Best Baseball Bat
Bats, bats, bats everywhere! There are so many different bats on the market, it can be very confusing trying to figure out which is the right one to purchase. Finding the right bat can be like finding the right needle amongst thousands of needles in the haystack!
There are wood bats, aluminum bats, one-piece bats, composite bats, Little League bats, youth bats, Senior League bats, BBCOR bats, and more. Here are the determinants that will help you select the correct bat:
* Level of play and Regulations: There are bats for each level of play and different regulations for these levels. Purchasing the right bat for the level of play that meets regulations is the first step.
* The size of the bat: Getting a bat that is the right size for you or your kid is one of the most important factors in a player’s success. In general, taller players should use a longer bat and stronger players should use a heavier bat. However, you do not want a bat that is too heavy or too long, as that will greatly influence the quality of a player’s swing.
* The drop: Baseball bats are measured by their drop number - their length to weight ratio, a negative number that represents how many ounces a bat weighs when compared to it's length in inches. For example, a 31 inch bat that weighs 26 ounces has a -5 drop.
* Price: Bats can be very expensive. More expensive is sometimes better, but the most expensive is not always the best for you or your kid. More serious players do need better bats, but that doesn’t mean you have to get the highest priced model. Players just beginning or who don’t exhibit a passion for the game don’t need expensive bats - buy a lower-priced model and move up the money scale if they become more serious.
If you consider these factors and spend a little time doing research, you will be sure to get the right bat for you or the young player in your family.
Best Baseball Bat:
Modern technology has unanimously tipped the scales toward the hitter. Aluminum composite bats have become so advanced, that a regulating body has had to step in and create a limit for the amount of pop a bat could generate. The college and high school games had become too offensive, and pitchers were becoming increasingly exposed to a comeback line drive. In short, the ball was being hit too hard. BBCOR, or "Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution" essentially measures a bat's trampoline effect. The higher the number, or "coefficient," the more "pop" the bat is measured to possess. The NCAA and high school governing bodies have stepped in and set the acceptable in-game limit at .50 BBCOR, which is a slightly higher coefficient than the standard wood bat.
This regulation has changed the bat-rating game, so to speak, just as it has changed high school and college baseball. The new standard of excellence has to rest at .50 BBCOR, and although there are bats on the market with more "pop," they are being phased out, if not already banned. Hitters now must rely on sheer hand-eye coordination and bat speed to generate power.
Due to this new widespread regulation, the 'best bats' in this section must have a .50 BBCOR rating. Once this is established, the factors that separate the good from the great bat will be evaluated. The evaluation criteria include: build, as it pertains to the generation of bat speed, comfort,as it pertains to handle and grip technology and construction as it applies to forgiveness and durability. Ultimately, the price of the bat will break all ties.
The Rip It BBCOR Air is a beautifully and aerodynamically constructed bat that meets all the specification of today's game. It is built with R2 alloy to allow for a light swing speed and a giant sweet spot, which leads to increased pop all the way up and down the barrel. The one-piece Air swings better than the Air Elite, and is more modestly priced as well. Read Full Review
The warrior is the newest one piece product of industry giant Louisville Slugger. This new model boasts a lighter swing weight due to the graphite "flex band technology" insert, which allows the bat maker to create a bat with thinner barrel walls, which leads to increased bat speed, which means more power generated from the hitter. This bat is also used by top college programs in the country. Read Full Review
A 2-piece bat with a stiff handle, this bat has the upside of optimized bat speed with a minimized downside inherent in any 2-piece bat. For this reason, I recommend this particular 2-piece for unmatched pop. Recommended for expert hitters with confidence in their hands. Read Full Review
The Easton Make BBCOR bat is everything a hitter could want in a baseball bat -- intense pop, optimum two-piece construction for swing speed, and a surprisingly stiff, forgiving handle. This bat performs as well if not better than any bat on the market. But elite bats come at an elite price, and the Mako is no exception. Read Full Review
The Demarini Voodoo overlord is another two piece bat that has solved for the problems that normally plague a two piece bat, while maintaining all of the upside of the two piecer. This bat has tremendous pop, which you will instantly feel if you hit the ball right. This bat also provides surprising forgiveness closer to the handle, if you happen to hit the ball further back in the zone. The Voodoo Overlord will perform as good as any on the list at a very competitive price. Read Full Review
Best Senior League Bat:
Determining the best Senior League baseball bat is not unlike rating any other category of baseball bat. The hitter wants the same ideal stick that combines top quality materials and construction, leading to the highest combination of bat speed and pop.
