There are large varieties of baseball and softball (both slowpitch and fastpitch) bats available in the market. These bats come in different shapes, sizes and materials.
If you are deciding upon buying a bat for yourself then here is some useful information regarding the 3 different kinds of bats sold out there.
Whether you are choosing a baseball or a softball bat, you will come across three common materials used for constructing these bats – Hybrid, Composite and Wooden material. Each of these kinds is discussed in detail below.
Hybrid bats as the name suggests are a combination of both aluminum and composite bats. They are usually made up of a composite handle and an aluminum barrel.
Hybrid bats basically come in a two-piece design that helps in making the bats handle lighter and the barrel longer than it usually is.
These bats are designed by keeping high performance in mind. The composite handle offers great feel whereas the aluminum barrel makes them hot out of the wrapper.
Another advantage that hybrid bats have is that they have a larger sweet spot and much lesser vibration. You do not get that traditional sting with these bats. Also, you can use these bats in a variety of temperatures.
These bats are known for their durability and strength. Once purchased, these bats will stand the test of time and will remain free from dents, bends and defects.
Many companies manufacture Hybrid bats out of which DeMarini and Easton are the most popular ones. Their 2016 Hybrid bat catalogue includes some amazing bats that are packed with innovative features and technologies.
Hybrid bats have higher prices as compared to aluminum ones but less costly in comparison with composite bats which makes them somewhat costly.
Composite bats are manufactured using graphite, plastic and sometimes fiberglass material. These materials are layered upon each other while constructing the bat.
Usually, composite bats come in 2 kinds – balanced weight and end-loaded. In the balanced weight ones the weight is equally distributed throughout the bat whereas there is more weight at the end of a barrel in an end-loaded bat.
Composite bats have their own advantages and disadvantages. Just like hybrid bats, these bats have much less vibration and larger sweet spot which makes them great when it comes to minimizing sting and achieving greater pop.
Composite bats are considered more durable when compared to aluminum bats. These bats have greater trampoline effect attached to them.
Unlike hybrid bats, these bats require breaking in which requires that you strike 150-200 hits with your bat until it gives you an amazing pop. Composite bats do not have the standard “ping” sound when you hit rather they give more of a “crack” sound.
As a lot goes into the construction of these bats, composite bats are generally very expensive as compared to hybrid or aluminum bats. Sadly, you cannot use your composite bats in temperatures below 65 Fahrenheit.
Wood bats are the oldest and the most traditional kinds of bats used by players around the world. These bats have further sub-types including maple, ash, bamboo, birch and composite ones.
Maple Bats – Maple wood bats are considered the strongest among others that’s why they are used by power hitters. These bats are really hard and stiff that require greater force while hitting.
They are made up of rock maple or sugar maple. They are extremely dense with less flex and greater pop. Due to their hardness, they are considered much more durable.
Ash Bats – northern white ash is used in the construction of Ash bats. These bats include fewer grains which make them much more flexible giving a greater trampoline effect. This also makes them less durable and prone to breakage.
Generally contact hitters use ash bats that do not put in greater effort while hitting and who prefer light weight bats.
Bamboo bats – these bats are extremely hard which renders them highly durable. These bats are made by using bamboo strips and compressing them together.
Bamboo bats require BBCOR 50 certification mark. These bats are very light in weight and environmental friendly. Players that are new to the game use bamboo bats.
Birch bats – these bats combine the stiffness of maple bats with the flex of ash ones to give the longest sweet spot.
So who’s the winner amongst these three popular kinds of bats used by hundreds of players around the world? In reality there isn’t any winner!
Each one of the bats is good in its own way and it all depends on the players and the features they are looking for in their bats. Once you know what you want and what your league demands, only then will you be able to find the best one for yourself!