Following our 2018 cleat and bat/batting glove reports, here we’ll break down the gloves used in the MLB in 2018. We’ve tracked gloves since 2013, and the top two brands, Rawlings and Wilson, have not wavered.
In 2018, Rawlings reached their highest total market share since we’ve been keeping track, worn by 59% of Major League Baseball’s starting position players.
Wilson held steady from 2017, worn by 28% of MLB’s starting position players. Aside from these two legends and pioneers of the baseball glove industry, All-Star Sporting Goods is a specialist, making 20% of the catcher’s mitts worn by MLB starting catchers. Mizuno, too, continues to supply some of the best defenders in baseball.
We Got Webs, Too
In this report, aside from the brand numbers, we’ll take a look at web choice, broken down by position. Middle infielders, like Trevor Story (glove pictured above) have always preferred the I-Web, and that trend continues with 77% of MLB middle infield starters wearing an I-Web in 2018.
The H-Web, like Juan Soto’s Wilson A2000 1799 Superskin (above), is the preference of most MLB outfielders at 80% of MLB starters polled. For a deeper look at the data, lets start with the brands.
MLB Glove Brands, 2018
In these reports, WPW polls MLB starters only (important to note that this excludes pitchers), based on Baseball-Reference.com’s team pages with a few additions. Gloves are much easier to track, because, as you probably know, baseball players often wear the same glove for an entire year. While some catchers will have to replace a glove mid-season, they often use the same exact pattern, but new leather.
What Do You Wear?
What Do Pros Wear?
Lets take a quick look back at our 2017 glove data. For more yearly data, see last year’s report.
The bottom line: its Rawlings, Wilson, and everybody else. This trend continues in 2018.
Rawlings hit their high-water mark this year, adding a percentage point to finish the season with 59% of MLB starters. Wilson held steady at 28% of MLB starters polled. Mizuno dropped a point but held onto third place with 5% of MLB starters polled. All-Star Sporting Goods kept steady at 3%. Other companies that were used by at least one MLB starter: Nike, Akadema, SSK, 44Pro, Force3, Zett, Marucci, and Asics, worn by the two-way rookie of the year, Shohei Ohtani. We didn’t count normal pitchers, but Ohtani is too remarkable to be ignored. Two companies, Adidas and Louisville Slugger, dropped out of the rankings from 2017. Its no surprise that growing in the glove category will be much more difficult for Adidas than the cleat category, where they’ve skyrocketed in the last two seasons.
Rawlings | 59% (+1%)
When Rawlings purchased Cardinals pitcher Bill Doak’s 1921 patent for a webbed glove, the St. Louis company became MLB’s preference for a baseball glove.
Fast forward nearly 100 years, and Rawlings continues to be the glove that MLB players use most.
Here are some stars who wear Rawlings with links to their WPW lockers:
- Aaron Judge
- Adrian Beltre
- Adam Jones
- Anthony Rizzo
- Brandon Crawford
- Bryce Harper
- Buster Posey
- Christian Yelich
- Cody Bellinger
- Francisco Lindor
- Gleyber Torres
- Kris Bryant
- Manny Machado
- Mike Trout
- Nolan Arenado
- Paul Goldschmidt
- Salvador Perez
- Trevor Story
- Xander Bogaerts
- Yadier Molina
The majority of both infielders (56%) and outfielders (61%) wear Rawlings. Their most popular infield pattern is arguably the PRONP5, worn by Manny Machado, available at this link.
Manny added the V-Web purely for swag reasons.
Wilson | 28% (Unchanged)
Wilson has long been Rawlings’ greatest competitor, and also had a pivotal role in the creation of the modern baseball glove as we know it.
The 1957 “A2000” had “a deeper pocket and an improved “hinge” between the thumb and forefinger… (so) it could collapse like a set of jaws,” according to an article from The Atlantic on the subject. This advancement changed baseball, as fielders could now catch the ball reliably with only one hand. At that point, MLB players were lining up for the A2000, which revolutionized all baseball gloves after it. The original A2000 is the direct ancestor of all modern baseball gloves.
Here are some MLB stars who continue to build on Wilson’s history of MLB excellence:
- Andrew Benintendi
- Carlos Correa
- Dansby Swanson
- Dustin Pedroia
- Evan Longoria
- Jose Altuve
- Josh Harrison
- Justin Turner
- Lorenzo Cain
- Mookie Betts
- Ozzie Albies
- Yasiel Puig
As opposed to the A2000, Mookie Betts wears the A2K series, Wilson’s highest quality leather, and Betts also employs the basketball-like synthetic material Superskin (in red below) on the fingerbacks for reduced weight.
Mizuno | 5% (-1%)
Mizuno continues to be the #3 in the MLB among starters, offering one of the highest quality products on the market.
Mizuno gloves are worn by some of the best fielders in the game, and 13 total MLB starters, including:
- Andrelton Simmons (and fellow 2018 Gold Glover Nick Ahmed)
- Didi Gregorius
- Willson Contreras
- Ian Desmond
- Amed Rosario
All-Star maintains a steady role in MLB as the catcher’s specialist brand, worn by six starting catchers and Odubel Herrera in center field.
