What is it? Composite is made up of Carbon Fiber. Carbon Fiber is the common name used to refer to plastic (epoxy) reinforced by a graphite textile, otherwise named carbon fiber composite. Confused yet? Me too! However I have looked into what this stuff really is, and believe it or not it is all that it promises to be. Composite is used in high-quality cars, boats, bicycles, and planes, including formula one race cars. All of the composite bat manufacturers have banked on the success of composite in their baseball bats due to massive success with composite bats in the softball industry. It is well established in softball and is becoming a big part of baseball. Carbon fiber is very expensive, but has an unbelievable weight-to-strength ratio. So far attempts to put it in to mass production have failed, due to inadequate demand, and lack of skilled craftsmen.
How is it applied in baseball? – Baseball manufacturers have made the commitment and devoted huge amounts of money to testing, development, and production of composite bats. The composite make-up of a baseball bat is completely different from the traditional alloy. The new bats sound and feel completely different when the ball comes off the bat, and most importantly needs to be broken in to achieve maximum “pop”. The break in period takes approximately 150-300 pitches to compress the composite. The reason the composite bats have a “break in period” is because (mentioned above) composite is made of carbon fiber that has been woven together in sheets with epoxy added which eventually will bond the two products once place into a vacuum pump and heated up. Known as the strongest/lightest material man has ever created, it still has room to be compressed. That is exactly what the break in period is for these baseball bats. The sheets of carbon fiber and epoxy need to be “smashed” together to create a completely solid material. That is why the composite bats seem like they are dead when you first start hitting them. Composite bats will never sound the same as alloy bats but they do have the same if more pop (once broken in). Personally It took me awhile to get used to the idea of breaking in these bats, but I have had the chance to see a “broken-In” composite in action and I was amazed at how fast the ball comes off the bat. Just ask Fresno State’s Steve Detwiller who provided the offense throughout the College World Series, especially in the final game going 3-4 using Easton’s Easton Stealth IMX BCN9 composite bat. I am sure he will agree that composite is for real and is here! Let us know what you think. We would love to get opinions from players who have switched to the composite bats.