Choosing The Right Baseball Bat: Part 1

by Bobby Woods February 20, 2018

So here we go again, another year, more bat rule changes and more claims by bat manufacturers.

"Buy my bat it will make the ball go farther and exit the bat faster" - Oh, I forgot one, "My bat has the largest sweet spot of any baseball bat in the game".

The sweet spot is that area of the bat where the exit speed of the ball is at it's highest.

No wonder so many parents and players are confused as to what type of bat to purchase. The same is true in selecting softball bats. Hopefully, I can solve the riddle for you and give you a better perspective.

On January 1, 2018, all baseball players who participate in Little League, Cal Ripken, Babe Ruth, Dixie, AABC and Pony League organizations must have a bat that is stamped: USA Baseball. Please reference this stamp on my  Baseball bat page under Baseball Bats 2018.

So what does this mean?

Quite simply, when the baseball is hit by a USA Baseball stamped bat it will leave the bat at a slower exit speed and will not travel as far as bats in previous years. You may ask yourself, why the rule change? Because the USA Bat is closer to hitting a ball as if it was a wood bat. In other words, the USA Alloy and Composite bats are more like wood bats.  A great rule change! Why? there are several. I will mention one, fewer injuries with the reduced exit speed of the ball off the bat. One riddle solved! Thumbs up to the person or persons who came up with this rule.

Bat selection time is stressful

Now, it is bat selection time, for some parents this might cause some anxiety, and why shouldn't it? Some bats cost a lot of wood - no pun intended - wood is a term used by some of my friends and myself growing up in the 60's meaning Money! I am an east coast guy and we sometimes express ourselves a little differently! Ok, that has nothing to do with selecting a bat. So, first things first.

Length and Weight. If you see a bat 30 inches in length and a drop -10, that means the bat is 30 inches long and weighs 20 ounces. Length - drop = weight. Ok, that was easy. So what weight and length should l get for my child. Now, this can be a little more difficult to decide. You may come across some chart recommendation that recommends a bat according to the age and weight of the player - this can be helpful and not so helpful, I just contradicted myself - these charts are not always reliable. I would not solely use a chart for selecting a bat.

And then there are the tests. If you can hold a bat out away from your body for 45 seconds without dropping it then you have the correct weight for a bat. I am not a fan of this measure as a player could try extra hard to hold the bat out, thus achieving a false read. As they say on the east coast. Forget About It! And then there is the test where you hold the barrel of the bat straight down to the ground. Lower your arm "straight" to the bat, if you palm touches the knob of the bat you now magically have the right length. I just tried this TEST on a bat I saved when I played in the Chicago Cubs organization. Did not pass the length test - wow, never knew I was using the wrong bat all these years but this bat helped me make a living! If I only knew. Forget About It.

Next week: Part 2 Choosing The Right Baseball Bat

Bobby Woods
Bobby Woods


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