4 Reasons the new USA Bat Standard is a good thing

By now you may have heard about the upcoming rule change going in to affect on January 1st, 2018. Little League, Pony, Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken, and almost every other youth baseball organization is adopting a new youth baseball bat standard: USABat Standard bats.

 

  1. The Integrity of the Game

Little League and Pony, the two largest youth baseball organizations by far, insist the change is needed for the “integrity of the game”.  What this means is since the development of high-end composite baseball bats in the early 2000s, bat manufacturers have been able to design and build bats with such large sweet spots and light swing weights, today’s youth baseball players have seen a dramatic increase in offense. The USABat Standard will decrease the allowable size of the barrel and sweet spot.

2. Big Barrel Bats For Little League

One great new thing about the new youth bat standard is that Little League will now allow baseball bats with a 2 5/8 inch diameter barrel (as well as 2 1/4″ still). Up until now, Little League has required the use of a 2 1/4 inch diameter barrel on all of their bats for youth baseball players. The USABat Standard will change this rule. One thing to keep in mind, however, is the sweet spot will be much smaller on the new bats than the sweet spot on the current big barrel bats available on the market.

3. Standardization

Under the new bat standard, Little League Baseball and Pony Baseball will use the same bats. The only reason you would ever need to get two different baths would be if you were playing travel baseball under USSSA rules.

4. Safety

While the organizations have come out and said that the change to the USABat Standards is not due to safety reasons, the simple fact is these bats will not perform as well as the current bats do. The decrease in barrel size as well as the potentially slower speeds off the bat should increase reaction time for the defense.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Baseball Bats

There are many things to look at when it comes to buying the right baseball bat. For a new baseball player, this can often intimidating and instead of asking for help, you might just buy whatever you think might be a good bat. Instead of doing that and wasting your money, this cheat sheet will tell you everything you need to know about picking out a baseball bat.

Size

The first thing you need to do when buying a bat is figure out what size your bat should be. Depending on your age, there is a length that is considered the norm. When it comes to picking out the bat, you are going to want to first know how far you are going to stand off the plate. You are going to want to be able to extend your arms to protect the outside part of the plate, so you might need a longer bat than your teammates if you have smaller arms.

Weight

The weight of the bat is the next most important aspect to consider and is something that needs to be taken seriously. Often times, you will see smaller players swinging the same heavy bats as the bigger, power hitters. This is a terrible move and won’t allow for you to get your hands through the zone quickly. Slow hands through the zone means you won’t be able to make solid contact. High school players will want to swing bats with a -3 weight drop between length and weight, while younger players will see a higher number.

Material

For younger players, you might just get them a basic aluminum bat, but in some high school leagues, bats made with composite materials are legal. With this material, the ball will fly off the bat faster and farther, making it a better material for the power hitters.

Technology Used to Fuse Together Multiple Pieces

Some bats are made with half and half technology, usually meaning the handle is made of composite and the barrel is made of aluminum. Some companies like DeMarini do this best, while other companies struggle a bit in producing a quality bat like this.

Tuff Sleeve Bat Protector

Tuff Sleeve Bat ProtectorTuff Sleeve helps baseball and softball players around the world, do the most important thing they can do in the offseason and in between games during the season. protect their equipment. This includes keeping your fielding glove conditioned and prepared for its next use. It also includes making sure your bat is protected from getting scratches in your trunk and bat bag, and save it from unnecessary force during batting practice and more. The best way to protect your bat is to use the newly re-designed Tuff Sleeve.

Tuff Sleeves can be used for bats made from aluminum or wood and for softball or baseball bats. These protectors slide right on and off the bat without having to fight with it. It is a tapered tube that is made with a rubber exterior and a cotton fabric interior. It is that material that makes the Tuff Sleeve go on with ease.

Tuff Sleeve most important feauture is that it can be used during batting practice. You can protect the life of your bat during batting practice by 25 percent when you keep the Tuff Sleeve on it. When you keep the Tuff Sleeve on your bat during batting practice, the sleeve will sit on the sweet spot of the bat. This will allow you to see where contact should be made to get optimal flight on the ball. By protecting your bat in non-game situations that would normally harm your bat and lessen its life expectancy, you are getting more for your money than ever before.

