Baseball bats, especially those used in the professional leagues, are commonly made from hardwoods like ash, maple, or hickory, each offering unique characteristics that cater to different hitting styles. Discover the craft of bat-making and how each wood type impacts a batter’s swing and the ball’s flight.
The Best Woods for Baseball Bats
There are several different types of wood that bats are made of, and no single one is considered the ‘best’ kind to use.
Many baseball players have different opinions on which type of wood is best, and some are more popular than others, but ultimately it comes down to user preference.
Are you looking for a bat with the toughest durability? The lightest swing? Maybe the best pop? Different species of wood used will provide different results.
Let’s dive into each type of wood bat and its characteristics.
Maple bats are the most common wood used in professional baseball. It’s one of the hardest woods available.
It’s a very dense wood and can be considered heavy, making it harder to control. The sweet spot is also not the biggest.
It has the most pop, though; balls fly off a maple bat faster and further than any other wood bat.
A strong connection with the bat will travel fifteen feet further on average of a maple bat.
This could make all the difference in an MLB game, making it easy to see why maple is the wood of choice for the pros.
Once upon a time, ash bats were the bats of choice and were everywhere; it was considered the preferred wood type. However, times have changed, with maple now leading the way, but ash bats are still a popular choice in the market.
Ash bats gained popularity because this type leads to a very balanced and well-rounded bat. It’s also quite lightweight, which is an important factor for those players who prioritize bat speed.
An Ash bat is preferred for a contact hitter; you gain a huge amount of control from its lightweight and give a hitter much more flexibility.
If you use an ash bat properly and look after it well, it can last for a long while; but the main issue with ash is durability.
The wood is pretty durable, but the weak spot is along the grain.
Anyone considering using an ash bat must know the ‘Logo Up’ rule; the barrel logo must face up when making contact.
The ball will strike the strongest part of the bat here; if the logo is facing anywhere but up, you risk your bat splintering.
Bamboo baseball bats are some of the lightest ones you can find, but they can’t be used at the Major League Level. Why?
Well, bamboo is technically grass and not wood. Major League Baseball guidelines state that all bats must be made from a single piece of wood, rendering bamboo bats ineligible.
Bamboo bats are made from several strips which are fused.
Don’t let this put you off, though; well, unless you play in the MLB!
Bamboo bats are tough as nails. Bamboo has incredible durability and can withstand the toughest of impacts exceptionally well.
These bats are ideal for use in practice.
Birch bats are intriguing; it sounds strange, but they become better and better.
They’re also increasing in popularity among game players, as they contain similar characteristics to the popular Ash and Maple types of wood.
White birch is a softer wood; it’s also considered more durable than ash and maple.
The more you hit with a birch bat and ‘break in’ the bat, the better it becomes.
Like bamboo, wood composite baseball bats cannot be used in MLB because they are also not made from a single piece of wood.
Composite bats will mostly be used in BBCOR leagues, as long as the bat in question is BBCOR certified, as they’re more durable than most wood and lighter than aluminum.
Again, composite bats are extremely durable, like bamboo, making them the ideal wood bat for practice.
These bats normally use wood shavings or dust combined with plastic and glue to create the final design.
Ah, hickory. That takes us back! Hickory wood bats were the most popular bat back in the game’s early days.
Once the game ‘advanced’ and players started looking more at-bat speed, hickory’s popularity faded away.
This is because hickory wood is exceptionally heavy, making it unsuitable for modern games.
With that said, if you have a muscular body type and prefer a heavier bat, you may be the one to bring hickory back into fashion!
Which Wood is Best for Baseball Bats?
Maple is one of the most popular choices for baseball bats because it’s incredibly tough and durable. It’s also quite heavy, which gives you more power behind your swings. However, maple bats can be quite expensive.
Ash is another common type of wood used for baseball bats. It’s not as durable as maple, but it’s lighter in weight, making it easier to swing. Ash bats are also less likely to break during hits than other wood bats.
What kind of wood are Louisville Slugger baseball bats made of?
Louisville Slugger baseball bats are traditionally made from northern white ash or maple wood. This wood is prized for its strength and durability, making it ideal for the barrel of a ball bat. Historically, the best wood for these bats comes from forests in northeastern states like Pennsylvania and New York, where dense stands of tall trees offer plenty of high-quality materials.
What Types of Wood Are MLB Baseball Bats Made of?
Maple and ash are the two most common types of wood used to make MLB baseball bats. Both varieties are known for their strength and durability, making them ideal for bearing the heavy stress of a high-velocity baseball. Additionally, maple and ash both have fairly straight grain patterns, helping to reduce the overall weight of the bat while still maintaining its integrity and strength. And while they differ in texture and color, maple and ash bats perform equally well on the field, giving players plenty of options when choosing which type they prefer. Maple and ash are some of the best woods for creating MLB baseball bats.
Baseball bats have been made of a variety of materials over the years. Today, most wooden baseball bats are ash, bamboo, birch, composite, hickory, or maple. Each type of wood has its benefits and drawbacks. See our list of the best wood bats to find the perfect one for you.
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