Baseball may not be as physical as some other sports but it still takes a massive amount of hand-eye coordination and skill to play it well. It also requires good equipment and perhaps the most important piece of equipment for the sport is the bat you will use to hit the ball. Buying a baseball bat is a process that you definitely want to get done right so it will enhance your chances of playing the game at a higher level than other competitors. That is why we have taken the time to include some important things to consider when buying a baseball bat in this article.
Important Things to Know When Purchasing A Baseball Bat
Here are some of the most important things to focus on when purchasing a baseball bat to be used at the high school or college level:
Even though there are no set standards when it comes to batting length there are a few general guidelines that will lead you to get the correct length bat for you. Years of experience have taught experts some general guidelines as to what the proper bat length is based on a person’s age and weight. Here is a chart that many experts suggest you use as a guideline for selecting the proper length bat.
Keep in mind that this chart is based on people standing in the batter’s box in a normal. As time goes on you may want to use a little longer bat because you stand as far away from the plate in the batter box as possible or you crowd the plate so you like to use a little shorter bat.
You will hear over and over again as you progress in levels in baseball the term bat speed. This simply describes how fast you swing your bat to make contact with a baseball that is pitched to you. The faster the ball is pitched the faster the bat speed you will need to catch up to that ball and make contact. Weight is one of the biggest factors in determining how much bat speed you can generate and it makes it a very important thing to consider when selecting a baseball bat to use.
If your bat is too heavy you may not be able to swing fast enough to hit pitches that are thrown by pitchers that throw at a high velocity. If your bat is too light it may cause you to overswing. So bat weight is a definite baseball bat characteristic you must consider if you want to maintain a high level of performance when hitting.
There are several different types of material that baseball bats are made of. These consist of the following types of materials:
- Metal alloys
- Composite materials
Each of these materials has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to hitting a baseball. That makes bat material an important consideration when choosing any baseball bat you will purchase. This will be covered in much more detail later in this article because it is so important when making a bat selection.
Generating bat speed is not the only thing that helps make you a better hitter. No matter how fast you swing it does not matter if you are not moving your bat to the proper place to hit the baseball. That is where bat control comes into play and a big part of that is the type of grip you have on your bat.
Bat grips can consist of anything from simple tape and specially designed padding all the way to some bats that have no type of special grip on them at all. Some people like the extra grip that specially padded grips provide and others think it makes the handle too thick for them to be comfortable with. So choose the type of grip you want with your bat has a lot to do with personal preference in most cases.
All baseball bats are thinner towards the handle of the bat than they are at the end but that is where the similarity starts and ends between different types of bat designs. The transition of the amount of thickness from the handle of the bat to the barrel is what is known as the bat taper and it is a bat characteristic that needs to be considered before making any bat purchase.
As a general rule the quicker the bat goes into a thicker barrel the longer the sweet spot on that bat will be but this also has a tendency to add more weight to the bat which you don’t want in most cases. So it is important to find a happy medium that works for you when it comes to batting taper. You want a bat that has as long of a barrel as possible without making the bat weight significantly slow your swing speed.
Many people do not realize just how expensive a baseball bat purchase can be. Manufacturers use sophisticated materials and sophisticated designs to make bats that will help improve your game statistically. Baseball bat purchases can often run into the several hundred dollar ranges, so the price is definitely a factor.
When purchasing a baseball bat you must first determine if it’s within your set budget range for your purchase. Then you must look at all the different enhancements each bat has that you are considering purchasing to determine if a particular bat is worth the money you spend it. Keep in mind that like with any product, some less expensive baseball bats have as many features as those that cost significantly more than them. Shop around for the best deal.
We just mentioned that some baseball bats are very expensive and can be a very significant purchase. Since this is the case you want to protect your investment as much as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure any bat you purchase has a good warranty policy.
Make sure you check out the warranty on a bat before you purchase it. Many companies will offer one-year warranties on baseball bats that will protect you against such things as manufacturer’s defects. Other companies will even do such things as give you a 30-day performance guarantee so you can return the bat if you feel it is not enhancing your performance when hitting a baseball.
