Get the Best Youth Baseball Glove, not the Most Expensive

As I enter into my sixth year as a youth baseball dad (and sometimes manager or coach), I have noticed a few patterns for players struggling to catch a baseball or field a grounder:

  • Fielding skills need many repetitions in order to fully develop.
  • Field bumpiness can make grounders hard to field.
  • Lapses of attention can be a factor, especially at ages 8 and below.

But some fielding difficulty has to do with not having the right glove. So here’s a short guide for how to get the right glove, for players aged 12 or younger.

The most obvious sign that your kid has the wrong glove: The ball often pops out after a catch. Less obvious but more telling: Can’t easily squeeze the pocket of the glove shut. Why does this happen? It can be for one of three reasons:

  1. The glove is too big.
  2. The glove is too stiff.
  3. The glove is poorly constructed.

When shopping for a glove, it’s tempting to go for a high quality, stiff, glove that will last for years. This is a great approach for adult and high school players who play frequently. However, if you follow this approach for a kid, you’ll be tempted to get something a little too big so your kid doesn’t quickly outgrow it. Don’t do this.

There are several techniques for breaking in a glove, which makes it easier to open and close the pocket. One common technique is to oil the glove, put a baseball in the pocket, and then weight it shut overnight. However, it is still going to be hard to squeeze and control if it’s too big. You’re much better off acquiring a glove that fits well. It can be a used, broken-in glove from an older kid who no longer needs it, or a new glove that’s pre-broken in.

If you have an opportunity to get a used glove, make sure your kid tests it. One test is to see how easy it is to open and close the pocket. The other test is to play catch for 5 minutes and see if it’s easy to catch the ball. Your kid will know.

Buying a new glove is hard if you consider all possibilities. Many gloves will be stiff and require a break-in procedure before you can even tell if they’ll work out. Even after the oil-and-keep-shut treatment, some gloves will need dozens of hours of use to sufficiently break in. It is certainly possible to get a good, stiff, glove and break it in properly—and then have it work very well. It happens all the time. But why take a chance on breaking in an expensive glove when your kid will just outgrow it in a couple years? Or maybe even lose it in a couple months?

So simplify your life. Don’t get an expensive, stiff new glove. Many models are already easy to open or close. In my experience, the best brand for pre-broken-in youth gloves is Mizuno, thanks to their patented power close technology. I once presented a Mizuno glove to my son just before a game started, and he used it with no issues for that game.

This is that glove:

Mizuno Youth Prospect Ball Glove, 11.5-Inch, Left Hand Throw

Our Mizuno Prospect Series gloves have cost $45-$55. I can’t speak to Mizuno’s more expensive models, but I can say that Mizuno Prospect series gloves have two minor down sides.

  1. They don’t last as long as gloves that are stiff when new. This is not a big deal as my son is always ready for the next size up by the time the glove wears out.
  2. The model numbers and names change frequently. My son loved the Mizuno Prospect Series GPP1152 so we wanted to get the same thing but a half size larger when it wore out. It was discontinued and it took me at least half an hour to figure out that the Mizuno Youth GPL1203 Prospect Fielder’s Mitt was pretty much the same thing, just half a size bigger. As far as I can tell, if it has Mizuno and Prospect somewhere in the name, it will be similar to the glove my son likes.

If you see “fastpitch” in the glove description, then it’s for softball, not baseball. A baseball will easily pop out of a pocket that is designed for softball, so only get a fastpitch glove for playing softball.

This link displays all Mizuno prospect gloves on Amazon except for fastpitch models:

Mizuno Prospect Series Baseball Gloves

You may be tempted to get position-specific gloves. Don’t. Below the age of 11, most youth baseball teams will rotate players through several positions. Even at the 11-12 year old level there’s position rotation. It is usually not until around ages 13 and older that players specialize in a single position, so that’s when you may want to start thinking about getting a glove that is position specific.

The one exception is if your son is a catcher. You need extra padding from hard throwing pitchers. You may be able to use a catcher’s mitt provided by your league, but if not, I again prefer pre-broken-in Mizuno. I purchased a Mizuno Catcher’s Mitt for my son after he struggled with balls popping out of the mitt provided by the league. Now he can catch.

The sizing on Mizuno Prospect models appears in the first three digits of the model number. For example, the 115 in GPP1152 means 11.5”. And the 120 in the GPL1203 translates to 12.0”.

The sizing measurements for gloves are not perfectly consistent between brands. Size refers to the distance from the top of the index finger by the pocket down to the palm heel bottom. Generally, infielders prefer smaller gloves while outfielders prefer larger gloves.

An easy way to get the right size of Mizuno glove is to use their find-the-perfect-glove tool. There are a series of questions, including player age.

