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?
Force3 Mask: Worn by 47% of MLB starting catchers
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.
Other Mask Brands Worn by MLB Starting Catchers
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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