Shortstops, also known as the “captain(s) of the infield,” play an integral role in setting the tone for the defense. Therefore, they need a glove with the following features to ensure they make every play:
- A shorter length for greater control, which typically means either 11.5 inches or 11.75 inches.
- A shallow-to-medium depth pocket for quick transfers on regular groundballs and double play turns.
- Durable materials so that they can trust their mitt will keep its form during every play.
The Bottom Line: Shortstops need a glove that will vacuum every ground ball, and I have found gloves with an 11.5-11.75” length and shallow pocket are optimal for this task. The following gloves excel at providing the aforementioned features in a complete package:
5. Custom 44 Pro Gloves Signature Series 574 Pattern
The cheapest option on this list is also the most flexible one, as the features of the Custom 44 Pro Gloves Signature Series 574 Pattern allow you to make your glove as you wish:
- Choose between 11.5” and 11.75” models that are both modeled after Rawlings’ 200 pattern models and come with a squared-off heel and medium pocket depth.
- Choose between over a dozen color options, over ten customization areas, and multiple other significant customization choices to make your glove personal.
- Crafted with 44’s best materials, including their firm and smooth Kip Leather. While not better than Rawlings’ Pro Preferred materials, they are completely worth the price tag.
The Bottom Line: As a fully customized glove for $185, the Custom 44 Pro Gloves Signature Series 574 Pattern provides an excellent value with a solid pattern, plentiful customization options, and above-average materials.
4. Wilson A2000 1787
Although I typically recommend 11.5” as the best size for shortstop, you may benefit from using a slightly longer features of the 2018 Wilson A2000 1787:
- 11.75 inch 1787 pattern with a medium-to-deep pocket depth that will easily close around the ball with some work.
- Clean dark brown and blonde colorway that looks equally as stunning in person.
- Crafted with Wilson’s top-quality materials that will endure many seasons of use, including their famous Pro Stock Leather.
The Bottom Line: Those shortstops looking for a slightly longer mitt are hard-pressed to find a better 11.75” inch option than the exceptional combination of fit, feel, and playability that the 2018 Wilson A2000 1787 offers. Priced at $259.95.
3. Rawlings Pro Preferred PROS314-2CB
Shortstops looking (or needing) for a tighter fit are typically forgotten, but the features of the Rawlings Pro Preferred PROS314-2CB make it perfect for shortstops and those with smaller hands, including:
- 11.5-inch 314 Pattern with an I-web and flatter/shallower pocket design that forms wonderfully with a secure close.
- “Narrow Fit” = tighter hand and finger stalls for either a snugger feel or a more controllable fit for those with smaller hands.
- A straightforward black and camel colorway with red embroidery that glows in person.
- Crafted with Rawlings’ Pro Preferred materials, including their lightweight yet extremely firm and durable Kip leather.
The Bottom Line: After using a comparable 314 pattern model for over a year, I can now endorse this pattern as a truly great one for shortstop. When combined with a clean colorway and top-notch materials, the Rawlings Pro Preferred PROS314-2CB is worthy of its #3 ranking.
2. Rawlings Heart of the Hide PRO200-2
It’s a fact that Rawlings makes a plethora of top-tier shortstop gloves, but we have yet to find one that combines the following features to surpass the excellence of the Rawlings Heart of the Hide PRO200-2.
- 11.5” 200/204 pattern with a medium depth pocket and squared-off heel design that allows for quick transfers and a secure close.
- Traditional all-tan colorway with gray split welting that celebrates the heritage of Rawlings’ past models.
- Crafted with Rawlings’ high quality Heart of the Hide materials, including their durable and firm Steerhide leather.
The Bottom Line: Rawlings’ 204 pattern is generally considered their best for shortstop, but its additional classic colorway and top-notch materials push the Rawlings Heart of the Hide PRO200-2 to a #2 spot among shortstop gloves.
1. Wilson A2000 1786
Shortstops need a certain set of features to optimize their fielding ability when looking for a new glove, and the 2018 Wilson A2000 1786 exemplifies everything one needs:
- 11.5 inch 1786 pattern with an I-web, shallow pocket, and ideal bowled and symmetrical form for shortstop.
- Simple blonde and black colorway that ranks among the best-looking shortstop gloves on the market.
- Wilson’s top-quality materials that will endure many seasons of use, including their famous Pro Stock Leather.
The Bottom Line: My firm, tested belief that the 1786 Pattern is superior to its competitors, the existence of a sweet colorway, and the fact that the 2018 Wilson A2000 1786 is crafted out of durable materials push this mitt to the top of the list of Best Shortstop Gloves.