By now, you should have a fairly good idea of what type of baseball bat to choose. However, if you are a perfectionist like me, you will want to know more about the factors surrounding a baseball bat before you make your purchasing decision.
Another such factor is the wood used to make a baseball bat. Most wooden baseball bats are made of one of these three types of wood – maple, birch, and ash; you can play with wood bats made from one of these woods in any wood bat game. There are other popular wood bats such as bamboo bats and composite wood bats, but they are not legal in some professional leagues.
Maple is the densest wood used to make baseball bats. So baseball bats made out of maple wood are very hard and durable. Although maple bats are quite expensive, they provide the best ‘pop’.
The unique sound and the satisfying solid feel of a hit make maple wood bats the preferred choice of most MLB players.
Maple is a close-grain wood. Close-grain woods can withstand forceful impacts. Instead of flaking apart, a baseball bat made out of maple wood will actually get harder in the region of impact. As a result, maple bats have the hardest surfaces.
On the flip side, the rigidness of maple wood makes a maple bat less forgiving. You need to make sure you perfectly hit the sweet spot with a maple bat. A hit slightly off the sweet spot might not get you favorable results.
Another hurdle of maple wood bats is that they are prone to gain moisture over time. Maple bats are usually quite heavy. The gain of moisture over time can further increase the weight of maple bats.
Maple bats are allowed at the major league level, and they are often the preferred bat of choice for major league baseball players.
Ash is the most popularly used wood to make baseball bats. Ash bats are also the least expensive.
Ash bats are softer than maple and birch bats. The softer wood makes ash wood bats slightly flexible, which results in some increased bat speed. The flexibility and the lightness of an ash wood bat make it very easy to swing for young players.
Ash bats are also the most forgiving of mishits, allowing a wider range of pitches to hit. Best of all, they have the largest sweet spots.
However, ash wood is not as durable as maple or birch. Ash is an open-grain wood, which means they lose moisture and become dry over time. As a result, an ash bat flakes more easily.
Ash bats are allowed in all major league level games.
A birch wood bat has a good combination of the properties of both maple and ash bats. Birch wood bats are softer and more flexible than maple bats. This allows a birch bat to generate good bat speed. Birch bats are also quite forgiving of mishits.
On top of that, birch wood is more durable than ash. Birch bats don’t flake as easily as ash bats.
However, birch bats tend to dent slightly when they are new. They often require a “break-in period” to reach optimal hardness after repetitive impacts.
Birch bats are legal in all professional and youth leagues.
Bamboo bats are amazingly durable and lighter. The overall experience of batting with bamboo wood bats is amazing.
Usually, bamboo bats have great weight distribution. It feels awesome to swing with a bamboo bat. Bamboo bats have larger sweet spots and great pop. They also have better shock absorption. Overall, bamboo bats are easier to bat with than other wood bats for most average players.
Bamboo bats have a break-in period. So you will need to practice a while with your bamboo bat before you get the best performance from it.
However, the biggest drawback of bamboo bats is that they are not allowed in some leagues including major league baseball. Major league level bats are required to be carved out of a single block of wood.
Bamboo is technically grass. Separate bamboo sheets are pressed together to make a bamboo bat. So bamboo bats are not qualified for MLB. On the other hand, this process makes bamboo bats amazingly durable and great for practice.
Nevertheless, bamboo bats are still qualified as wooden bats, and they are allowed in many wood bat games.
Composite wood bats are getting increasingly popular due to their durability and exceptional performance. Composite wooden bats are made by mixing several types of wood materials to get an optimal wooden bat.
Composite wood bats can have an outstanding performance by selectively choosing the best features from different woods. This allows composite bats to have the best-desired features.
As a result, composite wooden bats are surprisingly stronger and enduring. This makes a composite bat ideal for practice. Those who are new to wood bats can start with a composite bat without worrying about durability.
On the other hand, composite bats are costlier than other wood bats. However, the performance and durability unquestionably make up for the price
As composite wood bats are not made from a single piece of wood, they are not allowed in MLB and many other leagues.