One question asked by the Mizuno tool is how many games you play per year. If you answer anything more than 0-15 games per year, Mizuno tries to upsell you a more expensive, durable model. I can’t really speak to the quality of the more expensive models, but I doubt they’re necessary for kids below age 12, no matter how much they play. My son has participated in something like 60 games and 120 practices since he started using his GPL1203 a year and a half ago. It cost around $50. It’s fine for now and may be able to make it until he’s 12, when it will be time for another glove anyway.

I will probably go with a more expensive, durable model that takes longer to break in when he turns 12 (update: He did get an expensive glove a few months before he turned 12, which he started using full time half a year later – see comments for more detail). Throws will come in harder, the number of games he plays per year may increase, and we won’t have to worry about his hand quickly outgrowing the glove.

If I had to do it all over again we would still go with Mizuno Prospect gloves from age 5 to 11. They can be used immediately, they easily mold to fit, and they’re comfortable. Most importantly, he catches the ball.

Author: Joe Golton

I’m a dad with a son who loves baseball. Professionally, I’ve been a software developer, investor, controller, and logistics manager. I now make my living from this blog, supplemented with occasional consulting gigs.

69 thoughts on “Get the Best Youth Baseball Glove, not the Most Expensive”

  1. Very informative post, agree, my son has been using Mizuno Prospects now for a couple of seasons and the only issues I’ve had are some of the laces breaking. I bought a lace tool and some high quality leather from a local shop and re-laced the sections myself. Only drawback that I can see in the lower quality Mizuno, and other brands too, is the thin lace they use in their gloves so keep that in mind with the lower priced models. But, again, easy enough to beef the glove up with thicker lace.

  2. on our second Mizuno just ordered the 10.5 black MVP glove – pigskin leather. I believe smaller gloves are the way to go for 8 yr olds to develop quick ball glove coordination. question; I cant tell what the MVP difference is on the Mizuno do you know?

  3. youth prospect MVP that is. went 10.5 up from 10 for this year. 11 seemed big and ball popped out often.

  4. Dave – Mizuno changes their names and model numbers very often so I haven’t bothered to try to keep track of it all. However, every Mizuno I have seen used in our league that has “prospect” in the name has the same power close technology and is very easy to open and close. In other words, if it has “prospect” in the name, and it’s got the power close technology, it gets the job done.

    I haven’t seen an expensive glove that I thought more appropriate for players below age 12. But I do intend to get my son a much more expensive, stiffer glove, within the next year. It will take many months to break in. But around the age of 12 or so, the size of glove stops going up. Therefore, that’s the time to invest in an expensive glove to last a lifetime, for the player serious about baseball.

  5. Joe thanks for the bat review which was very well researched and insightful. After reading that I wanted to check out your opinion on gloves. I played some pro cricket back in the day but my first intro to baseball was 2 years ago with my son.
    He’s 6 now about to start his second year in Pony. He’s also playing on a travel team. I assist with coaching as there are a number of crossovers between cricket and baseball but when it comes to equipment and some techniques I go research.
    What I have found is that younger kids are using gloves that are way too big. I’m seeing 5 and 6 year olds with 11″- 11 1/2″. They don’t hand the strength in their hands to close them, even the soft ones. Most of them don’t fasten properly around the wrist. Even with the 10″ and 10 1/2″ gloves the designs are such that the ball doesn’t land in the palm.
    I think, like with bats, there’s a tendency to go too big too quick with the glove.

  6. Thanks for your comments, Richard. I agree that it’s easy to go too big on gloves. The big test is whether you can open and close them easily.

    I think the motivation parents have for going too big is that the glove will last a while. But that doesn’t work in several respects. The players field much worse and may be so discouraged they quit. $40 – $50 gloves aren’t going to last more than a couple years anyway. And the player may think the glove is terrible and encourage the parents to get a different one anyway. So planning for when they’re bigger backfires.

    All this is completely different once a kid hits the age of 12 or so (a little over five feet tall). Glove sizes stop going up at that point so it then makes sense to get a more expensive, stiff, high quality glove that takes many months to break in – but then last a life time.

  7. I’m a mom with a 5.5 y.o. son and my baseball experience is primarily as a spectator. This and your other posts on youth baseball have been very helpful as I’ve signed my son up for spring baseball. I’m getting ready to order his first glove and realize that I want to get one too. I’ve actually never owned one – the closest I’ve come to playing baseball is the annual softball unit in school gym class and then the coed rec team at work – 20 yrs ago. Do you have any tips for choosing a basic glove for a mom to use just for practicing in the backyard?

