Pitchers at any level carry the least gear. Catchers carry the whole kitchen sink. Position players are next with gloves, lumber, guards, shades, and various accessories. Pitchers just need a glove and a pair of cleats. As a former pitcher, I can tell you that the glove is vital, and not just for its utility as a catcher of balls. Its also important for deception and concealment, and of course, its one of the only ways we can let everybody know that we’ve got swag, too.
Superstition, like for most ballplayers, runs deep in a pitcher’s DNA. Pitchers may have more than one glove, and may switch it up after a bad outing—because its always the glove’s fault. Pitchers usually have a gamer glove and a glove for BP (also useful for the catch partner that throws a million miles an hour from 40 feet). But when we’re talking about the ultimate gamer, what glove would a pitcher choose and why?
Here are the four most important points for a pitching glove:
The length of the glove is a calculation based on mechanics, comfort, and of course, fielding the ball. Pitching is a fine art, and as such, the tools which the pitcher carries are finely tuned. Glove length can even effect weight and balance. Some pitchers feel a heavier glove gets them top heavy, throwing off their balance. Others may want the added weight to get the feel of separation. For some, none of that ever crosses their mind–they just want comfort. A glove often chooses you based on feel and, of course, swag. The average length is 11.5” to 12.5” for pitchers.
Larger gloves may help you avoid tipping pitches because it gives you more space to stealthily switch between pitch grips. Hitters often look for a “flared” glove that might give away a bulkier changeup grip vs the more streamlined fastball grip.
The top webs for pitchers are the two-piece, one-piece, dual hinge, and the modified trap. These top webs hide your pitch grip from the hitter, a requirement in the game of deception. Even great pitchers can “tip pitches” sometimes. Live batting practice with your teammates might help you eliminate any tips from your delivery.
Gerrit Cole’s game glove is a Rawlings Pro Preferred PROS1000 Dual-Hinge 12.25″ inch, similar to the basket web, which conceals the ball and offers a large pocket for switching grips (Rawlings, $380).
Jose Berrios wears a two-piece Under Armour glove, the only UA glove in MLB. A similar black version is available at Dick’s for $350.
If you like to have your index finger out of your glove, consider a finger hood. Its commonly used by pitchers, including Shohei Ohtani, who might tip pitches by squeezing or extending the bare finger to the glove, depending on the pitch being thrown. Pitching is hard enough, don’t make it harder by tipping pitches. (Ohtani’s Asics glove might be hunted down on eBay).
Jacob DeGrom’s saucy Rawlings Pro Preferred PROS205-JD48 Two-Piece croc skin game glove has the hood ($380, Rawlings.com).
Fielding the Position
Ultimately, you’ve got to be able to field the position, so your confidence in catching the ball is paramount. Especially for young pitchers, fear of tipping pitches should be secondary to protecting yourself and fielding the ball cleanly. You might want to consider a lighter glove to move your hands faster to the ball on comebackers. For that, look at Rawlings REV1X, Hyper Shell, or Wilson Superskin.
Here’s a few more good options for pitchers:
44Pro (affordable custom gloves widely used by MLB pitchers)
For a young pitcher with smaller hands: Wilson A2000 Pedroia Fit X2 With SuperSkin 11″ Infield Glove (baseballexpress.com)
If you’re dying for a Nike: Nike 11.75” Alpha Elite Series Glove 2 Piece Web for $225
I made a custom Mizuno ❤️❤️❤️: MY CUSTOM GLOVEGPS1-100DC for $300