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Right around the beginning of high school play, the importance of the mitt for the catcher grows considerably, as the young ballplayer learns to better block balls in the dirt, transfer the ball from glove to hand for fast throwing, and frame pitches, to name a few of the advanced skills.
Because parents of growing catchers want to know, we did the research and deliver this list of the best catchers mitts for high school baseball play. We judged models based on a variety of factors, mainly how the glove would help a high school catcher to play better, most comfortably.
Playing the baseball position of catcher is very demanding on a player’s body as well as mind. It’s a punishing spot on the field with ever-present dangers. The last thing a catcher wants behind the plate is a mitt that either doesn’t work well, or seems to get in the way.
The mitt is the most vital part of a player’s catcher’s gear, and as such special care should be taken in choosing a new model.
- The full-grain kip leather is among several details that make the Rawlings PRO Preferred Baseball Glove Series catcher’s mitt our top pick.
- The Wilson A2000 CM33 Pedroia Fit Catcher’s Baseball Mitt has much to offer young catchers, including a design favorable to smaller hands.
- For players who want to look like those guys they see on TV, check out the All-Star Pro Elite Catcher’s Mitt series.
- You know you’ll get the most-advanced technology possible if you go with the Mizuno Franchise Series Catcher’s Mitt.
- Dads will dig the old-time look of the Shoeless Joe Catcher’s Mitt, but the players will like much more including an easy break-in.
- The Akadema AGC98 Prodigy Series Catcher’s Glove is a fine, affordable offering from an up-and-coming mitt-maker.
Typically by the time fledgling ballplayers reach their teens, parents know whether or not their kid will continue playing as a catcher. Which player plays the position can vary greatly at the younger ages, for a variety of reasons. One of them is, some players just don’t want to play catcher any longer.
That’s because the position is the most physically demanding, and dangerous, on a baseball field. You’re dealing with a very hard little sphere (the ball) coming straight at you at high velocities, people swinging big sticks close by, foul tips hitting uncovered body parts, and more.
Protection all begins with the catcher’s mitt. Young catchers might start by using a “team” mitt, one provided by the league for each team to use in case no player has a catcher’s mitt.
But by the time they’re ready to get into high school play, catchers most certainly want their own mitt. Reasons:
- Comfort. Catcher’s mitts are loaded with thick leather and pads, and as such require more breaking in of the leather than regular baseball gloves. The player will catch dozens of hard-thrown balls each game, so you want the glove to fit snugly and comfortably as molded to individual hands.
- Size. Depending on a team mitt or borrowing from other players takes the chance that you’d have to play with a glove smaller than you’re used to, or with a different type of web, etc. Having your own 32-inch or 34-inch catcher’s mitt erases this possibility.
- Feel. This is a hard one to determine with brand new, right out of the box mitts. But from the first insertion of the catching hand into the mitt, players often can tell whether or not they’ll like using the glove. It’s a feel thing for experienced catchers.
- Padding. Each catcher tends to have his (or her) own preferences for padding in the glove, both sewn-in and inside. Some go for less padding to reduce weight, as catching tires the catching arm and hand while handling repeated pitches. Players with past hand injuries or sensitivity to impacts might opt for the most padding possible.
- Weight. As noted above, weight is important for stamina, as well as to allow quicker movement of the hand and glove to tricky pitches. Many catchers prefer the lightest mitt possible for this reason.
- Durability. Catchers’ mitts get quite beat up from all the pitches, tags of spiked cleats, pebbles and dust, sweat, water, and sun rays. You want a quality leather, and some catchers will go with known brands only.
- Look. Every teenager wants to look cool, right? Many modern catchers mitts come in unique team colors or combinations that grab attention quickly. Some catchers will try to match their mitt with the chest protector and leg guards for a true showing of team spirit.
It should be noted that regarding padding and web, skilled catchers will know how best to catch most pitches, if they can. They know to have the ball strike the deep web, or a preferred spot on the glove that protects the hand, making padding almost a moot point.
