Getting a new baseball glove for the start of a new season comes with many dilemmas. A lot can change in a year, and the glove that was all the rage last season might become all but obsolete the next. That means you need to do your research all over again if you plan on buying a new baseball glove.
Rawlings has always been one of my favorite brands for baseball gear and accessories. But if I had to pick a second, it would probably be Mizuno. So, I figured this is a good chance to talk about the gloves that they offer.
Now since both of these brands have a lot of different options to choose from, I will pick out one glove from their budget range and one from the expensive range for each of them. That way, you will have a clearer idea of what each brand offers. With that said, let’s get started.
Mizuno Pro Baseball Glove vs Rawlings PRO Preferred Baseball Glove
When it comes to quality and performance, neither Mizuno nor Rawlings is messing around. So I wanted to discuss the flagship gloves that each brand offers first. Of course, the caveat here is that if you are going with the top-tier gloves, the price will understandably be pretty steep. From Rawlings’s end, I decided to talk about the Pro Preferred, a glove that I have used for a long time in my career. And as for Mizuno, the Mizuno Pro is really the one that is talked about most often.
Let’s start with a quick chart to look at the key differences between the two gloves.
Mizuno vs Rawlings baseball Glove Quick Overview Comparison Table
|Name||Rawlings Pro Preferred||Mizuno Pro|
|Age Group||13 to adult||13 to adult|
|Size Options||11.5” to 34”||11.5” to 33.5”|
|Player Position||All Positions||All Positions|
|Material||Full-Grain Kip Leather||US Kip Leather|
|Break-in||30% Factory, 70% Player||Varied|
The Differences in Key Features:
With that out of the way, let’s dive deeper into the key features of the Rawlings Pro Preferred Baseball Glove, and the Rawlings Pro Preferred to give you a better idea about the two gloves.
· Glove Material and Construction
Both Mizuno Pro and Rawlings Pro Preferred to feature top-notch construction and build quality. And it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering how much the manufacturers ask for them. As for a clear winner between the two, there is none – it comes down to personal preference.
The Rawlings Pro Preferred is made with Full-grain Kip Leather and comes with wool padding on the inside to keep your hands comfy and protected against impact. This material also helps the glove retain its shape for a long time, so frequent use should not damage the glove’s structural integrity.
Furthermore, the glove features Pittards Sheepskin Lining designed to wick moisture from the hands and ensure you have a good experience out in the field. The pocket size and design vary depending on the model, but I have yet to see one that I did not like.
On a similar note, the Mizuno Pro features American Kip leather which is pretty much on par with the material used in the Pro Preferred. For the palm liner, the manufacturers went with the same leather that they used for the outer layer. This gives the glove a uniform and durable feel.
The pocket design of the gloves depends on the model that you are going with based on your playing position. And the structural integrity of the glove is excellent as well, ensuring the glove keeps its shape even after a season of heavy use.
· Age Group and Size Options
These premium gloves cater to adult or teenage players who plan on taking part in competitive baseballs. So if you are planning to get one for your Under-13 kid who is starting out in the little leagues, that’s a bad idea. These are only suitable for the hands of 13 years or older players.
The size options for both the Mizuno Pro and Rawlings Pro Preferred are pretty similar. The smallest glove size for both these gloves starts at 11.5 inches. However, the largest size in the case of the mitts for the two series is different. The Mizuno Pro, the largest size, caps out at 33.5 inches, while the Rawlings Pro Preferred is available up to 34 inches.
· Break-in Period
Both Mizuno Pro and Rawlings Pro Preferred take a while to break in when you buy them. And it makes sense, considering how these are pro-level baseball gloves. If you want your gloves to feel exactly the way you want them to, you need to put in the time and effort to break them in properly.
That being said, the Mizuno Pro offers a bit more flexibility here, giving you the option to choose how much control you want in breaking in your new gloves. With the Pro Preferred, you get about 30% break-in from the factory, leaving the rest 70% entirely in your hands.
Of course, being the premium gloves offered by their respective brands, it is natural for them to be pricier than the other options in their catalog. Both of these gloves are priced well over 350 dollars. However, if you want something cheaper from the same two brands, there are good options which I will get to later on.
The Mizuno Prospect features only a few models for specific positions, and the price of these gloves tends to vary depending on which one you are going with. If I am rounding up, I would say you are looking at around 350 to 360 dollars for the infield or outfield variants. For the mitts, you would have to go up to 400 dollars.
The Rawlings Pro Preferred costs around 20 to 40 bucks more, depending on the size and model you are going with. To be honest, though, the price difference between the two gloves isn’t enough to make this a deciding factor in your investment. If you can afford the Mizuno Pro, chances are the Rawlings Pro Preferred isn’t too expensive for you either.
