Youth Baseball Glove Review
Today’s episode will be a Baseball glove review. This will be a comparison of four brands of gloves, three levels of glove for each brand. This will allow you to make a better decision of what brand better fits your eye and price along with the quality of glove you can get in your price range.
Brands: Rawlings, Easton, Wilson, and Mizuno.
These gloves are entry level or introductory level gloves from all four manufacturers. I would recommend these gloves for a player who is just getting started and isn’t sure if they are going to continue playing baseball. Also, these gloves are recommended for players looking for a good “stop gap” glove. Something that will work for a couple of years until the player is committed to a position.
Product: Rawlings® RCS 11.5
Review: A good entry level glove. It does not take much to break-in this glove. Rawlings® puts this glove in the 20% break-in category. A few days of steady play with it and it is ready to go.
The leather is not top notch but the price is. At $69.99 this is the least expensive model that I am reviewing. With the black leather and stylish red Rawlings® logos there is a distinct look to this glove. It uses Rawlings® pro style design so the glove looks just like the ones seen on T.V.
Product: Easton® EMKC 11.5
Review: The entry level glove from Easton® also has slightly less than top notch leather. It will also only require about 20% break-in by the player. This is good for the younger player whose hands are not as strong.
At $89.99 this glove is the most expensive model in this category. Easton® has made it a tough choice for the player though. With the black and gray base of this glove, along with a splash of accent color, this glove will stand out on the field and for a flashy player who likes swag it might be worth the extra $20.
Product: Wilson® A800 Showtime 11.5
Review: The A800 is a true Wilson glove. Wilson has a great reputation in the game of baseball right now because they provide quality that works for the player. This glove is constructed from less than Wilson’s best leather, however, it is still good quality for the price point. All baseball gloves work, some just work better than others.
Wilson® has what is called Pedroia Fit. It is a special design that makes the wrist cuff and finger slots slightly smaller so that you get a tighter fit. This is a great feature for young players who are still growing. At $89.99 it is the most expensive model in the category.
Product: Mizuno® Franchise 11.50
Review: The Franchise is a good glove for the price point. The leather is very soft. This making break-in very easy. The drawback? These gloves don’t last that very long. If you get two seasons out of this glove you will have maxed it out. This is a good glove if you are only going to play a season or two of recreational ball. Less than 20 games in a season with 1 or 2 practices a week.
The cost of this glove is a middle of the road $75.00 but it is probably the weakest contender of the 4 in the entry level category.
Summary of Entry Level gloves
I would strongly recommend the Rawlings® or Wilson® gloves. The Easton® is a strong contender and if you are big on style it is a must have. The Mizuno® is not a bad glove I just don’t feel it is going to hold up as long as the other, but it will be the easiest to break in.
Next are mid-level, good quality gloves that will last a number of years. I would recommend these gloves for players who are young and going to play baseball a lot during the course of a season. For example, travel players or rec players who are going to play spring and fall baseball. Players in this level are committed to playing baseball and willing to put a little effort into break-in. This is also a good level of glove for older players not planning to play more than their school season.
Product: Rawlings® Gamer 11.5
Review: When I am looking for a glove I look for a style and comfort that goes along with fit and quality. I love it when I find a glove that covers all of these. I do cartwheels when I find one that has all of this and is only $139.99.
The Rawlings® Gamer gives you style with it’s red logos on the black leather. The contrast lacing just pops off the glove. With the pro style design and quality leather you get the fit and quality you expect from a Rawlings®. The fact that Rawlings® has done 80% of the break in for you makes this glove a winner in my book.
Product: Easton Core Pro 11.5
Review: Easton® comes in at this level with a glove that is more substance than style. Don’t get me wrong the chocolate against a more orange brown leather looks good. It is just not as flashy as most of the Easton products. The price is flashy though at a mere $119.99
The technical specs on this glove are impressive though. Diamond Pro steerhide that is tanned to be really soft makes this glove durable and game ready. A hand oiled palm liner adding to the feel of the glove combined with rolled leather welting and USA- tanned professional rawhide lacing with a tensile strength of 100 lbs. give this glove what it takes to come back year after year. It will require a 30% player break-in according to Easton but a little love for your glove and she is all yours for years of playing pleasure.
Product: Wilson® A1K DP15 11.5
Review: If you are a young player who is going to spend some time on a baseball field and would like to announce your presence with authority, this is your defensive weapon of choice. It looks like it’s ready to play with its black and silver coloring.
Technically this glove is everything you want. Based on Dustin Pedroia’s game glove this glove gives a snug fit and the control a player dreams of. The top shelf leather gives you the quality to make this glove last for years of high level use. Looking good and performing better set this glove apart. That and the $199.95 price tag, but in this case you will get what you pay for.
