What Type of Wood Are MLB Bats Made of?
MLB fans are well aware that the game is about much more than just a showcase of tremendous athleticism. Being a spectator at a big league game is a feast for the eyes, ears, and stomach. You’ll catch a whiff of popcorn and freshly mowed grass. The characteristic crack of a bat will also be heard, which is one of the most well-known noises in baseball. So, what is the source of this phenomenon? Let’s have a look at the materials used to construct Major League Baseball bats.
The history of the MLB bat
According to the Smithsonian Institution, players created their own bats that were tailored to their individual game throughout baseball’s early years. Bats were often larger and heavier back then, weighing an average of 50 ounces. That is far heavier than the current average of 30 ounces. Today’s players want to use lighter bats in order to maximize the speed with which they can get their bat into the strike zone when they are batting. When playing baseball in the past, players would “choke up” on the bat, leaving space between their hands and the grip.
Here’s what MLB bats are not made of
The following attributes are allowed: ” src=” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; picture-in-picture; picture-in-picture;” allowfullscreen=””> Metal is one of the materials that college and little-league baseball teams utilize to create bats, despite the fact that aluminum is not used at the Major League Baseball level. The professional league has a strong prohibition barring the use of aluminum baseball bats. For starters, it’s quite risky.
MLB players are among the world’s greatest athletes, and they represent the best of the best.
College and small league teams mostly employ them since they are significantly less expensive than the alternatives.
What kind of wood are MLB bats made of?
At a team exercise, the New York Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes examines his bat against the wall | Photograph courtesy of Mark Brown/Getty Images Wooden baseball bats are used in Major League Baseball. Maple, ash, and birch are the three most commonly used species of wood for the construction of these bats. Each species of wood has its own set of pros and downsides.
Maple baseball bats
Maple is the densest of the woods, which makes it both hard and durable. Both of these characteristics are desired in a Major League Baseball bat. As a result of the bat’s density, it produces greater pop. Due to the fact that maple is a diffuse-porous wood, it has a tendency to hold together when subjected to high-intensity impact. In other words, it’s less likely to shatter or break during a baseball game, which is especially important if a batter uses the bat on a regular basis.
The places where the ball lands grow more durable with time. The disadvantage of maple is that it may accumulate a significant amount of moisture during its lifetime, making it heavier. This might have a negative impact on the hitter’s bat speed.
Ash baseball bats
Prior to the popularity of maple bats, ash bats were popular. It is far more flexible, resulting in increased bat speed. It’s difficult to keep an ash bat alive since it’s a ring-porous wood, which means it will dry up over time. In turn, it becomes significantly more prone to breaking.
Birch baseball bats
Birch is yet another sort of wood that is used to make bat houses. The softness of the material contributes to its flexibility. Despite this, birch bats are known for being quite resilient. They have the hardness of maple bats and the flexibility of ash bats in one package. The primary vulnerability of birch bats stems from their primary strength: their softness. When the bat is used for the first time, it is possible that dents will appear in it. Players often need to break in birch bats before they can be used effectively in a game environment, in order to ensure that the bat hardens before usage in a game setting.
Fans of the iconic “crack” may rejoice, as one of the game’s signature noises will continue to be heard for as long as the game is being actively played.
Baseball bat – Wikipedia
Baseball As America, a traveling exhibit by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, features four historically significant baseball bats on display. From left to right: Babe Ruth’s bat used to hit his 60th home run during the 1927 season, Roger Maristo’s bat used to hit his 61st home run during the 1961 season, Mark McGwire’s bat used to hit his 70th home run during the 1998 season, and Sammy Sosa’s bat used to hit his 66th home run during the same season. It is a smooth wooden or metal club that is used in the sport ofbaseball in order to strike the ball after it has been thrown by the pitcher.
Although traditionally, bats weighing up to 3 pounds (1.4 kg) were swung, currently, bats weighing 33 ounces (0.94 kg) are typical, with the highest weights ranging from 34 ounces (0.96 kg) to 36 ounces (0.98 kg) (1.0 kg).
Each of the zones of a baseball bat has a specific function. The “barrel” of the bat refers to the thick section of the bat where the ball is intended to be struck. According to the barrel’s structure and swinging technique, the region of the barrel that is optimal for hitting the ball is referred to as the “sweet spot.” The “top,” “end,” or “cap” of the bat refers to the end of the barrel of the bat. The barrel narrows as it approaches the “handle,” which is comparably small, allowing batters to securely grasp the bat in their hands on the opposite side of the cap from the top.
In baseball, the phrase “lumber” refers to a bat that is frequently used, especially when it is wielded by a highly skilled hitter.
In the case of a 30-ounce, 33-inch-long baseball bat, the bat drop is negative three (30 x 33 = -3). Larger bat drops aid in increasing swing speed, whereas smaller drops result in more power.
The shape of the bat has evolved over time to become more sophisticated. Baseball hitters were known to mold or whittle their own bats by hand during the mid-19th century, resulting in a wide variety of forms, sizes, and weights. There were flat bats, round bats, short bats, and obese bats, to name a few variations. Earlier bats were known to be far heavier and bigger than the bats that are presently controlled. The forms of knives, as well as the patterns of their handles, were explored extensively during the nineteenth century.
Emile Kinst was given Patent No. 430,388 on June 17, 1890 for a “better ball-bat.” The patent was for a “improved ball-bat.”
