Wood baseball bats give a powerful impact with a lightweight feel. The important factors in choosing a wood bat are material, length, weight and requirements in the league.
Wood baseball bats can’t be left out in the sport. When you hear about it, a wood baseball bat is the first thing coming to mind. A wood bat can have the next advantages: an increase in strength, better mechanics and eye for the ball. So before heading out to our showroom to buy a wood bat, keep the following things in mind to find the perfect wood bat for you.
Which material is the best?
There are a couple of options available when choosing a wood bat. Every type of wood has a different lifespan and performance on the field. The most popular materials are maple, bamboo, ash and birch.
This will probably be the material you will see the most on the diamond. A Maple bat is made from a very dense wood with a tight grain structure. Because of this structure, they are a lot stiffer which causes a better so called “pop”. And because of this structure, the chances of “flaking” reduce. Flaking means that the bat is separating between the rings of the wood. The high durability and great pop is why a lot of players go for this material. When choosing maple, look for Rock Maple, a term often used for Sugar maple trees. The Rock Maple is seen as a hard maple and will be the strongest “sort” of maple.
The opposite from Maple wood is Ash wood. An Ash bat is lightweight and has a lot of flex. This means is gives in while making contact with the ball, creating a trampoline effect. This will cause more power on the ball because of this trampoline effect. Ash bats also have a larger sweet spot, which gives the player a bigger surface to hit the ball with. Therefore an Ash bat will be the perfect option for a player making the switch to a wood bat. Most bats made from Ash wood are made from Northern White Ash and will show the straightest grains.
This material is also great for players that start hitting with a wood bat. Birch wood is like a combination of features from Maple and Ash. It has the tight grain structure like the Maple bat, but also flexes a little bit like the Ash bats. Now when an ash bat or maple bat would start to flake or might break due to inside pitches or impact just outside of the sweet spot, birch bats are able to get through this. This makes a birch bat a great choice for players who are still finding the sweet spot on a wood bat. When picking a Birch wood bat, Yellow Birch is the most common choice.
A bamboo bat is a unique piece of equipment. They are made from multiple chutes of bamboo. All of these chutes are pressed together and then cut into the specific model of bat. A bamboo bat has a high density and is very powerful. These have a higher durability than other bat materials, that is why they are often used as batting cage sticks. They can also be used on the diamond. The bats feel lightweight and have a great pop and energy transfer. Adult bamboo bats are required to have the BBCOR .50 certification mark printed on them.
The last option would be a composite bat. These are usually made out of different wood materials or wood and a foreign material. Because of the use of different materials, they are also more durable than the other 4 wood materials described above. But they are also the most expensive option for this reason.
Bat length and bat weight
Length and weight of the bat are very important when picking one. If a bat is too long, it could add unneeded weight which makes it harder to swing. If it is too short, you might miss some of the outside pitches thrown towards you. Please refer to our other Buying Guide: “How to select the right Baseball Bat” to determine your bat length.
Wood baseball bats usually carry the same weight drop which is around -2 or -3. Some of the youth bats might have a -7.5 weight drop. To see if this is the right drop for you, hold the bat out in front of you. If you are able to hold this for about 45 seconds without the barrel starting to hang, then the bat is suited for you.
Stronger players are more likely to swing a heavier bat. But bat speed is essential to succeed at the plate. Find the right balance between the bat weight and bat length for you.
But most important is to check the requirements and restrictions for your local league. Use this Buying Guide in your advantage and start hitting those home runs.