What the Pros Wear: What Gear Do MLB Catchers Wear? Here’s Your 2022 Catcher’s Gear Report

For the first time since 2018, we’ve compiled data from the 2022 MLB season to bring you the Catcher’s Gear Report. Focusing on the starting catchers listed on Baseball-Reference.com’s 2022 team pages, we examined the most popular brands of catching gear, gloves and masks used throughout the year.

Catchers need gear they can rely on for performance and safety. Looking at the numbers, there’s a clear consensus about the best gear in the game. Rawlings, Nike, and Force3 solidified themselves as some of the top brands among Major League catchers, all with very strong performances.

Working from top to bottom, let’s first take a look at the most popular mask/helmet brands around the league.

These days, it’s common for catchers to mix and match their favorite mask brands with different gear. This can be attributed to the new and improved head protection technology which not all brands provide. For example, a catcher wearing a Force3 mask with Nike gear has become common and players opt to protect their heads outside of contractual obligations. For example, Nike athlete Will Smith loves the Force3 mask, so he wears it. Nike does not require Smith to wear Nike branding on his head, as they believe that protecting one’s head and brain takes the place of marketing contracts.

Before we look at the stats, what do you wear?

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Table of Contents

Force3 Mask: Worn by 47% of MLB starting catchers

Will Smith’s Force 3 Defender Mask

Force3’s popularity has skyrocketed among catchers in recent years and they were named the Official Catchers Mask Partner of MLB Players, Inc. in 2021. The quality head protection provided by their Defender mask helped them earn the top spot in this category. National League standouts Will Smith, Travis d’Arnaud and Austin Hedges all picked Force 3 in 2022.

All-Star Mask: Worn by 30% of MLB Starting Catchers

The All-Star has been one of the strongest brands in the game over the years, especially among catchers. Although Force3 is in control at the moment, All-Star catcher’s masks/helmets are a mainstay in MLB, and with the introduction of the MVP5 helmet (worn by Ratschmann below), their safest helmet ever, they are on the cusp of crowning glory. can come for.

The MVP5’s shock absorption is different from the Force3’s, but it seems to achieve a similar result: protecting the head of the most irreplaceable man on the field. Two of the league’s biggest up-and-coming catching stars, Adele Ratshman and Joey Bart, rocked All-Star helmets throughout the season.

Adley Rutschman’s All-Star MVP5 Helmet

Other Mask Brands Worn by MLB Starting Catchers

Gary Sanchez chose Force3’s hockey style mask despite being a Nike signed player.

Rounding out the list were Nike (13%), Rawlings (7%), and EvoShield (3%). Last season, Nike and Rawlings were very much in vogue. In 2022, it seemed most catchers were more concerned with head protection than endorsements and opted for catcher-specific brands All-Star and Force3.

Two-piece mask versus hockey-style helmet

Salvi wore the Force 3 traditional mask.

What style of headgear a catcher chooses to wear in a game is all about preference. You may see MLB catchers wearing traditional two-piece style masks instead of hockey-style ones. This held true in 2022, with 77% wearing a two-piece and 23% going with a hockey-style one.

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Feeling comfortable behind the plate is important, and choosing the right gear can make a difference in the way a catcher performs. The league’s two most popular gear brands, Nike and All-Star, are worn by 73% of all starting catchers, including some of the league’s best.

Before we get into the pros, which chest and leg guards do you wear?

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Nike: Worn by 53% of MLB Starting Catchers

Nike, the marketing juggernaut, has been a big player in the game of catching up for years. Catchers are featured prominently on television broadcasts and this means they are offered lucrative contracts to wear the gear. His player-exclusive gear is one of the most sought-after pieces of baseball equipment among non-professional and non-sponsored catchers. (By the way, still no word from Nike on Dick’s Catchers gear). They lead in the chest and leg guard category with All-Stars like JT Realmuto, Wilson Contreras, and Gary Sanchez sporting Nike gear last season.

JT Realmuto’s Player-Exclusive Gray and Red Nike Catchers Gear

All-Star: Worn by 20% of MLB starting catchers

Although All-Star sits 33 points below Nike, they remain a strong contender among catching gear brands. 2022 Platinum Glover Jose Trevino and Alejandro Kirk both relied on All-Star gear behind the dish during their breakout years.

Jose Trevino’s All-Star S7 Axis Catchers Gear

Other Gear Brands Worn by MLB Starting Catchers

Behind the top two leaders there was a huge drop in popularity of the gear. Rounding out the list of remaining brands, Easton ended up with 10%, Rawlings and Force3 each at 7%, and EvoShield at 3% each.

Yasmani Grandal’s Force3 Chest Protector and Shin Guards

Wherever you look, you’ll find at least one constant in MLB; Rolling Gloves. According to our 2022 WPW Glove Report, Rawlings controlled the majority of all gloves worn by MLB starters (55%). This was true for trend catchers as well, but by a very large margin.

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Rawlings Gloves: Worn by 70% of MLB starting catchers

In 2022, Rawlings was dead even with center fielders catching for the highest percentage of glove appearances used by the position. Favored by Gold Glovers such as Sean Murphy, two-time winner JT Realmuto, and five-time winner Salvador Pérez; Rawlings continued to dominate the glove market not only among catchers but throughout the league.

Sean Murphy has been using Rawlings’ mitts since his rookie season in 2019

All-Star Gloves: Worn by 13% of MLB starting catchers

At 13%, All-Star is the second most popular brand in this group. They continue to produce quality gloves that are loved by players such as Max Stacey of the Angels and Martin Maldonado of the Astros.

Martin Maldonado wears the 34″ All-Star Pro-Elite Catchers Mitt

Other Gloves Worn by MLB Starting Catchers

In addition to Rawlings and All-Star, we found Mizuno (worn by Travis D’Arnaud and Jonah Heim), Wilson (worn by Tyler Stephenson), Easton (worn by Austin Hedges), and Force3 (worn by Yasmani Grandal).

Let us know what gear you like behind the dish!

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