Whether the storied A2000 or the A2K, Wilson hasn’t left its classic fielding gloves to convention, moving forward on upgrades to both models using fresh materials, new construction and a nod to the elite ballplayers in the company’s midst.
New for this year, Wilson has unveiled Superskin material on the A2K model, created a new flat-finger binding on the A2000 and is working on plans to release a new Jon Lester game model in January.
For the first time, Wilson has added Superskin — a microfiber material half the weight of leather with twice the durability — to its A2K line. The material reduces glove weight up to 20 percent compared to the all-leather version. The A2K line has always drifted toward the heavy side of the glove world because Wilson uses the “best of the best leather” and double-palm construction.
“It makes things heavier than the regular A2000s,” says Ryan Smith, Wilson product manager for ball gloves. “We wanted to try this out and it has been a major success for us so far. People have really liked the Superskin on it and it also quickens the break-in time.”
New for the A2000, Wilson crafted a first-in-the-game flat-finger binding for added comfort. After receiving feedback from professional players that the binding of the piping on the outside of the wrist can hurt the finger when the finger is out of the glove, Wilson started testing options, landing on a way to flatten it out, while still keeping construction quality at the desired level. Using a one-piece soft leather pad at the first finger divider, the leather wrap adds additional cushioning. “The padding works on both sides, so it affects the index and middle finger,” Smith says.
In the initial release of the flat-finger binding, Wilson tested out the construction on two infield models, the 1786 and 1787, models with multiple versions.
Also new for the A2000, Wilson wanted to update with a new pattern, more in line with the growing size of gloves seen across the sport, especially at the infield positions. “A shortstop or second baseman can be playing on either side of the diamond or in shallow outfield, so they like a bigger glove,” Smith says. “We started seeing that with fielders and pitchers they are wanting to go bigger.” In that vein, Wilson introduced the B125 model at 12-1/2 inches, a “more up to date model with the way the game is being played.”
Along with the new pattern came a new game model. The B125 will turn into Jon Lester’s pattern of choice, allowing Wilson to launch the Lester game model, JL34GM, in January 2019. The glove will debut exclusively on Wilson’s website before becoming part of the global product line for the 2020 series. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Lester’s Never Quit foundation.
Lester joins Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts, Carlos Correa and Dustin Pedroia with Wilson game models.
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.