Which baseball bat should you purchase? Should it be made out of wood, aluminum, or a composite material? A one piece or two? Should it be heavy or light? How long should it be? Will this bat increase your slugging percentage? Whoa, that’s a lot of questions and we are sure you have more of them. Well, guess what? Every hitter is different so the choice as to which bat to purchase is completely up to you. Only you will know which bat feels and works the best for you. We though, here at The Hardball Network, think there are several factors you should consider when purchasing a baseball bat.
Know Your League’s Regulations
Before we get into bat materials, length, weight, and all that other good stuff you need to take a minute to get to know the rules of the league and division you are playing in. Whether it is in Major League Baseball, the NCAA, or Little League, the rules will be different so don’t go dropping a ton of cash on a bat you can’t even use. Did you know that in 2018, certain divisions within Little League require a stamp on the bat you use with the USA baseball logo on it indicating that the bat meets the safety requirements set forth by the USA Baseball’s Youth Bat Performance Standard? Or that since 2012, you can only use a BBCOR (Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution) approved bat in high school and college? As advancements in bat technology have grown, player safety has become a bigger concern across the game. Through a simple google search, you can easily look up your league’s bat restrictions regarding size limits, materials used, and safety requirements. Don’t get stuck with a bat you can’t even use.
Ok, now that we know the rules of the league we are playing in its time to get to know the materials of the bat we are interested in buying. Today, bats are generally made in three styles: wood, aluminum, or composite. Wood bats are what you find the pros using and are made from various types of wood such as maple, ash, birch, and hickory. Each wood has its own qualities, pros, and cons. Wood bats are often heavier, more balanced, and credited with producing better hitters because they are less forgiving, but wood bats have a smaller sweet spot and are prone to breaking. Aluminum bats, on the other hand, are typically used by beginners. This is because they are lighter, easier to swing than a wood bat, have a larger sweet spot for hitting the ball, and do not break. There are various grades of aluminum the bats are made out of. The higher the grade, the more you pay, but with a higher grade comes better performance. The downfall of aluminum bats is that the performance of the bat declines over time. Composite bats are typically made from materials such as carbon fiber, graphite, and fiberglass. Composite bats are often even lighter than aluminum bats, have the largest sweet spot, and the bat’s performance improves over time. The cons to owning a composite bat are that the bat needs to be broken in, comes with the highest price tag, and are illegal in some leagues. There is one other option when purchasing a bat and that is the “Hybrid” bat which is a combination of an aluminum handle bonded to a composite barrel. Again, check your league’s rule book to see if hybrid bats are legal or not?
Bat Length and Weight
Now, that we know our league’s rules and the pros and cons of the different materials bats are made from we can begin looking at bat length and weight. When choosing the length of your bat and how heavy it should be, comes entirely down to personal preference. Every batter is different; different height, different strength levels, and of course we are all different types of hitters. When looking at bats, you want to find one that gives you enough plate coverage when you are in the batter’s box, is light enough to generate greater bat speed, but heavy enough to produce power on contact.
Below, we have listed examples of MLB superstar’s bat length and weight according to the player’s height and weight.
|Player||Height||Weight (lbs)||Bat Length (inches)||Bat Weight (oz)|
Bat Length and Weight Source: (http://croqueteer.com/)
Each bat manufacturer like Louisville Slugger, has there own guidelines that will help you find the best bat fit for you. Contacting a manufacturer or a trusted retailer is highly recommended in the bat buying process. That way you can purchase a correctly fitted bat that will perform to your expectations.
Pay What You Can Afford To Pay
The final truth is, it is you that determines how well you can hit not your bat. If you are a beginner then buying an entry level bat is probably the best way to go. There is no sense forking over hundreds of dollars for a higher end bat if you can’t even make contact, yet. You can give the worst hitter in the world the best bat on the planet and the bat will not turn them into a star, but if you give an advanced hitter an entry level bat they will still tear the cover off the ball. Something to think about when you go out to purchase your next bat.
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