Though it may not have the same prestige as during its heyday, baseball is still considered America’s pastime. In fact, the sport of baseball is so popular that it is the most watched and played sport exported by America to the rest of the globe. From Latin America to the Far East, baseball is beloved.
However, for a player to achieve their goal of one day going pro, they will have to hone their skills from a very young age. Unfortunately, most of the attention paid to sports equipment goes to professional and young adult categories. Moreover, the qualities that make baseball equipment great for older players do not always allow younger players to perform at their best.
This is never more important than when selecting a glove–one of the pieces of equipment used by all positions. That is why we have taken the time to identify the 5 best youth baseball gloves, including gloves for different positions. Then we provide a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you make you decision.
Best Youth Baseball Gloves 2017
|Left / Right Hand Throw||11.5 inches||Brown|
|Left / Right Hand Throw||10.75 inches||Black|
Rawlings Sporting Goods Prodigy Series
|Left / Right Hand Throw||10.75 Inches||Brown|
Wilson A360 Baseball Glove
|Right Hand Throw||11 Inches||Grey/Black/White|
|Mizuno Prospect Baseball Glove||Left / Right Hand Throw||11 inches||Multi color|
Mizuno GPP1150Y1 Youth Prospect Ball Glove – Best Youth First Baseman Baseball Glove
First base is a tricky position to make a glove for. The position is filled with contradictory demands that require the player to fulfill a number of skills that are often at odds with one another. This in turn requires a baseball glove that is similarly specialized. Thankfully, Mizuno understands both the needs of a youth baseball player as well as the needs of a first baseman.
First baseman require a longer glove with a pocket that has a bigger area. Keep in mind, this does not mean the pocket needs to be deep since that can restrict the quickness of ball retrieval–something the first baseman will be required to do at a speedy rate and often. In this regard, the GPP1150Y1 performs admirably, though it could be better.
Still, in terms of pocket size, it is one of the larger gloves. Unfortunately, the webbing is closed which may be better for youth players but is still less than ideal for the position. However, this decision, as well as a few others, were specifically chosen with the youth player in mind–something the Mizuno seems to take more seriously than the other, more well-renowned brands.
For instance, this glove is appropriately size for almost any age of youth first baseman. However, youth players that have just begun to hit puberty or are bigger than most children their age might find it ½” too small. Also, this glove is not designed as a mitt, like more advanced first baseman gloves, though youth first baseman are likely to play the position as much like an infielder as they are a traditional first baseman, so this should not be much of an issue.
Mizuno GPP1075Y1 Youth Prospect Ball Glove – Best Youth Infielder Baseball Glove
Whereas the first Mizuno of the Youth Prospect series was well-suited for a position that often does not get as much attention to the specific demands as needed, this glove takes a broader approach. In fact, this glove is still suited for an infield position, but it appeals more to the other infield positions instead of the specialized needs of the first baseman.
For instance, this glove also features a closed webbing design. However, unlike the GPP1150Y1, a closed webbing design works better for second through third baseman positions. Moreover, this glove features a smaller pocket that is also shallower. This allows the infielder to catch the ball and retrieve it from their glove quicker, providing the recovery necessary to make a double play.
Still, as a youth glove, there needs to be some attention paid to that type of player, and the Mizuno Youth Prospect series does just that. With a patented PowerClose design, youth players of all ages will have little to no problem closing the glove and securing the ball. This is further enhanced with the glove’s pigskin leather material.
Rawlings Sporting Goods Prodigy Series Baseball Youth Glove – Best Youth Baseball Glove for Children 8 Years Old and Under
Rawlings is one of the most well-known and respected brands in baseball glove manufacturers. In fact, their gloves are used by more professionals in all positions except for catcher, and they are the number 2 brand of glove used for that position. This popularity among professional baseball players stands as a testament to Rawlings’ quality.
However, this can create a bit of a tricky situation when you try to make equipment for players who are not only far from professional level but still learning the fundamentals of the game and are not as physically developed as adults. As such, the Rawlings Prodigy series needs to be considered carefully.
Unfortunately, this can make using the glove more difficult for youth players. Due to its stiffness and heaviness, this glove will actually be more difficult to close and secure the ball. However, this glove series is also sized specifically for youths of all ages–one of the few series to do that.
As such, it can be seen as an investment to get a glove that may take time to properly break in and develop the hand strength to use properly, but will also serve for longer and through harder play than gloves made of pigskin.
Wilson A360 Baseball Glove – Best Youth Outfielder Baseball Glove
Along with Rawlings, Wilson is another Titan in the baseball sporting equipment manufacturer market. With a storied history that stretches back over 100 years, Wilson was one of the first companies to make baseball equipment–as well as equipment for numerous other sports.
