May is upon us, and that means that the next two installments of the Rawlings Gold Glove Club models have been released. This month presents two models that are pretty darn nice:
Let’s completely break down each model for you to find out exactly what you would get if you were to purchase any (or both) of these models:
Rawlings Heart of the Hide PRO234-2BG
What It Is
The Rawlings Heart of the Hide PRO234-2BG is an interesting glove in that combines the 11.5” 200-pattern with the 31-pattern-derived dual welted back. I found this kind of weird, so I decided to look even further into this glove:
More on the Pattern
So, I was wondering, what kind of pocket do you get when you put the DATDUDE-based dual welting style on the 200 Pattern? It turns out that you get the best of the two patterns this new 234 pattern combines, the 31 pattern and the 200 pattern:
- Curved Finger Design: Maybe it is just me, but the curved finger design on 31 pattern models and Wilson infield models is perfect for the middle infield because it just makes a better, well-formed pocket.
- Shallow Pocket: Here is one area the 31 pattern excels at – the pocket depth. The 31 patterns maintains its shallow depth, unlike other models that can be formed deep and prevent you from making the necessary quick transfers up the middle.
- DATDUDE-based Dual Welting Back: Although this is the reason the glove has the curved finger design, you also have to admit that this dual welting is pretty sweet-looking, especially with the specific color (gold) used on this glove.
- Thumb-to-Pinky Close: Unlike other Rawlings infield models like the NP4, the 200 pattern has always been the one model in Rawlings’ lineup with a natural thumb-to-pinky close. That given, it is perfect for two-in-the-pinky grip or traditional grip users.
- Adult Hand Opening: Not everyone would like the tighter fit of the 31 pattern, so combining the good features of the 31 pattern (listed above) with the adult hand opening widens the aimed market.
- Full Padded Heel: I’ve heard a lot of mixed opinions on the low profiles heels on gloves like the Wilson A2K DP15 and the 31 pattern models. However, nobody seems to complain about the full padded heel on many Rawlings gloves, so this is a win for Rawlings.
Rawlings went with a more bizarre colorway for the Rawlings Heart of the Hide PRO234-2BG, combining black, gray, and Rawlings’ latest color addition, metallic gold. Here is how these colors are combined:
- Black: Palm, web, embroidery, and lacing
- Gray: back, thumb, and wrist
- Metallic Gold: binding, welting, and palm stamping
- Patches: Black and Gold
This is a sneakily good-looking model, as I like both the look of the gold welting and binding on the black and gray, and the look of the gold stamping on the black palm.
This is a pure middle infield model due to the mechanics and length of the pattern combined with the pocket depth. Although this may seem like a bold statement, I could certainly see the Rawlings Heart of the Hide PRO234-2BG competing with the Wilson A2000 1786 for best middle infield pattern because it share features like dual welting and a curved finger design with the 1786 while also combining the best from Rawlings’ best middle infield patterns, the 31 and 200.
Rawlings Pro Preferred PRODJ2B-BOG
What It Is
The Rawlings Pro Preferred PRODJ2B-BOG is what Rawlings calls the “Xander Bogaerts Game model,” despite the fact that Bogaerts is using a different glove this season. Anyways, this is an 11.5” model with an H-web and is the Pro Preferred version of the Rawlings Gold Glove Club May.
The Return of the DJ2
When Rawlings released their custom builder updates last year, they made on change that went undocumented by both us and other Glovers – completely deleted the DJ2 from the builder. This comes as no surprise as Derek Jeter (the namesake of the pattern) retired a few years prior and anyone wanting a DJ2 could simply order an NP4 and get the same thing.
However, if there was one player who had a chance of bringing back the DJ2, it would be the most prominent DJ2 user in the bigs right now – Xander Bogaerts. With this GGC model, the legacy of the DJ2 is reborn with a colorway and web that may be more enticing than the classic basket web PRODJ2.
What you get out of the DJ2 pattern is what you get out of the NP4 pattern – flat pocket, shallow pocket, and a natural thumb-to-pinky close. Of course, the H-web will make the wider pocket compared to the I-web NP4 models, but a shallower one than the basket web DJ2’s.
It is not everyday that you see a mixture of the three colors on the Rawlings Pro Preferred PRODJ2B-BOG: red, camel, and black. Here is the official colorway on this model:
- Red: Web and Binding
- Camel: Welting, Lacing, and Embroidery
- Black: All Leather on the Back and the Palm
- Tone-on-Tone Stitching
Sure, it is not a prominent colorway, but it is absolutely filthy. I’ve always been a huge fan of red on glove, especially when placed on areas like the web, but I was quite surprised to see how nicely the camel gelled with the red. Putting these two colors, camel and red, with black leather makes one of the nicest colorways I have seen on a glove.
Just like the Rawlings Heart of the Hide PRO234-2BG, the Rawlings Pro Preferred PRODJ2B-BOG is a middle infield model. Although the pocket is quite shallow on this model, we would also recommend this for third basemen, too, because the width plays well at the hot corner. All in all, we see the Rawlings Pro Preferred PRODJ2B-BOG as a top quality option for both middle infielders and third basemen that also has good looks.