Understanding the Popularity & Science Behind Maple Bats

If you have ever watched an MLB game, then the chances are good that you have seen a broken bat or two. In most cases, the broken bats do little to no damage to the players or the spectators in the stands. Unfortunately though, there are those freak occasions when someone does get hurt from a broken bat flying at a high rate of speed.

Dangers of Broken Bats

In order to protect the people playing in, coaching, umpiring, and watching baseball games, bat manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce bat breakage. Since most people who are engaged in the game are watching the ball, broken bats are extremely dangerous because they are usually not seen. When they hit people, they can cause concussions, contusions, and other debilitating injuries. Researchers are finding that maple bats are the best options for safe bats.

Brief History of Wooden Bats

Prior to the maple bats being popular, hickory and ash bats ruled the diamond. Babe Ruth used hickory bats to hit his record setting home runs. Ash bats were popular until the late 1990s, when players realized that the maple bat would send the ball sailing. While ash bats seemed to be lighter and more flexible, the maple bat offers a larger sweet spot and more explosive attack. Once Barry Bonds started hitting his numerous home runs with maple bats, the world took notice and started to hit with their own maple bats, too. Now, a large majority of MLB players choose maple bats for all of their swings. For over 50 years, ash bats were the most popular choice, but Bonds’ home run record stopped that trend dead in its tracks.

The Key to the Shift to Maple

The key to creating safer bats for players and spectators understanding the shape of the bat and what happens when the ball is hit. Scientists and engineers have analyzed the different types of wood and the way the bats are cut to determine what bats are more likely to break. While some players still like the heaviness of the traditional hickory bats, the lighter maple and ash continue to grow in popularity. When bats are lighter, players can swing them faster, thus increasing the pop of the ball off of the bat.

Why Maple is a Good Choice

The best maple bats, like the ones we offer at M^Powered, are not only strong, but they are lightweight, too. They offer an optimum balance between the two, so you know you can get a good swing, solid pop, and little chance of breakage. Maple bats are less likely to flake, which can cause weaknesses in the bat, so they are less likely to break. MLB players can use their maple bats for longer periods of time than they could use an ash bat.

Understanding the Temperament of a Wooden Bat

When it comes to understanding the way that wood behaves, you need to understand a few key components: breaking, flaking, and cracking. Ash and maple bats behave differently in these three components. Ash bats will crack and flake in small pieces, but the maple will fracture in large pieces (so you can stake a vampire with a broken bat). In many cases, both ash and maple bats break based on the pores of the wood and the moisture trapped in them. This happens before the raw wood is even shaped into a bat.

Interior of an Ash Bat

The ash bat has a ring porous. This means that the inner pores of the wood look like rings. The growth rings are made up of solid fiber making the inner workings of the wooden ash bat a strong choice. The ring structure of the bat makes it weak where growth meets growth. As the pores weaken, then flake and then the barrel of the bat becomes soft. No one wants to hit a baseball with a flaking, soft bat.

Power in the Maple Bat

Maple bats, on the other hand, use a ring diffuse, so the pores are cleanly distributed around the bat. The barrel becomes durable and it is less likely to break as the pores come in contact with the ball. Maple bats rarely flake. Instead, if a maple bat breaks, it will break in a large piece, which is easier to see and less likely to hit you. In order to keep the bat strong, manufacturers need to match the bat with the wood fibers. In most cases, when a maple bat breaks, it is because the fibers of the wood do not match the pitch of the bat.

If you have any questions about maple, ash, or hickory bats, please contact us at 1-877-662-6757 or at info@mpoweredbaseball.com. We are happy to address any questions and help you choose the best bat for your game.