Baseball and Softball Bat Buying Guide - How do I Choose the Right Bat?

Choosing the correct bat can be an absolute nightmare for parents and players of all ages. Our new 2020 Bat Resource Guide will help guide you through the must knows of each Stamp, Type of Bat, Sanctioning, and Warranty Information. 

Consider our Resource Guide as your Encyclopedia to the Baseball and Softball Bat Buying World.

 

INDEX:

How to Choose the Right Type of Bat: Description of types of products available. 

What Exactly is Length to Weight Ratio (Drop):  A detailed example of what Length to Ratio means and how to find the correct Drop for your child or yourself. 

Selecting the Correct Size Bat:  Quick Reference chart referring to Length and Weight of the product by Size of Player. 

Understanding Bat Materials and Which to Choose:  Describing the different types of baseball and softball bats by Material. Examples:  Alloy, Composites, Woods. 

Should I Buy a Balanced or Endloaded Bat? : Details on the difference in the two types of products.

Should I Buy a One PIece, Two Piece, or Three Piece:  Describing the differences, pros, and cons of each.  

Understanding Certification Stamps: A detailed description of the Different Sanctioning Bodies and their BPF Stamps.  

Warranty Information: How to take advantage of your one year warranty, as well as the phone numbers to all of the manufacturers for easy access!  

 

How to Choose the Right Type of Bat?


BBCOR Bats: (Bat to Ball Coefficient of Restitution) The current high school and collegiate standard. 

  • Designed for players from Middle School to Collegiate play.
  • -3 Length to Weight Ratio
  • Maximum 2” barrel diameter
Fungo Bats: Long lightweight bats usually used by Coaches for training, as well as infield and outfield practice.
  • Designed for Coaches and Trainers.
  • These bats are not allowed in any type of sanctioned game play.
Fast Pitch Softball Bats: Used in Fastpitch Softball Leagues and Tournaments used primarily by Female Players from Little League to College Play.
  • Designed for female players aged 5 and up.
  • -8 to -13 length to weight ratio
  • 2-1/4 inch barrel diameter is usually standard
  • Can be made of Aluminum, Composite, or a Combination of both.
Junior Big Barrel Bats: Bats designed for players in Coach Pitch only. These models have thinner walls, larger barrel, but are considered fragile and not designed for players in Kid-Pitch.
  • Designed for players aged 5-7 (Coach Pitch and Younger)
  • -8 to -13 Length to Weight Ratio
  • Usually 25 to 28 inch in length
  • Can be either 2 5/8” or 2 3/4” inch Diameters.
  • Designed for Pitching Speeds under 40 mph.
Senior League Bats: Bats designed for players that are allowed to use a big barrel bat.
  • Designed for players 8 and up
  • 2 5/8” to 2 3/4” barrel diameters
  • Bat lengths from 27 to 33 inches
  • Stamped with USSSA 1.15 Thumbprint
Slow Pitch Softball Bats: Designed for Adult Softball Players for multiple sanctions. USSSA, NSA, ISA, and ASA are usually the most common stamps of approval.
  • Designed for Adults
  • -3 to -9 Length to Weight Ratios
  • 34 inch lengths
  • 2 1/4-inch Barrel Diameters
  • Most Common Weights are 34/26, 34/27, and 34/28.
  • 1.20 and 1.21 BPF Stamps

Tee Ball Bats: Meant for youth players hitting baseballs or softballs from a tee. These bats are not meant for anything other than the normal squishy tee balls used in these leagues; and in some instances, tournaments.
  • Designed for players 6 and under playing Tee Ball
  • 2 1/4-inch - 2 5/8-inch barrel diameters
  • -9 to -13 Length to Weight Ratios
  • Not meant or designed to be used with any “pitched” balls

USA Baseball Bats: The new Little League Standard designed to create more of a Wood Baseball Bat performance standard in youth baseball. 

  • Designed for youth players aged 5 and up.
  • Maximum 2 5/8” barrel diameter
  • USA Baseball Stamp is visible on the taper of approved bats.

