A bat is more than just a hunk of metal or wood. It is a carefully-engineered tool that allows players to get the most out of every swing. Every component of the bat, from the knob to the end cap, is designed to maximize every ounce of performance. There are four main tech components you need to know for your bat: material, barrel diameter, construction and weight balance.
One of the biggest influences on bat performance is its material. Bats are made of metal, composites, or wood. Metal and composite bats are traditionally used for youth baseball through college baseball. Wood is used throughout the professional levels, as well as for specific amateur and travel ball leagues/organizations. Traditionally in Fastpitch, bats are made from composite or alloy materials.
Composite bats are made with a layered material (often carbon fiber) that is easy to distribute, giving us the ability to make bats with a variety of swing weights, from balanced to end-loaded.
Pros of Composite:
Minimize the sting from a mis-hit ball by reducing vibration to the hands
Often have a larger sweet spot than alloy bats
Alloy is a mixture of two or more metals, and has been commonly used in baseball and fastpitch bats for years.
Pros of Alloy:
Stiffer feel through the swing zone
More durable material and less issues with colder weather
One-piece bats are one complete piece of composite or alloy and are often used by power hitters, since they provide less flex on contact.
Multi-piece bats are comprised of two separate parts: the barrel and the handle. The handle is connected to the barrel through a transition piece in the taper area of the bat. Multi-piece construction helps minimize vibration on mis-hit balls. Those bats are preferred by contact hitters, since the two-part construction helps generate maximum swing speed without the fear of major sting on contact.
A factor you may not see, but will definitely feel is the swing weight* of your bat. Bats are often segmented by their given length and weight. The Swing weight is a determination of how a bat’s particular weight is distributed along the bat’s length. For example, you can have two bats that are 30 ounces, but that have different swing weights because the 30 ounces are distributed differently in the bat. Bats can fall along the swing weight spectrum, from light to balanced to end-loaded.
End-loaded bats shift extra weight toward the end of the barrel, creating more whip-like action on a player’s swing and generating more power.
Balanced bats have a more even weight distribution, allowing for potentially greater swing speed for many hitters. This is preferred by contact hitters who want more control of their swing.
*Note - there are a variety of swing weights offered to meet player needs.
The barrel is the thickest and widest part of the bat used to hit the ball. The barrel is where you want to hit the ball in order to achieve maximum performance. Barrels come in different sizes, and are measured by diameter. Barrel diameter is measured in inches and, like weight drop, certain leagues limit the size of a bat’s barrel. Please check with your league on their requirements.
Fastpitch bats are 2 1⁄4 inches.
Baseball bats come in multiple sizes including:
- 2 3⁄4 inches
- 2 5⁄8 inches
- 2 1⁄2 inches
- 2 1⁄4 inches