Top 10 best baseball gifts of 2020 are…
After 30 years of playing baseball…
After 16 seasons playing for professional organizations (who by the way take their gear very seriously)…
After 8 years of being sent many different product samples for review on the website…
Over that time, I’ve sorted through thousands of brands and massive amounts of clutter…
…and narrowed down my favorites to a trusty few.
So here they are, “Doug’s favorites – best baseball gifts in 2020” – Organized in the following way:
- Inexpensive Baseball Gifts
- Steal the Show
Inexpensive Baseball Gifts
These are inexpensive gifts that I consider “must-haves” for the serious baseball player.
1 —- Reaction ball
A reaction ball is FUN, but also incredibly useful for developing fielding skills and hand-eye coordination. It’s also a great way to practice your skills when you don’t have a lot of space!
2 —- Hand grip squeezers
A number of scientific studies have linked forearm and grip strength with swing velocity.
In other words, the stronger your hands and forearms are, the better bat speed you can create.
In my own career, I have definitely found this to be true. During long baseball seasons, pro players tend to lose muscle as the season progresses (after working out more intensely during the off season). However, I found that the secret to keeping the bat feeling light in my hands all season was to keep these grip squeezers in my bag.
They come in various levels of difficulty.
- For High School age up to Pro, This is the exact set that I use and love.
- For Middle School age and younger, check out these adjustable grip strengtheners
3 —- StanceCheck Glasses
Created by my old coach with the Twins, Gene Glynn, it’s a hitting aid that is both incredible simple and absolutely GENIUS.
Don Baylor spent 19 YEARS playing baseball in the Major Leagues, and he called these “one of the most effective hitting aids I’ve ever seen.”
Every baseball player should have these in his bag, and put them on from time to time as a “tune up”.
It’s surprisingly easy for ANY baseball player to get into the habit of not using both eyes equally to see ball. The symptoms are not seeing the ball well, too many swing and misses, or feeling like you “just missed” that last pitch. Often these things are blamed on mechanics or something else, when the fix is really as simple as seeing the ball better.
Discount Code: Get free shipping with the code ” pbi ” from StanceCheck (Last day to order for Christmas is Dec 19th)
4 —- Baseball books
- 90% Mental – This book is very unique because the author is BOTH a former Major League pitcher AND a certified sports psychologist. I really enjoyed learning from someone who truly knows knows both sides.
- Heads Up Baseball 2.0 – I’ve read a LOT of baseball books, and this was one of the easiest to understand and apply. More importantly, I saw real improvements in my own mental toughness and mental approach as I applied these principles to my game.
- Hitting Drills for a Batting Tee – This is my book of batting tee drills that comes with 20 free videos. We worked really hard to update it this year, with all new videos and some new bonus teaching content. The Personal Drill Helper is a feature inside the book that helps you identify specific swing deficiencies and then lists which drills will help fix them.
- Raise Your Game by Alan Stein Jr. – This isn’t just about baseball, but it will definitely get any athlete (or non-athlete) motivated to be the best they can be. It’s full of inspiring stories and high-performance “secrets” from successful people… mostly athletes
- Way of the Warrior Kid – By former Navy Seal Jocko Willink. Reading level 8 to 12 years. The reviews on this book are 4.9 out of 5 stars, on 4,489 ratings. That’s insane! But I read this book together with my daughter, and I have to agree. So many good lessons, and it’s a fun read too.
Stealing the show…
If every time your kid asked for something special and you said “maybe you’ll get it for Christmas” – This is your chance to deliver!
These are the gifts that will really bring a smile.
(They are also incredibly useful for serious baseball player)
5 —- Bat Sensor / Swing Analyzer
There’s a famous quote, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.“
Especially in baseball, without measurements, it’s easy to get stuck in a constant state of guessing.
My favorite swing analyzer on the market provides measurements for:
- Hand speed,
- Barrel speed,
- Approach angle
- Distance in zone
- Applied power
- And more (11 total).
Which, obviously, is helpful to know if that last hitting drill or mechanical change is working!