Rawlings Player Preferred Glove vs Mizuno Prospect PowerClose Youth Baseball Glove Series (Beast on a Budget)
Baseball gloves don’t always need to be expensive, especially if you are getting them for a casual player who just wants to enjoy a game over the weekends or a rookie youth player. In that case, going with a budget-friendly glove is almost always the better approach.
Both Mizuno and Rawlings offer plenty of options for youth or casual players. From Rawlings’s end, I would recommend picking up the Player Preferred Series, and if you would rather go with Mizuno, the Prospect PowerClose Youth Baseball Glove might be a nice pickup.
A quick look at the chart below should give you a rough idea of the key differences between the two gloves.
Mizuno vs Rawlings Budget Gloves Comparison Table
|Name||Rawlings Player Preferred||Mizuno Prospect PowerClose|
|Age Group||12 to adult||Under 13|
|Size Options||12” to 33”||9” to 11.5”|
|Player Position||All Positions||Infield, Outfield, Pitcher|
|Material||Full-Grain Leather||Full-Grain Pigskin Leather|
|Break-in||80% Factory, 20% Player||No break-in required|
The Differences in Key Features:
In this section, I will talk in detail about the key differences in features between the Rawlings Player Preferred and Mizuno Prospect.
· Glove Material and Construction
Since both of these gloves are in the affordable range, you can’t really expect top-tier material and durability with them. Still, the quality of materials used to make them is not bad at all. You might not be able to make them last three or four seasons, but if you take care of them, both of these gloves should survive two seasons easily.
The Rawlings Player Preferred, for instance, boasts a full-grain leather construction and a Basket Web webbing design to ensure optimal performance for the player. In addition, the Zero Shock Palm Padding absorbs impact on caught balls, offering excellent protection for the user.
This glove features a traditional fit, and its versatile design allows you to use it both as an infield and outfield glove. As long as you get it in the right size for your hand, it should feel right at home. You also have a bit of a wiggle space thanks to the adjustable wrist straps.
The Mizuno Prospect also features an equally good build quality giving you full-grain pigskin leather as its main material. But its main highlight is its Butter Soft PU Palm Liner that makes the glove not only extremely durable but also enhances its overall comfort level.
Furthermore, the glove features MZO lining, which is designed to wick moisture from your hands, keeping the insides of the glove fresh and dry. The PowerClose technology in the glove makes it easier for the player to catch the ball by offering better Heel Flex. So for a beginner, this is a fantastic glove.
· Age Group and Size Options
The Rawlings Player Preferred is designed for teenagers and adults. As such, the smallest glove that they offer is 12 inches in length, while the largest is their 33-inch catcher’s mitt. And since it is available for all positions, it is a fantastic choice as a starter glove for many amateur baseball players.
The Mizuno Prospect, on the other hand, is strictly for kids. It is only available as an infield, outfield, or pitcher glove, and its size ranges from 9 inches to 11.5 inches. So teenagers or kids with larger hands might have a harder time finding one that fits them comfortably.
Needless to say, the Rawlings Player Preferred gives you more options and is a better fit if the player is aged 12 or older. But for youth players just getting into baseball, the Mizuno Prospect is a perfect choice.
· Break-in Period
Both the Player Preferred and the Prospect are designed to give the players a simple glove that they can use the moment they get their hands on it. While breaking in a new baseball glove can be a relaxing experience for many seasoned players, beginners prefer something that feels good right out of the box.
So it’s a good thing that both of these gloves boast a short break-in period. The Player Preferred comes about 80% broken in and out of the factory, giving you some control over how the glove will adjust to your hands. On the other hand, the Mizuno Prospect requires absolutely zero breaking-in.
If you don’t want to take the hassle of breaking in your glove at all, the Prospect might be the better choice here. But if you ask me, that 20% break-in that the Rawlings Player Preferred asks for is really not that much to ask. So don’t let that be the dealbreaker in your choice.
The Mizuno Prospect and the Rawlings Player Preferred are considered entry-level baseball gloves by their respective brands. So you can’t expect pro-grade performance from them if you are being realistic. What these gloves offer is an affordable way to play your upcoming baseball game with a decent experience.
As such, both of these gloves are priced way under 100 dollars. The Mizuno Prospect is the cheaper one of the two costing you around the ballpark of 60 dollars, depending on the size of the gloves that you are going for.
On the other hand, the Player Preferred costs slightly more, ranging from 70 to 80 dollars. If that seems like too much of a price hike for you, then the Mizuno Prospect is a decent option. Of course, if the money is not an issue, I would recommend picking out one from the higher-end models that I talked about earlier.
Is Mizuno or Rawlings Better?
To tell you the truth, there is no clear winner between Mizuno and Rawlings. Both of these brands offer plenty of options for the player. So, whether you are on a budget or want an expensive top-tier baseball glove, going with either of these brands is fine.
I hope my comparison between Mizuno and Rawlings could help you decide on which glove you want for yourself. Cheers!