It goes without saying, or at least should, that next to the pitcher the catcher is the single most important player on the baseball or softball field. He or she takes a ton of abuse, is responsible for stopping balls from getting behind them, blocking the plate, and is also tasked with strategical decision making. To say that this position on the field is important, in fact, is a major understatement. In order for a catcher to be as good as they can possibly be, they need to have the right catcher’s mitt. Without this most basic of tools, you can forget making that great play at the plate or preventing that wild pitch from getting to the backstop and ensuring the other team does not score that run. Today, we’ll be taking a deep look into the world of catcher’s mitts and then reviewing the top ten you can currently find in 2019. So, let’s get going!
Top Catcher’s Mitts Comparison Chart
|Name||Size||Hand Orientation||Price||Where to Buy?|
|Wilson A2000 Baseball Glove Series||32.5"||Left & Right||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Rawlings Player Preferred 33 Inch Mitt||33"||Left & Right||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Mizuno Prospect GXC112 Youth Catcher’s Mitt||31.50"||Left & Right||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Rawlings Sandlot Series Baseball Glove||33"||Left & Right||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Rawlings Heart of the Hide Glove Series||32.5"||Left & Right||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Akadema AGC98 Prodigy Series Glove||32"||Left & Right||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|All-Star Pro Elite Series Baseball Catcher’s Mitt||Right||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Mizuno Prospect GXS102 Fastpitch Softball Catcher’s Mitt||32.5"||Left & Right||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Easton Ghost Fastpitch Series Softball Glove||34"||Left & Right||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Under Armour Baseball UACM-100 Framer Series Baseball Mitt||33.5"||$||Check Price on Amazon|
Catcher’s Mitts Buying Guide
Gloves vs Mitts
While it is a lot simpler to find an ordinary baseball or softball glove, it would be a major mistake to do so for the position of catcher. That is because there are some very real and drastic differences between the two that set them apart. For one, you will not that the catcher’s mitt is much larger than the glove is. It is not taller, per se, but it does have a wider makeup to it. This allows you more space to be able to catch the ball, or to at least knock it down. Softball catcher’s mitts are a bit taller than their baseball counterparts, but they are still wider than normal ‘field gloves’ would be. This is mostly due to the reliance upon pitches that heavily break up and down, whereas in baseball most of the breaking action is happening from left to right or vice versa. Another differentiating factor between a glove and a mitt is that the mitt does not have fingers cut into them like the glove does for ‘regular’ fielders. Because the mitt covers the entire hand, it is referred to as such. Both catcher’s and first baseman, therefore, will have their ‘gloves’ classified as mitts. So, in theory, you could refer to a mitt as a glove, albeit slightly wrongly, but not the other way around!
Lefty vs Righty
This might seem elementary to some, and if so that’s great and you can simply skip over this section. But for others, it’s very much necessary because it can get very confusing online if you don’t pay attention. Obviously, you are going to have right handed and left handed players. In the professional leagues and even in high school and college, the vast majority of players are going to be right handed. This obviously means that catchers are also going to typically be right handed. This means that they have the glove on the left hand and then throw with their right hand. In softball and in lower level baseball, it’s more common to see left handed catchers, who throw with their left hand and catch with it on the right. All of this is fine. It’s the buying part that can be confusing. You have to be careful and take a look at the pictures that are included to make double sure that you are getting what you need. After looking at the pictures, you also need to be careful. Sometimes, they will have it worded as “left hand throw” or “right hand throw.” This is a bit of a trick to some, but it’s not that hard if you just pay attention. “Left hand throw” would be a glove that goes on the right hand and the opposite would go for right handers. Other sites might have “left hand” or “right hand.” This would just be talking about which hand the glove goes on. It can be complicated, so if you have any doubts then triple check and/or ask questions to make sure you actually get what you want and need.
Breaking In Time
Breaking in your glove or mitt can be an arduous process. There is no right or wrong way to do so, and some mitts simply take longer than others to get broken in. I had one catcher’s mitt that never seemed to break in, in fact. It’s just a matter of what you do to it and the materials that are used. The best way to break one in is to just play with it. Of course, you aren’t going to want to play in a game with it right off the bat, though. This could lead to it not ‘closing’ quick enough, making you drop the ball. It will hit the glove and bounce off, possibly causing you to drop that foul tip and give the batter another shot at it, or to allow a runner to advance to second. So, throwing and catching is going to be an essential part of breaking in any type of glove.