- Emile Kinst received his patent for the ball-bat, sometimes known as the banana bat, on June 17, 1890. In order to be called a banana bat, the bat’s form is shaped like a banana. According to Kinst, the purpose of his invention is to “provide a ball-bat which shall produce a rotary or spinning motion of the ball in its flight to a greater degree than is possible with any present known form of ball-bat, and thus to make it more difficult to catch the ball, or if caught, hold it, and thus to further modify the conditions of the game.” The mushroom bat, invented by Spalding in 1906, is an example of this. The Spalding firm created a bigger baseball bat with a mushroom-shaped knob on the handle in response to the increased size of baseball bats in the 1900s. The WrightDitsons Lajoie baseball bat, as a result, allowed the hitter to achieve a more even distribution of weight across the whole length of the bat. This bat featured a standard-sized barrel, but it also had two knobs on the grip for more control. The lowest knob was located at the bottom of the handle, while the other knob was approximately two inches above the lowest knob on each side of the handle. Because the knob is located in the middle of the grip, this was created to allow for more space between the hands during playing. When hitters choked up on the bat, the second knob allowed a stronger grip with the mushroom-shaped handle
- In 1990, Bruce Leinert had the concept of putting an axehandle on the baseball bat, which became a popular design feature. In 2007, he submitted a patent application for the ‘Axe Bat,’ and the bat began to be utilized in the collegiate and professional ranks over the next few years. Axe handled bats were used by the Marietta CollegePioneers baseball team to win the NCAA Division III World Series in 2012. Several Major League Baseballplayers, includingMookie Betts,Dustin Pedroia,George Springer,Kurt Suzuki, and Danby Swanson, have adopted the bat handle.
Materials and manufacture
Baseball bats are commonly composed of either hardwood or a metal alloy, depending on the sport (typically aluminum). The majority of wooden bats are constructed of ash, while other woods such as maple, hickory, and bamboo are sometimes used. Since the release of the first major league sanctioned model in 1997, hickory bats have fallen out of favor due to their heavier weight, which slows down bat speed, but maple bats have gained popularity as a result of their lighter weight, which speeds up bat speed.
- While breaking baseball’s single-season home run record in 2001 and the lifetime home run record in 2007, Barry Bonds utilized maple bats throughout both of those seasons.
- The label on each bat is placed on the side of the wood that is more susceptible to mechanical failure.
- The bat is regarded to be stiffer and less prone to shatter when it is oriented in this manner.
- In the case of bats made of ash, labels will often be located where the grain spacing is the most extensive.
- The use of maple bats in particular was formerly suspected (around 2008) of potentially shattering in a way that resulted in a large number of sharp edges, which may result in more deadly projectiles when they were broken.
- A constant stream of anecdotal reports of sales at sporting goods retailers suggests that maple is overtaking ash as the most widely used new baseball bat material in the United States at this time.
- Despite the strictness of league rules, there is much of room for individual variation, with many hitters deciding on their own bat profile or one that has been utilized by a successful batter.
- For example, Babe Ruth’s template, which became popular among major-league players after his death, is housed at the Louisville Slugger archives, where it has been numbered R43 since its creation.
- As soon as the basic bat has been turned, it is imprinted with the manufacturer’s name, the serial number, and sometimes even the signature of the player who is endorsing it on the other side of the wood from its best side.
A rounded head is next, but approximately 30 percent of players prefer a “cup-balanced” head, in which a cup-shaped indentation is formed in the head; this was first brought to the big leagues in the early 1970s by José Cardenal; this lightens the bat and shifts the center of gravity closer to the handle.
At the end of the process, the bat is stained in one of many conventional colors. These include natural, red, black, and a two-tone blue and white combination.
Environmental threat to ash wood
More than 50 million trees have been destroyed by theemerald ash borer, an alien beetle that was mistakenly introduced into the United States from Asia. It is now threatening the groves of ash trees in New York’s Adirondack Mountains that are used to create baseball bats. The beetle is likely able to survive in an environment that was previously too cold for it due to global temperature rise.
When it comes to the American major leagues, Rule 1.10(a) stipulates that the bat must be a smooth, round stick with a diameter of not more than 2.61 inches at its thickest point and a length of not more than 42 inches. The bat will be made from a single piece of solid wood. Bats are not permitted to be hollowed or corked — that is, to be filled with a foreign substance such as cork in order to lower their weight — under any circumstances. However, this theory was contested as being implausible on the Discovery Channel series MythBusters, when it was demonstrated that corking may enhance bat speed without significantly diminishing striking power.
Metal alloy bats are typically viewed as having the ability to strike a ball quicker and further with the same amount of force as wood bats.
Metal alloy bats have the ability to launch a ball up to 60 ft 6 in (18.44 m) out from a pitcher’s head at a velocity that is far too high for the pitcher to avoid being hit in the head by the ball in time.
High school baseball in the United States is played as follows:
- The bat’s diameter cannot be greater than 2 +5 8inches (67 mm) when measured in relation to its breadth and length. Its “drop” (the difference between inches of length and ounces of weight) must be no greater than 3: In order to be legal, a bat measuring 34 inches (863.6mm) in length must weigh at least 31 ounces (880 g). The bat may be made of any safe solid uniform material
- However, the National Federation of State High School Associationsrules specify that only “wood or non-wood” materials may be used in the construction of the bat. A BBCOR (Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution) bat must be utilized in order for an aluminum bat to be legally used in a game. This is because it has been discovered that when this ratio is exceeded, a pitcher loses his capacity to protect himself.
Depending on the league (such as Little Leaguebaseball), the bat may not be larger than 2 14 inches (57 mm) in diameter for players aged 12 and younger, or less. However, in many other leagues (such as the PONY League Baseball and the Cal Ripken League Baseball), the diameter of the bat cannot be greater than 2 + 3 4 inches (70 mm). There are restrictions on how much and where a baseball player can use a baseball bat while applyingpine tarto to the ball. Rule 1.10(c) of the Major League Baseball Rulebook states that it is not permitted to be more than 18 inches above the bottom handle.
In succeeding years, rules 1.10 and 6.06 were amended to better represent the objective of Major League Baseball, as demonstrated by the league president’s decision.
Rule 6.06 only applies to bats that have been captured “altered or tampered with in such a way that the distance factor is improved or that the baseball exhibits an unexpected reaction This includes bats that have been filled, have a flat surface, have been nailed, have been hollowed, have been grooved, or have been coated with a material such as paraffin, wax, or other similar substance.” There is no longer any reference of a “illegally hit ball” in the document.
In 2001, the Major League Baseball permitted the use of Gorilla Gold Grip Enhancer in major and minor league games as a replacement to pine tar, which was previously prohibited.