  8. Pippa – I haven’t done much research on adult gloves. For the light use you intend, $50-$70 price range should get you a good glove. Make sure it’s not too big, or you’ll have trouble controlling it well. I didn’t like the glove I purchased a few years ago and recently got a new one I like much better:

    Rawlings Player Preferred Adult Glove, Right Hand Throw, 12-Inch

    It’s a little stiff still after a month of use so it will probably take a few months of use altogether to fully break it in. But I think it’s very good for the price.

    If you were playing in an adult league and catching 60MPH throws, I wouldn’t get this glove but for playing catch with kids below age 13 it should be fine.

    Also – given that you’re just getting started with baseball with your son, you might particularly appreciate my “getting started” post:

  9. My 11 yo son has had his Mizuno for two years now broke in quick but now seems to be getting loose and unstable compared to last season. He moves up to Major Divison and AAU so we are looking at 70+ games with playoff and tourneys. Im pointing him towards my favorite a Rawlings, he likes GG Series 11.5 model it goes for $149 but can be had for $99 on sale with a free sit in the Mizuno Glove Warmer to break in. He plays SS/2B and Outfield so the challenge is does the position glove matter? He likes the vertical lace pocket OF glove vs the full pocket all around or the horizontal IF glove all are GG Series same price . The cost isn’t a factor as much as the best option for his defense just looking for your opinion thanks

  10. Joe
    How do I tell what size of glove my grandson needs. He will turn 10 in June and generally plays infield. The glove he has been using is a 80’s era Rawlings that my son used when he was a boy. It was well broken in and has worked well but seems to be getting small.

  11. Sal – a little too small is way better than a little too big. If the Rawlings glove is fairly high quality and he’s catching balls well with it, I would keep using the Rawlings for as long as possible, assuming it’s not falling apart. The time to get him a high quality glove to last the rest of his life is when he’s about 12 years old.

    If it does fall apart on him, get one of the larger Mizuno prospect series gloves, either 11.5″ or 12″. No need to go above 12″.


  12. Gary – there comes a point where position gloves (beyond just catcher mitt) do matter – and that is usually around 12 or 13 years old, which is when kids primarily start to play just one position. I have seen a first baseman with a good first baseman mitt that has helped him scoop up bad throws, for example. 11 years old is just a little young to specialize because if you get him high quality, it will be stiff, and by the time it’s well broken in, he may have just about outgrown it. How tall is your kid? If he’s not yet 5′ tall, I would advise sticking with a prebroken-in glove such as the Mizuno prospect even though it will just get him through another year or so.

    But then when he is close to turning 12, get a higher quality stiff glove and spend a few months breaking it in (he should play catch with it a lot but not yet use it in games right away).

    I don’t feel like I’m actually all that qualified to give advice on the higher quality gloves that kick in at the 12-13 age. My son is about to turn 11 so maybe a year from now is when we’ll be investing in our first $200-$400 glove. At that time I’m sure I’ll do a ton of research and eventually do a writeup. But for now, take my advice with a grain of salt as I haven’t gotten there yet.

    My about-to-be-11 son by the way has a beat-up two-year old Mizuno Prospect and not much gets by him. There’s no way he’ll be using this at the age of 13, though. The throws will be coming in too hard for such thin leather.

  13. This is a great blog post. How do I decide between the Mizuno 10.75, 11 and 11.5. My son is turning 7. He was using a 10 or 10.5 Louisville Slugger Genesis glove. I bought a 12 inch mizuno used but that was too big (i think it was incorrectly labeled as a youth glove).

  14. for young kids 5-8 I recommend louisville slugger genesis 1884 Gloves… I tried few different gloves with my kids and with these catching was so easy even for a 5 year old… You can get off ebay used for under 20 usually 10-15 and they are strong enough for this age group… I think once kids get to minors you will need to change as they have little padding but I see some parents give their kids gloves that have 0% chance of catching but with these I think kids can catch rather quicky.

  15. I have an 8 year old going into select baseball playing 35 games. He’s about 4′-7″. Old glove is worn out. Can’t decide on which glove.

  16. Pre-broken in gloves such as Mizuno Prospect gloves will be fine, as explained in the above article. It’s not until the age of 12 or so that you need to start thinking about higher quality gloves requiring a long break-in period.

  17. My son will be 9 by the time baseball starts back up. He isnt real big but a good size kid. I just ordered him the mizuno GPP1050Y1DRG prospect glove. It came in the mail it seems so small. He plays 3rd, LF and CF. Should I send it back for a 11.5?

  18. After reading this article I believe I’ll be going with a Mizuno Prospect. My only question is what size to get. My son is 6 turning 7 this summer and he’s 47″ tall. This will be his first year playing. Would a 10.75 be too big or should I go with a 10″? Thanks and great article

  19. Wes – 10.5″ or 10.75″ would be about right for a 47″ tall kid (assuming his hands are normal size for his close-to-average height). If it’s a little too big, he’ll grow into it quickly or you can delay when he uses it for a few months. If it’s too small, you won’t be able to use it at all. I believe my son used 10.5″ when he was that height, and moved to 11″ when he was around 50″ tall (though I might be off slightly).

