Choosing a baseball bat is no light chore. For both power and contact hitters, the bat you choose will have a pronounced impact on your ability to perform over the plate. As bat engineering and bat manufacturing practices have changed over time, they have increased in complexity.
Nowadays, the list of a bat’s specifics can be near a page of text, but it’s text worth reading. Here are some things to evaluate before you buy a new baseball bat.
Baseball Bat Material
The material from which a bat has been produced will have one of the most important impacts on performance. Wood baseball bats are traditional, and they are still used by the professionals specifically because they are unforgiving, and developing proficiency with them is very difficult. They also often have smaller sweet spots and will shatter or crack in response to bad mishits.
Composite bats and alloy bats are usually more durable than wood bats and can be engineered to have a higher bat performance factor (BPF) as well as nuances in barrel construction that affect the size of the sweet spot and the overall performance of the bat.
Length and Weight
Length and weight will also directly impact the performance of any given bat, as well as its suitability for any given player. For example, a bat that is too long or too short will feel unwieldy and affect a batter’s “reach” over the plate.
While you can use a bat chart to determine if a bat is properly sized for you, you’ll still want to handle it to determine if it is properly weighted. Holding a bat out and away from your body, by the knob, you should be able to hold it steady, without discomfort, for at least 45 seconds. Some would say for a minute.
These are, of course, subjective metrics, and for more detail, you can consult an athletic trainer who can provide you with more detail.
Weight drop is the difference between a bat’s length in inches and weight in ounces, given by a negative number. Lower weight drops signify an end load and higher weight drops indicate that a bat is balanced.
An end-loaded bat is the choice of some power hitters, as it will enable them to drive more power through the swing. By contrast, contact hitters might prefer a balanced bat because it feels more responsive in the grip and is easier to control.
Any proprietary features that a bat exhibits will also impact its performance. For example, some bats are made with special barrel construction or fiber matrices that improve compression and therefore enhance the trampoline effect. Similarly, the construction of a bat’s end cap can potentially impact its balance and swing weight, which can in turn impact swing speed.
Grip and Grip Construction
The grip and its features will also impact both a player’s control of and interaction with a baseball bat. For one thing, special grips or grip wraps can improve a player’s control of a bat. They also have the potential to minimize vibrations and uncomfortable feedback, as does the manner in which a multi-piece bat is joined.
Visit HB Sports
If you’d like to learn more about which features of a bat impact its performance, reach out to the customer service professionals at HB Sports. HB Sports, at HeadbangerSports.com, provides a wide range of bats, including youth baseball and softball bats, sporting various league approvals. Their collection of USSSA, USA, NSA, and BBCOR bats also feature highlights from the top brands, including Marucci, Louisville Slugger, DeMarini, Easton, Miken and many others. Contact them at 1-888-540-BATS today to learn more.