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Best Value for Youth Baseball Catcher’s Gear in 2022

Key Takeaways

  • Products names change frequently from year to year but the specifications change very little
  • Buying a set is a great way to save money
  • Detailed product reviews to help you make your buying decision

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When your child turns 8 years old, most youth rec leagues allow full-time catchers in games.

If you haven’t done so already, read my post Why Your Child Should Be a Catcher to understand why it can be critical in developing your child into a sound baseball player.

One potential drawback to being a catcher is that the position is physically demanding.

So in order to not discourage your child from being a catcher (due to bumps and bruises), you want to provide them with the maximum protection and that is where a quality catcher’s gear come into play.

Leveraging my experience as a parent and a youth baseball coach for over 7+ years, I am going to share some of my thoughts on buying catcher’s equipment for your child.

Although some youth baseball leagues allow 5 or 6 year olds to take part being a catcher, most start catching when they turn 6 or 7 years old.

For this age group, there are really only two catcher’s sets: MacGregor Youth Catcher’s Gear Pack and an All-Star League Series T-ball set.

MacGregor Youth Catcher’s Gear Pack

MacGregor’s set is a basic, starter set geared towards the very young players.

The product specification states that the set is designed for 8 to 12 year old players, but in reality, it’s good for players in the 6-8 year old range.

The set comes in black or red and although the helmet covers both ears and the face mask has an extension at the bottom to act as a throat guard, the design is NOT considered to be a hockey style mask.

The chest protect comes with a groin extender because many kids do not wear athletic cups (but you should encourage your child to wear one to get used to it).

The shin guards provide a double-knee protection which is inferior to the triple-knee protection but since pitchers at this age really cannot throw hard, it is not a big deal.

MacGregor junior catcher set is sized for small, youth players so all parts are relatively easy to adjust.

  • Catching Mask/Helmet (MCB75C): 6 1/2″- 7/14″
  • Chest Protector (MCB75): 9 1/2″
  • Leg Guards (MCB75B): 10″

As of this writing, has it in stock as well as ($140 + $15 ship).

Please note that there are many images with incorrect styles and sizes for this set. For example, you may see a hockey goalie mask (with extended jaw shell) marked as junior youth set. This is incorrect as those masks with extended jaw protections are designed for older youth players.

All-Star League Series T-Ball Catcher Set

All-Star is a reputable brand well known for catcher’s equipment sSo it’s no surprise that it recently enhanced it’s t-ball catcher set to meet the latest NOCSAE standard for protection against commotio cordis.

Specifically sized for t-ballers, the set comes with easy adjust chest protector straps and leg guards, along with a full wrap-around helmet:

  • Catching Mask/Helmet (MVP1000): 6 1/8″- 7/14″
  • Chest Protector (CPCCTBALL): 9″
  • Leg Guards (LGTBALL): 10 1/2″

The face mask comes with a chin extender to protector their throats (a separate throat guard is also included in the set).

Due to supply chain issues, this revised set (SKU # CKCCTBALL) has limited availability but as of this writing, you may find it at:

You can expect to pay around $110 for the set.

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Youth catcher sizes look pretty identical to sets made for older players, including extended jaw protection (a la Hockey Goalie Mask style).

The weight of a helmet may become an issue for younger players so if your child is smaller than average for his age group, you may want to consider getting a custom set.

Youth – All Star System7 Axis Elite

Intended for players who are between 9 to 12 years old, All-Star System 7 Axis Elite is a NOCSAE certified catcher’s gear used frequently by travel team players.

This set comes in five different color varieties to your child’s taste.

Unlike the previously mentioned T-ball round helmets, All-Star set comes with a hockey goalie mask. I like the ventilated helmet but I wish they could have eliminated the side bars on the mask around the eyes.

Chest protector and leg guard pads are nice and thick but all these thick pads tend to make it hot during summer.

Just keep in mind that this Youth size has a bit of a weird helmet size so you definitely want your child to try it (tip: it’s better to have a slightly larger sized helmet than a tight fitting one).

As far as where to buy, since System7 Axis Elite (SKY :CKCC912S7XTT) has been around for few years, you can readily find them at:

On average, you can expect to pay somewhere around $350-400

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Intermediate sized catcher’s gear is targeted for players in the 13-14 year old bracket as 15 years old or older players generally move on to wearing adult sizes.

Intermediate – Mizuno Samurai

It was a tough decision between the Mizuno Samurai Intermediate vs. the All-Star System7 Axis Elite Intermediate catcher’s set.

They both performed very well and I think it came down to personal preferences.

In my opinion, the Mizuno Samurai Intermediate set won the battle for several reasons:

  • More consistent rebound during blocking – the chest pattern has a flatter surface which allows dirt balls to rebound more predictably
  • 2-piece foot/toe coverings for better protection and a large ankle protection from a plastic shell
  • Unobstructed peripheral vision (“I” bars near the area are pushed away further)

The Intermediate Mizuno Samurai catcher’s gear can be difficult to find but here are two stores:

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Adult sizes are sometimes broken into 15″ or 16″ sizes depending on the manufacturer.

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Final Thoughts

Buying a catcher’s equipment can be rather complex but by knowing some industry acronyms and terminologies can make the buying process easier.

I hope this article was helpful to you and if you have a set you want to recommend to all readers, please leave a comment below.