  20. My experience, Joe, has been similar to yours.

    I have sons in 4th and 2nd grade, and once I found the Mizuno GPP gloves, I’ve stuck with them.

    We’ve gone from 10″ for T-ball and 1st grade, to 10.75″ for 2nd & 3rd grade, to the 11.5″ now at 4th grade. I’m sure we could have slid in the 10.5″ and the 11″ if needed, but we didn’t need them.

    I also bought my older son (who is a smaller kid) a full leather Rawlings 11.5″ glove that was on major sale, and he currently prefers the Mizuno, specifically due to the stiffness of the Rawlings and the ease of use in the Mizuno. Eventually, I’m sure he’ll move up to the stiffer Rawlings glove.

    A note on the Mizuno naming conventions. I believe the GPP gloves are pigskin leather gloves, while the GPL are cowhide leather. I think the GPLs are a little sturdier, but in the prospect series, I still believe they are easier to use than most other youth gloves.

    Not to say I haven’t seen some other youth gloves that I’ve thought worked pretty well. I’ve seen a couple of Wilson youth gloves (not the ones with plastic on them!) that I thought would work well, but once my oldest son took to that 10″ Mizuno so well, we’ve stuck with them with good results.

  21. Thanks Michael for the additional information on naming conventions for Mizuno.

    My son (soon to be 12) is now breaking in his first high-end glove, a Mizuno Global Elite Jinama Pitcher Glove. He got it as a gift but I know it was purchased for less than half the suggested retail price. Still expensive! But I guess not so expensive when you consider that it may last many years, as compared with the pre-broken in Mizunos which last about 2 years or so (maybe longer if all you do is 15 games of rec league each year).

    The Global Elite is still not even close to fully broken in after a dozen or so sessions of playing catch, but for playing catch it now works ok. However, fly balls pop right out at this point and is basically unusable for that purpose. Probably be a few months before he uses it for pop flies.

    One thing he loves about the stiff new glove though is the really loud “pop” from a caught ball. Way louder than any glove he’s ever hard before!

  22. Hey Joe my son is six turning seven he’s super big he’s about the same size as the eight-year-olds on the team. They play probably about 45 games a year and he practices about 2 hours everyday and he’s burning through his Mizuna prospect gloves about one a season. What glove do you recommend?

  23. Angela – I still recommend Muzuno for your son. The really high quality gloves tend to cost around $200 – $400 dollars. They come with very stiff, high quality leather that takes a long time to break in. My 12-year old son got his first such glove a few months ago, a couple months before his 12th birthday. After several months of use it’s not even close to fully broken in (he can play catch with it but fly balls pop right out). So here’s what you face. Either:

    1) Pay $50/year for a new Muzuno until your son is 12 (when you break in a high quality glove that will last many years). Or . . .

    2) Pay $200+ for a much higher quality, longer-lasting glove. It will take many months to properly break in. By the time it does, it may fit him for a year or so and then he’s outgrown it and must move on to a higher size of glove (or, you could try getting a glove that is too big for him in order to last longer, but he won’t field well with it because his small hand won’t be able to open and close it as easily as a properly sized glove).

    I much prefer (1) above. I can tell you my son has been pretty impatient about this glove he’s breaking in. He can’t yet use it for outfield play. The ball even pops out occasionally when playing catch. We both look forward to months from now when it’s fully broken in. Then it will be the glove he uses for many years, possibly even the rest of his life.

  24. Thanks for the article. My 5 Y.O. son is playing t-ball and is 43″ tall. Could you make a size and brand/model recommendation? I see that Mizuno makes a Prospect model down to a 9″. Is this a size that would work, or would it be too large?

  25. Hi Joe,
    Hoping for some advice. My 7yo son is on the smaller side (around 45″). We got him a 10.75 but now he’s saying it feels like it might fall off during his travel games. Do you think we went too large too quick? Would you recommend a 10 or 10.5 in the meantime? Thanks!

  26. Lauren – 10.75 is almost certainly too big for a 45″ tall boy unless he has huge hands for his age. I would go with the smallest Mizuno prospect size you can get, which I think is 10″. My son was using 10.75″ when he was around 48″ tall is my recollection, maybe even a little taller.

    May as well keep it though as he’ll be ready for it in a year!

