How to Pick a Bat : Wood or Not?
At M^Powered, we pride ourselves on offering a full lineup of bats. From our top selling bats made of ash, hickory, maple, and birch to our BBCor, bamboo, and aluminum bats, we have everything a baseball player would need for his bat collection. Since we offer so many different types of bats, we are frequently asked what bat is best used in what situation. Here are some tips about what type of bats a player needs:
Know the League Rules
When your child starts to play ball, the league that your child plays in will have regulations about bats. Whether you child plays in Little League, USSSA, Pony, or in any other type of league, the coaches should be able to tell the parents exactly what is permitted and what is prohibited. If the coach cannot tell you, then you should be able to look online at the league regulations about legal bats.
Understand Your Child’s Ability and Need
The next consideration is the level of your child’s team. If your child is getting started, you will not need to purchase an expensive, high-end bat made of high-tech materials. It is usually best to begin with a lightweight bat, like an aluminum bat. If your child is playing at an advanced level on a travel team, then you can start to consider the more expensive bats that come with “pop.”
Alloy and Bamboo Are Best for Young Players
Young players do best with alloy or lightweight bamboo bats, so they can work on their mechanics. Kids that are just starting out in tee-ball or coach pitch do not need to have anything like an expensive BBCor product. It is important to remember that young children will quickly grow out of their bats, so you might need to buy two or more in a year, which is why inexpensive bats are the best for young players.
Learn About MOI and Drops
After a few years, when you see that your child is dedicated to the game, then you can start to look for bats made of high-tech materials. Your bat-buying decision should be made based on the size of your child and the weight of the bat. The Moment of Inertia (MOI) is different for hitters who prefer a lightweight bat compared to hitters who like a heavier, more powerful bat.
The Moment of Inertia will be dependent on the drop of the bat. MOI is calculated by the amount of weight the bat carries as it is swung. When the weight is closer to the handles, the bat is lighter. Weight at the end of the bat is harder to swing, but power hitters often like bats with that MOI. Bats are designed with a drop weight, which is the ratio of the length compared to the weight. So, a bat with a drop -2 could be a bat that is 32 inches long with a weight of 30 ounces. As the drop increases, the bat is lighter. It is common to see bats with drop -10 or -12. There are drop rules in leagues, too. BBCor bats always have a drop -3 which is why they are favorites with power hitters.
Lightweight Alloy Bats
Alloy bats are usually made of types of aluminum. When a bat is inexpensive, it is made from a low grade of aluminum. The higher the price of the bat, the better the alloy. Low grade aluminum will dent easily. Aluminum bats can be used immediately and they do not need to be broken in, like other bat materials.
Composite bats are a popular option with softball players and younger players. These tend to be made of materials like fiberglass, graphite, and carbon. The manufacturer can play with the design of the bat and the pop of the swing. Most composite bats have rods that run through the middle of bat, which keeps the weight balanced. Most composite bats need to be broken in with at least 50 to 100 hits. They also can only be used in warm weather conditions because they become brittle in temperatures under 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wood bats, like the ones we offer at M^Powered have varying strengths. Ash bats have more flexibility than other woods, so they have a trampoline effect that other woods do not offer. But, ash bats will wear out before the other woods. The best reason to use a wood bat is to prepare for the highest levels of play. Wood bats are only allowed in Minor League and Major League play, as well as in high level summer leagues around the country. Wood bats do not have same large sweet spot that a composite or alloy bat might have, but the wood bat will help the player find their spot. Most players become better hitters after practicing in batting practice with a wood bat, because they have to find the spot and rely on it. When players move from wood to composite, they are better prepared to swing and make positive contact with the ball.
If you have any questions, please contact us through our email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone: 1-877-NO-CORKS (or 1-877-662-6757) Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM PST.