It also should be noted that most catcher’s mitts are measured by circumference, or around the perimeter while the mitt is squished flat on a hard surface. The main size used by adults is 34 inches, though some might feel comfortable with smaller sizes, maybe down to 32 inches.
Our Top Catchers Mitts for High School Baseball
1. Best Catcher’s Mitt for High School Baseball Overall ~ Rawlings Pro Preferred Baseball Glove Series
Whether you seek a pro-quality glove for the outfield, infield, pitching, or catching, it’s hard to go wrong with the Rawlings brand. It’s no different with its Rawlings Pro Preferred Baseball Glove Series catcher’s mitt. We offer some highlights below, but what stands out with this model is the manufacturer’s attention to every detail.
Beyond the quality craftsmanship, Rawlings gloves are always created from very high-quality leather, which is vital for all baseball gloves and particularly catcher’s mitts. Made of full-grain kip leather for a superb feel and appearance, this glove also has 100% wool padding inside plus Pittards Sheepskin palm lining to keep palms dry.
Note: the first 3 catcher’s glove models on our list are designed for very high-level baseball play, and as such carry price tags accordingly. The more affordable mitts just happened to land lower in our list, though they are still highly recommended for a number of reasons.
- Weight: 1.6 lbs
- Material(s): Full-grain kip leather
- Break-in: 30% factory, 70% player (Moderate)
- Special Feature: Padded thumb sleeve for extra comfort on a vulnerable body part
What We Like
- Attention to fine detail, such as the Tennessee tanning rawhide leather laces
- Sheepskin lining inside to wick away moisture (it gets hot and sweaty behind the plate!)
- Leans a bit heavy but that’s acceptable for durability
2. Best Catcher’s Mitt for High School Baseball for Small Hands ~ Wilson A2000 CM33 Pedroia Fit Catcher’s Baseball Mitt
As with the brand noted above, going with a top-level Wilson catcher’s mitt is also most likely a wise choice. With that in mind, take a close look at the Wilson A2000 CM33 Pedroia Fit Catcher’s Baseball Mitt. We’ve mentioned the fine Wilson A2000 series before, and there’s a reason.
This series is known for the manufacturer’s inclusion of features based on input from Major League Baseball players. For this particular line, named after retired Boston Red Sox 2nd baseman Dustin Pedroia, the focus is on the compact size and added measures for smaller hands.
Gone are the days when the player chosen to play catcher is just the biggest and/or slowest player on the field. Think Craig Biggio in his early career: more and more catchers these days are moderately sized. For them Wilson delivered the Pedroia line, plus the many popular A2000 features including very high-quality leather.
Weight: 1.65 lbs.
Material(s): Blond Pro Stock leather, and Grey SuperSkin to cut weight
Break-in: Moderate to difficult; 2-3 weeks
Special Feature: Drilex wrist lining to hand cooling and drying
What We Like
- Extremely excellent reviews from a lot of users ~ not always easy to maintain a high rating with hundreds of reviews
- Really neat look, with the quality leather in front, the SuperSkin on the back
- Reputation of the brand and A2000 series
3. Best Catcher’s Mitt for High School Baseball for Quality ~ All-Star Pro Elite Catcher’s Mitt
We would be remiss if we did not include the All-Star Pro Elite Catcher’s Mitt series near the top of our list. The reason is, kids are bound to see the All-Star logo on the catcher’s mitts they see on television. This model routinely ranks among the most-used mitts by MLB catchers.
There is a lot to like about the Pro Elite, starting with the very high-quality hand-craftsmanship. This mitt has a solid reputation as a durable piece of baseball equipment. Its design, with the softer quality leather inside, and stiffer leather on the back side, is unlike most mitts you will find.
While the manufacturer spent extra energy on the leather makeup and design, the end product is amazingly light in weight. It’s difficult to imagine any seasoned catcher putting a Pro Elite on his hand and not liking what he feels. The break-in of this model is about as easy as it comes.