  27. My son just turned 8 and he’s a coordinated organized league rookie. I sent him in with his “baby” 9″ Easton with a narrow pocket but the bells pop out. Now he’s styling a Shoeless Joe 9″ which is really deep and wide and more like a 10″. He’s grabbing a lot more balls at short but I find that squeezing can be an issue. Now that I’m over $120 out for the season I might ride the Shoeless Joe. I’ll look into your reco. Thanks!

  28. Ben – The age of 8 seems young to be getting higher quality gloves. It takes a while to properly break in quality gloves. Kids grow so fast at that age that by the time the glove is broken in, he may have just a few months left to use it before he has to move on to the next size up.

    My own son got his first really good glove a couple months before his 12th birthday. He’s been using it for 5 months and it is just about fully broken in but not quite. When he’s trying to make very difficult catches in the outfield that require a dive, he’s not able to squeeze the glove like he would with an easy fly ball and sometimes the ball pops out. Probably another couple months of use will solve that but that should give you an idea of how long it can take.

  29. I’ve mentioned a few times in the comments that my son now uses a high end glove: Mizuno Global Elite Jinama Pitcher Glove. He got it in December 2016, he turned 12 in March 2017, and he started using it regularly in late April 2017 after he lost his prior glove. It was fine for pitching but it was not a good outfield glove at first. Even in July, 4 months after using it regularly, it is not fully broken in, particularly in the area of the palm near the wrist.

    He has no problem catching the ball in most cases at this point but when he attempts a difficult catch in the outfield, it sometimes pops out as he’s not thinking about trying to squeeze his glove when running full speed and going into a dive.

    Overall it’s a fantastic glove for use as a pitcher – which makes sense as that is what is was designed for. But I am so glad he didn’t go through a stiff glove at an early age. That would have been a big waste of time for a glove that he would have outgrown in a year.

  30. Joe,

    My son has been playing AAA for two years and will go to the majors next year. He is almost 11 years old (5′ 1″ tall) and his current glove is ripped (actually the stitching came undone) at the seam where the thumb connects with the palm. It is a Rawlings Play Maker Series PM1610RB 11.5″ size. He used this glove for two seasons including the All Stars both years. It was a good glove for him. He will be going into the majors division next season playing third base and will join a club team this fall. Would you recommend going with the Mizuno Prospect Glove (11.5″ or 12″) and wait until he is 12 or 13 to get an expensive glove or should I get him a good quality glove now?

    P.S. He also pitches and plays short/first, but on the All Star teams where they focus players in one position he is at third base

  31. Hi Greg,

    At 5′ 1″ and playing on a AAA or Majors team where many players will be throwing over 50 MPH, I doubt a pre-broken in glove like Mizuno will be appropriate for much longer. Time to get a higher quality glove. However – do understand it will take a while to break in if you do it naturally.

    My son got his first high quality glove a couple months before the 2017 spring season began, just before he turned 12. He intended to gradually break it in over the course of 6 months but he lost his Mizuno in late March and started using his too-stiff glove at all practices and games. It’s still a little stiff in August! It worked well for the pitcher position from the get go (it’s a model intended for pitchers) but as an outfielder he was pretty frustrated with all the balls that popped out for the first few months. Finally, by July, it seemed to work pretty well for outfield, though I think he would prefer if it were even more broken in.

    My point is that you should get a good quality glove soon, and break it in over the next few months (or longer). You might need something inexpensive like a Mizuno to tide him over until the glove is fully broken in.

  32. Thanks to this blog, I bought my 8 year old last year a prospect glove size 11.5, maybe a tad to big at the time. It was pretty good out of the box, but became a great glove for him after a year and a half of playing and me working the glove/breaking it in even more. Rarely did the glove ever cause a bad play, received more game balls then any other kid in spring ball, and received the most improved player on the team after the season, and then he lost it. Ugh! He’s now about to turn 10 and just started playing fall ball. To all the moms and dads out there that want to get a good glove, the prospect fits the bill. Now I will say this, do not leave out ebay. I found an amazing glove for him, very inexpensive, all leather and perfectly broken in by another kid that had it a few years before. There are some very good gloves on that site, take your time, look at all the pics, read the description, etc. Yes its crap shoot, but its worth looking into. I now buy his cleats on that site every year, some might find that gross, but you just have to look hard. Most have been worn for only 15 games and are also perfectly broken in, and cheap.

  33. A site issue caused the following two comments to be deleted, so here they are again, manually re-entered:

    Dave 9/12/17:

    Ok. Lots of good reading. My son turns 10 in oct and plays third mostly. Last two years has a mizuno MVP 10.5 inch youth and served him well . He will be playing with harder throwers and I’m looking for a two year glove but I sure in size. I like 11 inch for him and max 11.25 for glove quickness. Also. At 11 inch can I get an adult glove or is a quality youth better ?