But that’s not the only thing that you can do to. Glove conditioner is one other trick you can use, while there are also some old school tricks to try out, too. You can tie something to it while you aren’t playing so that it is in the ‘closed’ position. This should help you when it comes to making that grab, rather than just hoping it sticks when it hits you dead in the palm as so many do.
Just be patient and allow for some time to break one in. It’s not wise to buy a catcher’s mitt in the middle of your season because of this, since you will need some time to let it settle in. Not only does it need time to be broken in, but you also need time to adjust to it as well, so just keep that in mind. Also be aware that all mitts are going to take time to break in. Some will be faster than others, sure, but it’s not exactly like your shoes where you can just slip them on and go without much fuss. Some shoes are like that some aren’t, but all mitts will require some breaking in, whether it’s because of you or the glove.
Last but not least, keep in mind that the better, more heavily priced gloves, are actually going be the ones that need more time to break in. You would think, quite possibly, that it would be the other way around, but the leather used is so much stiffer in the higher priced mitts that it’s going to be more difficult to get them going as you would need them to. So, more patience is actually needed with them. Regardless of what you buy, you want to know that you can break it in in a reasonable amount of time, so we will make sure to factor that aspect in when we get to our reviews.
Sizes and Ages
Your age isn’t as important as the sizes that you are, in almost all cases relating to the use of catcher’s mitts. There is one instance where this is not the case, and that only has to do with being a very young player. At eight and under levels, the catcher won’t need a mitt since they will virtually be standing in front of the fence anyway. Apart from that, it depends more on your size and the size that you prefer. This can be determined by the type of pitcher that you are catching for or just your preference.
For youth players, the mitt needs to be something that fits well but not all that well. This is because you do not want them to feel constricted. You also have the added bonus of giving them a little bit of extra room to grow into over the course of the season. You can’t expect them to be able to play well if it’s super large on them, no, but you can be aided tremendously, in both the level of play they can reach and the amount of money you save, by allowing them to grow into it a little bit.
At the older age levels, you need to make sure you have a good fit as well. But not too tight. This will just make you feel like you can’t breathe and it will end up making you want to ditch the mitt entirely. Most players that play at higher levels of the game are going to go with a mitt that is around 32 or so inches. This is just right because it can be used by just about anyone well. It’s not so large that you can’t maneuver it, but it’s also big enough to make awesome plays with. If, if, you happen to be playing with a knuckleballer, then it would be wise to go with something larger- like a 34 inch mitt- so that you can make those grabs a little bit easier. Those pitchers are rather rare, though, so unless you have massive hands, you should probably stick to something smaller than the very biggest.
Trying on gloves and mitts in person is recommended. If you go to the local sports store, you should be able to try on dozens, if not more, of them. This will help you get a grasp of what they are like and will help you figure out which features are most important to you or your young player. If you can’t do this, it really does make the process more difficult, but it is not impossible. You just will have to cross your fingers a little and hope that it arrives and is what you want. You can always try them on in store and buy online for cheaper prices, so don’t be afraid to do that!
The materials used will go a very long way toward determining the price, the durability, usefulness, and the amount of time it takes to break in the mitt. A normal glove takes a lot of beating and has these factors, too, but it’s not nearly as big of a deal because the catcher’s mitt is going to be taking constant heavy abuse time and time again. This is why it’s essential to have a mitt that is not only protective but also is able to be durable at the same time.
Gloves and mitts that are lower down on the scale as it relates to price are going to be made out of what synthetic leather or pigskin. This type is not bad, but it’s not going to last as long as the others will. This type, though, does have the bonus of being much quicker to break in in most cases since the materials are not as stiff.
Then you have gloves that are more expensive, and those are most commonly made out of real leathers. These can be referred to as “steer hide” or “full-grain.” They can even go so far as to be made out of kangaroo or other types of exotic animal hide to further enhance the glove. These materials are stiffer, making them harder to break in, but they do hold up longer. The goal of a synthetic leather is to mimic them. While it does a good job, you will have to weigh up which of the two choices are going to suit you best along your journey.
The younger that you are, the less important the materials are going to matter. Not only are you growing, but you are also going to be putting your glove through more abuse. It’s just the way kids are. They will leave them around a lot more and won’t take care of them. Plus, the level of play is generally not nearly as high. A higher level player, though, will need a mitt that is going to be able to go through the ringer and stand up to the consistent torture.