- Weight: 1 lb.
- Material(s): Premium Japanese tanned steerhide leather
- Break-in: Easy to moderate
- Special Feature: Great internal padding for the palm and in thumb stalls
What We Like
- Exceedingly excellent reviews by users
- Durability so superb that this may be the last catcher’s mitt he needs
- 1-year warranty
4. Best Catcher’s Mitt for High School Baseball for Technology Application ~ Mizuno Franchise Series Catcher’s Mitt
This Japanese manufacturer has been making baseball gloves since 1913, and catcher’s mitts since the 1930s, so it knows a thing or 2 about the needs of players behind the plate. So with the Mizuno Franchise Series Catcher’s Mitt, you can expect features added with plenty of knowledge and experience.
In fact, for those who believe that advanced technological features can only improve safety and enhance performance, Mizuno is your brand. To start, there’s the Ortholite palm pad, to deaden impacts and reduce the sting from awkward catches.
Its full grain leather shell is augmented by HiLo lacing which is an alternating pattern that Mizuno says better retains the mitt’s integrity. The Franchise Series mitts also have a fully-laced web for soft catches, and the neat MZO Lining to pull sweat away from the skin on the hand. All in all, this model presents a fine mix of features aimed at comfort as well as performance.
- Weight: 1.45 lbs.
- Material(s): Full-grain leather
- Break-in: Moderate
- Special Feature: Parashock Plus palm pad
What We Like
- Moderately priced for the quality
- Application of technology in things like the MZO Lining
- Palm pad and fully laced web to deaden impacts
5. Best Catcher’s Mitt for High School Baseball for Old-School Look ~ Shoeless Joe Catcher’s Mitt
We have reviewed Shoeless Joe gloves for fielders before, and really liked what we discovered. This up-and-coming baseball glove maker takes pride in its old-school look, along with newfangled features to enhance performance and protect comfort. The Shoeless Joe Catcher’s Mitt is a perfect example of the glove-maker’s offerings.
The first thing any baseball old-timer will notice is the special aged soft antique tobacco leather, with a classic open back and closed web styling. Regarding appearance, Shoeless Joe clearly believes if it ain’t broke, no need to change it.
But the manufacturer sprinkles in newfangled features like the XRD foam pad inside to protect young hands and provide comfort during play that is not always comfortable. Note that most baseball catchers struggle to hit because of the demands to the body and mind on defense.
- Weight: 1.1 lbs.
- Material(s): Steerhide leather, after a unique tobacco tanning process
- Break-in: “Field Ready” (Easy)
- Special Feature: XRD foam inside for impact protection and comfort.
What We Like
- The exceptional “game-worn” look of the antique tobacco leather exterior
- Individually hand-cut and sewn, and hand-rubbed
- Super-soft leather and hinge
6. Best Catcher’s Mitt for High School Baseball on a Budget ~ Akadema AGC98 Prodigy Series Catcher’s Glove
The Akadema AGC98 Prodigy Series Catcher’s Glove is a fine mitt from an up-and-coming baseball gear manufacturer, at a wonderful price point. We like this mitt for the budget-conscious, particularly for players just entering high school.
That it was designed by MLB Hall of Famer Gary Carter says much about its ability to enhance performance. The manufacturer nicknames this model the Praying Mantis, with an assortment of features designed to mimic the famed snaring motion of the well-known insect.
We really like the pair of additional “finger hammocks” inside, to give the player options to firmly position fingers and get a more secure fit and feel, which is very important to young catchers. We also like how it is purposely designed to allow for easier access by the throwing hand into the pocket for the ever-vital ball exchange. Not all catchers mitts have this.
- Weight: 1 lb.
- Material(s): Select U.S. Steerhide leather, Akadema rawhide lacing
- Break-in: Moderate
- Special Feature: Exclusive Grasp-Clasp wrist system
What We Like
- Super lightweight
- Very deep pocket excellent for younger catchers
- “Double Flex Hinge” to forcer the glove to snap closed on contact