by GREG PAYUTO
There is no bond more special than the one between a baseball player and his equipment. Baseball is probably the sport where the players are the most superstitious and the equipment they use can make or break them on the field.
When looking for the perfect glove, there are many factors that players think about. The glove must be comfortable, it has to be able to be broken in the right way, it must be the right size and of course, it must look good.
When choosing the right glove, size is key depending on your position. Infielders use smaller gloves because they must be able to control it better. They have very little time to react. Also, using a smaller glove makes it easier to get the ball out of it. Outfielders use a bigger glove because they have more time to react to the ball. The bigger glove helps them makes catches and scoop the ball off of the ground while moving forward.
As a pitcher, it’s all about what is more comfortable. Usually, they use bigger gloves so the batter cannot see them switching grips on the ball while they are on the mound. That does not mean that they can’t use a small glove, it is all about personal preference.
Regardless of your position, the one thing all players have in common is that their glove is very important to them. These are the top baseball gloves out right now for 2017.
10. Louisville Slugger Pro Flare Series
Louisville Slugger is more known for making gloves for outfielders. The Slugger Pro Flare Series 12.75 size model is their best seller. They do sell this glove in other sizes, as well.
What you get when you buy the Pro Flare Series is a glove that is easy to break in. It can be easily manipulated to fit your hand and break-in how you like it. This particular glove has a large, more open surface area to make catches.
The leather that is used to make this glove is professional grade which makes it very popular among baseball players. It is a very plain looking glove. The leather and the laces can be made in different colors and the word “Louisville” is displayed on it in big letters.
While Louisville Slugger is more known for making bats, they are a successful company who puts out many more great products, including gloves.
9. Mizuno GLobal Elite VOP GGE50FPV
Mizuno is a company that puts out nothing but great products for baseball players. The best might be the Global Elite VOP GGE50FPV glove. This sharp-looking glove is available in many different sizes and is made out of vibration processed, hand-oiled leather.
This glove is made for fast-pitch players and the closed web design makes it good for pitchers so they can hide the ball. An upper hand that this glove has is the structure and support it provides for a player’s fingers.
The Global Elite glove comes in a handful of different colors. The leather and laces are usually the same color and the company name is displayed on it. Also, “Global Elite” is written on the glove. The big Mizuno patch is sewn onto the adjustable velcro patch.
Mizuno, while underrated, is a good company to buy baseball equipment from. They have many great gloves but they hit a homerun with the Global Elite Series.
8. Rawlings Heart of the Hide
Rawlings has emerged as one of the best brands in baseball. They make equipment that is sported by many players all over the country. Their Heart of the Hide glove is the first Rawlings glove to crack this list.
The Heart of the Hide glove is most sold in 11.5 in size. This is an infield model and is used professionally by a lot of second basemen and short stops. At lower levels, you will also see some third basemen wearing this glove.
It is handcrafted from the top 5% of steer hides and the best pro grade lace. The special thing about this glove is that it is available in many styles and color. This glove can have a basket web, a trap-eze style web or a pro H web. Heart of the Hide is offered in many colors to meet any needs players may have. Red, blue, black and tan are only some colors it is available in.
Rawlings gloves have become popular among pitchers as well. The size offers great mobility and the closed web design helps them hide the ball. The Heart of the Hide model is the first Rawlings glove on the list and it will not be the last.
7. Wilson A2K Brandon Phillips Game Model DATDUDE
Wilson might be the most popular brand in the game of baseball. Their gloves can be seen worn by most middle infielders in the MLB. Many players have game model gloves that Wilson uses to design and sell their gloves. This one in particular is from Brandon Phillips.
Anyone that knows Phillips style on the field will describe him as flashy and very talented. That is what he brought to this glove. When looking at the Phillips’ game model, you are not surprised he designed this. This glove has black laces with a mixture of brown and red leathers to add some flare.
There is no better glove that fits a player’s’ hand then the Wilson. The A2K model undergoes three times more shaping than any other Wilson glove. This makes for a glove that is easier to break in.
Wilson gloves have taken the game of baseball by storm and they do not seem like they are going away anytime soon.
6. Marrucci 2-Piece Closed Web
Marucci makes some of the best bats, wood and aluminum, on the market but when it comes to gloves, they are no slouch. And they prove this with the 2-Piece Closed Web glove.
This glove is an all black glove with black laces. It is named closed web because there is no way to see through the glove. The webs design gives it a nice pocket to catch the ball in. Ideally, this glove is used by pitchers and utility players. Utility players are players who can play multiple positions. This glove is good for them because it has the unique size for infield and outfield.