    Joe Golton 9/12/17:

    Hi Dave – 11 or 11.25 should be a good size for your son. My personal feeling is that it’s not worth getting a higher quality glove yet at that size. Some smaller adult gloves will fit but they will take a while to break in, and by the time he breaks in that high quality glove he’ll have a maybe 6-9 months to use it before needing a larger size.

    The very best 10-year olds may be throwing 50 MPH, which a Mizuno should be able to handle with no problem. It’s around 55-60 MPH that I think many players are going to be wanting more padding on their gloves, and you generally won’t see those kind of velocities until the age of 12, and even then just the stronger throwers.

    As you can see if you scroll back a few comments, my son started using a high quality glove around his 12th birthday. It took quite a while to fully break in and he had some frustrating moments in the outfield when balls popped out but after about 4 months of frequent use it was fine.

    I don’t think his hands are going to grow that much more so it should be good for many years. But I think most kids’ hands grow quite a bit from the age of 10 to 12.

  34. Joe — since you still seem to be taking questions, I’m stuck on what size glove to get for my son. He’s 4 1/2, and about to start t-ball for the first time, BUT: he’s already 48″ tall! He’s strong and coordinated for his age, but not as much as an average height 8yo would be. Any thoughts? I want him to be able to build confidence out of the gate even if it means he grows out of the glove sooner rather than later.

  35. Matt – Assuming your son also has big hands for his age, then 11″ should work, maybe even a little bigger. Have him hold his hand up to a few other 4-year-olds to make sure it’s a really big hand to go along with being really tall for his age. If it’s not much bigger than other 4-year-olds, then go with 10.5″ or 10.75″

  36. Thanks for the advice. His hands (and feet) are definitely big — runs in the family. I was worried that large might be difficult for him to manipulate — moving and closing both.

    On a related note (and sorry for topic drift) — I bought him a 28″ bat based on the height chart at the store which I’m now wondering about. Think that’s too big? In your bat write up I saw you suggesting one test by observing liners off soft toss, but his hand-eye coordination and mechanics aren’t at that level regardless of bat. He chokes up several inches but can manage a decent swing (during his brief moments of focus…). Again, per your advice elsewhere I’m most interested at this age in building his confidence and letting him have fun.

  37. Matt – Even though he is very tall, I would suggest getting him a 26″ Tee ball bat for a couple reasons. The biggest reason is that the transition to the USAbat standard this year has caused a hole in the market: light 2 1/4″ in the drop 10 to drop 12 range. Unfortunately, with the new USAbat standard kicking in on January 1, 2018, there have been few light 2 1/4″ models and most of them are overweight by at least 2 ounces. Being so young, I would absolutely not rush him into a light 2 1/4″ bat because they simply aren’t very good yet with this new USAbat standard.

    Tee ball bats are not required to follow the standard so you’ll have a much wider range of choices, and potentially higher quality. I happen to think the Axe bat Tee ball bats are excellent but at this age, your son may be into a particular color or look, so you might simply go shopping with him and let him pick out a 26″ bat that he thinks looks great.

    So far as I know, there are no Tee ball bats above 26″ long. Therefore, if you want to get 27″ or higher, you are forced to get a Youth bat model which is tested to conform to the new USAbat standard. I strongly recommend you avoid the light 2 1/4″ USAbat models until 2019. By then, there should be better choices on the market. There may even be better choices in the next few months.

  38. Joe — really appreciate all the advice! 26″ Axe bat is on its way. (Couldn’t find it on Amazon, unfortunately.) About to pull the trigger on a glove and wanted to ask you: do you have an opinion on webbing or open / closed back? I see comments about being able to see the ball in, more secure catching, easier transfers, more or less support, etc.? Any thoughts — or am I now officially overthinking it?

  39. Matt – Webbing choices and glove design start to matter when players specialize in certain positions, which typically doesn’t happen until around the age of 12 or 13. At the really young ages all that matters are two things:

    1) Does the glove fit?
    2) Is it easy to get open and closed?

    And perhaps a 3rd thing matters, which is how mad you will you be at the lost money if your little player loses his glove. Which he will, at least once!

    But seriously – as long as the glove opens and closes very easily, you should be good.

    The only exception before the age of 12 is that the catcher position benefits from the extra padding, when that starts to become a thing around the age of 9.

  40. How can you tell a difference between a “youth” glove and a normal baseball glove? If you look on Mizuno website, they have 11″inch youth gloves and 11″inch regular baseball gloves. So what is different?

    Sorry if this is a dumb question, but…..