The only factor that differentiates a senior league bat from high school and college approved bats is the permitted drop ratio. While approved high school and college bats must maintain a -3 drop ratio (that is, the weight in ounces must be no more than 3 less than it's length in inches), the senior league rules are more flexible. This allows senior leaguers to swing bats with much lower drop ratios. Bat companies accommodate for this rule exception, often creating the same bat in varying styles: high school/college approved, junior league approved, and senior league approved. This means that the senior league hitter should expect the same or similar bats in this category as in the other of the two categories.
That said, the criteria for the best senior league bat are as follows: Bat construction as it pertains to material used, bat construction as it pertains to aerodynamics and bat speed generation, and price point, when the other criteria are met.
The Voodoo Paradox is constructed with high-quality X10 Aluminum alloy, with new and improved thinner barrel walls. Combined with the composite handle and an adapted -13 drop weight for the senior league circuit, this bat is optimized for bat speed, meaning more bat speed generation and power for the hitter. The competitive price tag put this bat on the top of the list once again. Read Full Review
The 2014 Marrucci black is the recommended bat for bigger power hitters in the senior league. At a -8 drop weight, a hitter that has the ability to swing this bat efficiently despite its lower drop weight could really benefit from the increased power that a heavier bat provides. Read Full Review
The 2014 Easton Mako scores high all across the board, as the bat's power, bat speed, real time performance, and consumer ratings are simply at the top of the market. The Mako is a top-tier bat, plain and simple. However, top-tier bats come with a top-tier price tag, and this bat is no exception. Read Full Review
The Louisville Slugger Vertex XL is a hybrid bat model composed of 360 Graphite composite fibers to lend strength without adding weight, and AC21 Scandium Alloy, or as Louisville's website calls it "the latest aerospace technology available). This means that the Vertex is one of the lightest and most powerful bats on the market, ideal for a senior league hitter. Read Full Review
The Louisville Slugger attack is Louisville's two piece model designed exclusively for the senior league hitter. The combination of composite barrel and Tru3 Technology handle make this bat one of the premier two piece models available to the senior league hitter. Recommended to those most comfortable swinging a two piece model over the one piece and hybrid models. Read Full Review
Best Wood Bat:
While Aluminum is undoubtedly superior on metric levels of performance, the wood bat is simply the classic bat of America's favorite pastime. Anyone can hit the ball with metal -- it takes a real ballplayer to drive one over the right-centerfield wall with the lumber.
The continued popularity of the wood bat is largely due to its reserved place in the big league game, in which the rules dictate that players only use wood bats, for reasons of both safety and competitive integrity. Regardless, big leaguers and recreational hitters alike have a certain attachment to the wood bat as a representation of baseball in its purest form.
Wood bats come in a few different varieties. Ash and maple bats have dominated the big league game for years, due to their respective density and strength properties that overshadow the rest in terms of pure function. However, there are other bats on the market as well, including the hyper-durable bamboo and composite bats that have emerged recently, among retailers.
When in the market for a wood bat, the buyer needs to weigh their options based on what they are looking to get out of the bat, as different wood bats serve very different functions. For example, the durable "beater bat" that is used for the recreational Sunday league probably does not need to align with the performance standards of Major League Baseball. Ultimately though, the search boils down to one thing: everybody wants to hit the ball -- hard. The following list will provide the buyer with a guide to the wood bats that best serve this purpose, based on both tangible metrics such wood density and hardness that contribute to a bat speed and power, but also intangible qualities such as shape and feel that allow the hitter to feel comfortable and confident stepping up to the plate, which is just as important. Finally, the price point breaks any ties when ranking a bat based on performance and feel.