Care and maintenance
A baseball bat that was used in a game and autographed by Tony Gwynn Players might be quite fussy about the bats that they use. All of Ted Williams’ baseball bats were cleaned with alcohol every night, and he carried them to the post office for frequent weighings. According to him, “bats gather up moisture and dirt that is laying about on the ground,” and they can acquire an ounce or more in a relatively short period of time. He also took great care to ensure that his bats did not gather moisture and so acquire weight by storing them in humidors, one of which was located in the clubhouse and another which was transportable for use on the road.
His explanation was that the sawdust serves as a “buffer” between the bats and the rest of the environment, absorbing any moisture before it can permeate into the wood.
In addition to animal bones, other materials such as rolling pins, soda bottles, and the edge of a porcelain sink have been utilized as boning materials.
He would soak them in a vat of motor oil in his basement and then hang them up to dry.
A fungo bat is a specifically constructed bat that is used for practice by baseball and softball coaches. There is no consensus on where the wordfungo() came from, although the Oxford English Dictionary thinks that it is derived from the Scottish fung, which means “to throw, toss, or fling.” A fungo is a baseball bat that is longer and lighter than a regular bat, and it has a lower diameter as well. In order to hit balls thrown into the air by the hitter, rather than pitched balls, the bat is built to do so.
During fielding practice, coaches hit a large number of balls, and the weight and length of the balls allow the coach to hit balls repeatedly with good precision.
- Baseball bats made of composite materials
- Pink baseball bats
- A list of baseball bat manufacturers
- Cricket bats
- Softball bats
- AbJenn Zambri. “Size Matters: The Top 10 “Biggest” Players in Major League Baseball History.” Bleacher Report is a sports news website. Beckham, Jeff (13 September 2015)
- Retrieved 13 September 2015
- (August 18, 2014). “Using an axe handle on a baseball bat gives you greater power and fewer injuries.” Wired.com. on the 31st of July, 2018, from McAuley, Grant (May 19, 2018). “The Braves’ Swanson has switched to an axe handle bat as his preferred weapon.” The Game 92.9 is a radio station that broadcasts games. Obtainable on July 31, 2018
- Jeff Passan is the author of this article (June 23, 2015). “Why Dustin Pedroia’s Axe Bat, Dustin Pedroia, may be instrumental in making the round handle obsolete.” Yahoo Sports is a sports news website. Accessed July 31, 2018
- AbPatterson, Brittany. “Baseball Bats Threatened by Invasive Beetle”. Retrieved July 31, 2018. Scientific American is a magazine dedicated to science and technology. Scientific American is a magazine dedicated to science and technology. Canadian Sports Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 3 (August 2008), p. 8 (Publication Mail Agreement40993003, Oakville, ON)
- “The Well Is Effectively Dead.” Retrieved on November 21, 2017. NPR.org, accessed September 20, 2010. Retrieved on September 13, 2015
- “MLB restricts use of several maple bats in lower leagues
- Safety concerns mentioned.” archive.li.com, September 11, 2012. Retrieved on September 13, 2015. The original version of this article was published on September 11, 2012. CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- Abcd”Wood science and how it applies to wooden baseball bats”.woodbat.org. Retrieved 14 July 2017. CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- “Wood bats – on which “side” should the ball’s impact be?”.baseball-fever.com. Retrieved14 July2017
- Abc”Safety testing for maple bats mandated”.baseball-fever.com. Retrieved13 September2015
- Abc”Wood bats – on which “side” should the ball’s impact be?”.baseball-fever.com. Major League Baseball is a professional baseball league in the United States. The following website was accessed on July 14, 2017: “Hitting with Wood”.woodbat.blogspot.com. 3rd of March, 2009. “Maple and Ash Baseball Bats May Strike Out,” according to a report published on July 14, 2017. NPR.org published an article on July 4, 2008, titled abc”Babe Ruth modified the design of bats to have a thinner handle,” retrieved on September 13, 2015. Review by a spokesman (Spokane, Washington). The Associated Press published an article on March 11, 1979, on page C5
- Brian Mann is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom. “A Beetle May Soon Strike Out Baseball’s Famous Ash Bats,” reports the New York Times. NPR.org is the official website of National Public Radio. “Official Baseball Rules” were retrieved on November 21, 2017. (PDF). Major League Baseball is a professional baseball league in the United States. Retrieved2012-05-07
- s^ Season 5 of Mythbusters features a “Corked Bat,” and the “National Collegiate Athletic Association Standard for Testing Baseball Bat Performance” (PDF) is available at acs.psu.edu as of October 30, 2006. Archived from the original on 10 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- “Baseball Rules Committee Focuses on Clarification of Bat Standards and Sportsmanship During Pre-Game Practice”Archived from the original on 24 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- “NCHSAA Baseball Rules Committee Focuses on Clarification of Bat Standards and Sportsmanship During Pre-Game Practice”Archived from the original on 24 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- “NCHSAA Baseball Rules Committee Focuses on Clarification of Bat Standards and Archived from the original on July 6, 2010, via the Wayback Machine
- “2007 Regulation and Rule Changes” (PDF).bsbproduction.s3.amazonaws.com. RetrievedJuly 14, 2017
- Heiss Grodin, Dana (2007, September 26). “2017 Rules and Regulations for PONY Baseball” (PDF).bsbproduction.s3.amazonaws.com. RetrievedJuly 14, 2017. (March 7, 2001). “Equipment and product information.” According to USA Today. Sandra L. Lee’s article was archived from the original on March 4, 2016. (December 27, 2001). “For the time being, the mansion is still standing.” Lewiston Morning Tribune, p. 1A. Lewiston, Maine. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012
- “Fungo” entry in the Oxford English Dictionary
- “Fungo bats” at baseballrampage.com. July 14, 2017
- Retrieved on July 14, 2017
- Baseball and softball bat physics and acoustics — How baseball bats function, how bat performance is assessed, and the differences between wood, metal, and composite bats are all covered in this section. Baseball Bat Construction
- “Maple and Ash Baseball Bats May Strike Out.” Woodturning Online —Making a Baseball Bat. It was the talk of the town. On July 4, 2008, National Public Radio broadcast a story.
Three types of woods used for custom pro wood bats
Maple Advantages: Maple is a highly thick wood, which makes it one of the ideal species to use for wood bats because of its density. The hardness and durability of a material are closely proportional to its density. The denser the wood used in the construction of a bat, the more durable the bat will be and the more pop it will have in its performance. Furthermore, maple is a wood with a dispersed porosity (close-grain). The qualities of diffuse-porous wood are such that it will remain intact even when subjected to high-intensity impact.
