How to Choose the Right Baseball Bat
Choosing the right baseball bat can be a very confusing process.
Today with all of the different options and technologies being offered what seems like an
easy process can become a daunting task. With some key knowledge and a little research,
buying the right bat can be an easy and rewarding experience. We have created a “bat buying guide”
to help you find the bat that fits your needs.
Starting with the basics: Different Types of Baseball Bats
High School/College/Adult Bats
Otherwise known as adult, these baseball bats are designed for players
age 13 and up. Specifically for high school and college players, the sizes of the bats will range from 30″ to 34″.
The barrel diameter is 2 5/8” and a – 3 weight drop (for example is you have a 32” bat the weight will be 29 ounces).
All of these bats will have the size and barrel diameter stamped somewhere on the bat and needs to have
a BESR (Bat Exit Speed Rating) certification to be legal for most leagues.
Senior League/Big Barrel Bats
Senior league bats are those designed for the intermediate youth players generally 10 to
13 years old. The lengths of these bats can range from 27″ to 32″ and will either have a barrel diameter of 2 5/8″ or 2 3/4″
known as the big barrel. The weight drop in these bats will vary from -5 all the way up to -11. Baseball leagues will
vary in rules whether they allow the 2 5/8″ or 2 3/4″ barrels, so make sure you check with your league rules before you
decide on your bat.
Youth/Little League Bats
Little league bats are geared for players approximately age 7 through 12. All of these bats
will have 2 1/4″ barrel diameters; the lengths will range from 27″ to 32″. Youth league bats will have the largest
weight drop of any bats available, -7 to -13.5. Generally the bats will be labeled with the leagues in which they
are used, Little League, Dixie Youth, Babe Ruth, Pony, and AABC.
As a general rule, bigger, stronger players usually prefer a heavier bat for maximum power.
Smaller players usually benefit from a lighter bat that allows greater bat speed. To determine the weight that’s
right for you, swing a variety of bats and see how much weight you’re comfortable with.
Length and weight combine for peak performance. A longer bat gives you greater reach, allowing you to hit balls on the other side of the plate. But remember that a longer bat may be heavier, and the extra weight could slow you down. Like checking the weight, you need to swing bats of different lengths to decide what length best suits you.
Different Bat Materials
Today almost all bats are either made of High grade aircraft alloys, or recently
composite bats have emerged. This is where things start to get confusing, in the last 5 – 10 years high
grade alloys have always been used in the construction of these bats, recently composite and hybrid technology
have changed the way the leading manufacturers are making their bats.
The options available:
- 100% Alloy bats – made completely of aircraft grade alloys
- 100% Composite bats – made of composite fibers
- Half & Half bats – bats that have a composite handle, and aluminum, alloy, or hybrid barrel
- Hybrid Bats – Bats that have combined two different materials, such as alloy with carbon
Composite Baseball Bats
The new composite bats on the market are different from the alloy bats.
A composite bat has different features, which require a “break in” period before the bat reaches
its optimal performance. With composite bats a player will need to hit approximately 200-300 real
leather baseballs while rotating the barrel to completely break in the surface area of the barrel.
The composite bats will also sound more like you are hitting a wood bat than an alloy one. Once the
composite bats are broken in they will greatly increase the sweet spot and durability, which some
studies have shown surpass the ability of standard alloy bats. The composite bats will carry a higher
price tag, but with the correct break in and care will be worth the price.