After breaking down the brands worn by MLB stars in our last post, I wanted to dig a little bit deeper. I wanted to show you guys EXACTLY what the pros are wearing, down to the very last detail. To do that, we’re breaking down the patterns and models worn by WPW-profiled players. These are the stars, both proven and rising, the elite 10.5% of the Bigs. Based on their preferences, we can get an idea what the best performing gloves are at every position.
On the bump, MLB star pitchers have two main priorities for a glove. One, agility. By that, I mean that they want a lightweight glove that they can get to the hard-hit ball quickly. We all know that self-preservation is a huge factor for a pitcher. For this reason, we see a higher percentage (3 of 13, or 23%) of pitchers with mesh backs on their glove (see Price’s two-piece mesh below). The mesh is lighter than leather, offering a split-second more time to get to a comebacker.
The other priority is disguise. MLB coaches, hitters, scouts, video guys, are getting paid a lot of money to figure their opponents out, and if a pitcher is tipping his pitches, they’ll exploit it. For this reason, almost every pitcher we’ve profiled wears a web that completely covers the ball and hand from a hitter. The two piece web, MLB stars’ favorite (38%, 5 of 13), is two pieces of leather flush next to each other. The dual hinge, a close second to the two piece (31%, 4 of 13) is completely closed off, as is the basket. The only pitcher who wore a somewhat open web is Lincecum, who has been known to switch it up, often times wearing a dual hinge.
In the infield is where we saw a greater affinity for a particular pattern than any other position—the I-Web. Worn by 15 of 27 infielders, or 56%, it is the only web worn at every position in the infield (not including first).
As you can see with Brandon Phillips Wilson A2K 1786 I-Web, this particular pattern creates a shallow pocket to enable a quick transfer, a vital part of any Big League infielder’s game. The single post web (22%, 6 of 27) is most popular with third basemen who are looking for some extra length.
The only shortstop who wears a single post web is Tulo, with the PROTT2 (above). Another popular pattern with third basemen is the H-Web (5 of 27), worn by David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman among others (Jean Segura wears it at short, too). And that little sliver for the basket web? That’s Jeter. He’s the only guy wearing one of those these days.
Only one guy wears mesh in the infield (Jose Reyes).
Outfield patterns are pretty standard, with the H-web (55%, 11 of 20) and trap web, including the modified trap, being worn by 90% of MLB’s star outfielders. Even the Y-web, which accounts for the remaining 10% (Josh Reddick and Yasiel Puig), is more of a novelty derived from the H-web than anything.
Both the H-web and trap offer a deep, long, and stable pocket, though some opt for the modified trap, which has a bar across the top of the glove (see Jose Bautista’s below).
This hypothetically gives the trap a little more stability, though I’ve never felt like the traditional trap suffered in that respect. I see it as more of a confidence thing than anything else.
Also notable, only one outfielder, Adam Jones, wears mesh, though that hasn’t always been the case.
Most Popular Brand-Specific Models/Patterns
Here’s a quick look at the most popular models worn, down to the brand, starting with the catcher’s mitt:
Most Popular Catcher Model
The CM3000 (in varying sizes) is worn all over the Bigs. Rawlings mitts are also very popular as you might expect.
Most Popular First Base Pattern
There are a few different models of this pattern, so we can’t pin it down to just one, but the single post is worn by Prince Fielder, Paul Goldschmidt, and Chris Davis among others.
Most Popular Middle Infielder Model
The Wilson 1786 pattern is the most popular model glove of all infielders polled, worn by 7 of the infielders we’ve profiled. Though Brandon Phillips and Dustin Pedroia have their own model numbers, its really just a 1786 with a pretty dress on, so we’re crediting the 1786. That pretty dress is one of Wilson’s biggest strengths, as their aptitude for customization and color compliments the “flair” we so often see in the middle infield.
Note: Hanley wears a 1787, which is just a bigger version of the 1786, so we looped it in.
Most Popular Third Base Pattern
The I-web wins a share of the lead at third to go along with its dominance up the middle. This pattern is the MLB standard.
Most Popular Outfielder Model
“PRO303” is the technical way of saying H-web, and Rawlings’ H-web matches Wilson’s infield I-web, worn by 7 WPW-profiled outfielders.
Hope you get some use out of this post, and feel free to ask me any questions you might have in the comments or on Twitter. Gonna be a crazy week coming up, but just want to say Merry Christmas to everyone and thanks so much for supporting WPW.