If you are an experienced player then you may already have a good idea of what works best for you in a baseball bat. You need to really put this information to good use when selecting the proper bat for you. Traditional bat-selecting methods don’t always work for everyone’s playing styles. Think of the experience you have gained playing baseball as a way to fine-tune your bat selection process to help take your game to an even higher level.
It is important to remember that you may have adapted your baseball batting style to suit something that is characteristic of only you. When this happens you may need to use a bat that runs contradictory to whatever any expert or bat selection chart has to say.
What Are Baseball Bats Made Of?
We briefly touched on earlier that baseball bats are made of different materials. Now it is time to expand on that a little because the material a baseball bat is made of is definitely important to any buying decision that you make regarding them. Selecting the right baseball bat material that fits your playing style and goals can make a big difference when it comes to improving your batting while playing the game.
Here are the three main materials that baseball bats are made of:
The very first baseball bats that were ever made were made out of wood and they are still made of this material today. As a matter of fact, wood baseball bats are the only ones that are allowed at the professional level of baseball. That is one of the biggest advantages of using them because it will help you adapt your game to a higher level when using them if you have aspirations to play professional baseball. They are also the best type of material to use if you like to have a baseball bat that is highly customizable to your needs. The drawbacks with wooden baseball bats are they do not enhance your performance much and they tend to break easily if you mishit a pitched baseball with them.
These are the newest types of materials that baseball bats are made of. Composite bats are usually made up of some type of carbon fiber polymer. Most likely if you buy a composite bat it will have some metal it in too and that is why these are often referred to as 2-piece bats. These bats also offer performance bonuses that wooden bats will not give you and tend not to sting when you mishit the ball as true metal alloy bats do. There can be very expensive to purchase and also tend to be a one size fits all type of bat.
These were the first bats to go into mass production that was not made of wood. They produce a pronounced ringing when you use them that many people refer to as a “ping”. They have been proven to hit a ball much further than wooden bats do and they also do not break as easily as them. They are made of such metals as titanium, aluminum, and graphite which also make them much lighter and easier to control when swinging. The drawbacks to using them are they are very expensive to buy and they are manufactured in more of a one size fits all way.
Make sure you review what each type of material does for a baseball bat before you go shopping for one. This will greatly increase your chances of finding a BBCOR baseball bat that will elevate your batting to a higher level. You need to give yourself the same advantages when it comes to playing the game of baseball as those you are competing against and having the right bat will go a long way toward achieving that goal.
BESR vs. BBCOR vs. BESR-ABI
Whether you play baseball or softball bat ratings can certainly get quite confusing at times. There are so many different types of bat rating systems that trying to figure it all out can leave you tugging on your hair at times. It is a crazy system but it is one that most baseball leagues strictly adhere to. We will try to clear up some of the confusion a little bit here.
First of all, it is important to note that these regulations were not just put in place to make things confusing for you. They are all done in regard to safety when it comes to playing baseball or softball. Bat technology was getting so advanced at one point that it was making it dangerous for pitchers and other players because the ball was coming from technically superior bats at very dangerous speeds.
Here are some common baseball ratings and what they mean:
This is the main one that we are concerned with for the purposes of this article. It has to do with bats that are approved for high school and college level use. Players at this age were getting so big and strong they were hitting the ball extremely hard and some had to be done in regard to player safety. This is the most current standard that affects baseball bat rating and must be stamped on any non-wooden bat in order for it to be legally used in a game.
This is a standard that was put in place in 2010 after all-composite bat use was banned in regard to safety. Some companies were allowed to apply for this waiver as far as bats that are approved for use in what is considered adult baseball. The initials B-E-S-R simply stand for Bat Exit Speed Ratio. A composite baseball bat could get a waiver for use if it was determined it produced an exit speed of a baseball off the bat that players were safely able to react to.