Wood Baseball Bats: Bats created of wood designed in several lengths, weights, and drops for use in many Sanctions of Baseball. Wood bats can be made in many different types of wood such as Maple, Bamboo, and Ash.

  

Now that we've walked through the basic terms and types of bats, lets talk about Length to Weight Drop next..... 


What exactly is the Length to Weight Ratio?

This is also known as "Drop." The term drop indicates the number in front of the drop (ie: -10). The Drop or Length to Weight Ratio is the numerical value differential from the Length of the Bat, and the Weight of the Bat. 

Let's take the new 2020 DeMarini Zen USSSA Baseball Bat for instance.  This model comes in -5 (drop 5), -8 (drop 8), and -10 (drop 10) sizes. 

Example 1:

2020 DeMarini CF ZEN (-5 ) USSSA Baseball Bat: WTDXCB5-20 

The -5 starts it's availability in a 30 inch length, and has a 25 ounce weight. 

So taking the length (30 inch) and subtracting the weight (25) it gives us 5.  So for this example the Length to Weight on this model is a -5 (drop 5). 

Example 2:

2020 DeMarini CF ZEN (-8 ) USSSA Baseball Bat: WTDXC8Z-20

The -8 Cf Zen starts with a 29 inch length and has a 21 ounce weight.  Taking the length (29 inch) and Subtracting the Weight (21 oz), it leaves us with 8.  So for this examples the Length to Weight on this model is a -8 (drop 8). 

Example 3: 

2020 DeMarini CF ZEN (-10) USSSA Baseball Bat: WTDXCBZ-20

The (-10) Cf Zen starts with a 28 inch length and has a 18 ounche weight.  Taking the length (28 inch) and subtracting the weight (18 oz), it leaves us with 10.  So for this example, the length to weight on this model is a -10 (drop 10). 

 

Choosing the Correct Size Bat


Although there are many different ways to measure yourself for the perfect bat length, the perfect solution is picking it up and swinging it.  Finding a good starting point can be pulled from Charts and Knowledge of coaches and parents, but swinging the bat itself will always get you where you need to be without headache.  Oh, and don't forget... Thats the fun part!  If you are new to baseball, or just want to get a good starting point on where you should be, follow the steps below: 


Measure from the center of your Chest to the tip of you pointer finger.  Be sure to have your arm fully extended.  This may require some help from a friend of family member.


This measurement will tell you where to look on the chart below: 

For details on actually figuring the correct size you're welcome to read through our Bat Sizing Guide which will help drastically. 

 

 

Understanding Bat Materials and which to choose:

Aluminum or Alloy: These bats are designed to give their Peak Performance directly out of the wrapper.  They do not usually require any type of break-in but more of an adjustment phase for yourself or child.  Many of these Alloys such as the 2020 Marucci POSEY28 Pro Metal have a large ping sound when making contact with the ball.  If these bats are undersized they may dent.  Make sure to refer to our bat sizing guide, or contact us at 888-540-BATS if you have any questions on bat sizing. 

Composite: Many composite bats require a break-in period to reach their maximum performance.  Unlike alloy bats and their ping, these bats offer more of a distinct Crack or Thud sound upon contact.  These bats do have susceptibility to cracking if the product is undersized.  Many people complain of fragileness from some of the more popular Composite Bats. Usually when these issues are looked into; a child is swinging a bat that is way to small for them, in turn leading to a broken bat.  If a -10 Composite Bat is swung by a child who may need a -5 Bat, they will see excellent results followed by a broken product soon behind. 

Hybrids: Many of these Hybrid options offer a lightweight alternative to Alloy Bats, and more durable option than fully composite bats. Models such as the Rawlings VELO, offer composite in certain areas of the product to create a lighter alternative than their competition. Others such as the 2020 Louisville Slugger Select 7 (-10) USA Baseball Bat offers a Composite Handle, and Alloy Barrel which will reduce handle vibration. 

Wood: Wood is offered in many different types. Wood bats offer the classic feel but are more susceptible to breakage or splintering than Composite, Hybrid, and Alloy bats. Please check with your League to ensure it allows wood bats on the field in place of other options. 