Using Tuff Sleeve on your bat, protects it from getting scratches and dents, while also maintaining its aesthetic appearance. It slides on and off with ease and reduces vibration that could develop when the barrel gets too cold.in the fall months. When you are new to the sport and use it during batting practice, you will get a better idea of where contact needs to be made.

Special thanks to Mike at Cheapbats.com for this video on Tuff Sleeve.

Rip-It Manufacturer Spotlight

Rip-It Sweet SpotRip-It is one of the most promising of the crop of new companies to enter the lucrative slow pitch softball market. The company was founded in 2003, but it wasn’t until recently that they have really picked up a loyal and growing market of baseball and softball bats devotee. The company is based out of Orlando, Florida and was originally known as the company that created the smaller and more comfortable face masks for infielders before branching out to bats.

Rip-It face masks became an instant hit because their brand was used by those in little leagues where masks were required for all batters, as well as slow pitch softball leagues that required masks for catchers.  Their masks are also used by pitchers who wanted to protect themselves. As the company began to get more popular, they moved out of a small garage into a large warehouse where they can stock up on more of their products. This meant faster and better customer service.

Rip-It produces softball and baseball bats for most leagues including senior and high school baseball, slow pitch and fast pitch softball and other leagues. One of the most popular Rip-It models is the Prototype. The Prototype series features various models for different league types. It is manufactured with a one-piece fully composite material and is slightly end loaded to enhance a hitters power swing. One of the things the Rip-It brand is known for is it has an enlarged sweet spot that nearly covers the entire barrel and is made to reduce vibrations in the swing with a raised ridge dampening grip.

The Rip-It name is one that will continue to grow in the baseball and softball equipment business and one that will only see its reputation grow with each line of new products.

Drop us a question or comment on our blog!


Mizuno Baseball Bats and Equipment – Brand Profile

Mizuno bats and equipmentMizuno is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia and has been a staple in baseball bat and accessories since being founded in 1906. Rihachi Mizuno founded the company in Osaka, Japan, where they still have their worldwide headquarters. Mizuno USA manufactures and sells products for golf, baseball, track & field, softball and volleyball. Since the company was founded, Mizuno has put relentless effort into improving their products to compete with others that have come after them.

Mizuno began to manufacture baseballs and gloves in 1913 and in 1933 the company starting planting Ash trees that would become their baseball bats. They have since grown and evolved into the company that is now considered one of the top in the industry. Not only do the sales of Mizuno products reach the top of the baseball equipment and apparel market, they are also one of the most trusted companies for the professional ball players because of their high quality craftsmanship and durability.

Mizuno’s top products are wood bats and the company has seen the need to advance the technology further. Among the wood bats they now produce is a maple composite bat. These bats are constructed with a composite handle and a wooden barrel. This advanced technology allows the bat to last longer than traditional maple bats. It still has the top performance one would expect from a maple bat from Mizuno, only more advanced.

Another ideal bat for those looking to add a Mizuno piece to their bat bag is their classic maple bat. The hard maple wood is used from the handle to the barrel and provides you a great feel with each swing. Mizuno uses only the best maple wood to ensure their bats will last for multiple seasons, giving its customers the best product for their money. Mizuno produces a full line of baseball equipment from bats, to bags, to gloves. It is your one stop brand!

For more information or questions on Mizuno’s great line of equipment and baseball bats, leave us a question or comment!

 


Marucci Sports – Manufacturer Spotlight

Marucci Sports Baseball BatsMarucci Sports was founded in 2002 in Baton Rouge and has made a notable dent on the baseball bat market. This American company was founded by Louisiana State University Athletic Director Jack Marucci. The company’s co-founders are former Major League Baseball players Kurt Ainsworth and Joe Lawrence.

