What types of Adult baseball bats are there?
Adult Baseball Bats: One-Piece vs. Two-Piece
One-piece baseball bats use the same material throughout the entire design. The advantage of the one-piece design is that you get a stronger, stiffer baseball bat that is generally favored by power hitters looking for as little flex as possible. In two-piece baseball bats you'll find that the handle is a separate piece from the barrel and that the two are bonded together. The advantage to a two-piece baseball bat is that its design allows the barrel to flex at the point of contact creating a trampoline effect off the barrel. Two-piece baseball bats generally have less vibration in the handle due to the separation of the handle and barrel.
Adult Baseball Bats: Alloy vs. Composite vs. Hybrid
Alloy baseball bats are generally constructed with a one-piece design out of aluminum that is mixed with other metals to make a stronger product. The advantage to this strength is that it allows alloy baseball bats can have thinner, more responsive barrel walls. Composite baseball bats, on the other hand, are made out of a mixture of carbon fiber, graphite, fiberglass, and sometimes Kevlar. Check your league rules before buying a composite-barreled baseball adult bat, as many leagues will restrict their use. Hybrid baseball bats feature a two-piece design in which an alloy barrel is bonded to a composite handle. This makes the handle lighter and allows the alloy barrel to be made longer than on a traditional alloy baseball bat.
Adult Baseball Bats: Wood
Adult Wood baseball bats are most commonly made from Ash, Maple, Bamboo, Birch, or Composite Wood. Maple is stronger than Ash, while Bamboo serves as the strongest and tends to last a little longer. Ash is bit softer which allows it to flex during the swing and produce a great whip through the hitting zone leading to better bat control. Maple is harder and denser than Ash while Birch combines the harder hitting surface of Maple with a flexibility and weight that is similar to Ash. Many power hitters like Maple wood bats because of the hardness and stiffness so that they can exert as much force as possible onto the ball. Composite Wood bats are a mixture of wood and composite materials. They are very durable but may not be approved in certain leagues.
Most Common Wood Bat Designs (Turn Models): 271, 110, and 243
- 271 - Has a slightly larger knob to accommodate the 1 1/4" flared handle. The top of the handle is around 15/16" in thickness then slowly goes into a long taper that keeps getting larger in diameter all the way to end of the barrel where it reaches 2 1/2" at the sweet spot. The 271 is typically used by players looking to increase bat speed and for those who hit for average.
- 110 - Has a standard sized knob that lies under the 1" thick handle, sometimes making the knob seem small in comparison. The top of the handle is around 15/16" in thickness throughout the neck, rising slowly onto a long 2 1/2" barrel. The thick handle brings more weight in towards your body. The full 1" diameter adds strength to the weakest part of any wood baseball bat. This is a great wood baseball bat for players transitioning to wood.
- 243 - Has a standard knob with a generally thin handle except for the slight flare near the bottom hand. The neck rises sharply onto the large and long barrel creating a large hitting surface to work with. The 243 is generally considered a power hitter's bat as most of the weight is out on the end, making it quite end-loaded.
Adult Baseball Bats: BESR vs. BBCOR vs. BESR-ABI
Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) is the standard that formerly governed adult baseball bats. BESR is found by finding the ratio of ball exit speed to the combined speeds of pitched ball and swung bat. These bats are rare now and not seen very often.
Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) is the new standard that is currently governing adult baseball bats used in collegiate play. Rather than measuring the ratio of the ball exit speed to pitch and bat speeds (like with BESR), BBCOR measures the trampoline effect of the baseball bat. In the past, when a pitched ball made contact with an alloy or composite baseball bat, the barrel would flex inward ever so slightly and the ball would retain some of its energy resulting in farther hits. Wood baseball bats don't have as much "give" to them and the ball loses much of its energy upon impact. The BBCOR standard ensures that non-wood bats perform more comparably to wood bats in an attempt to level the playing field and improve player safety.
The BESR-ABI certification applies to BESR baseball bats that passed the Accelerated Break-In (ABI) test. The ABI test is meant to demonstrate how a composite baseball bat will perform over the course of its potential useful life in the baseball field. The goal here is to make sure that when a composite baseball bat is fully broken-in, that it is not exceeding BESR standards. Baseball bats that pass the ABI test are legal for high school play across the country until the end of 2011. A list of these approved baseball bats can be found here.