It is made out of Japanese Kip leather which offers great quality and it is double laced which adds more durability. This glove also includes a soft cowhide interior lining. Adding this all up makes for a glove that can be used for a long time and have little wear and tear.
When buying a glove as a pitcher, this glove should get some serious consideration because of its design, comfort and durability.
5. Nokona X2 Elite
For those of you who have never heard of Nokona, they are one of the most underrated companies when it comes to baseball equipment. To give a quick background on Nokona, they were founded in 1934 in Nocona,Texas. They make many models of gloves with one of the best being the X2 Elite.
This model glove is nothing crazy to look at. It is a dark brown glove that can be bought with the web of your choice. The company name and symbol are located on the glove as well.
The X2 Elite is made from the company’s proprietary top-grain Stampede steerhide and kangaroo leathers. These leathers are soft which means that it takes no time to break in this glove. It forms very quickly.
Nokona gloves are available in all sizes which makes them good for any position on the field. While you may have never heard of them before, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give their gloves a try.
4. Rawlings Pro Preferred Infield/Pitcher
The Rawlings Pro Preferred model gets its name because it is specifically designed for Major League players. This is the glove that a lot of them are given during Spring Training.
Pro Preferred gloves are made with an impeccable kipskin leather that breaks into specific player preferences. What this means is that this glove is easy to shape and the pocket can be manipulated by the player to be wherever they feel comfortable.
This particular glove has a vertical hinge web. This is the web that leaves no openings to see through. This glove gets its name because it is modeled more for pitchers and infielders. Pitchers can hide the ball well in the web and the size makes it easy to hide the ball. Infielders should have no problem securing the ball because of the gloves materials and the web makes sure the ball doesn’t move while in there.
This glove is available in different colors but the best looking one is the black glove with tan laces and the red and white Rawlings symbol on the strap. It is a style that matches any team, no matter what color they may be.
Rawlings is known for putting out great products and did it again with the Pro Preferred glove.
3. Wilson A2000 Carlos Correa Game Model
Carlos Correa is one of the best middle infielders in the game today. So, it is only right that he has modeled one of the best gloves out there.
The Carlos Correa game model glove is available in the size of 11.75. This is usually the size that infielders use. This glove is made with Pro Stock leather which is the best that they can use. This leather makes the feel of the glove unbeatable.
The colors are those of the Houston Astros. Correa used his hometown colors of navy blue and orange to design this glove. What makes it unique though is the pocket. This glove features the Cross Web pocket but the stitches resemble the stitches on a baseball. They are shaped in the same way.
The A2000 has new gap welting for better stability and control in the pocket. When the ball is caught, it almost sticks in there and doesn’t move around. This is important for middle infielders because they have to get rid of the ball quick to turn double plays. If the ball is moving around, it makes it harder to get a grip.
Carlos Correa has come up with a glove that is the perfect blend of style, durability and control.
2. Rawlings Limited Pro Label
Rawlings came up with a glove so good that it had to be limited edition. Each glove is marked with a specific number identifying the limited edition production.
The leather they use is half Heart of the Hide and half Pro Preferred. The palm is covered with the Heart of the Hide leather while the back is covered with Pro Preferred leather. This unique design gives this glove a step up on the competition.
This glove has a Pro-I web which makes it more of an infield glove versus pitchers. Also, it is smaller in size which gives it an edge over the outfield.
The look is one that cannot be matched. The inside of the glove is black because of the Heart of the Hide leather while the outside is tan. The laces are also tan. The dual colors compliment each other in a way that is visibly pleasing. As they do on every glove, Rawlings places their symbol right on the strap.
So, if you are in the market for a new glove and have decided to go Rawlings, this is the best route you can take.
1. Wilson A2000 Dustin Pedroia Game Model
Like Carlos Correa, Dustin Pedroia has customized a glove to meet his demands. Pedroia, the 2008 AL MVP and one of the top second basemen of this generation, knows a thing or two about how a glove should be made.
When designing his glove, Pedroia asked for a tight-fit, small hand opening and long laces. A tight-fit makes the glove fit your hand better and gives you 100% control of it. Because there is a small hand opening, that means that your hand has nowhere to go once in so it will fit perfect. This also leaves no extra material, it is all pocket.
Most importantly, Pedroia requested a low impact heel. This means that the fielder can receive the ball smoother with this type of heel. The heel felt is removed which allows the fielder to really feel the ball.
This glove includes rolled dual welting which makes it easy to break in. It has an H-web style and the double X laces keep it secured to the pocket so there is no extra movement. This glove is perfect for middle infielders who enjoy a tighter fitting glove. Pitchers can also benefit from this glove because of the size and control you can have over it.
Dustin Pedroia has designed the near perfect glove and it is a very smart buy if you think your game fits this style.