- As a result, the more you hit with a maple bat, the more the grains will compact and push together, increasing the density of the grain.
- Maple has the toughest surface of the three principal species of wood generally used in the production of wood bats, and it is also the most expensive.
- The weight of the bat increases as it absorbs more liquid.
- When it comes to striking the baseball off the end of the bat or close to the tip, maple is a hard, solid wood that is less forgiving than ash and birch, which are both more forgiving.
- Many players claim that ash is more flexible than maple, and that this lets them to “whip” the barrel through the striking zone, resulting in increased bat speed.
- Cons: In order to be used for wood bats, ash must also be dried to a very low moisture level before it can be utilized.
- Because of the qualities of ash, the bat’s skin will continue to dry out during its whole life span.
It is also possible to cause the bat to peel and splinter by hitting off the face grain (the grain where the logo is put).
This will result in flaking and splintering, as well as a decrease in the durability of the bat.
This adaptability may allow a player to generate more whip and bat speed as a result of his or her abilities.
Similarly to Maple, Birch has a curly grain, which makes it more durable when the bat comes into repeated contact with the baseball in the same location of the bat.
Birch bats are not susceptible to fracturing like ash bats.
This is normal.
The surface hardness of a new birch bat is not nearly as hard as the surface hardness of a new maple bat, which may result in somewhat slower exit speeds than with a new maple bat.
This is owing to the wood’s hardness, durability, and general performance, all of which contribute to its popularity.
Maple bats account for around 75 percent to 80 percent of all bats used at the big league level, according to the American Baseball Association. Despite the fact that ash and birch bats have some advantages, most players prefer the performance of a maple bat over that of any other type.
What kind of wood are baseball bats made from?
Unquestionably the most recognizable piece of athletic equipment on the globe, a wooden baseball bat is made of wood. But, what sort of wood is used to make baseball bats, and which type is the best to utilize, remains a mystery. The most often utilized woods in baseball bats are ash, maple, birch, bamboo, and a composite type approach, with the latter being the most popular. In this post, we will take a look at the many types of wood that can be used to make baseball bats, as well as some recommendations on which bats are the most appropriate for you to use.
Maple versus Ash, the two most popular type of wooden Baseball bat?
It is unquestionably the case that the two most common varieties of wooden baseball bats are Ash and Maple.
Maple is a wood that is exceedingly durable and dense. The hardness of the surface of a Maple Baseball bat is approximately 20% more than that of an Ash Baseball bat. What exactly does this mean? To put it simply, the harder the surface, the quicker the ball will bounce out of the bat. One of the reasons maple has become so widely regarded as a go-to bat is because of its versatility. It also didn’t hurt that major leaguers like Barry Bonds used to use Maple, which was a nice touch. On the technical side, according to Hitting World, Maple has a finer grain than Ash and is hence more durable.
As a result of the grain of the wood being intact and the hardness of maple wood, a bat with less flex is produced.
As hard as maple wood is, ash wood is a pliable material. When a baseball is struck with an Ash bat, the ball virtually trampolines off the bat and into the stands. One advantage of using an Ash bat is that the sweet spot appears to be larger because of the additional flex. Although ash is known to shatter more easily over time, it is also known to split when struck unevenly, as seen in the accompanying video. However, while Ash bats splinter more quickly than Maple bats, they do not divide in the same way as Maple bats do.
A second point made by Doug Bernier, the founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, is that ash granules begin to flake at an alarmingly early stage, and your bat will ultimately lose all solidity in the barrel.
The best of the rest
When it comes to baseball bats, Birch takes a little bit of the best of both worlds and makes it his own. It possesses the flexibility of Ash and the durability of Maple in its wood, making it a good choice for furniture. In other words, it is a tough wood that will not break in two when struck. When it comes to picking your new bat, having a flexible bat that won’t break down like Ash is a major plus point.
You should keep in mind that if you acquire a Birch bat fresh new, it will need to be broken in before you can use it properly. Generally speaking, it will attain its optimum hardness after 30-50 swings of the barbell.
Bamboo bats are a relatively new addition to the marketplace. Their construction begins with the cutting of Bamboo wood into strips, followed by the joining of the strips to form billets, and finally the construction of a bat. Because the bats are not made of a single piece of wood, they do not hit as hard as a traditional wood bat. In comparison to other woods such as ash, maple, and birch, several baseball players have observed that a bamboo bat has a notable lack of pop.
Consequently, as you can see, the three most common types of wood utilized are ash, maple, and birch. In addition, if you really want to pick nits, Bamboo is a grass, not a bat, which makes it a better choice.
What Wood Would Wood Bats Be Made if Wood Bats Could Would Wood?
Wood bats have been present since the origins of baseball—in fact, they were the very first bats used in baseball games. Bats are now made from a variety of various wood species, which is a relatively new development. Each species has its own set of advantages that may be tailored to meet the requirements of a given hitter. The following information about some of the most popular kinds of wood used to build bats has been prepared to assist you in deciding from which spirit tree your wood bat should descended.
Are you looking for low-cost blem wood bats?
Sam Bat was the first to introduce maple wood bats to the Major League Baseball (MLB). Maple is the most prevalent wood bat type in professional baseball today, accounting for about half of all bats. Since its introduction to the market in the 1990s, maple has remained one of the most popular species of wood used to make bats, accounting for about half of all bats produced. It is an extremely strong and solid wood, which makes it tough to shatter while also producing extra pop from the barrel when fired.
The tightness of the grain also results in a hard bat, which contributes to its overall longevity.
Ash is the second most frequent type of wood bat used in Major League Baseball today, after maple. Prior to maple, it was the most often used wood. Ash was one of the first types of wood to be utilized, and it is still widely used in many parts of the world today. It is quite bendable, and the grains are extremely thick. In addition to creating a trampoline effect when the ball strikes the bat, the flex also contributes to creating pop off the barrel. There are certain disadvantages to Ash Bats, however, such as the fact that the flex of the grains may cause them to pull apart, resulting in the bat splintering over time.
