As any aspiring baseball legend knows, the right kit plays an important part in getting the right results. For a catcher, the mitt is perhaps the most crucial element. So how do you make sure you’re making the right choice?
Don’t despair – we’re here to help! Read on for our list of ten of the best youth catcher’s mitts available today.
1. Mizuno Prospect GXC112
Global sports giants Mizuno started making baseball gloves back in 1913, so they know a thing or two about design. The Prospect GXC112 measures 31.5 inches and is available for either right- or left-handed catchers.
So far, so standard. But the clever thing about this mitt is its patented “Power Close” technology.
A catcher’s mitt isn’t small. It’s chunky too – it has to be, to absorb the impact when you make a catch. Take those two aspects together, and it can be very hard to close your fist. The last thing you want is to leap for the ball, then find it just bounces off your mitt.
Mizuno deal with this by adding a flexible V-shaped notch to the palm. It amplifies the power of the catcher, making it fast and easy to secure the ball.
The Prospect GXC112 is made of soft, flexible leather. To stop the sting when the ball hits, there’s also a “ParaShock” pad in the palm. The downside of the padding is that it can cause the ball to bounce around at first. Once it’s been worn in, though, the issue disappears.
All in all, a great quality mitt with some lovely features designed specifically for young catchers.
2. Rawlings Renegade
Like the Mizuno, the Rawlings Renegade comes in right- and left-handed versions. It’s available in both 31.5 and 32.5-inch sizes, to cover youth players of different ages and builds. For the style-conscious catcher, it’s also got a Renegade logo in gold across the palm, adding an extra touch of cool.
But this is a mitt that’s about more than good looks. Its shell is made of 100 percent leather, and the pocket is deep and well-shaped. You won’t have to worry about the ball bouncing out when you’ve just made the perfect catch.
There’s also a one-piece solid web, and a hood to give added protection to index fingers. Both features are designed to give more confidence to young catchers.
Rawlings say the mitt is 80% broken in whilst at the factory. That means it’s easier to use right out of the box, but there’s still room to make it your own.
This is a great value mitt, and light enough to be easily used by young catchers. And while it’s designed for baseball you can use it for softball too.
3. Wilson A360
Wilson’s A360 catcher’s mitt is another that’s designed specifically for young catchers. It’s available in either 31.5 or 32.5 inches, but if you’re a leftie, you’re out of luck. The mitt will only fit players who throw the ball with their right hand. (In other words, it has to be worn on the left hand.)
It looks the business, with the A360 logo emblazoned on the outside and stamped in the palm. That palm is made of pig-skin, and the mitt is stiffer to close than some others. If you’re prepared to take a bit of time to wear it in before your first game, great. Otherwise, try the Rawlings or Mizuno instead.
Like Wilson’s Pro Stock catcher’s mitts, the A360 features half-moon web. Many catchers say this helps them move the ball quickly from mitt to hand. The pocket is also a lot deeper than the Mizuno, helping to avoid escaping balls.
This is a lot less expensive than many other catcher’s mitts out there, and it offers a good, snug fit. It’s perhaps not as durable as some, but we think it’s a great buy for the price.
4. All Star Youth
Another product that’s designed for right-hand throwers only, All Star’s Youth catcher’s mitt measures 31.5 inches. It’s a funky looking thing, in contrasting black and white leather and with tan rawhide stitching.
A great touch is the adjustable Velcro strap at the wrist, helping make sure you get a really snug fit. For anyone with smaller hands, that’s a major bonus. You won’t need to worry about the mitt sliding at the crucial moment and making you drop the ball.
The pocket is nice and deep, giving young catchers that extra bit of confidence when they go for the ball. It’s light and flexible too, so even young players will find it easy to close without needing much breaking in.
On the negative side, that easy closure might be because there’s not as much padding here as with other gloves. If you’re on the receiving end of a really fast pitch, you might feel the sting.
This is another competitively priced mitt, and it has some nice features. If you’re worried about feeling the impact of hard pitches, though, you may be better off with something that has more padding.
5. Akadema AGC98 Prodigy Series
A little larger than some of the other youth mitts on this list, the Akadema AGC98 has a 32-inch circumference. It’s available for either left- or right-handed catchers and was designed by 11-times All Star catcher Gary “The Kid” Carter. As you might expect, it comes with a whole host of features.
First up, there’s the patented “Grab-Clasp” technology, designed to keep the mitt secure on your hand.
Then there’s the pocket, made from American steerhide, and good and deep. The shape is designed to make it quick to transfer the ball to your other hand.
The double-sided slim padding keeps the glove flexible, without compromising on shock-absorption. Even pitches of 75 miles per hour won’t sting your hand.
There’s more protection from the “Stress-Wedge” positioned between the thumb and index finger. And there are two more finger hammocks to keep your fingers securely anchored in the mitt.
Last but not least, a double “flexhinge” is designed to make the glove snap shut easily. The leather will still need a little breaking in, but this makes it much easier to use from the off.
A little more expensive than some, the Akadema AGC98 is still less than you’d expect for a mitt with these kinds of specifications.
6. Under Armour Framer Series
Under Armour’s Framer catcher mitt has a 31.5-inch circumference, and you’ll need to be a right-hander to use it. It’s made from black palm leather with a synthetic backing. The design is under-stated: a serious-looking mitt for the serious sportsman or woman.
The synthetic backing gives it a lighter weight than all-leather gloves. The palm leather on the front is tumbled to make it softer and more flexible. As with all mitts, you’ll still need to wear it in, but it won’t take as long. It will be game-ready far quicker than the Wilson A360, for example.
Another nice feature is the vertical stitching between the web and the pocket. That’s designed to reduce the risk of snapped laces. The pocket is deep enough to keep the ball in place, and there’s plenty of PTH padding in there too. Players needn’t worry about nursing their hands after they’ve caught the ball.
For smaller catchers, the adjustable wrist strap will keep the mitt firmly in place. The snug fit means there’s nothing to distract them from making that catch.
The Framer is reasonably priced, if a little more expensive than you might expect for a partly synthetic mitt. If a lightweight feel is important to you, though, it’s well worth checking out.
7. Under Armour Deception Series
If you like Under Armour’s Framer mitt, but aren’t sure about the synthetic backing, consider their Deception series. It has all the features of its counterpart but is made of high quality full grain steer hide leather throughout.
Like the Framer, it has a 31.5-inch circumference and there’s only a right-handed version. Designed for young players, the smaller hand opening and tighter finger stalls keep it secure during play. There’s also a perforated back, meaning that it’s nice and light.
The pocket is deep and wide, providing a great target for pitchers. The PTH padding runs the whole length of the palm, so you won’t be left wincing after a catch.
That padding also performs another function, reducing wear on the leather from the impact of the ball. And there’s the same vertical stitching between web and pocket as in the Framer series. That means less chance of a snapped lace or worn web. All in all then, this is a very durable mitt.
Some players may find that the padding is overly generous. It does mean that it can be hard work to close your fist. If this is the mitt you choose, be prepared to spend a bit of time breaking it in.
8. Mizuno Supreme GXC94
If you’re looking for a transitional catcher’s mitt, Mizuno’s Supreme GXC94 may be just what you need. Its 33.5-inch circumference makes it a great choice for catchers in middle school and the early years of high school.
The pocket here is a little shallower than some other mitts. Some players prefer it, saying they like the ease of grabbing the ball. The shallower depth is balanced by precision shaping, helping the ball stay secure.
Like Mizuno’s other mitts, the Supreme GXC94 is available in versions for both left- and right-handers. The leather is good quality, but you will need to wear it in. Beware: if you’re using oil, wear gloves or you’ll end up with black dye all over your hands!
Note that, unlike the Prospect GXC112, there’s no V-shaped notch to help close the mitt. This model is much closer to an adult version. If you’re looking for something to bridge the youth-adult gap, it could be the right choice.
9. Easton Future Legend Series FL2000
Easton’s future legend catcher’s mitts scale down professional patterns for younger players. The FL2000 model comes in a 31-inch circumference, making it perfect for catchers who are just starting out. It’s likely to be the right fit for children around 7 to 10 years old.
The design is striking, with a contrasting black and tan colorway. It’s made of jpro cowhide, which is processed to be thinner than other leathers. Tanned with oil and then tumbled until it’s soft, it makes for a mitt that’s both lightweight and flexible.
The palm is lined with oiled hog-hide, while the finger linings are super-soft for maximum comfort. All together, this is a mitt that looks and feels high quality.
Happily, left-handed throwers aren’t being left out by Easton. The Future Legend series is available in both left- and right-handed versions.
10. Nokona Alpha Select S2
First up, there’s the materials. The Alpha Select line is made from top grade steerhide and buffalo leathers. The construction is designed to make a mitt that’s both lightweight and long-lasting. Unusually, they require very little breaking-in before they’re ready for a game.
There’s a two-piece closed web and open back, and plenty of padding to keep hands safe and tingle-free. The 32-inch model is suitable for right-handed children from around 10 to 14 years of age.
Nokona offers a one-year manufacturer’s guarantee, so you can buy in confidence. We’ve even seen some retailers offer a 100-day guarantee where if you don’t love your mitt, you can return it. That’s reassuring when you’re paying this kind of money.
Ready to choose?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our round-up of the best catcher’s mitts for young players. Whether you’re looking for yourself, or your very own baseball prodigy, there are plenty of options. Our favorite is Mizuno’s Prospect GXC112 – we love that Power Close design.
Whatever mitt you choose, we hope it brings good luck in that next big game!