Other Things To Look For
It might seem trivial, but there are some other things that will help you and your team play better, and those things should be looked for in a mitt.
– The pop of the mitt. This sounds a little silly, sure, but a mitt that makes a nice, loud sound when the ball comes into contact with it is going to be extremely desirable. This is going to encourage your pitcher and it just makes the whole game better, too!
– A glove that is too large is hard to wield and hard to see over. We talked a little about size, but this is a reminder. Don’t go too large since it will be flopping around on you and blocking your line of sight as you try to get batters and runners out!
– Softball mitts are a little larger than baseball ones and have deeper pockets with thinner walls. It’s pretty hard to not notice that the two are very different in looks, so you shouldn’t have a whole ton of issues with them.
– Don’t forget about the adjustable straps. Some mitts will have straps under where your fingers show. This will allow you to customize your fit to your very specific liking.
– Consider looks, too. Some mitts will give you more choices than just one, so pick the one that makes you stand out the best and helps you and your pitcher succeed!
Best Catcher’s Mitt Reviews
1. Wilson A2000 Baseball Glove Series
You have to be a touch careful here since they have gloves and mitts in this series. So a slight warning there. With the Wilson A2000, you get an awesome premium mitt that is made out of professional grade leather. This does drive the price up tremendously, but it means you will have the utmost in durability. It does come with an increase in break in time, a big one, to be fair, but what you end up getting is a very consistent glove that is going to withstand the test of time and all of those flamethrowers that take the mound. With a great thumb support on this mitt, you can be sure that even the smallest of kids can hold up well against much older counterparts hurling the ball in at them. On top of that, the ‘skin’ used on the outer part is flexible and lightens up the whole mitt!
- Will last a very long time
- Great thumb protection
- Light and flexible
- Quite expensive
- Takes a while to break in
2. Rawlings Player Preferred 33 Inch Mitt
On the opposite end of the spectrum comes this offering from Rawlings, an affordable option for the younger catcher. It’s made out of full grain leather and offers the player a quicker break in time, as well a one piece web with a palm that is safe and effective. The palm uses a zero shock feature that makes it so that the sting is taken out of the ball when it hits the mitt, making your time behind the plate more manageable than ever. They’ve even done a ton of work with it in the factory before shipping them out to ensure that the breaking in is mostly done by the time it reaches your hand, letting you get to work in game quicker than with most.
- Budget selection
- Palm won’t get ‘shocked’
- Not much break in time
- Not going to be as durable
3. Mizuno Prospect GXC112 Youth Catcher’s Mitt
If you are looking for a good starter mitt for a youth player, then this is a good place to begin. This mitt from Mizuno, a very fine company in the game of baseball and in other sports as well, is super effective at helping the young player close the mitt. With the ‘power close’ feature, the catcher will have an easier time squeezing the mitt down and bringing the ball into the glove than ever before. With a V flex notch working in conjunction with it, it will be doubly easy to close. It even had a palm pad that is meant to reduce shocks as well, making sure that those consistent hits aren’t going to do too much damage.
- Great, low price
- Excellent choice for beginners
- Lots of palm and closing support
- Not as durable as some others
4. Rawlings Sandlot Series Baseball Glove
This is the second of Rawlings’ offerings here, though this one is going to go in the opposite direction than their first one. This one, unlike the first, is more geared toward the beginners’ level and is for the literal sandlots of the game. It’s much cheaper because it’s made out of full grain shell leather. This means it will have very little break in time, especially when compared to its more ‘senior’ brother. With a padded finger lining and a zero shock palm, comfort is a key to this to help the youth player get through the game as best as they can. It’s extremely well broken in from the factory and will be set for play nearly immediately. Just remember that durability won’t be at its peak best.
- Great, low price
- Awesome for young players
- Very comfortable
- Not as durable as more premium mitts
5. Rawlings Heart of the Hide Glove Series
The final listing from Rawlings comes here in the form of a second premium offering from them. This glove is also quite expensive, but it packs a punch with an all leather make up that is going to make it last an extremely long time and give you excellent performance over the lifespan of the mitt. It will take more time to break in as a result, but that just comes with the territory. With a padded thumb sleeve and “Tennessee tanning” hide, it is going to be strong and will battle back against hard, consistent throws while still being comfy while wearing it. One of the biggest compliments that can be made is that it fits like a custom. That right there is just golden in the baseball world.