    Thanks man

  41. Hi Jason – Most manufacturers will indicate in the description if it’s intended for youth or adult. Generally speaking, adult gloves are stiffer than youth gloves and designed to last longer. However, there are many exceptions as you can find some inexpensive adult gloves that are easy to open and close and won’t last as long. You can also find some stiff youth gloves though as I mention in this article, I think that stiff, long-lasting high quality gloves make no sense for a young player who will outgrow the glove in a year or so.

    It can be hard to tell from just looking at a glove whether it’s designed for adult or child. Many of the differences are internal. For youth, the gloves will usually have smaller, narrower space for fingers. There’s probably other subtle differences but I’m not expert enough to know what they are.

    Note that infielder gloves for adults are smaller, while outfielder (and to some extent 1st baseman) gloves are bigger. So it’s more obvious with an outfielder glove that it’s way too big to fit a small player’s hand.

  42. Reading the comments above and I think my son’s glove is way too small! He is 9 1/2 age and tall at 56 inches; he uses a 10.0 inch Mizuno Prospect, he pitches and plays mostly infield. Having written that however, he appears to have no difficulty catching an scooping with this little glove; it’s so easy to maneuver. So i’m not sure!?

  43. Hi Paul – Don’t argue with success – if it works, and he likes it, no reason to change. However, when this glove wears out, he will easily be able to handle a larger size. Given that Mizuno Prospect models are all pre-broken, the next size up will be easy to use as well.

  44. Thanks Joe. He will keep with the 10″ for time being.

    The whole baseball glove sizing is a bit confusing to me…why would gloves hit the maximum size when the boy reaches roughly 12 yrs old? His hand is still far smaller than an adult’s.

    Looking at the boys in my league and it seems like the gloves are generally much too big for their small hands. I’d love to see a scientific test on the right size of glove.

  45. I’ve seen no scientific test but the only gloves I see players struggle with are STIFF gloves, and it’s even worse if the STIFF glove is also a little too big. That being said, I would not recommend a 12″ glove for a 5 year old. But I’ve seen many 9 and 10 year olds using 12″ gloves with no problem, so long as they are pre-broken in.

    Gloves DO get bigger than 12″ for outfielders as players get older (and 1B are a funny shape for scooping bad throws in the dirt), but for other positions, priority shifts as players get older. It becomes a given that they will catch the ball no matter how big the glove. So the prioity becomes being able to transfer the ball out of the glove into the throwing hand as quickly as possible. As gloves increase in size, the speed of transfer slows down slightly.

  46. Mizuno MMX116P2 11.5

    I accidentally bought this glove initially. Had been looking at Dicks for a glove for my son but they were all so stiff I didn’t buy them. By chance happened to try this glove and my son loved it. He used the glove in a game the same day no issues. It lasted 4 baseball seasons and some travel ball…and leaving it in the rain a few times didn’t help. A little hard to find the second time, but ordered a new one and again used it in a travel ball game the same weekend. We tried on other prospect series gloves and while they were decent they weren’t as easy to open and close as this one was. $25 and imo not a better glove at any price.

  47. Hi Joe,

    Thank you for all you do! This blog is fantastic. My soon to be 11 year old needs a new glove. The Easton Mako Legacy series is on sale on a few web sites. It retails for 180 but can be purchased for a third of the price. I’m looking at an 11.75 modified trap design since my son pitches and plays both infield and outfield. I’ve read great things about the kip leather used on the Legacy Series. Do you have any experience/knowledge with Easton Gloves. Do you think its appropriate for my 4’11 90 lb son? he played in close to 80 games this past season between LL, Williamsport and travel. I’ve traditionally been loyal to Rawlings with its smaller opening for youth players.

  48. Mike – I think 11 or 12 is about the right age to get a higher quality, stiff glove that requires some break in. Given that it may take a long time to break in, he can use his existing glove in games while breaking in the new glove in practice.

    My son was just a touch smaller than yours when he got his first high quality glove, a Mizuno that is designed for pitchers and very stiff. It took many, many months to break in. He loves it for pitching but for a long time complained about fly balls popping out of his glove when playing in the outfield. The popping out does not happen any more, but it was literally over a year before he stopped complaining about that.

    I can’t comment specifically on the particular Easton Mako Legacy model as I don’t thin I’ve even seen one. I do know that the Wilson A2000 is a very popular and well regarded glove for a good, first high quality glove. I see many players around here using it.

  49. My oldest son is 8 and he used an 11.5 Rawlings when he started playing coach pitch last year (age 7). He had no problems opening and closing, etc. However, my younger son (age 6) can not manipulate the 11.5. He struggles to get his fingers in and he can not open and close it. So I know it is too big. What size and brand would be best for him? He will be 6.5 when his season starts, he is 48 inches tall. Also, he is not the most coordinated kid if that changes your recommendation. I’m hoping that this is a Christmas present so it would be awesome to not bring him in to try them out. Thank you so much for your help

  50. Hi Carrie – as I outlined in the article above, the Mizuno prospect series is really easy for most kids to get opened and closed. For kids below the age of 11, it is always the glove I recommend and I’ve never seen anyone have a problem with it. The size 11.5 seems a little big for his age and size. I would suggest 10.75 or 11.0.

