Having a baseball glove that matches your position is vital to success in the game. Infielders are known for making quick plays and ball transfers, so their glove should allow them to accomplish this. When choosing a glove for that second baseman, third baseman or shortstop, keep in mind these three main components: pocket depth, web design and sizing.
“If you’re a middle infielder, you’d usually want a shallower pocket depth for the quicker release and the ease of getting rid of the ball,” says DICK’S Sporting Goods Associate Joey Lancianese. Spending less time reaching for the ball inside your glove will result in a faster throw to the base and a smoother transfer on a double play. For third basemen, Lancianese states: “With the impact of the ball (in the glove), how close you are to the batter and how close you are when you’re creeping in, you’re going to want a little deeper pocket.”
If you’re a second baseman or shortstop you need a quick release to throw the runner out at first. This means you’re going to want to look for a glove that has an I-Web. This style has holes conveniently placed so that when you go down to field a ground ball, the dirt just falls out, reducing the possibility of messing up your grip on the ball. Other popular styles of webbing for middle infielders include the single post and dual post designs.
The style preferences differ at the hot corner, however. With less reaction time, third basemen need to worry more about stopping the ball and less about dirt and grip. For third basemen, a two-piece closed webbing is preferred, as it aides in stopping hard hit balls better than an open-style webbing would.
The infield is where you’re going to see the smallest gloves on the field, but even those sizes vary when it comes to the specific positions. For second basemen, transferring the ball and grip take precedence over range. It is common to see these position players wearing the smallest gloves, with most measuring 11 to 11½ ” from heel to tip.
For shortstops and third basemen, putting the leather on the ball is the main goal, so a larger glove is more attuned to the left side of the diamond. Typically, gloves worn by these position players range from 11½ to 12 “. That extra bit of glove allows for a better chance at snagging that rocket down the line or dribbler up the middle.
With all of these characteristics in mind, the final thing to consider when searching for a new infielder glove is to find one that feels right to you. You will want it to be snug on the hand and have a secure fit. The glove should offer a comfortable combination of stiffness and flexibility. For look and color, pick a glove that fits your taste.