Guide to Best Metal Bats
Guidelines for Weight.
All aluminum or composite bats should not be more than 3 ounces lighter than the length of the bat. (ie. 34 inches / 31 ounces; 33 inches / 30 ounces)
Bat LENGTH by age
Baseball Express uses the following formula: Bat Mass multiplied by the Player’s Swing Speed = Power. Mass is the bat’s weight divided by its length.
||11 – 12 yrs
||13 – 14 yrs
||15 – 16 yrs
||17 – 18 yrs
Bat WEIGHT by player size
|Little League (8-10 yrs)
|Senior Youth League (11-12 yrs)
|High School & College
Usually the players that are bigger and stronger prefer a heavier bat for maximum power, while a lighter bat can maximize bat speed for smaller players. It may take some time, and trying a few different bats, before you discover which weight works best for you. (Chart Source: adapted from BaseballRampage.com)
There are several different types of metal bats.
- Alloy bats – made completely of aircraft grade alloys (like aluminum)
- Composite bats – made of composite fibers
- Half and Half bats – bats that have a composite handle, and aluminum, alloy, or hybrid barrel
- Hybrid Bats – Bats made of several materials mixed together, such as alloy and carbon
Composite bats get better with use. The more you use it the more it compresses and the better the bat becomes. In 2012 composite bats can be used if they are BBCOR certified. The price tag on these bats is a little higher, and they take longer to break in, but from many accounts, the end result is worth it.
IMPORTANT: To get the most out of your composite bat, the break in period is essential. Hitting 200 to 300 real baseballs all around the barrel is recommended.
All metal bats have regulations where the exit speed of a baseball can’t exceed a certain speed. All companies get as close to that speed as possible, so from that aspect all bats are similar.
One piece bats are starting to get overtaken by the two piece bats. The one piece will not give you the whip that you can create with the two piece. However, if you are swinging a maple wood bat in practice and are comfortable with that, the one piece aluminum may be the closest feel to the maple bat. Also, believers in the one piece bat feel the trampoline effect of the ball coming off of the barrel is better than with the two piece.
The two piece bats have a little more flex in the handle giving the bat a little extra whip, which may help with your bat speed.
BBCOR: New Regulations for Metal Bats (click to open)
There have been some recent changes to the requirements for adult (age 13 and up) metal bats. If you are buying a bat, new or used, here are some things you should know:
Composite bats. Some of the best metal bats are composite. Composite bats that were previously banned can be used if they are BBCOR certified. The BBCOR certification process has the ABI (Accelerated Break-In Test), which takes into account how the composites get better with use.
BBCOR certification. For 2012 all aluminum or composite bats need to be BBCOR (Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution) certified for use in college or high school baseball (NCAA, NFHS, USSSA and Pony Leagues). A stamp will be found somewhere on the barrel of the bat.
BESR (Ball Exit Speed Ratio) was the certification process that aluminum and composite bats previously used. It has been eliminated because it failed to account for how bats would perform after they were broken in. Composite bats get better and stronger with use.
Just FYI, there was a significant difference in the first BBCOR bats from the old BESR bats. Balls weren’t coming off the barrel as hard or as fast, leading to fewer homeruns. However, there may be less of a noticeable difference in the newer BBCOR bats.
Louisville Slugger Bats
Louisville bats uses the one piece bat because they believe that the stiff handle will create less whip but will increase the trampoline effect on the baseball. The TPX Z-1000 (here’s a video)and the Exogrid bats are Louisville Sluggers best metal bats.
Easton’s two piece bat comes in two different models, the XL barrel and the fast barrel.
The XL (extra long) barrel gives you a larger hitting area on the bat. Do not be confused with the Fast Barrel S2 and S3, along with the XL Barrel X2 and X3. They look very similar to the S1 and X1 but are an inferior bat.
Marucci bats have a balance similar to wood bats. The white model CAT5 is one of the most popular bats for this year, because it is made to have a similar contour to the wood bats swung by Albert Pujols and Chase Utley. The Marucci Black bat is a two piece bat (composite handle and aluminum alloy barrel) that has an extra long barrel for a larger sweet spot.
2014 DeMarini Voodoo BBCOR
DeMarini bats burst on the scene really strong about 10 years ago and they are consistently becoming one of the most trusted bats around. Players are loving the CF5 and of course the Voodoo and the Vexxum. Overall, I’d have to say I’ve heard the most positive things about the Voodoo. By the way, the 2013 models are 50% off right now
Rip-It . I’ve hear really positive things about the Rip It Prototype 2. This bat is different for two reasons. It first has a memory foam grip which they claim molds uniquely to each person that uses the bat. Also, Rip-It gives you 30 days to try any of their bats and if you don’t like it you can send it back for a refund. With the cost of the aluminum and composite bats today it is nice to test a bat out before you have to keep it.
Pro tip: All bats are weighted a little differently, because each person has a little different idea of what the perfect bat feels like. Don’t just get a bat because its the popular bat, get one that feels perfect in your hands. Those are YOUR “best metal bats”