  51. Hey there. I have an 11.5 yr old and am looking for a glove upgrade. He currently has a $70.00 Rawlings but I am liking the dual post Marucci 11.5 inch MFGRS115H-BK/MS-RG RS225 series for 149.99 for third base. He should be able to keep this through his 12th year Im thinking before getting the good 250.00 version. thoughts? plays third base mostly. PS; Johnnie Macs is going out of biz by us and I picked up a cheaper first baseman glove and a 12.25″ decent Rawlings outfield glove . Seems good to have the perfect glove for each position and was on sale big time. I recall not getting my one serious glove until age 13 in 1973! Still using it. Looking forward to your reply.

  52. Hi Dave – I don’t know anything about the specific glove models you mentioned. I have noticed though that around this age, many players get one main glove – possibly pricey, and then use it for many years.

    My son (left-handed) got an expensive Mizuno pitcher glove just before he turned 12. He’s still using it at age 14 and will continue using it throughout high school, for both pitching and outfield. He also has some less expensive first base and catcher gloves, as he doesn’t play those positions as much.

    So this might be the time to spurge and get a glove that he really likes, geared towards the position(s) he plays most. Take time breaking it in properly over the course of a few months and then plan on using it for many years. That seems to be working for many of the better players around here.

  53. Hi Joe –

    My son turns 9 later this year and is tall for his age (4’4″ now but growing). Uses a LS Genesis 10.5″ model that he has had since T-ball and loves it as he is a lefty and hard to find good gloves.

    That said, when should we upgrade to a larger model for future years since this season is rapidly drawing to a close? Scheel’s has the same model you recommended on sale but after reading your blog I wasn’t sure if this would be too big for him now (always thought smaller was better). Plays multiple positions right now still being in machine pitch.

    Thanks for any advice –

  54. My son was this size at the age of 9. He used the 11.5″ model no problem, so that would be the size I would suggest for your son.

  55. Thanks ! I measured him again tonight — 4’7” !! Your point is a good one though – probably time to upgrade

  56. Hello Joe Golton
    The article is very detailed and very interesting, I really like this article.
    What do you think about Franklin Sports Teeball Glove – Left and Right Handed Youth Fielding Glove – Meshtek Series – Synthetic Leather Baseball Glove – 9.5 Inch compared to Mizuno Prospect Series GPP1152?

  57. Leonard – I have not checked out Franklin Sports Teeball Glove specifically. What I have seen though over the past 5 years is that, due to Mizuno’s great success in the market for very young kids with gloves than open/close easily – others are copying. I’m sure by now there are several other brands that are almost as good as (or as good as) Mizuno. They key is to have your kid try on the glove and see if it opens and closes very easily for them. Should not require break in if they are younger than 12, in my opinion.

  58. Any recommendations for gloves a giant 9 year old. 5ft tall, wrists are 7 inches around and wrist/palm to end of index finger is 6 7/8 inches. Kid has same size head as me and wears a men’s size 8.

  59. Andrew – At that age, no matter how big he is, I always recommend getting a pre-broken-in glove. You could try the largest size of the Mizuon pre-broken gloves and it will probably be big enough. But if it isn’t, you could try getting a used adult glove that is broken in.

    His hand size in going to change so getting a high quality, stiff glove that takes months or longer to break in is, in my opinion, not worth the hassle at the young ages as he may soon outgrow the glove by the time it’s already soft enough to use.

  60. My son is 8 and plays travel ball. We have gone through a few different brands, tried out a number of gloves at the store or friends, and he mainly plays infield and some 3rd. If you can find one of these, MizunoGPSl1100BR, snatch it up asap. It is full grain leather, has all the easy close tech, the webbing is perfect for infield and it helps for pop flys, has an adjustable strap to get a good fit and is hands down the best glove for a player (rec or select) you can find for sub $60. The problem, as mentioned, is Mizuno changes their product numbers quite a bit. I don’t think they make an infield glove with all the features this one has…strap, flex bridge, etc all on one glove anymore and this one is discontinued I think. Also, I know the pocket and web aren’t as big a deal on youth gloves until you get to 11 or 12 but if you have the options to get the exact right glove on a youth model, do it. Research pocket, web types, size and what is used for each position and make a best choice from there keeping in mind they will use it all over the field, except catcher. IMO Mizuno Prospect series gives you the best options out there for players under 11/12 age.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *