How to Choose the Right Baseball Bat
Baseball is America’s pastime and people of all ages play at many different levels. From kids learning basics in tee ball leagues to teens learning fundamentals in high school and college, and even our favorite professional players competing for the World Series, baseball brings people of all ages together.
For any player, having the right equipment is completely necessary. There is a comfort using equipment that feels right and allows you to be at your best. This is especially true of the baseball bat you buy and use.
Choosing the right bat is not easy. There are a number of factors that go into selecting the right baseball bat, and after a while, it can get frustrating for both parents and players. You need resources that help you determine which bat is right for you.
That’s where HB Sports comes in! We don’t just sell bats, we make finding the right bat easy by providing you with the information you need to meet any requirements for different leagues and age groups. So, let’s go over some of the questions you are likely facing. We’ll explain the different types of bats that are available. We’ll give you tips for selecting a bat that is the right size. We’ll help you understand the different materials used to make bats.
What Type is Right?
Choosing the right bat begins with understanding how baseball bats differ. Bats are sorted into many different categories and it can get confusing. Keep in mind, the age of the player is a big deciding factor when shopping for a bat. Here are just a few of the types of bats you can expect to find.
BBCOR Bats - BBCOR stands for Bat to Ball Coefficient of Restitution and is the current standard at the high school and collegiate level. These bats are designed for players from middle school up to college age. BBCOR bats have a -3 length to weight ratio and a maximum barrel diameter of 2 inches.
Fungo Bats - Fungo bats are primarily practice bats, specifically designed for use by coaches and trainers. These bats are commonly used for fielding practice in the infield and outfield and are not sanctioned for gameplay.
Junior Big Barrel Bats - These bats are specifically designed for Coach Pitch leagues and pitch speeds of less than 40 mph. Junior Big Barrel bats have thinner walls and a larger barrel. The length to weight ratio can be between -8 and -13 and the barrel can be 2 ⅝” or 2 ¾” in diameter. The bat length is usually between 25 and 28 inches. These bats are not suitable for Kid-Pitch leagues.
Senior League Bats - For players that are allowed to use big barrel bats, Senior League Bats are the choice. Designed for players ages 8 and up, these bats have barrel diameters of 2 ⅝” to 2 ¾” and are between 27 and 33 inches in length. Senior League Bats are also stamped with the USSSA 1.15 Thumbprint.
Tee Ball Bats - Tee ball is for the youngest players and tee ball bats are designed specifically for players 6 and under just starting out. These bats are not made to be used on any pitched ball. They come with a barrel diameter of 2 ¼” to 2 ⅝” and a length-to-weight ratio of -9 to -13.
USA Baseball Bats - USA Baseball Bats are designed to a wooden bat performance standard in youth baseball. These bats are designed for players 5 and up and have the USA Baseball Stamp on approved bats.
Wood Baseball Bats - Perhaps the most popular place wood baseball bats are seen is in the Major Leagues. However, they can also be used at the college level and in adult leagues. Wood bats are made from different types of wood, most notably maple, ash and bamboo. Wood bats also come in a variety of lengths, weights, and drops to fit within different baseball sanctions.
Length to Weight Ratio When shopping for a baseball bat, you may see the term “drop” used frequently. What does this mean? The drop is the length-to-weight ratio of the bat. It is the numerical difference between the bat’s length and weight. For example, a bat that has a -5 drop is five inches longer than total weight in ounces. A 30-inch bat with a -5 drop weighs 25 ounces.
Some bat models have various options in different drop ratios. The 2020 DeMarini CF Zen comes in a -5, -8 and -10 drop size.
Choosing the Right Size Bat This is the most important factor to choosing a bat. It must be sized properly. The easiest way to know which size bat is best is to pick it up and take a few swings. Make sure it feels comfortable in your hands and that you can maintain control of the bat through your swing.
If you have never purchased a bat before, you may not know the right place to start. Using your height and weight can help determine the right bat length. You can use our Bat Sizing Guide as a tool for finding the right bat size. Essentially, the length of the bat you choose is determined by your height and weight, while the weight of the bat depends on the preference of the player and the strength they possess. Bigger and stronger players prefer a heavier bat because they can add more power to their swing. Smaller players like a lighter bat for a more controllable, quicker swing.
Understanding Materials Bats come in four main materials. Each of these four materials offer a slightly different batting experience.
Aluminum or Alloy - Aluminum bats are designed to deliver peak performance from the beginning. There is no break-in period required. However, you do want to allow some time for a child to adjust to swinging an aluminum bat. Aluminum and alloy bats can be identified by the large pinging sound when contact is made with the ball. Finding the correct size bat is important with alloys. An undersized bat may start to have dents over time which can affect the performance of the bat.
Composite Material - Unlike alloy and aluminum bats, composites require more of a break-in period in order to reach maximum performance. Composite bats make more of a thud or crack sound, similar to wood, when making contact with the ball. They also face the risk of cracking if the bat being used is undersized.
Hybrids - Hybrid models bring together the qualities of both aluminum alloy and composite bats. These are a more lightweight option when compared to alloy, but more durable than composites. Hybrid bat models are made differently, so ample research is suggested before buying. For example, the Rawlings VELO includes composite in specific areas to help create a lighter product. The 2020 Louisville Slugger Select 7 (-10) USA Baseball Bat splits the materials with a composite handle and alloy barrel, helping to prevent vibration through the handle.
Wood Bats - As mentioned earlier, wood bats are made from maple, ash or bamboo. It is important that you find out if wood bats are approved in your league prior to purchasing. The material can create a powerful release of the ball that can oftentimes be too extreme for young players. Wood bats are also known to break and splinter after heavy use.
Certifications At certain levels and in certain leagues, bats with specific certifications are required. When you buy a new bat, it is best to know what requirements and certifications your league has.
For example, you may need a bat that follows the certification for USA Baseball. Little League Baseball, PONY, Dixie Youth, Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball and the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC) have all adopted the USA Baseball stamp. Bats used in these organizations are required to have the USA Baseball stamp. The USSSA also allows the use of USA Baseball stamped bats, though it is not a required certification.
Our Bat Buying Guide is a great resource to use to better understand the certifications your bat needs in order to be used in specific organizations. It can save you a lot of time and stress to do some research on the league and the regulations required so you come to the field with the right equipment.
With HB Sports, you can find the right bat for any league at any level. We have a passion for everything we sell and want to help spread the love of the game around to players of all ages and abilities.
At HB Sports, we treat everyone like family. Our specialty is providing an excellent customer service experience that helps you every step of the way.
We may have a lot of baseball bats in stock, but that is not all that HB Sports has to offer. We are an eCommerce Baseball and Softball retailer. We want to be your one-stop shop for everything you need on the field -- from bats to gloves to batting gloves, gear, apparel and more.
What we strive to provide at HB Sports is the same kind of experience you want on the field. You want to be comfortable on the field. You want a bat that feels good in your hands. You want a glove that allows you to field ground balls and pop flys with full range and fluid motion. So we offer the best products to you. You’ll find products from top brands in the industry like Rawlings, Louisville Slugger, Marucci, DeMarini and more. You’ll see amazing prices you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll get our promise to help you every step of the way as you make your selection and to get you the gear you need on time, every time, exactly as promised.
HB Sports ships items for free and offers same-day shipping on orders placed before 4 pm EST. It is all part of our strategy to give you the best shopping experience you can find within the industry. We want to make it easy for you to get the equipment you need to make you a better player.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us. HB Sports can be reached by phone by calling 1-888-540-BATS (2287) or send an email to email@example.com and we will answer any questions you have about pricing or give you more information about a product of interest.
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- Christopher Bastien