 

Should I Buy a Balanced or End-Loaded Bat?

This is a question only you or your child can answer entirely, as this is more of a preference than a necessity. We offer a Filter Option for both Balanced and Endloaded Bats under our Slowpitch Collection here at headbangersports.com.  We do not offer this on the Baseball and Fastpitch side due to differences in opinion of each and every bat by players. 

Balanced Bats have their weight evenly distributed throughout the entire bat and geared more toward average or lower bat speeds. 

Endloaded Bats have their weight distributed more toward the end of the barrel.  Many batters who hit for power, love a endloaded bat. 

 

Should I Order a One Piece, Two Piece, or Three Piece Bat?

There are many different variations of bats being made now, one piece bats, two piece bats, and even three piece bats.  These models are distinctly different and offer a different feel on contact.  In the end this is a preference of the player more than a recommendation that can be offered. 

One Piece Bats:  These models are usually have a stiffer feel designed for stronger players who have the ability to push through the ball.  The majority of these products are one piece alloys, but in some cases there are one piece composites as well. These are usually recommended for people with Faster Hands, or above average swing speeds. New technology has helped with vibration on mis-hits such as the 2019 Marucci CAT 8 (-10) USSSA Senior League Baseball Bat which offers a AV2 Anti-Vibration knob to reduce sting. 

Two Piece Bats: Two Piece models are designed to give you more whip through the zone.  Many players who swing a two piece bat are Contact Hitters or Hitters who love the extra whip through the zone. Some stronger players also prefer the two piece to help reduce vibration on mishits. 

Three Piece Bats: Many slowpitch ASA Approved Bats have moved toward three piece technology.  This third connection piece has allowed for products to be more durable, but still give extreme whip through the zone.  The extra connection piece creates a stabilizing piece to ensure the product doesn't telescope. 

 

Remember when using this guideline we recommend trying the different types of bats and actually getting a feel for which you prefer.  These are just basic guidelines from manufacturing standards. 

 

 Understanding Certification Stamps

ASA: Amateur Softball Association 

BBCOR: Bat to Ball Coefficient of Restitution, The BBCOR Standard is what High School and Collegiate Players are regulated by. BBCOR measures the trampoline effect of the bat. 

ISA: Independent Softball Association 1.20 BPF Stamp

ISF: Independent Softball Federation. 1.20 BPF Stamp

NSA: National Softball Association 1.20 BPF Stamp

SSUSA: Senior Softball USA 1.21 Stamp

USA Baseball: USA baseball the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States. The following organizations have adopted the USA Baseball Stamp.  USSSA has not adopted the USA Stamp but does allow USA Baseball Stamped bats in their organization. 

USSSA: United States Specialty Sports Association.  This sanction has many underlying bodies. These leagues and tournaments can be found at www.usssa.com. 

  • BPF 1.15: This is the Standard for Youth Baseball 
  • BPF 1.20: This is the Standard for Slow Pitch and Fast Pitch Leagues and Tournaments. 
  • BPF 1.21: This is the Standard for Slow Pitch Senior Softball Leagues and Tournaments. SSUSA is the most popular Senior League.  
  • BPF stands for Bat Performance Factor 

 

Warranty Information

Most Bats sold here come with a 1 (one) Year Manufacturer Warranty and a Valid Receipt from HB Sports.  

All Warranty Claims are handled by the Manufacturer and not by HB Sports.  We can direct you to the correct manufacturer website or phone number to help you out at any time!  For additional information on the manufacturer's warranty for a specific product, contact the manufacturer directly.  

 

The following are some common manufacturers warranty replacement phone numbers:

Not all bats do come with warranties, these items will show (No Warranty) within the product description.  We ask you save your receipt which is embossed with our logo on the top right hand corner.  Our receipts are still printed off to guarantee the easiest return process possible, as our receipts can not be forged and sent in without our embossed stamp. 

 

For any questions at all please do not hesitate to reach out to us, we love to help people find the correct bat to ensure we are your #1 company moving forward. 

We don't care about one sale, we care about your lifetime business! 

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