Choosing the Right Bat

With Little League’s and USA Baseball’s new bat requirements, many are now in search of a new bat for our respective little dudes.  How should you go about choosing the right bat?  First and most important, the sluggers need to swing it.  Does it look heavy? Can they only swing the bat if they use a long, loopy swing? It shouldn’t look like a toy either, power will be sacrificed if it’s too small.

Here are the most important aspects to understand before purchasing your bat.

  • Length.  Covering the strike zone is key, the longer the bat the more ability to hit outside pitches.  However, increased length means increased weight.  These are some length/age guidelines:
    • 5-7 year olds: 24-26 inches
    • 8-9 year olds: 26-28 inches
    • 10-12 year olds: 28-31 inches
  • Weight. Measured in ounces, this is exactly how much the bat weighs
  • Weight Drop. Bat Length (inches)-Bat Weight(ounces) = Weight Drop.  This is how heavy the bat feels.  For instance, a 31 inch bat that weighs 21 ounces would have a weight drop of 10.  Little League has no limit for the weight drop.  The lighter the bat, the more control.  The heavier, more power.
  • Barrell.  The newly approved bat list includes big barrel bats.  These have a circumference of 2 5/8 inches.  The advantage of a big barrell is a larger sweet spot, at the risk of developing a longer swing.   The long swing can be overcome and I think it makes the big barrell the better option.
  • Materials.  Composite and alloy are the most common materials.  Composite bats will have a break in period, whereas the alloy bats are ready immediately.  Once broken in, composite will be stronger and hit further than the alloy.

The most important determination for choosing a bat is how it feels in the hitter’s hands.  Test driving them against live pitching is the best way to tell what your player will like.

That said, here are a few models I like:

The 2 5/8 DeMarini Voodoo One (-10).  The 30 inch version is just shy of $150 dollars and comes with a one year warranty.  It’s a nice mid-level priced bat, with a solid reputation for quality bats.

The Easton 2 5/8 Ghost X.  This 30 inch bat is a bit pricier at $280 and is a Drop 11.  Alloy construction, but with a carbon handle.

The Louisville Slugger Vapor.  This is a good entry level bat for the budget minded.

Not to go all Yasiel Puig but a hitter’s confidence in his bat is built after hours of practice with it and how it feels in his hands.  It’s a personal call.

If you have any questions, ask away in the comments below.  What bats are you considering?

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