This dedication to the sport of baseball has paid off as Wilson makes one of the better gloves for youth outfielders. In fact, it may seem a bit surprising, but the outfield position in youth baseball is not at all catered to. Few brands make a glove that is designed for the traditional use of outfielding positional demands.
Of course, this might be because few youth players can truly hit the baseball hard enough and far enough to demand the outfield’s attention–at least, until they get older than 8 to 10. Still, the Wilson A360 does offer some advantages for this position with the deepest pocket on our list.
Moreover, it is sized for players under the age of 10, so it is ideally suited for this niche position market.
Unfortunately, Wilson only goes so far with its outfielder glove. Considering the outfield of youth baseball under 10 years old will often “play up” closer to mid-field, the webbing is closed. While this may work well for mid-field play, it is less effective if the youth plays in a highly competitive league that will see younger players hit fly balls to the outfield.
Mizuno Prospect Baseball Glove – Youth Baseball Glove with the Most Variety of Positions
While it does not have the same historical appeal and professional cache as rawlings or wilson, Mizuno has carved out a niche for itself in the market of baseball gloves. First, while Wilson and Rawlings are busy courting the highly competitive markets–though Mizuno has a niche there as well–Mizuno focuses a bit more on youth market than either of the other two brands.
Where Wilson puts out an adequate, if unspectacular, youth product and Rawlings puts out a high quality glove that may not be ideal for youth players’ needs, Mizuno seems to understand that you do not have to sacrifice quality nor ignore the specialized needs that youth players demand.
As such, the Mizuno base prospect series offers a wide range of options for all kinds of players. First, all of their gloves in this series come in both right and left-handed throwing configurations. Moreover, many of this series’ gloves provide numerous sizing options that allow multiple ages to find a glove that fits them or a single player to keep the same type of glove as they grow and develop.
However, Mizuno is not limiting its attention to the youth market just there. The base prospect series also provides gloves with different pocket and webbing configurations, so each position can find a glove that allows them to do what they need to do best. Finally, this series offers gloves in both the easier to close pigskin as well as the more durable full grain leather.
Youth vs Adult Baseball Gloves
The glove used by a youth will often differ a fair amount than a glove used by an adult. The most obvious difference between these two types of gloves will be the size. Though, this factor makes more intuitive sense.
A youth, which generally has smaller hands, will need a smaller glove to get the best response during their play. Though it may only be a difference of an inch or two, depending on the age of the player, the size of the glove will impact how easily the youth can close the glove, secure the ball, and retrieve the ball.
If a glove is too large, the youth will have difficulty closing the glove and securing the ball. Moreover, a glove that is too large will also create a greater chance that the ball falls out or moves around in the pocket during retrieval.
Beyond the size, the next most important factor in a youth’s baseball glove is actually determined by a few qualities. Specifically, youth gloves will generally need to be more pliable and less stiff. This preference for a more flexible glove follows the same effects and requirements as sizing.
For general flexibility, material and the wrist will weigh heaviest in determining how easy it is to open or close the glove. However, this is a bit trickier of a concern than simply getting the most flexible glove available.
If you get a glove made out of synthetic materials, the youth will have an easier time closing the glove tightly and securing the ball. This is perfectly acceptable for especially young players who may not have the hand strength to close a new leather glove and will save money on sports equipment the player is likely to grow out of in short time.
However, there is something to be said for training a youth player, especially one that is 8 years old or older, with a glove made out of a higher grade material like one of the various types of leather used. First, a high quality leather glove is more durable than a synthetic glove and, if properly cared for, will last until the youth is ready for an adult baseball glove.
Second, and maybe most importantly, the youth will learn how to use a glove made out of adult glove materials. This will prepare the youth for their next step of development as well as serve as a natural hand strengthener. Assuming the youth practices with the stiffer material glove and can get to a point where their play does not suffer from it, they will have an advantage over some of their peers when transitioning to the next stage of baseball.
The other factor that will affect the glove’s flexibility may be more important to youth baseball gloves and become simply a matter of preference as the player ages. The backing of the glove’s wrist, whether open or closed, affects how flexible it is to maneuver the glove in general.
Keep in mind, this does not affect the player’s ability to close the glove as much. Moreover, different positions will have different needs in terms of positional glove flexibility. For instance, an infielder’s glove will often need to be more flexible to make the quickest reactions with the widest variance of hits both low and high. Conversely, a first baseman or outfielder might prefer the additional stability that a closed back wrist offers for the higher, harder hits.
This factor will be important for youth players, because the best quality materials for adults may cause issues for youths closing the glove. However, if you purchase a cheaper material, the glove will not last as long or through as many games before you have to purchase another.
This becomes even more relevant when the player gets to be about 8 years old and they play more regularly. Children younger than 8 can often go with a synthetic material as they will not be playing as regularly, and their gloves will not have to stand up to the same types of force that older youths will put on their equipment.
