Baseball and softball consumers are now faced with all sorts of difficult buying decisions when it comes to purchasing a bat. One important decision that players must now face is deciding what type of material should be at their fingertips when they step up to the plate. In the early days of baseball, wood bats were the only option. But, traditional wooden bats are now sharing shelf space with bats made of all sorts of materials such as aluminum, alloy, composite and even bats made with one or two different materials.
Wood bats originated with the game of baseball. But, what wood bats are made out of has actually changed overtime. When baseball birthed, the most commonly used bat was made of hickory. Nowadays things are a lot different. When you buy a wooden bat you can actually be swinging anything from bamboo to composite wood. The two most popular kinds of wood baseball bats these days are made from maple and white ash. Both of these materials are preferred because of their density.
Major League Baseball strictly uses wood baseball bats as opposed to metal materials. This is because aluminum and alloy baseball bats have more distance capabilities than wooden bats. If aluminum bats were legal in the MLB, home runs would happen a lot more often.
Composite bats consist of graphite and carbon material which are bonded together using resin. Currently, composite bats are banned from some leagues because as you use them, they become hotter over time. With a composite bat, you will notice an improved performance as you use the bat more. The performance of a composite bat improves until the material finally gives out and breaks. The big advantage of having a composite bat is its distance capabilities. The downside of having a composite bat is that it is not hot straight out of the wrapper, you have to take time to properly break it in. In addition, when used in cold weather, composite bats become very brittle and fragile. For this reason, it is not recommended that you use them in low temperatures.
Aluminum bats are what gave wooden bats a run for their money. Bats made of aluminum swing light and drive balls far. The biggest advantage of having an aluminum bat is the “trampoline-like” effect the material has. When a ball meets the barrel of an aluminum bat, the bat barrel flexes slightly inward which causes the ball to bounce off the barrel at high speeds. The big difference between composite and aluminum bats is that composite bats get much hotter overtime whereas aluminum bats are hot straight out of the wrapper. There continues to be an ongoing debate on which material outperforms the other. A concrete answer is yet to be given, but both materials have their advantages and disadvantages.
Alloy bats are essentially aluminum mixed with other metals to make a slightly stronger product. With the BBCOR baseball standard put in place, many fully aluminum bat models are now alloy because they have been diffused with other metals to reduce the “trampoline-like” effect. This was done in order to meet the BBCOR (Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution) Standard. An advantage of having an alloy bat is that they are generally more durable and rarely have weather restrictions.