This rating basically takes the BESR rating one step further. The initials A-B-I stand for Accelerated Break In. It was determined that certain composite bats could receive a waiver to be used for play because after a certain amount of use (done at the factory) they no longer were generating dangerous ball speeds after hitting with them. All the bats with this certification are tested at the factory after they have been hit a certain amount of times to ensure they are safe to use.
So you have to pay close attention when buying a new bat to make sure it meets all the requirements for use in your league or state. Failure to do so can result in such things as ejections or forfeits if you are caught using a non-approved bat in a game. If you have any questions about whether a bat you want to buy is legal for use in your league, then ask a coach or a league official to be sure before you spend lots of money buying a bat.
The Difference Between 1 Piece And 2 Piece Bats
The material that a baseball bat is made of usually determines if a bat will be made using all one-piece technology or if it will be made up of two different types of material.
One piece bats
These tend to be made of all wood or all metal alloys but advances are being made in technology that very may well produce one-piece all-composite bats someday too. One-piece bats tend to be stiffer than two-piece bats and many hitters prefer a stiffer bat. Because they are all one-piece construction they are bats that hit the ball far but can really sting if you mishit a ball when batting. They also come in a large variety of price ranges.
These are bats that are usually made using a combination of metal alloys and some type of carbon fiber polymer. This makes them some of the most expensive bats you can buy. They do last a long time and they can hit the ball far also. They do not tend to sting your hands when mishit like one-piece construction bats.
Top 4 Mistakes to Avoid When Picking A BBCOR Bat
We have covered a lot of characteristics of baseball bats in this article in an effort to help you make a sound purchase decision when the time comes for you to buy a new bat. Part of that has been supplying you with as much information as possible about baseball bats to assist you with this decision. We have told you what to look for during the baseball bat purchasing process but now it’s time to tell you the mistakes you must avoid during that process too.
Here are the top 4 mistakes people make during a BBCOR bat purchase:
Thinking Spending More Money Always Gets You A Better Bat
Like with any product, there are some great bats that are out there in the marketplace that are very reasonably priced. So don’t be fooled into thinking that you always have to by an expensive baseball bat. If you use the information provided here in this article then there is a good chance you can use it to find a baseball bat that will work great for you at a reasonable price.
Buying Too Heavy A Bat
When some people shop for a BBCOR baseball bat they think that the heavier the bat they buy the farther they will hit the ball. This is true but only if you can swing it fast enough to make contact with the baseball when it’s pitched. So only buy a baseball bat that has a weight that you can swing fast and use comfortably. This point cannot be emphasized strongly enough when you are deciding what BBCOR bat to purchase.
Buying Too Long A Bat
This one is along the same lines as buying a baseball bat that is too heavy for you; many people think too that buying a longer baseball bat will help improve their game. This is not always necessarily true. Sometimes a longer bat will take the naturally good swing you have and make it out of balance. This happens when your bat is so long it becomes top heavy or it adds extra weight to the bat that slows down your swing speed. Any of these can result in very poor hitting performance.
Setting Your Bat Buying Budget Too Low
It’s true that whenever you are making a purchase to buy a product like a baseball bat you have to set a budget range for your purchase but you have to be careful here also. By setting your baseball bat buying budget too low you may limit your ability to purchase a product that will not only improve your game but may have other consequences as well. An example of this is a talented high school baseball player that is underperforming and will not get a college scholarship because they bought a bat that does nothing to enhance their hitting.
So be careful to avoid these common pitfalls that people make when purchasing a BBCOR baseball bat.
There is no doubt about it, having the right piece of equipment to play a sport can really elevate your game to another level. If you are a serious baseball player then you need to give yourself an edge and invest in a good baseball bat. We have tried to help you with that purchasing decision as much as possible in this article.
So now you know there is a lot that goes into making a baseball bat purchase if you are a high school or college level player. When making a bat purchasing decision use the baseball bat buying guide we provided as a guideline of what to look for. If you do that you should have no problem finding one of the best BBCOR bats to help you play baseball at a high level when batting.