Update: Chappy is back with “Old Reliable” (this glove) in 2021.
Big hitters are easy to find. Watch the highlights, check the leaderboards, and the big hitters will be very obvious to even the casual fan. As for defenders, its more subtle, especially with the way ESPN is de-prioritizing actual highlights in favor of gossip and speculation.
Nowadays, dynamic defenders often establish a reputation by word of mouth. The last couple of guys that come to mind as word-of-mouth “must watch” defenders are Andrelton Simmons back in his Braves days, Machado, and Nolan Arenado. Now the hot name is Matt Chapman, third baseman for the Oakland A’s.
Matt Chapman wears a stock model Wilson A2K 1787 glove, an 11.75 inch glove. One thing we noticed while observing Chapman at third: he closes his glove like an outfielder, thumb to pinky, which creates a large, secure pocket for snaring hard-hit balls to the right or left. It seems that, while many infielders like a shallow pocket for a quick transfer, Chapman is confident enough in his “hose” that he isn’t as concerned with the transfer—just wants to catch the ball.
This glove is no longer available but very similar options can be had for $380 at Dick’s. Chapman’s 2020 gamer with black SnakeSkin is available and you can get it here for $380.