Starting catchers who wear All-Star catcher’s mitts:
- Omar Narvaez
- Max Stassi
- Martin Maldonado
- Manny Pina
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Robinson Chirinos
Its also worth mentioning that players like Salvador Perez and Gary Sanchez, among others, came up to the Big Leagues wearing All-Star, and then got signed by Rawlings. All-Star does not have the marketing dollars to compete with the bigger brands, but usage is strong by MLB starters, nonetheless.
Asics, on the hand of pitcher Shohei Ohtani, looks like it could compete in the MLB if the brand really wanted to.
Ohtani’s glove is an absolute stunner. Will any position players take Asics for their gamer? Will Ohtani ever play the field?
The glove brand 44Pro, worn by Justin Bour and Franmil Reyes of the Padres, has established itself as a high quality and affordable alternative to the bigger brands. As a custom-only glovemaker, many amateur players enjoy the impressive spectrum of custom options at $149-$185. Another great example of value: Justin Bour’s signature model (above) is available for $140.
Its notable though, that Springer continues to use his synthetic glove, the last remnant of an effort from Nike to shake up the glove industry by making gloves with materials borrowed from their shoes. Though they’ve disappeared otherwise, Springer says he likes the Nike Vapor 360 glove (available on eBay) because its different, and because it performs.
What Glove Brands do MLB Catchers Wear?
Whereas most positions follow the same general brand trends, we’ve noticed a huge difference in the glove brand choice of catchers. That difference, quite simply, is All-Star Sporting Goods. We’ve already mentioned that they are the catching specialist, and here’s the numbers (above) to prove it.
All-Star is worn by 20% of MLB starting catchers (and many more reserves). Above, Orioles reserve catcher Andrew Susac talks about All-Star. All-Star’s most popular catchers model is the CM3000, available at this link.
Web Usage, 2018
We’ve been keeping track of the web styles used by MLB players since 2013 as well. Here we show you a position-by-position breakdown of web usage. Infielders predominantly use an I-Web glove, and eight out of ten outfielders prefer an H-Web.
What Gloves do MLB First Basemen Wear?
Single post has always been the favorite at first base.
Here’s a few star first basemen that wear the single post:
- Paul Goldschmidt (Rawlings)
- Miguel Cabrera (Wilson)
- Joey Votto (Rawlings)
- Eric Hosmer (pictured above, Rawlings)
What Gloves do MLB Second Basemen Wear?
I-Web gloves are preferred by 83% of MLB starting second basemen. The H-Web is a distant second at 10%.
Here are some MLB starters that wear an I-Web at second base with links to their gear:
- Javier Baez (pictured above, SSK)
- Ian Kinsler (Nike)
- Jose Altuve (Wilson)
- Joe Panik (Rawlings)
- Ozzie Albies (Wilson)
- Gleyber Torres (Rawlings)
What Gloves do MLB Shortstops Wear?
The I-Web continues to dominate the hearts of middle infielders, including shortstops, with seven out of ten shortstops choosing an I-Web glove.
Of the 70% of MLB shortstops wearing an I-Web glove, here are some stars with links to their gear:
- Dansby Swanson (Wilson)
- Addison Russell (Rawlings)
- Francisco Lindor (Rawlings)
- Trevor Story (Rawlings)
- Alcides Escobar (Rawlings)
- Andrelton Simmons (Mizuno)
- Didi Gregorius (Mizuno)
- Manny Machado (Rawlings)
- Jean Segura (pictured above, Rawlings)
Note: We counted V-Webs like Manny Machado’s (and Kolten Wong’s in the 2B category) as an I-Web. We think the difference is strictly cosmetic.
Trea Turner, on the other hand, likes the single post, along with Jose Iglesias and Carlos Correa (who we also interviewed on our YouTube channel).
What Gloves do MLB Third Basemen Wear?
Third base is the position with the most web diversity, with I-Web and H-Web both being worn by a big chunk of MLB starters.
Ultimately, the I-Web (pictured above on Platinum Glove winner Matt Chapman) has been the favorite at third base since we started keeping track in 2013. Here’s a few I-Webbers:
The H-Web is worn by back-to-back NL Platinum Glove winner Nolan Arenado (above), along with these star third basemen:
The single post, which has historically been the third most popular third base web, lost 13 points of market share (four total third basemen) since last year, but is still used regularly by Alex Bregman, as well as Evan Longoria.
Here’s Bregman telling WPW that he likes both the I-Web and single post webs. Its worth mentioning that we also saw Bregman with an I-Web at points during the season. Most of the time, though, he wore the pictured Easton single post, which is available at this link.
What Gloves do MLB Outfielders Wear?
The H-Web is the I-Web of the infield. Its heavily favored by MLB starting outfielders. Here are some outfielders who wear the H-Web:
- Mookie Betts (Wilson)
- Giancarlo Stanton (Rawlings)
- Aaron Judge (Rawlings)
- Bryce Harper (Rawlings)
- Ronald Acuna (SSK)
- Christian Yelich (Rawlings)
- Juan Soto (Wilson)
Here’s Kevin Kiermaier showing true love to his Rawlings H-Web in an interview with Mike from WPW:
Mike Trout wears the Trap web, along with Andrew McCutchen and Odubel Herrera, among others. In total, 11% of MLB starting outfielders rock the trap.
What are your thoughts on our 2018 glove report? Please comment below and lets talk about it.