- Lasts an incredibly long time
- Very comfort and resilient
- Great performance like a major leaguer
- Long break in time
- High cost
6. Akadema AGC98 Prodigy Series Glove
It might be a lesser known brand than the others so far, but Akadema is really making noise in the baseball world with their gloves and mitts, and this one is no different. This is a series, so be cautious with that. With a ‘praying mantis’ pattern that absorbs shocks when the ball hits the mitt and a stress wedge that is between the fingers and thumb, you will be very protected. It’s even got two additional places for your fingers to sit in, an upgrade over most. This is also a very affordable glove that is made out of steer hide and leather, meaning it will be fairly easy to break in and have a decent lifespan, too. It’s really excellent for smaller hands thanks to its design, so it would be a good choice as you go from little league to the next tier and get a bit more serious. You just have to take time to get it broke in and you’ll be good to go!
- Great for small hands
- Design limits shocks
- Fingers upgraded for comfort
- Takes patience to break in
7. All-Star Pro Elite Series Baseball Catcher’s Mitt
All-Star, as the name implies, is another heavy hitter in the world of gloves and mitts, and this mitt is about as premium as it comes. So much, in fact, that is is far pricier than anything else, seeing it drop down a bit as a result. With it you will get an extreme amount of durability, as you would expect at that price range. You do have a ton of time to have to go through in order to break it in, but it will reward you with persistence. This is the kind of glove that a lot of pros use only as a game glove, and as such it is a trusted and true design. It’s very lightweight despite it’s rigidity and is easy to maneuver and transition the ball in and out of, making it ideal for a catcher that wants every advantage he can find behind the plate.
- MLB caliber
- Very, very durable
- Light and easy to transition
- VERY expensive
- Takes time to break in
8. Mizuno Prospect GXS102 Fastpitch Softball Catcher’s Mitt
This is our first of two softball entries, and is the cheaper of the two. This is a lower priced glove made from full grain leather. This is made to be durable while also being quick to break in right off the bat, making it ideal for the lady behind the plate. With a very soft palm liner, it allows for more comfort and increased feel on the ball, making it easier than ever to make those tough grabs. Some do not like that it’s a bit thinner, so if you are not quite as good or aren’t as serious, then this could cause some bruising to form under the skin. Overall, it’s a very nice glove that won’t set you back too much and will keep you in the game.
- Very affordable
- Anatomically fits females
- Thinness increases feel
- Can be a little impactful
- Not ridiculously durable
9. Easton Ghost Fastpitch Series Softball Glove
Our final softball glove comes in now, and it is a glove that is in the medium price range. It’s not extremely high, but it’s also not dirt cheap, either. With the use of 100% leather, this mitt is going to hold up for a long time but will also be harder to break in. It’s more of a rounded shape to it than a typical softball mitt is, so some people will prefer that to the traditional long and thin. One thing that has also been a slight concern is that the padding isn’t supreme and has caused a few issues for players behind the plate. So be prepared to take some blows with this one on. It has a smaller hand opening than most do and has a strap to adjust, however, so there is plenty to love about this particular mitt.
- Adjusts easily
- Very durable
- More rounded look
- Not quite as padded as others
10. Under Armour Baseball UACM-100 Framer Series Baseball Mitt
Rounding out our list is this offering from Under Armour, who are still trying to forge a path in the baseball world. This is a synthetic glove that is made to be able to be used virtually straight off the shelf, helping you to get right into the game. With padded palm, it’s both going to be easy to break in and will also offer some shock absorption at the same time. The pocket is quite deep as well, making sure that once you catch the ball it stays up. One of the main problems with this glove is that it tends to run small, so that will leave you frustrated a little as you try to find a good budget choice behind the plate.
- Good price
- Ready to go almost right away
- Very deep pocket
- Hard to get the correct size
Conclusion And Final Catcher’s Mitts Recommendations
When it comes to catcher’s mitts, it can get a little bit confusing. Maybe you are just shifting to the position for the first time and have just been asked to play there for the first time. This can make for a harrowing experience sometimes because it’s not as simple as just grabbing a regular old glove off the shelf. Add in the fact that there are so many choices that can be made, especially when you search online, and it can overwhelm the consumer to no end. Thanks to our buying guide, however, you will be much better placed to make a good, informed decision that gets the utmost out of your personal performance and also fits in your budget. So, get to the ball game and keep those pitches close!