Wood Bat Guide
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.
Still widely popular among big leaguers, Ash provides the ultimate in flexibility due to its unique grain structure. More forgiving than Maple, Ash rarely sees multi-piece fractures when the bat breaks. Visible grain lines allow for noticeable quality, giving you the confidence you need when you step up to the plate.
The species preferred by most pro players, Maple features the ultimate surface hardness and provides an unmatched sound and feel at contact. Naturally harder, Maple offers added strength at impact. Closed grains eliminate flaking commonly seen with Ash, allowing for superior durability.
The fastest growing species in professional baseball, Birch features the ideal combination of surface hardness and flexibility for increased durability. Its hardness (similar to Maple) provides great sound and feel at contact. Flexibility similar to Ash allows for forgiveness on non-barrel contact, decreasing the chance of multi-piece fractured breakage. Birch is less dense than maple, giving it a lighter feel on comparable turning models.
*Wood bats are more likely to break or crack on mishits than Alloy and Composite bats.
KNOB STYLE - ROUND KNOB VS. FLARE KNOB
Not all knobs are the same. Some bats have a more rounded knob while others feature a more gradual flare. The choice between the two simply comes down to personal preference.
An ink dot on a bat certifies that the wood is MLB grade. Often MLB-quality wood bats are bone-rubbed, which is the process of making a bat denser by compressing the wood.
CUPPED VS. NON-CUPPED
Cupping a bat is the process in which the end of the barrel is hollowed out to remove weight while maintaining length. This process creates a slightly more balanced feel to your swing and is especially effective on larger-barrel bats for increased swing speed.
The turning model refers to the specific shape of the bat. Different turning models have different specifications. Here are the areas where turning models differ:
- Barrel Measurement: is the diameter in the largest part of the barrel.
- Barrel taper: indicates whether the bat has a short dramatic transition through the taper, or long transition through the taper.
- Handle thickness: measures the diameter of the handle.
Knob taper: identifies what kind of taper exists for that turning model. Here are the three types.
- No taper: handle comes straight into the knob with no flare.
- Traditional taper: a gradual flare to the handle as it reaches the knob.
- Max taper: an aggressive flare to the handle as it joins the knob for a wider feel in your bottom hand.
Some Turning Model Examples Include: