5 Best Baseball Bats
If you played baseball as a youngster, you probably have a lot of fond memories of games and teammates. But baseball isn’t just for kids.
There are plenty of adult recreational leagues that can rekindle your love of the game.
And if you’d like to enhance your enjoyment, owning a great baseball bat will do the trick.
Or maybe your child is preparing to play baseball in high school or college and needs to move from a youth baseball bat to an adult bat to prepare for tougher competition.
There are plenty of baseball bats for adults of any age that can give you the results you want.
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Please continue reading this shopping guide on baseball bats to understand all of the important features they offer.
Adult baseball bat standards
BBCOR stands for Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution, and it is a standard that applies to adult bats that are made of materials other than wood, such as aluminum or composite. College and high school organizing bodies established BBCOR to make sure all baseball bats fit certain manufacturing standards and perform more like wood bats.
In the past, BESR (Ball Exit Speed Ratio) was the standard for adult baseball bats. But this standard is no longer in play for NCAA or high school baseball organizations. However, you may find some adult baseball leagues that still accept BESR baseball bats.
The following gives you more information about the BBCOR standards for baseball bats.
Trampoline effect: BBCOR measures something called the “trampoline effect” of baseball bats. This is the “give” or flex of the bat when it strikes the ball – wood has less give than other materials. That means the ball leaves a composite or aluminum bat at a higher velocity than it does a wood bat.
Level playing field: Before BBCOR, aluminum bats had a variety of trampoline effects. In other words, balls left the bats at different speeds. The BBCOR certification helps to make sure that all bats perform in a similar way, making success in the game more about the skill of the players and less about the equipment.
Other BBCOR standards: In addition to a BBCOR certification stamp on the bat, any BBCOR standards must follow a few other standards. First, the bat’s barrel diameter can’t exceed 2 5/8 inches. Second, the bat’s drop weight must be less than -3.
The difference between a bat’s length and weight is its drop weight. To fit the BBCOR standard, a 32-inch bat with a drop weight of -3 should weigh 29 ounces.
Did you know?
Most adult leagues, especially those for high school and college players, require a BBCOR stamp on the bat.
Baseball bat construction
One-piece vs. two-piece baseball bats
A one-piece design limits the flex of the bat as it strikes the ball. Hitters seeking more power will want a bat of this construction.
Two-piece bats have one material in the handle and another in the barrel. This gives the bat a little more flexibility when it strikes the ball, and it gives the batter a little more control. Two-piece bats also tend to cause less vibration in the hands on a mis-hit.
Baseball bats for adult players are made of a few different materials, and each one has advantages and disadvantages.
Aluminum: This is the most common material for adult baseball bats. Also called an alloy bat, the aluminum is mixed with other metals for greater strength. An aluminum bat has a large sweet spot, resulting in more consist ball strikes than a wood bat.
Composite: Composite baseball bats consist primarily of carbon fiber mixed with graphite and fiberglass. A composite bat must be broken in before it’s ready for game use, meaning it must hit between 150 and 200 balls. Composite bats have a larger sweet spot than wood bats. Note that some adult leagues don’t allow composite bats. Check your league rules before spending a lot of money on this type of bat.
Wood: Professional baseball players use wood bats, so you may be tempted to use one, too. Wood bats are inexpensive, but these bats don’t tend to last as long as aluminum or composite bats, so most amateur players will use bats made of another material. Several years ago, aluminum bats greatly outperformed wood bats in terms of power and ball velocity, but with the new BBCOR standards, these differences are now minimal.
Did you know?
Although maple is the most common type of wood used in baseball bats, others include ash, bamboo, birch, and hickory.
Baseball bat prices
Baseball bats for adult, high school, and college players come in a wide range of prices. You can spend anywhere from $25 to $500. Here is what you can expect to get for your money.
Most bats that cost between $25 and $50 offer decent performance, but don’t expect them to last a long time. You can find both wood or aluminum bats in this price range.
For serious players, a low-priced bat will work better for batting practice than game play. For the occasional recreational player, a bat in this price range works well.
Between $50 and $150, you’ll find baseball bats made of wood, composite, or aluminum. These bats will meet the game needs of most adult recreational players. Bats at this price have a good sweet spot and should last a long time.
Serious high school and college players will want to look at higher-priced bats, which can run anywhere from $150 to $500. Such bats are primarily made from composite or aluminum. Composite bats tend to cost a bit more than aluminum bats. These bats will have precise weight distribution and a large sweet spot. Just make sure the bat you buy meets the rules of your league, especially if the league requires BBCOR bats.
Q. Is it unsafe to use a baseball bat in certain temperatures?
A. As a general rule, manufacturers recommend that you not use composite baseball bats in temperatures lower than 55°F. Obviously, that isn’t always possible in certain parts of the country early and late in the baseball season. Perhaps it’s better to say you should limit the use of the bat in cold temperatures. Avoid taking batting practice with a composite bat on cold days, for example. Aluminum and wood perform better in warm weather, but they can be used safely in cool weather, too.
Q. Why do manufacturers say my expensive new bat will wear out?
A. Composite and aluminum bats will wear out over time, meaning they won’t perform at the peak level after a certain number of uses. As the ball strikes add up, the materials inside the baseball bat break down. Every bat has a different number of strikes before it no longer becomes usable. You can lengthen the lifespan of your bat by limiting its use in batting practice.
Q. What should I do during batting practice to protect my new bat?
A. The lifespan of any bat – wood, composite, or aluminum – is shortened the more times it strikes the ball. Rather than using your expensive new bat for batting practice, we recommend using an older or less-expensive bat with the same weight and length for practice. Take a few swings with your new bat to get the feel of it, but use the older bat for most of the session. Avoid a batting cage that uses dimpled balls in the pitching machine because the balls can damage the bat over time. You also can buy a sleeve to place over the barrel of the bat to protect it during batting practice.
Q. Where is the sweet spot on my wood bat?
A. For the most consistent ball strikes and the most power, you want to hit the baseball on the sweet spot of the bat. A typical wooden bat has a sweet spot that starts about two inches from the end of the bat and extends four or five inches down the barrel. If the bat has a cupped (or hollowed out) end, the sweet spot is about an inch or two closer to the handle.
5 Best Baseball Bats
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