Outside of synthetic materials, you are going to purchase a glove made out of some type of leather. While pigskin and even the more exotic kangaroo are technically available, most of your leather gloves will come from some kind of bovine. In this regard, the leather used can come from a cow or a steer, a neutered bull.
However, even within the leather material category there are a couple designations. The general leather will be cow hide and come pre-treated with oil to make breaking it in easier. This is a somewhat stiff and average weight leather, but it also wears out quicker.
Above cowhide is steer hide. This leather is stiffer than cowhide, but it is also heavier. This leather will generally not come pretreated and require more time to break in, often purchased months before it needs to be used just for this purpose. This is often the highest grade of leather used in youth baseball gloves.
Pocket and Webbing
Pockets are rated by their depth and will differ depending on the general part of the field the position plays. Essentially, the closer to home plate the position plays, the more shallow the pocket will need to be for easier retrieval of the ball. However, even with this distinction, the various infield positions will show some differences.
For example, second base and shortstop will often sport the shallowest pockets to make ball retrieval the easiest. This is vital for the speed and quick reaction necessary to pull off split second double plays.
Conversely, the pitcher’s glove does not need to worry about the pocket’s depth quite as much. Unless they are catching a middle line drive or the relay of a outfield throw–which they generally should not be–the pitcher is unlikely to engage in difficult catches.
The first and third baseman present a bit of a mid-point in this regard. These positions need larger gloves in general, but the pockets need to allow quick retrieval–especially the first baseman’s. Still, the pockets will be shallower than an outfielder’s which need to be the deepest to have the best chance of securely catching fly balls or making superman diving catches.
For webbing, this follows along similar lines as the pocket depth. If the positions needs to secure the ball better, like for outfielders or first baseman, then you are going to want to go for an open webbing design. However, first baseman will likely want to find a middle ground between the the most open styles, like the trapeze or double post webs, and a closed webbing style.
Infielders, pitchers, and catchers will all use various degrees of closed webbing with the infielder glove webbing being the most open of the three. A catcher’s webbing will be closed for security and retrieval, while a pitcher’s webbing will be closed to protect the batter from seeing the grip on the ball.
As alluded to earlier in some of the other factors, the position a youth plays will have a big impact on the kind of glove the need. However, even within the qualities already covered, different positions will have a number of quirks that are unique to them and them alone.
For instance, while it is generally understood that a catcher’s mitt will have a shallow pocket for easy retrieval, it will also be heavily padded. This padding protects the catcher’s hand from fastball after fastball thrown throughout the innings–especially since the pitchers are often to be subbed out in place of fresh arms.
However, the more padding the catcher’s mitt has, the harder it will be to close the glove. This becomes a situation where you will need to weigh the padding and the glove’s general material to find the right balance of protection and flexibility.
Similarly, a first baseman’s glove will be unique, even considering all the other factors, compared to the other positions. Specifically, a first baseman will want a glove that is just a little bit longer than the other types of gloves, usually ½” to 2 ½” depending on the position compared. This additional length provides a bit more area to reach out and grasp wild throws while maintaining contact with the base.
However, this creates a similar, though slightly different, situation as the catcher’s mitt where this additional length can make more difficult for the youth to effectively play the position.
Catcher – Extra padding, large glove without finger slots, stiffest, open back, closed shallow pocket, unique webbing.
Pitcher – Little padding, large glove with finger slots, flexible, open back, closed medium pocket, closed webbing.
First Baseman – Some additional padding, large glove without finger slots, stiffer, closed back, open, medium pocket, open webbing.
Third Baseman – Average padding, large glove with finger slots, average flexibility, open back, medium pocket, closed or open webbing.
Second Baseman and Shortstop – Little padding, small glove with finger slots, flexible, open back, closed webbing.
Outfielder – little padding, large glove with finger slots, stiffer, closed back, open deep pocket, open webbing.
As you can see, selecting the best youth baseball glove is a bit more complicated of a process than it seems. With each position requiring a different set of qualities, selecting the right glove for your youth player requires more than simply going out and buying the first one you see. Moreover, different sized gloves will be better suited for different age groups.
However, if you are looking for a glove that will last a long time and grow with your youth player, it is difficult to overlook Rawlings’ commitment to quality with the use of full grain leather. Of course, this will require the youth player to develop more hand strength, but thankfully the multiple glove types and sizes will provide plenty of time to do so.
However, if you need a maximum amount of options, Mizuno’s base prospect series has you covered. With gloves for almost every position and age category, this glove is ideal for finding the right one that suits your youth player. Unfortunately, like most youth gloves, the pigskin leather will not last as long–though, some full grain varieties are available.
Of course, is you need a glove designed as an explicitly positional glove, the specialized Mizuno Prospects or the Wilson will give your player the specific qualities they need to play their best. Whether it is a deep pocket, extended pocket length, or easier retrieval, one of these gloves will allow your youth player to reach their maximum positional potential.