Picking the perfect bat takes some research. You can't just pick the prettiest looking one.
You need to answer the following questions:
- Is this for baseball, fastpitch softball, or slowpitch softball?
- Which stamps are required?
- Which size bat is the best fit?
- Is a specific weight needed?
- Do you want aluminum, composite, or a hybrid design?
Once you have the answer to all the questions it will be much easier to narrow down which baseball or softball bat is the perfect fit for you or your child.
1. Sport Type
This is probably the easiest question for you to answer. Which sport are you looking for?
For baseball there are 3 options, T-ball, Youth Baseball, and Adult Baseball.
T-ball is for the little ones just starting out. They are just learning the game and are using a Tee to hit the ball.
Youth Baseball is for after t-ball but before Adult baseball in highschool. This includes Little League, PONY, USSSA Travel Teams, and more.
Adult Baseball starts in high school and continues on through college.
Fastpitch softball can start from just after t-ball all the way through college and pros. There are different leagues with different stamp requirement so be sure to find out which stamps are required.
Slowpitch Softball is for adults playing in a variety of leagues. Different leagues have different requirements when it comes to what bats they can use so knowing the rules of your league are important so you don't buy a bat you can't even use.
2. Bat Stamps
Each bat has at least one stamp. Many have multiple. It is important to know which stamp you need for the league you will be playing in.
View our BAT STAMP HELP article to get more info on each stamp and to find out which one you need.
3. Bat Size
You don't want to swing a bat that's too short or too long. You should try to get a bat that feels just right in your hands and as you swing. The best way to do this is to actually swing different sizes and fell them out.
If you are unsure of what size you need you can use the chart below to get a better idea.
4. Bat Weight
Every bat (except for slowpitch) has a drop weight. That number is the difference between the length and the weight. So if a bat is 33 inches long and weighs 30 oz. then that would be a drop 3.
The higher the drop weight, the lighter the bat is. For example, if you find a 34" bat that is a drop 9 and then see another that is 34" but is a drop 10, then the drop 10 would be one ounce lighter.
Though be aware, associations allow for a variance when it comes to the drop weight so they don't always represent the true weight. Sometimes the drop weight represents the swing weight more than the true weight. It gets a bit complicated but swing weight is how the bat feels rather than what it actually is when it comes to weight. This means a drop 9 bat feels like a drop 9 but the true weight is closer to a drop 8. Factors like material and balance cause some bats to use swing weight to better represent what a bat will feel like when swinging it.
Now when it comes to slowpitch bats there is no listed drop weight. All bats are 34 inches long so you are only picking the weight. Most bats comes in between 26 oz and 30 oz but sometimes you can find a few that are lighter or heavier than that.
Determining what weight you perform best with mostly has to do with feel. You should try out different weights and use what feels best. Stronger players will tend to use the heavier bats so they can control the extra power they provide.
5. Bat Material
The final thing you should think about is what material you need. There is 3 options: Aluminum, Composite, and Hybrid.
Some leagues don't allow certain materials so be sure to check what is and isn't legal for you.
Aluminum has been around for a long time. It's known for the classic "PING" sound and durability.
- More durable/less chance of breaking
- Hot out of the wrapper/no break-in period
- Usually less expensive than composite
- Can be used in colder weather without fear of breaking
- Usually heavier than composite
Composites are the favorite of many players nowadays.
- Lighter for more speed
- Easier to control
- Better at getting to the maximum allowed performance
- Prone to breaking, especially in cold weather
- Required to be broken-in before it can reach it's full potential
- Usually more expensive than aluminum bats
A hybrid bat is a mix between aluminum and composite. Usually, the bat will have a composite handle and an aluminum barrel.
- Typically lower price than full composite
- The durability of aluminum with the lightness of a composite
- No break-in period and is hot out of the wrapper
- Typically more expensive than full aluminum
- Can be top-heavy
Once you know exactly the swinger's preference when it comes to all these points you can narrow down the perfect bat. And when you have your perfect bat you can expect your stats to reflect that.