Jack Marucci first thought of making replica baseball bats after his son Gino wanted a bat of his own so he can copy his favorite stars. Marucci found it difficult to find the perfect bat for his son so he made his own. The initial bat made for his son was done with Amish wood and Gino ended up using the bat in his games, which in turn led to Marucci making more bats for Gino’s friends.

Marucci Sports eventually made a baseball bat for then-MLB first baseman, Eduardo Perez. Through Perez, now the bench coach for the Houston Astros, Marucci found a home for his products in the hands of several MLB stars. Among the MLB superstars that swing these premier wood bats are Jose Bautista, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols and Shin-Soo Choo.

While Marucci Sports began by making only wood bats, the company has since evolved to include BBCOR baseball bats, helmets, bags, batting gloves and a limited edition series of softball bats. Their one softball bat offered comes in two weight drop ratios of -8 and -9. Only 500 of each bat were made for 2013 and each comes etched with the serial number. Their bats are constructed with Marucci Sports’ two piece construction that provides you the ultimate power with each swing.

Drop a comment on this blog if you have any questions about Marucci Sports equipment.

Manufacturer Spotlight: Easton Baseball Bats

Easton Baseball BatsEaston is a name known around the baseball and softball world. Since being founded by Doug Easton in 1922, the company has worked relentlessly to put out products that their customers could rely on. The company is currently headquartered in Van Nuys, California has grown to include more than 1,000 employees working in various divisions ranging from softball and baseball to ice hockey, cycling and archery.

Easton Baseball Bats really began to make a dent in the bat market in 1969 when they released the first aluminum bat. Ever since, Easton has been trusted to complete other “firsts” in the bat industry, becoming the first company to produce bats from titanium, C405 and the first to use a carbon core. The Easton brand has grown to include more than just bats in the baseball and softball division as the company also puts out some of the most trusted gloves and accessories on the market.

In terms of their most popular bats, Easton puts out bats that can be used in wood, aluminum or composite leagues. The Easton B3.0 is one of the best composite bats available for recreation league players. Approved for use in ASA and ISF leagues, this bat has a two piece composite design completed with ConneXion Technology. It is also a part of the Raw series, which is one of the most popular bat franchises in the sport.

For those looking to use an Easton bat in ASA aluminum leagues, the Easton Salvo is a popular option. This bat has the end loaded feel, making it a solid option for those looking to get a little more power in their swing. It was built with a composite handle with a THT100 scandium barrel, giving it the best of both worlds: production and durability.

Questions about Easton Baseball Bats? Give a shout on this post…

Baseball Bats Evolution – From Simple to High Tech

Baseball Bats EvolutionBaseball bats date back to the days of Rounders and of course, Town ball. Town ball is one of the oldest games from which the current “national game” of baseball evolved as early as the late 18th century. The ball was hit by a four-inch flat bat with a tapered handle that could be firmly gripped for control and leverage. By the mid-1800’s numerous changes in all aspects of the game had been made and the players were each responsible for selecting baseball bats for themselves.

One of the first baseball games played was in June of 1846 in Hoboken New Jersey included 9 innings, 9 players on each team, and 3 outs per side. However, because players made their own bats, many different styles and sizes were used. Right around this time wagon tongue wood was predominately used and players were realizing that a round bat hit a ball much more solidly. The first bat limitation was voted on until 1859 when bat size was determined to be no larger than 2 ½ inches in diameter.  From there the baseball bat length rule was adopted in 1869 (no more than 42 inches) and over the next century and a half the baseball bat has been reshaped, reconstructed, restricted and recertified (see BBCOR video).

Today there are big differences between a softball bat and a baseball bat. Should you use a softball bat to play baseball, or a baseball bat to play softball?

The most obvious difference between  youth batssoftball bats, and baseball bats is length. 

The length of the bat used for adult baseball, adult slow-pitch softball, and youth baseball/softball will vary in length:

–       Baseball – 33″

–       Softball – 34″

–       Youth – 30”

The next significant difference is the bat weight

The primary reason for the range of available weights is that the speed with which a player can swing a bat is often related to weight. However, not all bats that weigh the same swing the same.  This has to do with something called the moment-of-inertia which is the physics of a bat swing, taking into account the center-of-mass and the rotation of the bat which together strongly determine the bat swing speed.