Louisville Slugger is renowned among Major Leaguers for their top quality wood and construction. Expert construction and top quality materials rank this bat among the highest on levels of performance. Ash construction makes for a strong, lightweight bat, which lends the hitter increased bat speed and power, resulting in a better performance at the dish. The wood of the 243 is unfinished, meaning that the handle is rougher, lending increased grip, whether you wear batting gloves to the dish or not. When you pick up the 243, rest assured that you're swinging the best bat on the market. Read Full Review
Quickly gaining traction throughout the Major League circuit, The Marucci DO34 is another top of the line bat that boasts customization to cater to the needs of each individual hitter. Ash construction lends all the lightweight power one would expect. Topped off with over-the-top customization options, this bat can be made just how you like it. However, this does not come without a price. Read Full Review
The same model as the top listed bat, the Buster Posey C243 has an added wood finish that may lend increased pop and durability. Could very well be the best bat on the market in terms of performance. Feel is different considering the advanced wood finish, but then again feel is subjective. Read Full Review
The 113 Hornsby is made of maple, which many Major League power hitters prefer to ash. The upside is a stronger wood, which leads to increased power in some cases. The drawbacks are a denser bat and a smaller sweet spot than ash constructed bats. Overall, you can't go wrong with a Louisville Slugger, just make sure you hit it square with this one, and the ball will definitely fly. Read Full Review
The Cutch22 has potentially the highest upside of any bat on this list. This bat was created with the power hitter in mind, as Maple construction and a thin handle make it the best of both worlds in terms of bat speed generation and bat hardness. The consequence of this design is a smaller sweet spot and a higher breakability than the others on the list, especially if you catch one on the handle. Recommended for expert hitters. Read Full Review
Best Youth Bat:
The needs of a competitive youth baseball player are the same as the needs of any other baseball player, in that they want a bat that promotes power and bat speed. The primary differences between a youth bat and a standard, high school/college level bat are obviously the swing weights and drop levels (bat length vs. bat weight).
Most bat makers produce youth versions of their most popular models, to accommodate for the younger market. What this means for the consumer is that top of the line performance is made available at the youth level. As such, the top youth bats will closely parallel those of the high school and college levels.
The primary criteria or best youth bat are as follows: A bat that meets standards and specifications of the majority of youth leagues, a bat that provides power based on construction (i.e. quality of metal), and a bat that provides power based on design (i.e. bat speed, aerodynamic swing weight). Finally, price will break all quality ties.
The Voodoo Paradox is constructed with high-quality X10 Aluminum alloy, with new and improved thinner barrel walls. Combined with the composite handle, this bat is optimized for bat speed, meaning more power for the hitter. Demarini's Voodoo Paradox makes the top of the list for combining top of the line bat technology with a highly competitive price tag. Read Full Review
The 2014 Easton Mako scores high all across the board, as the bat's power, bat speed, real time performance, and consumer ratings are all off the charts. The Mako is simply a top-tier bat, plain and simple. However, top-tier bats come with a top-tier price tag, and this bat is no exception. Read Full Review
Marucci has a simple commitment to performance that is refreshing in today's technology-centric, bells and whistles market. The Marrucci Black offers a carbon composite handle and a ring free barrel that translates into pure swing speed and pop. Competitively priced, this bat is everything a hitter wants from a bat. Read Full Review
A one piece bat built by time-tested Louisville Slugger, this bat is built with ST+20 alloy, or what Louisville calls "the strongest alloy available in baseball today". As much pop as any bat on the market today, any hitter that prefers a one piece bat to the two piece construction can't go wring with the Assault. Read Full Review
The CF6 provides the best of the one piece and two piece bats, providing optimum swing weight and pop, while also providing a carbon reinforced handle to increase handle stiffness, which results in improved energy transfer into the barrel. Similar to the bat on the top of the list, at a slightly higher price point. Read Full Review