There’s also a whole bunch of other features, like seeing your swing in 3D, tracking your improvements over time, free access to instructors through the app, groups, Damage Potential, etc.
Basically, this cool tech is a sure-fire win for a happy kid on Christmas morning.
Discount Code: Get it from Amazon
6 —- Smart bat!
The Smart Bat a Marrucci wood bat with the Swing Tracker sensor (which I just mentioned above) built into the bat.
This is nice because the bat looks streamline & doesn’t have the bat sensor attached to the end of the knob.
This is a good option especially if you wanted “in game” feedback because it keeps the Swing Tracker safe from being stepped on from a catcher or umpire accidentally.
The sensor will also come with the regular straps, so you can still use it on your other bats as well.
Discount Code: 10% off at Diamond Kinetics with code “pbi10 ”
7 —- Pocket Radar Smart Coach
There’s a reason every baseball stadium in the country has a throwing velocity station in their kids area.
Kids LOVE being able to measure their velocity.
You can compete against your siblings and friends.
Most importantly, for the serious players, you can measure improvement… which means you can get to know your how mechanical adjustments are affecting velocity.
While Gift idea #8 (below) gives more data, a radar device like this one has one big advantage… it can be used in a real game setting.
I’m recommending the Pocket Radar because I tested it against my Stalker radar gun (The Stalker is the industry standard for Major League scouts).
In the test, the Pocket Radar performed really well, consistently being within 1 MPH of my Stalker radar gun.
8 —- PitchTracker Baseball
Bat sensors have been around for a while, but now PITCHERS can benefit from sensor technology as well.
Pros – The PitchTracker baseball feels just like a real baseball, but there’s a sensor inside to measure things like:
- Spin direction
- Spin rate / RPM (The hottest new metric for pitchers)
When you throw, the sensor feeds info to your smartphone or tablet.
Pros – This gift is really great for someone who is actively working on more advanced pitches where knowing spin rate and spin direction would be helpful.
Cons – Can’t hit this baseball, so you can’t use it in games. Also, it’s not as convenient as the PocketRadar, since you need to deal with bluetooth pairing and things like that. If you care more about is velocity and convenience, definitely go with the Pocket Radar.
Discount Code: get it from Amazon
9 —– Best batting tee
The Tanner Heavy batting tee is #1 on our list of Best Batting Tees.
Let me tell you, I’ve used dozens of different batting tees, and this remains my favorite.
It lasts forever. It won’t ding your bat. It won’t wobble or move when you hit. It doesn’t interfere with your swing or view of the baseball (like some other popular tees I’ve tried – ugh). It’s easy to unscrew and throw in a bag.
And, best of all, the base remains stable on uneven ground… including if you want to set it on top of home plate!
The home plate thing is big. Simulating pitch-placement around the strike zone is an essential part of a good batting tee routine.
Without an actual home plate, it can be difficult to visualize properly (especially true for younger hitters).
The Heavy Tee is the only tee I’ve ever seen that can be used like that, with ANY home plate.
10 —- Bounceback net
You might remember the video I made a while back: 6 Fielding drills you can do in your driveway (or basement, or back yard).
If you have a kid that’s bursting with energy and always wants to be doing baseball stuff, this net could be your new best friend!
Now, your kid won’t need a partner if he wants to do baseball stuff at home.It develops coordination, throwing and fielding skills… and is hours of fun too.
This rebounder net is solid quality and works great (fair warning though, it’s quite big!)
Or if you want to use one that’s more travel friendly and doesn’t take up as much space, I love using this one https://amzn.to/334dphK
11 —- Sock net / Practice net
Whether you’re hitting off a tee at home or you just don’t feel like chasing baseballs all over the field, these nets are incredibly useful.
There are loads of these on Amazon, but I’ve not yet found one better than this one (see my review video below).
This baseball practice net from Rukket is durable, easy to assemble and take down, and works great.
I hope this list of my favorite baseball gear is helpful for you.
As a parent myself, I know it can be difficult to come up with ideas for gifts, or to know what the best options are. I’m here for you if you have any questions.