By Joe D.
You’re in the market for a glove, and you know you want a glove from one of the two key players, Wilson or Rawlings. But how do you decide between the best? And what should you be looking for at each position? This post is meant to be an intro to the choice, with some pros who choose one or the other to guide your way.
When comparing Rawlings and Wilson, the first step is understanding the two different types of professional level leather each company brings to the table.
Rawlings Heart of the Hide vs Pro Preferred
The two most popular Rawlings leather types for MLB gloves are Heart of the Hide and Pro Preferred leather. Pro Preferred is the more expensive option. The leather tends to be thicker, but softer than Heart of the Hide leather. Heart of the Hide is thinner, but a little more firm than Pro Preferred. From a padding perspective, Pro Preferred has a bit more padding to help make it hold its shape longer, whereas the Heart of the Hide leather has less padding because it’s firm enough to hold its shape.
Wilson A2K vs A2000
As for Wilson, the A2000 uses American Steerhide Pro Stock leather, whereas the pricier A2K uses Pro Stock leather sorted three times by the Wilson team to find the highest quality leather available. The A2000 is slightly lighter weight-wise, a bit softer, and a bit easier to break in.
Rawlings and Wilson both offer lightweight versions of their gloves, with Rawlings offering mesh backs and Wilson offering Superskin, which is similar to the material a basketball is made of.
Let’s go position by position and compare some of the gloves used by the pros at each position.
First Base Gloves
First Basemen use a larger curved glove, to aid with the scooping of balls thrown in the dirt. The large, fingerless glove gives the other infielders a nice big target to throw across the diamond at. First base gloves typically tend to be between 12 inches and 13 inches.
Rawlings in the Pros at 1B – The most popular model of Rawlings first baseman gloves is the PROSDCT. Paul Goldschmidt and Eric Hosmer both use a custom PROSDCT 13 inch Heart of the Hide. The web has a single post, double bar configuration with a conventional back.
Freddie Freeman is one of the few wearing an H-Web at first base, the PROFM20, a 12.25 inch Pro Preferred Pro glove with a Fastback (pinky slot).
Wilson in the Pros at 1B – Miguel Cabrera wears his own model, an A2000 MC24, which is a 12 inch glove with a single post, double bar web configuration. Like Altuve at second base, Miggy has a baseball-style stitching pattern that adds a little swag to the post.
Jose Abreu also wears a custom A2000 JA79, which although the exact model is not available on the Wilson site, looks to be a 12.5in A2000 1617 open back first baseman glove.
Middle Infield Gloves
Shortstops and second basemen tend to use the smallest gloves on the field. Small gloves lend themselves to an easy transition to get the ball out of the glove quickly. Middle infield glove sizes are typically between 11.25″ inches and 11.75″ inches. There’s a variety of webs available, including I webs, H webs, single posts, modified traps, and basket webs in some cases. Pros will mostly choose a web based on what they call “feel,” which we’d define as a mix of comfort and confidence.
Rawlings in the Pros at Middle Infield: Manny Machado wears a PRONP5 pattern with a variety of webs, including I-Web, V-Web, and One-Piece. Machado’s glove length is 11.75″ inches, and its made of Heart of the Hide leather. Francisco Lindor uses his own glove model, a Rawlings PROSFL12, which is a Pro Preferred 11.75″ inch I web.
Wilson in the Pros at Middle Infield: Jose Altuve’s current game glove is, the A2000 JA27, which is an A2000 chevron cross web (which is basically a T web with a pretty unique lacing pattern up the post). Carlos Correa use an A2000 1785, which is an 11.75in Cross Web glove with a baseball stitching pattern down the post.
Third Base Gloves
Third Basemen gloves are typically longer than that of the middle infielder to help increase their range. Most models are 12” or 12.25” with H-Webs.
Wilson in the Pros at Third Base: Justin Turner has used a few gloves, the most common of which is an A2000 DW5 (David Wright model) 12in H-Web with Superskin. He’s also played with an A2000 1787, but usually sports the DW5.
Evan Longoria wears an A2000 EL3, which is an 11.75″ inch glove with a single post web.
Outfielder gloves are typically 12.75″ inches, or 13″ inches if you prefer just a bit of extra length. The increased size gives them increased range and the occasional extra bit to snag a ball over the top of the wall. The most popular web types for outfield gloves are H-Webs or trap webs. In some cases, a modified trap is used.
Rawlings in the Pros at Outfield: Bryce Harper game model gloves are Heart of the Hide leather, and either 12.75 inches or 13 inches in length, with an H web. Harper has his own PROHARP34 model, which is the 13 inch, and has also worn a PRO3039, which is a 12.75 inch.
Mike Trout also has his own gamer model, the PROSMT27, a 12.75 inch Pro Preferred Trap-Eze glove with a Fastback. A Fastback glove has a single finger hole, as opposed to a conventional back glove with a wider opening for the back of your hand.
Wilson in the Pros at Outfield: Mookie Betts sports his own player model glove, the A2K MB50, which is a 12.75″ inch Superskin glove with an H-Web. Yoenis Cespedes has been known to mix it up almost every day, but he’s usually wearing a variation on the A2000 1799, 12.75″ inch modified trap web.
Lorenzo Cain also plays an A2000 1799 glove, 12.75″ inch, but with an H-Web and Superskin.
Pitchers typically use infielder size gloves, between 12″ inches and 12.5″ inches. The webs are usually closed, in order to hide the grip of the ball prior to the pitch. Pitchers sometimes have a hood for their index finger on the outside of their glove, often as a way to prevent flaring the index finger, which could tip pitches.
Rawlings in the Pros at Pitcher: Max Scherzer uses a PROS206 12 inch” Pro Preferred vertical hinge web glove. This is the same shell that Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado’s glove is based off of, with a different web. Justin Verlander uses a PRO504-3KBMPRO 12.5 inch” Pro Preferred basket web mesh back (closest alternative available here).
Wilson in the Pros at Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw has his own game model, the A2000 CK22, which is an 11.75″ inch glove with a closed two piece web and a finger hood. Andrew Miller also uses the same CK22 model.
We’re all familiar with catcher’s mitts. Larger than other gloves and heavily padded, the increased padding protects the catcher’s hand, while giving the pitcher a large target to aim for.
Rawlings in the Pros at Catcher: Rawlings offers custom catcher gloves at 32.5″ inches, 33″ inches and 34″ inches all with the same basic pattern. Yadi Molina has his own player model, PROYM4, which is a 34″ inch Heart of the Hide one piece solid web with a mesh back. Buster Posey uses a PROSCM43 model 34in Heart of the Hide closed web with a finger hood.
Wilson in the Pros at Catcher: Wilson Ramos plays with a 34″ inch Wilson A2000 1790 Superskin to reduce a bit of weight.
If you’re trying to choose between Rawlings and Wilson, that’s a bit of insight as to what’s happening at the pro level. If you have any particular insights about Wilson vs Rawlings, please let us know below.