In addition, the grains dry out more quickly, which contributes to splintering as well. As a result, if you desire the extra pop that ash bats deliver, and you are ready to change your bat every few months, ash is the best choice for you. See our Marucci Wood Bat Reviews for more information.
The birch wood aims to attract the attention of those who are seeking for a nice blend of maple and ash in their furniture. Even though birch is a relatively new wood species in bats, it has already made a positive effect on the market. It has the appearance of a cross between maple and ash. It is a lighter wood species with the flex of ash and the hardness of maple, but it is also a more expensive wood species. If you can’t decide between maple and ash, birch is an excellent choice because it combines the best characteristics of each.
Bamboo, which is actually a grass, is a low-cost alternative to wood (which is not permitted in Major League Baseball), and it provides a viable choice for amateur players on a tight budget. Bamboo bats are also one of the most recent options to hit the market, offering a low-cost alternative to traditional wood bats. It is an excellent choice for younger, developing children who will not be able to swing the same size bat for an extended period of time, as well as for older players. These bats are constructed by compressing bamboo strips into billets, which are then compacted together to form the bat.
Despite the fact that they are not officially made of wood, they behave virtually identically like a wooden bat.
Hadden Grant hails from a little town in the southwest Missouri region of the United States.
When he isn’t around baseball or writing about baseball, he may be found lifting weights or playing pool in his spare time.
What Type of Wood Are MLB Bats Made Of?
The crack of a baseball bat hitting a baseball is one of the most identifiable noises in all of major league sports, and it is especially noticeable in baseball. In the ears of baseball fans, the crack is like listening to music. It has been referred to as the “signature sound” of professional baseball. But what is the source of that sound? Let’s have a look at the materials used to construct Major League Baseball bats.
History of the MLB Baseball Bat
Baseball players used to make their own bats back in the 1800s, according to legend. Bats may be constructed in whatever way the players desired. Thus, bats were frequently constructed from scrap wood that happened to be lying about the house. Bats were frequently fashioned from wagon tongues and included distinctive patterns and materials that were customized to the player’s personal preference. Baseball players began seeking the assistance of skilled woodworkers in the mid-1800s to assist them in the design and shaping of baseball bats around this time.
Several different types of wood, including hickory, ash, and maple, were used in the experiment. Since then, laws and restrictions have been established to restrict the size, weight, and substance of the bats used in Major League Baseball.
Type of Wood in MLB Bats
A variety of various types of wood are used to construct the wooden baseball bats used in current Major League Baseball. The following are the most popular varieties of wood used in Major League Baseball bats, as well as the advantages of each:
Ash Wood Baseball Bats
Ash was one of the earliest species of wood to be utilized in the manufacture of conventional baseball bats, and it was one of the most popular. Many Major League Baseball players continue to use Ash bats because they have greater flexibility, which boosts bat speed. The disadvantage of Ash baseball bats is that they are ring-porous, which means that they dry up with time, which might result in breaking.
Maple Wood Baseball Bats
When a ball is struck with a maple bat, the bat is rigid and does not provide much flexibility. Given the fact that maple wood is robust and dense, it can withstand greater power when struck. It should come as no surprise that sluggers frequently chose maple bats for their arsenal. The density of maple wood means that bats made of maple are less likely to crack or shatter than other types of wood. The disadvantage of maple bats is that they can absorb moisture over time, which causes the bat to get heavier and the swing speed to diminish.
Birch Wood Baseball Bats
Birch is another another prevalent wood that is utilized in the production of bats. Birch is a soft wood that is nevertheless inherently resilient; it falls between between ash and maple in terms of hardness. Birch bats are commonly used to blend the toughness of maple bats with the flexibility of ash bats to create a more versatile bat. The disadvantage of birch is that it is soft. The shaft of the bat is frequently dented as a result of hitting it.
Other types of Bat Materials
Bats constructed of materials other than wood are permitted to be used at the high school and college levels of baseball if they meet the requirements of the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR). Because they will always carry a BBCOR certification mark, it is easy to identify bats that are BBCOR-compliant. When playing at a level below high school, the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) and the United States Baseball Federation (USBF) are the official bat certifications.
The following are examples of materials that are permitted:
Bamboo Baseball Bats
Bamboo bats were initially brought into the world in Asia, where bamboo grows in abundance. Although bamboo might be considered a kind of wood, bamboo bats are not currently authorized in Major League Baseball. Bats made of bamboo are more durable and lighter than bats made of other types of wood. When compared to other types of wood, bamboo is also more effective in stress absorption.
Wood Composite Baseball Bats
Composite wood bats are not permitted in Major League Baseball due to the fact that they are not constructed entirely of wood.
Composite wood bats may offer an edge over typical wood bats due to the fact that they can be manufactured to have certain characteristics. The reduced weight of composite wood bats enables younger players to gain an advantage over their opponents in a game of baseball.
Aluminum/Metal Alloy Baseball Bats
Aluminum bats are made of aluminum and are used in baseball. Steel bats, also known as metal alloy bats or aluminum alloy bats, are made from a combination of aluminum and other components to form a metal alloy. Bats made of aluminum are lighter in weight than wood bats and are easier to swing than wooden bats. Aluminum bats are extensively used in several sports, including minor league, high school, and college baseball. Aluminum bats, due to their light weight, allow younger players to compensate for their lack of strength by increasing the speed with which they swing the bat.
Composite Baseball Bats
Aluminum bats are made of aluminum and are available in various sizes and shapes. Steel bats, also known as metal alloy bats or aluminum alloy bats, are made by combining aluminum with additional components to form a steel alloy. Bats made of aluminum are lighter in weight than wood bats and therefore simpler to swing. Aluminum bats are extensively used in several sports, including little league, high school, and university. Aluminum bats help younger players to compensate for their lack of strength by increasing the speed with which they swing their bats.
Hybrid Baseball Bats
Designed to combine the advantages of aluminum and composite baseball bats, hybrid baseball bats are becoming increasingly popular. Hybrid bats combine the best characteristics of both materials while removing the majority of their disadvantages. Look at some of our top-rated BBCOR drop 3 high school and college baseball bats below. View our top-rated kid baseball bats for boys and girls.
