full-grain leather that allows for the durability needed to catch several pitches per game without breaking down quickly.
- Deep Pocket – This mitt is equipped with a deep pocket that is crucial for players that are looking to make sure they have extra space to squeeze the ball as it enters their mitt.
- Customizable Wrist – This mitt comes equipped with Velcro straps that allow for players to adjust the wrist of the mitt for a player’s ultimate comfort.
- One Web Design – this design makes sure that the webbing is solid, not allowing balls to slip through.
- Fastback design – allows for the mitt to break in faster and shape around the hand.
- Available for both throwing hands – this mitt is available for lefties and righties.
- Targeted for Youth Players – Like the Mizuno mitt, many buy this glove for youth players but it also big enough for adults to use on a consistent basis.
- Heavier than some mitts – extra weight shows quality but could also weigh down the hand.
Wilson is another name brand that catches your attention because they are a trusted manufacturer. This model catcher’s mitt that they produce is marketed as one of the most comfortable on the market for its price and includes many perks.
- Durable – This is another glove that is made with full-grain leather in its shell, continuing the trend of making sure the glove is durable enough to last years behind the plate.
- Dual Welting – This model is made with a dual welting feature, which means that there are exposed edges on the mitt. This makes it easier for the mitt to conform to your hand and provides for easier break-in.
- Easy Break-In – As mentioned above, the break-in time on this glove is the shortest of any, and is ready to use right out of the box, a rarity when it comes to catcher’s mitts.
- Two-piece back closure – this two piece back closure helps trap balls in the dirt.
- Low price point – for all the features, this mitt is one of the most affordable on the market.
- Webbing – While the palm is made of leather, the webbing is a half-moon design that makes the top part a little less durable and more likely for a ball to slip out.
- Shallow pocket – the pocket is a tad shallow compared to other mitts.
One of the most marquee catcher’s mitts on the market, the Shoeless Joe Glove has a great reputation in being one of the best, little known manufacturers in the game. This brown catcher’s mitt is no exception to that rule.
- Zero Break-In – One of the perks that the company stresses about this glove is the fact that there is absolutely zero break-in time and it is ready to play with right out of the box.
- Durability and Comfort – Unlike all other mitts, this glove is made with cowhide instead of full-grain leather but is also hand rubbed in oil in order to keep the material soft to the touch.
- Refurbishing Program – As part of buying this glove, there is an affordable program where you can ship your glove back to the company in order to have it refurbished rather than buying a whole new glove.
- Available for Both Dominant Hands – both lefties and righties can buy this glove for their dominant throwing hand.
- For Baseball and Softball – the mitt can be used by men or women playing baseball or softball.
- Hand Laced – the mitt is hand laced to ensure the ultimate quality.
- Wrist Protector – this feature helps protect players’ wrists from injury.
- Old School Look – While this glove is high quality, the company pays homage to Joe Jackson by making the glove look old and worn, which could be a turnoff to some players.
- High Price – for the quality of the mitt, it is more expensive than many of the mitts on the market.
To conclude, there are many great catcher’s mitts that are available on the market today. The best mitt that I can see, however, has to be the Shoeless Joe Catcher’s Mitt. While this mitt costs a substantial amount of money, it seems to be the best quality on the market and being able to refurbish the mitt, rather than buy a whole new one can save money in the long run. Do you agree that this is the best catcher’s mitt available? Do you think there is another mitt that is better? Feel free to comment below with any thoughts you may have.