Product: Mizuno® MVP Prime 11.5
It has all the quality of the other gloves at this price point. Good leather, strong lacing and comfortable feel. The one thing this glove does not take into consideration is smaller hands. So if you are looking for a glove for a younger player with small hands you are going to want them to try this on before you buy it. A loose fitting glove is hard to control.
Summary of Mid Level gloves
In this category the Wilson® takes my recommendation hands down. If the price has you frowning then the Rawlings® is a great runner up. I would put the Mizuno® third if your player has a hand big enough for it. Finally the Easton® it is a great glove I am just not sure the players will like the look of the glove.
In this category is a review of gloves for serious players as they will require some time and effort to break-in. You can’t go from store to field with these bad boys. In some cases these gloves will require a couple of weeks to a month of serious effort to bend them to your will. Once you get them where they need to be though, oh man, what a piece of leather you will have!
Product: Rawlings® Heart of the Hide 11.5
Review: Stiff is the first word that comes to mind when I look at this glove. It is a very raw glove that will require a considerable amount of love to break in. Sharp as a tack black and red with the popping lighter lacing. Brrr, it sends chills down the opposing team’s spines.
You are not going to find better materials used to make a glove. These gloves have been used to define the careers of some of the greatest to ever play the game and you could be next. With a narrower hand opening and slightly less padding in the heel making this glove easier to close you will fall in love with it. I am sure that is why they named it Heart of the Hide.
For just $249.99 this glove is not cheap but you will get everything you pay for with it.
Product: Easton® Mako 11.5
Review: The Mako 11.5 is made to stand out in a crowd with the black base and brown accent leather on the base of the fingers and web and the accent orange logo’s. The look is catchy and so is the glove with kip leather and SYNTECH HIDE™ construction giving this glove a softer pro level feel. Easton® also added padded pinky and thumb loops with their molded back of hand pad to give the player more control.
This glove breaks in quickly for the price point. A couple of weeks of work and it is ready to go. You can roll out onto to field with this quality piece of leather for $249.99.
Review: When you walk out on the field and see this glove on someone’s hand you don’t have to ask if they are a ballplayer. It is like a billboard screaming watch what I can do. This black glove with gray lacing and white logo’s just yelling from your position, “Hit it here if you dare!”
Top end materials are used to construct this work of art. Rolled dual welting help with quicker break-in and that is a good thing because without it you would take a year to break-in this beauty. Wilson® has used extra long laces and Double X lacing to connect the web to the pocket. This is the Dustin Pedroia model, so feel free to get it a little dirty once in a while, it will hold up.
This model goes for $249.95 so you can save four cents compared to the other two we have reviewed so far. With all you get in this package that is quite a savings.
Product: Mizuno® Classic Pro Soft GCP66SBK
Review: In my eyes Mizuno® has a hidden gem in this glove. I don’t know why you don’t walk out onto every ball field in the world and see players from the age of 12 up using this glove. This glove is a great looking piece of leather. Top quality construction that will last for multiple seasons. Everything that goes into all the other top end gloves is in this Mizuno® product. The one thing that is not in this product is cost. This glove is $190.00. That is right, I repeat, $190.00.
You get all the quality of the other top end gloves for about $60 less.
Summary of Top Level gloves
this category is where the player makes the final decision. I would push hard for the Mizuno®. I really love the glove and you save enough money to buy half a pair of cleats. If you are the kind of player whose game speaks for itself give it a try. If you have to go with the glove that will speak volumes for you though you can’t go wrong with either the Rawlings® or the Wilson®. Both are great quality gloves that will give you a lot of bang for your buck. The Easton® I rate last only because I can’t get over the reputation of Easton® as a bat company. Don’t get me wrong Easton® has made some good gloves I just don’t put them up there with the other guys yet. I will have to see some Mako’s out on the field in five years still kicking up dust before I go all in.
Food for thought
Overall I think you have some food for thought here when you start looking for your next glove. There are gloves out there that are less expensive than the ones I pointed out in this review. I would not recommend them because they are throw away gloves. You will be disappointed in them and if you are buying them for your child, you will be disappointed in the fact that they don’t help your child become a ball player.
I chose to try and review similar models from each company. I tried to keep the size and web style as close to the same as possible for the purpose of comparison. All of these gloves come in different sizes and with different web styles. As a player, or someone purchasing for a player, you will need to decide which is best for you, or the player, at the time of purchase. Feel free to drop a comment or an email if you have questions about what web style or size is best for the position played.
Parents keep in mind that most pro infielders are using gloves that are between 11.25 and 11.75 inches unless they are first baseman. Pitcher’s are somewhere between 11.5 and 12 inches and Outfielders go anywhere from around 12 to 12.75 inches. Knowing that will help you when your 10 year old tells you they need a new glove because theirs is too small. They may need a new glove but if it falls into that size range mentioned above, it isn’t because the outside is too small.
I hope this is helpful and look forward to fielding your questions about your youth baseball glove purchase.