Baseball Bat Material Comparison and Consideration
Designed to combine the advantages of aluminum and composite baseball bats, hybrid baseball bats are becoming more and more popular. All of the advantages of both materials are present in hybrid bats, but the majority of their disadvantages are eliminated. Look at some of our most highly suggested BBCOR drop 3 high school and college baseball bats below. Look at the best kid baseball bats we’ve reviewed.
Birch vs Maple vs Ash bats: Which type of wood is best for your baseball bat & why
The northern white ash is the most common type of wood bat that may be found. A little amount of flex is included in the bat (similar to that seen in some aluminum bats), which is desirable because it may provide a small amount of additional whip. When working with ash, it is necessary to strike with the grains. That is, you want the grains of the bat to be facing the pitcher when you hit the ball. A useful hint is to place the label on the bat and have it either looking straight up in the air or facing the ground, depending on your preference.
There is no doubt that this is the most durable component of the bat when it comes to exit ball speed and overall bat durability.
Pros for Ash bat
- It is the most common type of wood bat available, and it is the Northern White Ash. A small amount of flex is present in the bat (similar to that found in some aluminum bats), which is popular because it may provide a slight advantage in whipping. To get the best results with ash, you must hit with the grains. If you want to hit a home run, you should aim for the pitcher’s grains on the bat. It is helpful to place the label on the bat with the label facing straight up in the air or facing the ground as a good indication. Because the label is printed on top of the grains, whether the label is pointed up or down at contact, you will be in the best possible position to make the contact with the grain. Exit ball speed and overall bat durability have been proven to be enhanced by using this part of the bat.
Cons for Ash bat
- Wood grains begin to flake (often as soon as the first usage), and your bat’s barrel will eventually lose all of its solidity as a result of this. Consequently, even if the bat is still in one piece, the barrel may be in such poor condition that the bat is no longer usable. When compared to maple, ash is a softer wood. Not as strong as maple or birch
- Not as long-lasting.
Maple bats first appeared on the scene around 15 years ago. Maple is a denser, tougher wood than ash, yet it is also more expensive. Even while it doesn’t have the same amount of flexibility as an ash bat, it isn’t really obvious until you get used to using one. Despite the fact that it is a more durable piece of wood, it is still susceptible to breaking when impact is made at the end of the bat. An important point to remember regarding safety: The label on maple bats is imprinted with the grains, rather than being stamped on the top like the label on ash bats is.
After doing this research, it was discovered that when baseballs are hit on top of the maple bat’s wood grain, rather than with the grain (as you would with an ash), the bat is more durable.
(you still want the label pointing up or down at contact). A permanent ink mark is also included, albeit the quality of the wood will determine how long it lasts. It is not possible to sell wood if it does not fulfill specified criteria.
Pros for Maple bats
- When compared to ash, this is a harder and more dense piece of wood, which means that a correctly struck ball will go further. Because it doesn’t flake, it will last indefinitely as long as you don’t break it. Extremely long-lasting
- The bats have a “trophy shine” because of the dense wood grains.
Cons for Maple bats
- Generally speaking, they are a little more costly than ash bats. You’ll have to deal with flying bat bits if it breaks, as it normally does when it shatters. When a contact is made near the end of the bat, it is more likely to break than a birch bat.
Birch bats, in my opinion, combine the greatest attributes of both maple and ash in a single bat design. Birch bats have a flex similar to that of ash, but they do not flake, which is comparable to that of maple. In other words, the birch combines the hardness of maple with the elasticity of ash to create a unique combination. A brand new birch bat that has just been unpacked, on the other hand, will require some “breaking in.” In order to compress the wood and make it tougher, birch requires a little batting practice.
Pros for Birch bats
- Ash-like in terms of flexibility
- When it comes to hardness (i.e., it doesn’t break down due to typical wear and tear), it’s comparable to maple. Because of the combination of hardness and flexibility, birch bats are more durable than any other type of wood bat while still producing pop
Cons for Birch bats
- It may be necessary to take a short pause in duration of somewhere between 30 and 50 touches in order to get maximal hardness.
So which type of wood is better for a baseball bat?
I’ve taken tens of thousands of swings with each of the three types of wood I’ve used. Now that I’ve been utilizing these birch bats for a few years, I’ve come to appreciate them. My birch bats seem to be getting harder and tougher with each usage. Personally, I smash a lot fewer birch bats than I used to. I’m not sure why, but I used to break approximately 12 maple trees a year on average, however now I only damage 3-5 birch trees a year. The majority of my breakage occur at the conclusion of the game, and I believe birch bats are more resilient than maple or ash bats in this situation.
And I enthusiastically suggest them since, unlike some of the larger firms, they manufacture high-quality birch wood bats for all of their clients, regardless of whether or not they are true professional baseball players.
- Identifying the best-performing wood bat brands is essential. The top five batting tees
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Doug Bernier, the founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, made his Major League debut with the Colorado Rockies in 2008 and has since played for five different organizations (the Colorado Rockies, the New York Yankees, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Minnesota Twins, and the Texas Rangers) over the course of his 16-year professional baseball career. He has experience at every infield position in the Major Leagues and has played every position on the field professionally, with the exception of catcher.
Doug departed from professional baseball after 16 years and went on to work as a Major League scout for the Colorado Rockies for two years after his retirement.
Types of Wood Baseball Bats (and How to Choose One)
Until around two decades ago, only a small number of baseball players used wood bats for the whole of their amateur careers. Today, it is normal for children as young as Little League to use wood or wood composite bats for a portion of their practice swings. Our earlier post discussed why hitting with a wood bat is a good idea, and a subsequent piece highlighted a few of our top wood bats for you to try out. 1 Hour Coaching Clinic with MLB Hitting CoachWatch Clinic Now Available for FREE In this piece, we’ll take a closer look at how wood bats are created, examine the many varieties of wood bats available on the market, and help you understand what to look for when shopping for a wood bat of your own.
