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As the end of another baseball season winds down, many are already turning their focus on the next year. Now is a great time to shop for a new fastpitch catcher’s mitt for 2018, but with so many great choices it is hard to know what is the best fastpitch catcher’s mitt available.
For amateur players especially, It can be difficult to choose the right glove, but one thing for certain is that a catcher’s mitt will be a much better choice than using a regular glove. As the off-season begins, I will focus on some of the very best fastpitch catcher’s mitts available for the 2018 season and some things you should watch out for when doing your shopping. At the end of the article you will hopefully be well informed on how to purchase a fastpitch catcher’s mitt for yourself this offseason.
Many will wonder why they should choose a fastpitch catcher’s mitt over a regular mitt, and this is a valid argument. The first and foremost reason is protection. A good fastpitch catcher’s mitt will offer much more protection for your hand than a regular glove, and over the course of a season will help to prevent anything from broken fingers to sprained wrists.
A good catcher’s mitt should last you several seasons, especially if you treat your leather (glove oils, cleaning, etc) during the offseason and keep it in good condition. So when you’re deciding on how much money you want to spend on a good catcher’s mitt, remember that your investment will likely span several seasons if not longer.
Finally, the last reason a catcher’s mitt is a superior choice over a normal glove is because of the performance edge it will give you in games. You will be able to stop more balls in the dirt and even present a bigger target to your pitcher. All of these things will offer you a competitive advantage, and help you take your game to the next level.
5 Things To Look For In A Catcher’s Mitt
If you are someone who has only used a regular glove and has never used a catcher’s mitt before, you will instantly feel the difference that a good fastpitch catcher’s mitt offers. Here are 5 things you should look for in a catcher’s mitt:
- Durable and tough: your mitt is going to go through a lot of abuse behind the plate, so make sure it is up for the task.
- High quality leather: no cheap fake leather, only get something that is real leather.
- Reinforced palm protection: helps prevent sore hands from catching too many heaters.
- Good wrist support: as you’ll be blocking and smothering a lot of balls, you want to make sure you don’t overextend and injure yourself.
- Deep pocket: allows you to field balls more cleanly and short-hop balls in the dirt.
Remember that many leagues will not allow you to use a fastpitch catcher’s mitt at any position other than catcher. For this reason, you’ll likely need to have another glove if you play more than one position (for example, outfield or more commonly, first base). This is important to keep in mind, especially for recreational players who will often find themselves rotating through positions.
Product Reviews – Which Is Right For You?
With all of that in mind, here are 5 fastpitch catcher’s mitts we love for the 2018 season.
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The Easton Core Series ECGFP 2000 is a durable catcher’s mitt with a split solid web that is great for players of all different skills and caliber. A velcro wrist snap enables this glove to be used by many different players with different hand sizes.
Durability is enforced with rawhide pro grade lace with a 100 lb tensile strength. It comes pre-oiled and ready for game-time use, with a nice soft leather that reduces break-in time.
- Beautiful tanned USA rawhide leather
- Tensile strength of 100 lbs
- Pre-oiled and softened for quick break-in time
- Velcro wrist fastener will ensure one size fits all
- Some hand sting as palm protection is not as good as other alternatives.
High quality offering from Easton with a nice pocket and reasonable break-in time. Though the palm protection is not as strong as some of the others on this list, it is still a good choice for players of all abilities.
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The GXC75 introduces some of the best leather available in a fastpitch catcher’s mitt today, with a proven durability that is difficult to rival. Added protection in the catching palm will help prevent injuries. It is incredibly light and easy to maneuver, a perfect choice for any catcher.
- Constructed of top quality durable leather
- Soft and supple leather is easy to break into for a comfortable fit and top game performance
- Very shock absorbent minimizing stress to the hand when catching fastballs
- Great for both amateurs and more serious players
- Overall light weight
- Only available in two-tone tan color
Mizuno once again delivers an excellent fastpitch catcher’s mitt that will last for a long time, proving that durability is a core strength of Mizuno’s product offering. This glove may be the last mitt you buy for a while, as the high quality leather ensures it will last the wear and tear of many seasons.
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Rawlings makes a durable catcher’s mitt with one of the deepest pockets available today, offering improved control for catching and scooping pitches. Extra wide opening on the wrist will provide additional comfort and flexibility.
Palm pad has a nice cushioned reinforcement that will ease the sting of pitches on your hand, and the full grained leather lace provides extra durability in the webbing.
- Suitable for various skill levels ranging from amateur to more serious players
- Deep pocket increases control when catching or scooping the ball
- Wide opening above wrist for added comfort and ease of use
- Made from quality leather with full grained leather lace for extra durability
- Palm pad cushions throws and decreases risk of injury while increasing comfort
- Available in two colour options: brown and black/orange
- Requires longer break-in time
A great choice for varying players and if you don’t mind a longer break-in time, this will hold up quite well and should last you many seasons.
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The GXC50PSE3 is a flashy choice that offers extra stability in thumb and pinky for improved closing ability to ensure you can hang onto those foul tips. Heel Flex Technology gives good flexibility while offering wrist protection to snag short hops and smother low pitches.
Although the initial stiffness of the glove will require a longer break-in period, it offers excellent durability and comes in several color combinations.
- More flexibility due to Heel Flex Technology resulting in greater control of catches
- Firm thumb padding for increased protection
- Two toned lace for an edgier look
- Available in multiple color options: Blue/Red, Black/Red, and Black/Orange
- Maintains shape throughout multiple seasons
- Initially quite stiff requiring longer time to break-in
- Fit tends to run small
Great looking glove with the two toned lace, an excellent option which follows Mizuno’s MVP Prime legacy.
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Wilson’s Yak Pro Soft glove is one of the fastest gloves to break-in as the lighter and softer yak leather means this will be game ready very quickly. Don’t let the soft leather fool you though, this is still a very durable glove that will last you several seasons.
This mitt has a low-profile heel to give added flexibility when fielding short-hops and balls in the dirt. Reinforced palm gives the pocket more cushioning offering better protection to reduce hand sting.
- Made from genuine yak leather for top quality, durability, and comfort; 3 times stronger leather than normal cowhide
- Quicker break-in due to two-piece palm construction
- Heavy palm padding to reduce stress of repeatedly catching pitches
- Low profile heel could leave the wrist susceptible to more injuries
An easy choice for any player who does not have the luxury of a long break-in period.
Any of the five options above are great choices for the 2018 season. For me, I love the look and feel of Mizuno’s GXC50PSE3 and don’t mind the longer break-in time as I’ll be working it in over the off-season. The color choices are fantastic and I’ve had plenty of good experiences with the MVP prime series.
Ultimately you can’t go wrong with any of the gloves mentioned in this article. Treat your glove well and it will be sure to last you for several seasons. Happy glove shopping!