Buying the best baseball bats are not as simple as it sounds. You need to be thoroughly aware of what kind of baseball bat you want because there are literally hundreds of different baseball bats available in the market.
They differ from each other on the basis of a number of things which are listed below. When buying a bat, you must consider these things.
How to Choose a Baseball Bat
Below are things to look when you choose a baseball bat
Originally, baseball bats were made with hickory wood. Over the years, different companies have started using many different types of woods for the manufacture of baseball bats. These include bamboo, maple and ash among others. More recently, other materials have also been used in the manufacture of bats.
Notable among these are alloy bats which comprise of aluminum mixed with another metal. Pure aluminum bats are also available. Composite bats, which are another type, avail a combination of carbon material and graphite as the manufacturing material.
The barrel of a baseball bat is its decisive part. It is the thick part at the far end of the bat which is used to actually hit the ball. So on the strength, material, thickness and overall shape of the barrel depends the strength and effectiveness of the hit you strike with it.
Baseball bats have varying barrel thickness. Some bats carry a big barrel, others come with a slim barrel. A big barrel puts force in the strike but is heavier. A smaller barrel swings lightly and quickly but does not offer a very solid hit. The exact area on the barrel which is ideal for hitting the ball is called the sweet spot.
Taper generally refers to the handle of the baseball bat. It includes the shape, length and diameter of the taper.Normally, the diameter of a baseball taper is limited to 31/32 of an inch.
But a player may prefer a different size. A thicker taper, for example, will not carry a lot of vibration and sting to your hands if you hit the ball poorly.
A thin taper, on the other hand, allows greater speed and allows the player to turn his wrists rapidly. So both types have their uses and disadvantages.
The grip of a baseball bat is the covering at the handle. It is usually used only on aluminum bats, although some innovative forms of grips have recently been used on wooden bats as well.
For aluminum bats, grips made from different sorts of materials are available. Most popular is the rubber grip which can easily absorb the shock of a strike. Others kinds of grips include the leather grip which allows the player to get a better hold of the handle when striking.
The baseball bat ends in a wide and thick portion which is called a knob. A knob serves a number of purposes. It allows a player to keep a grip at the bat and to stop the bat from slipping out of his hands.
It also ensures that when a player is swinging the bat, it doesn’t simply escape out of his hands. Different types of bat knobs are commonly used. These include the oval knob, the rectangular knob, the tapered knob and many others.
The weight of a baseball ball is one of the most important characteristics. The famous calibration of baseball bats in categories such as drop 5, drop 3, drop 10 is based on their weight.
Typically, the weight of a bat is directly linked to its length. So if a bat is of a particular length, there will be a standard corresponding weight related to that specific length.
A heavier bat of course comes with great solidity and more power but it is slow. A light bat is quick to swing but may not strike with the same amount of impact.
There is a quick way of determining what bat length suits you. Place the knob of a baseball bat near the root of your arm. Now hold out your arm straight in front of you. If with the bat’s bottom rested against the bottom of your arm, you are able to hold the barrel of the bat, then it is of the right size.
If the barrel is too close or too far from the hand, then you need a different length. Length is critically important because it directly affects your swing, your strike and your performance. So be sure to find a bat with length that suits you perfectly.
Typically, adults above the age of 17 can generally work fine with a 34-inch long bat. 36 inches is the length limit for BBCOR bats.
Different leagues may require the bats of the participating players to conform to certain certifications. The most notable among these is the Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) certification. For baseball matches on the High School and College level, it is absolutely essential for all players to carry a BBCOR certified bat.
A BBCOR certified bat is usually a drop 3 or heavier bat, with a maximum barrel size of 2 5/8 inches and it limits the allowable trampoline effect on any given bat.
The key aim of BBCOR certification is to bring non-wood bats closer to wood bats in performance by such restrictions and to ensure that no bats can hit too fast in high school and college matches to seriously injure anyone. Other major certifications include the Accelerated Break-In Test (ABI). Bats are tested for ABI and certified by NCAA.
Types of Baseball Bat
There are a literally hundreds of different types of baseball bats. They are categorized on the basis of their manufacture material, their shape, size, length, brand and many other factors.
Still, in a more general way, it can be safely said that there are four main types of baseball bats: bats made of wood, bats made of aluminum, bats manufactured from a composite material and hybrid bats.
Wood bats are the oldest and original type of baseball bats. Originally, baseball bats were made from hickory wood but today they are made from many different types of wood. It is interesting to note here that most major league matches involve the use of wood bats.
Aluminum bats are lighter, swing more easily and offer a trampoline effect which makes a strike more forceful. They are ideally used by pre-high school and high school students who can get more out of their strikes by using light-weight aluminum bats.
Composite bats use a combination of different materials in manufacture. They are light-weight and high-performing but are quite expensive and not allowed at many leagues. A hybrid bat typically uses aluminum handle and a composite barrel.
Youth Baseball Bats
Youth baseball bats refer to a specific category of such bats which are usually meant for the younger players. They range between drop 8 and drop 13 in terms of weight and are equipped with a 2 1/4 inch barrel. It is often a requirement for youth baseball bats to carry the right certification.
The most popular certifications for youth baseball bats include USSA and ASA. Two major types of youth baseball bats are Tee-Ball bats and Little League Bats. Tee Ball bats are meant for very young players, aged between 5 and 7.
They are usually made of aluminum or alloy, and are light enough to be wielded by kids in this age bracket. Little League bats are slightly longer and are meant for kids aged between 7 and 13.
Little League Baseball Bats
Little League baseball bats are a type of youth baseball bats. These bats are typically meant for young kids aged between 7 and 13. Theycome with a diameter of 2 1/4 inches and the manufacturing material is usually aluminum or alloy.
Since Little League bats are usually used in Little League matches and series, they have to be appropriately certified and approved. This typically requires the bat to be legal in one of the most notable baseball associations such as USSSA, AABC, Babe Ruth or Pony.
Little League baseball bats are mostly light-weight and offer a good strike power. Since they are a precursor to Senior League matches, players often tend to make use of such bats which will help them easily transition to the Senior League bats in the future.
Drop 5 Baseball Bats
Weight drop is a measure between the weight of a baseball bat and its length. A bat with a higher weight drop is light-weight while a bat with a low weight-drop is heavier. Drop 5 baseball bats are typically made of aluminum, alloy or a composite material.
They come with a barrel of 2 5/8-inch diameter and have a large sweet spot for the perfect hit. A large sweet spot ensures that the maximum number of hits can be scored with it.
These bats are typically suited for pre high school baseball. In the Senior League baseball matches, typically a bat with a drop weight of -8 to -10 is used. So using a drop 5 bat in pre-high school lets a player transition smoothly to the high-school range.
That’s because when switching from a drop 5 bat to say, a drop 8 bat, the weight difference is not so significant as to affect performance. If, however, the player has to shift from a drop 3 bat to drop 8, he will have considerable trouble in making the transition.
Drop 5 bats are generally considered a fine balance between the weight of the bat and its speed, so that the player is able to hit a strike with sufficient power without losing on the speed.
Drop 3 Baseball Bats
A drop 3 baseball bat is one which has a weight to length difference of 3. This is one of the rather heavier varieties of baseball bats. These bats are typically used in high school and college matches. These bats are available in wood as well as in composite and alloy materials.
Most drop 3 bats that are used in league matches are required to be BBCOR certified. This certification means that they must have passed the restrictions on the trampoline effect of non-wood bats.
The BBCOR certification is considered important because drop 3 bats are heavy, and they can strike very hard if the trampoline effect is not controlled.
By controlling the trampoline effect in league matches, drop 3 non-wood bats are brought closer to wood bats and the chance of an injury to the player is minimized.This limitation on the trampoline effect of drop 3 baseball bats is often referred to as .50 BBCOR.
BBCOR Baseball Bats
BBCOR bats are mostly used in High School and College leagues. BBCOR certification ensures that these bats are safe for use in such matches and are comparably at par with the wooden bats being used. Matches held by Youth Baseball organizations related to older players generally make it mandatory that BBCOR bats are to be used.
Usually, only bats made from non-wood materials need a BBCOR certification. When it comes to wood, only such wooden bats which are made from composite wood material, or bamboo wood, are required to pass the BBCOR test. The rest of the wooden bats, since they offer no trampoline effect, are exempt from the certification.