- The process of making wooden baseball bats
- Baseball bat features
- Baseball bat types
- Turn models
- Often asked questions about baseball bats made of wood
How Wood Baseball Bats Are Made
The technique of constructing bats has remained virtually same since Bud Hillerich “turned” the first professional baseball bat in 1884, despite the introduction of new technologies and materials that have improved uniformity and personalization. Hillerich went on to start the Louisville Slugger bat company, which presently produces 1.8 million bats each year, shortly after. The trip from tree to bat begins when mature trees — in the case of ash, these are trees that are 40 to 50 years old — are harvested and chopped down into billets, which are 37 inches long and 2.75 inches in diameter and measure 2.75 inches in diameter.
- Using a high-speed lathe (a machine for shaping wood or metal), billets are rotated until they begin to fit a template that specifies the length, breadth, and other physical characteristics of the bat.
- The billet was traditionally turned by a craftsman who used a pair of calipers (a tool for measuring the distance between two opposed sides of an item) to compare the billet to a nearby prototype model of the player’s bat on a regular basis.
- The Louisville Slugger Company, on the other hand, has utilized a computer-driven lathe software since 2002 that is accurate to one thousandth of an inch and can turn out a complete bat in less than 50 seconds.
- The manufacturer’s label is then applied on the weakest part of the bat, which is normally approximately six inches up from the end of the handle and a quarter turn away from the “face” of the wood, which is where the grain of the bat is straight and in-line with the grain of the bat.
- That’s why you usually hear, “hit with the label up or down,” or anything along those lines.
- After that, they’re dried, packed, and transported to their destinations.
Wood Bat Characteristics
- A spherical knob with a small bevel where the hitter’s bottom hand contacts the bat is the industry standard. Tapered: A tapered knob has a little flare towards the end, allowing for more material to be held in the hand
- It is also known as a flared knob. One smooth cone is produced by a wide knob with no bevel, which results in a single smooth cone right out of the box. Axe: A new design that is reminiscent of the oblong form of an axe handle has gained popularity for its ability to force the hitter’s hands into the proper posture. Axe grips are especially beneficial for players who have had hamate surgery since they allow for more flexibility at the hand-wrist joint.
The grip, also known as the handle, is the portion of the bat that measures 18 inches from the knob to the point where the taper of the bat begins. Despite the fact that some batters favor very thin handles because they are lighter in weight and have a whip-like feel, thin-handled bats will shatter more easily than models with larger handles (which is often the choice of hitters with bigger hands or shorter fingers).
When it comes to picking a bat, the knob and handle type are perhaps the most significant considerations: if the bat doesn’t feel good in your hands and can’t be controlled, the rest of the bat won’t be much use.
The taper of the bat is located farther up the barrel from the grip, and it is here that the diameter of the bat begins to rise until it reaches its maximum size. In order to be seen away from the hitter’s hands while being unlikely to be altered by ball markings, the majority of manufacturers position their label on the taper. It is common for people to experience a technical occurrence described as “being sawed off” when they make contact with the taper. This is the weakest portion of the bat, and the taper is where the majority of breakage occur – even when a ball is knocked off the end of the bat.
The barrel of a bat is located above the taper and includes the “sweet spot” of the bat, which is the hardest, densest area of the bat and the ideal place to make contact. This is especially true if the grain has a knot near the sweet spot. The size of a bat’s sweet spot is the single most significant difference between wood and aluminum bats. The sweet spot of a metal bat can extend as far as six inches down the barrel, but the sweet spot of a wood bat is just 2.5 to 3 inches in length, depending on the species.
The end of the bat is located beyond the barrel, and there are often two options: a full end or a cupped end. Full ends are more common than cupped ends. Unlike a half-end bat, a full-end bat has a little taper, which is created by beveling the billet while leaving the wood intact. With a cupped end, up to 1.25 inches of material will be taken from the inside of the barrel at the end of the bat. This reduces the weight of the bat while simultaneously shifting the balance point of the bat further back towards the hitter’s hands.
What Are Baseball Bats Made Of?
When it comes to making bats, there are various different types of wood to choose from, each with its own unique features. Hitters should make an effort to identify the species that best matches their own personal hitting technique.
Understanding Wood Grade
Louisville Slugger manufactures 1.8 million bats every year, yet only a small proportion of those will ever see action in the Major League Baseball. Even fewer will see real game action, as batters reserve their inferior bats solely for practice sessions before games. Following the allocation of Major Leaguers’ bats, the finest remaining bats are sent to minor leaguers, then advanced collegiate summer leagues, and so on and so on. A few duds may have made their way into your local sports goods store by the time an order of bats — they’re typically supplied in groups of 12 — arrives.
- In a nutshell, the grade is determined by the grain.
- Due to the fact that ash is considered a ring-porous species, the procedure of selecting a wood bat was made much simpler when everyone utilized ash bats.
- Ash bats are easy to grade since the rings (or grains) are easily visible, making the process of selecting the appropriate size bat quite simple.
- In every log, there is what is known as the 0-degree line, which is the line that would go through the middle of the log (the pith) if you were to divide it in half.
- Example: A 33-inch bat made of wood with a 10-degree slope of grain (about five inches from center throughout its length), has only 30 percent the strength of an identically-sized bat made of precisely straight grain!
- In this case, more space is preferable.
- It is also in the rings itself that moisture collects within the wood – more rings or grains implies more locations for water to accumulate, which results in a heavier overall weight.
The majority of amateur bats have 20 grains or more in the barrel, whereas a top-of-the-line major league bat will have less than 10 grains.
Diffuse Grains: Why Maple Bats Explode
When it comes to grading the grains of other types of wood, the process might be a little more difficult. Maple and birch are classified as diffuse-porous species, which indicates that the pores are dispersed throughout the wood composition rather than in distinct lines as they are in ash, for example. Maple, in instance, has pores that are narrower and more closely packed together, resulting in a thick and robust wood that continues to compress rather than flake with use. When compared to ash, diffuse grains are also stiffer, and since they have no mechanism to flex, these sorts of bats frequently ‘explode’ when they shatter.
In baseball, this is referred to as the “ink dot,” and you can generally see it on television while the batter is in the box.
Consequently, since MLB implemented this regulation, the number of catastrophic bat failures has decreased considerably.
