How to Choose a Wood Bat
Buying a bat can be overwhelming at times due to all the different choices and brands but choosing the right wood bat can be just as overwhelming and even a little confusing. There are just as many wood bat brands as there are aluminum bat brands, with some even crossing over into the different realms (Marucci, Louisville Slugger, etc.). But when it comes to buying your first wood bat for either a wood bat league or wood bat weekend tournament, you are going to make sure you buy the right one for your hitting style. Among the various types of wood, there are 3 main types that seem to be the most popular: Maple, Birch, and Ash. Now the real question is, which one is right for you? Well, we broke it down for you!
Maple is by far the most popular of the 3. This is mostly because of how dense the wood is, making it a harder and more durable bat. Maple bats have bene said to have the most pop of the 3, making them the perfect fit for all you power hitters out there. And a plus of these types of bats are the way the bats are structured. When you hit with maple bat, the grains compress, making it stronger over time, and increasing its lifespan. On the downside, these bats pick up moisture more than any other, making them susceptible to gaining weight over time if they encounter moisture. They are also not as flexible, making them easier to break when not hit within the sweet spot of the barrel. Not a total deal breaker, but something to be aware of!
Birch wood bats have become increasingly popular within the last couple of years. Contrary to a maple bat, birch is a much softer type of wood, giving you more flexibility and more whip through the strike zone. These bats tend to be on the lighter side, so with a lighter barrel, means more bat speed. One of the similarities of ash and maple is the fact that they do grow stronger with each hit. These bats do dent at first, but this compresses the wood and breaks the bat in all together. One of the main downsides of picking a birch bat is the break in time. With a maple, you really don’t need to break it in since it comes very compressed. With birch, it takes a few BP sessions to get it live and ready for in-game use.
Ash is the classic and more traditional style of wood bat. Before the rise of maple and other forms of wood, ash was what most wood bats were made of. Ash is like birch in the sense that they are both a softer and more flexible wood, but like maple, they tend to pick up moisture. Another downside is that over time, these bats dry out – making them susceptible to cracking or splintering. Also, due to its open-grain build, these bats need to only be hit with the” label out”, meaning on the opposite side of where the label is stamped.