Ash, the original species used in contemporary baseball, displaced hickory as the wood of choice, and has subsequently been supplanted by maple as the preferred wood for baseball bats. Ash is a sturdy and lightweight wood that can be distinguished from other woods by the grain lines that run the length of the bat. A lot of people associate ash with stereotypical wooden bats. But that’s not quite accurate. Cons: It is less expensive and lighter than maple, and it is more flexible and forgiving than maple.
Some other bats are more densely packed than this one.
Approximately 75% of MLB batters make use of this technique. Maple is the toughest of the three principal wood species used in professional baseball, and it is also the most expensive (the others are ash and birch). It has already been mentioned that maple is a diffuse-porous wood, which means that its grains do not run in a straight line. As a result, maple is more brittle than ash and, under certain conditions, can break spectacularly. Advantages: This is a very hard wood that compresses with time.
Because maple is such a dense and heavy wood, it is possible some batters will not be able to use the full 2.61-inch barrel diameter available.
The use of a softer wood with greater flexibility may aid in the production of more whip-like speed across the striking zone. It is curly-grained like maple, so it will compress with time and resist flaking, which is a desirable characteristic.
Pros: Wood that is more flexible and less likely to break is preferred. Contraindications: Softness needs a “break-in” phase during which all of the grains are compressed to a higher density before it is fully functional. It is possible that exit velocity will be reduced until this is accomplished.
The initial baseball bats were fashioned of hickory, which is the heaviest and hardest of all the bat-wood species and was used to make the first baseball bats. It’s extremely inflexible, lacks elasticity (i.e., has no trampoline effect), and has no tactile feedback. Advantages: Extremely hard wood produces a high exit velocity. It is long-lasting and does not break easily. Cons: This is a very heavy wood that is not suitable with the high pitch rates that are currently used. Babe Ruth’s bat is said to have weighted 50 ounces when he used it.
Despite the fact that bamboo is essentially a grass, it must be compressed into long rectangular billets before being formed into the circular shape of an actual bat, which takes numerous strips of it to accomplish. Bamboo has not been cleared for Major League Baseball play due to the fact that it is not a single-piece construction. Advantages: Extremely powerful and long-lasting. Cons: It is not permitted to participate in all leagues.
Over the past few years, composite bats have gained in popularity, and they have been the material of choice for “hybrid” leagues such as the German Baseball Bundesliga, which are made up of semi-pro clubs who may not be able to buy a full season’s supply of single-piece wood bats. Composite bats are constructed from two or more pieces of wood and/or include a synthetic covering of resin or polymer to improve their durability. They are not permitted in most professional baseball leagues, but they are extremely durable and make an excellent practice bat.
Wood Bat Design: Turn Models
Over the years, bat manufacturers have honed in on a handful of conventional types that may be found in the hands of professional hitters. This type of model is referred to as a “turn model,” a term that refers to the manufacturing process explained at the outset of this article.
As the most prevalent form when we think of a “baseball bat,” the 271 is the most popular turn model. It has a reasonably thin handle with a lengthy taper to a medium size 2.5-inch barrel and is the most popular turn model. The 271 is a lightweight, but somewhat end-loaded, variant with a low center of gravity.
Although this bat was initially designed for Mickey Mantle (thus the ‘M’ suffix), it is widely regarded as an exceptionally balanced and durable bat. The 110 features a somewhat thicker grip and a lengthy taper to a 2.5-inch barrel, which is significantly longer than the 110. The bat has a lower end-load than many other models (particularly in its popular cupped version).
The 243 is characterized by its huge and lengthy barrel size, which makes it a favorite among power hitters everywhere.
The handle of this bat is narrow, with a sharp taper out to the 2.61-inch barrel at the end. As a result, an end-loaded bat is produced, which has the potential to cause significant damage while also being difficult to control.
This type has a barrel structure that is comparable to the 243, but it also has a thicker handle and a more gradual taper. Despite the fact that the end product is a solid and durable bat, the heavier components result in a hefty bat that is sometimes referred to as “the barge pole.”
The 141 model is the closest thing you can get to combine the barrel of a 271 and the handle of an M110. The result is a well-balanced bat with a lengthy and gradual taper that keeps some flexibility at impact while still being highly maneuverable.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wooden Baseball Bats
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions concerning wood baseball bats, along with the solutions. What characteristics should I look for when purchasing a wood bat? Purchase a bat that is appropriate for your body type and hitting technique. Hands that are too big? Make use of a large handle. Do you have long arms? Find a bat with a nice taper, which will allow you to whip the bat and produce bat speed and leverage as you swing it around. Start with the knob and handle, which will be in your hands, and work your way up to the style that feels most comfortable.
- What type of wood bat is the most difficult to break?
- Generally speaking, the primary differences between wood and metal bats are their balancing point and barrel size; a composite bat will mimic the performance of wood while being more forgiving to a beginner hitter.
- What type of wood bat is the most prone to breaking?
- Is there a reason why a wood bat breaks?
- An average baseball bat makes contact with the ball for a fraction of a second, yet the force generated by that brief touch is around 5,000 pounds.
- Vibration is responsible for the stinging feeling that people who have missed the barrel are familiar with.
- Do wood bats lose their vigor over time?
- Over time, ash bats will begin to flake as their grains begin to come apart as a result of frequent contact with the ground.
- But it takes thousands of repetitions to do this, and virtually all batters will break the bat in some other way before they reach this level of proficiency.
As contrast to ash bats, which have a straight-line grain that runs throughout the wood, maple bats and birch bats have a varied grain type that runs throughout the wood. Maple and birch actually compress over time, and the barrel becomes harder as it is used more frequently.
Types of Wood Bats — Final Thoughts
There are a plethora of alternatives available for hitters considering a conversion to wood, and there is no better instructor than personal experience. Using a wood bat can take up to a year for a batter to properly comprehend and grow acclimated to, and the most significant difference is in understanding the balancing points and barrel diameters of the various models. So experiment with as many different bats as you possibly can, especially old hand-me-down versions, until you discover one that you enjoy playing with.
It offers the appearance and performance of wood without any of the drawbacks.
Knowing your swing and style will let you to select the most appropriate model and features, and it all starts with the component in your hand.
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