Barrel diameters differ too

Bat profiles, or barrel diameters differ between baseball, softball and youth bats. The barrels of baseball bats are fatter than those of softball bats and can be up to 2.75”.  Adult softball bats (both slow- and fast-pitch) are narrower, with diameters of only 2-1/4″. Youth bats have the same diameter as adult slow-pitch bats.

Understanding the differences between bats, deciding on the right kind of bat and buying the right bat for yourself or your child might seem a daunting task if you are new to the game. One thing to keep in mind is at the youth level, there is no difference in bats for softball and baseball. Another thing is the right bat feels right so trust your gut.

However, at the adult level, baseball and softball bats are designed to match their respective games.  You could use a baseball bat to play softball, as long as you adjusted to the slightly shorter total length, and the heavier weight. The performance would be about the same as using an older lower performance softball bat.

Using a softball bat to play baseball would most likely result in cracking or breaking your bat. Softball bats are not designed to withstand the forces resulting from an impact with a baseball.

The same would be true of using a fast-pitch softball bat in a slow-pitch game; the performance might be really good and the ball might come off the bat faster, but you would most likely damage your fast-pitch bat.

You could use a slow-pitch bat in a fast-pitch softball game without damaging it but the larger weight (actually, larger moment-of-inertia) makes the slow-pitch bat more difficult to swing quickly and you would probably not hit as well.

You don’t want to make a bad decision and waste your money on a bat that doesn’t serve your purpose. There are so many different bats on the market so when making a buying choice consider:

–       Which ones are best for your style of play?

–       Is this one right for your league?

–       What makes THE one worth the price?

When it comes to selecting the right bat for your league, your style, your young athlete, Composite Bats can make the process simpler. Drop us a comment if we can help!

Baseball Bats Go “Space Age”

Baseball Bats go SpaceageBaseball Bats Go “Space Age” – How Composite Bats Work

When buying baseball bats, a lot of things need to be considered; the material of the bats being one of the most important. Over the years, wooden bats have fallen out of popularity because of their extensive weight and are now primarily limited to professional players. Alloy has been in use as the most common material for baseball bats for quite some time now. Different types of alloy formulations are used, many times combined together by other elements such as carbon, to form baseball bats that are more durable and lightweight than wooden bats.

In recent years the use of composite bats for baseball, especially for young players has risen dramatically because of the new composite technology. While composite bats have been in use for playing softball and slow-pitch for quite some time, their use in baseball is a recent development. The innovation in the composite bat technology has made it stronger and more durable, increasing its performance rate compared to alloy baseball bats.

How Composite Baseball Bats Work

Composite baseball bats combine together the alloy bat technology with some advanced formulation in order to create a high performing bat. The exterior of the composite bat uses the same alloy material in order to give it strength and power, but uses another wall composed of different graphite materials inside the alloy wall. This makes the composite bats tough and durable while making them lighter at the same time since the composite wall is not as heavy as alloy.

Advantages of Using Composite Bats

Composite baseball bats are usually better in performance than the usual alloy bats. Using a composite bat can be quite beneficial in many regards, especially when the composite bat is broken-in the right way. The key advantages of using a composite bat instead of an alloy baseball bat include:

Lower Swing Weight – This is the weight felt by the player when the baseball bat is swung around to play a shot. Swing weight is different from the actual weight of the baseball bat because of a slight change in the manufacturing technology that shifts the center of mass to a different position. Using a bit of smart scientific principles, the composite bats are able to reduce the swing weight of baseball bats, making it easier for players to use them without causing much exertion.

Trampoline Effect – At the time of the bat-ball collision during a baseball play, composite bats create a better trampoline effect, making the baseball jump off better. The barrel of the composite bats is usually less stiff, giving them slight flexibility. This lack of absolute stiffness in the barrel of the baseball bats allows the balls to bounce off with more energy compared to when they collide with more stiff barrels of alloy bats.

Higher Damping Rate – Composite bats have a higher damping rate compared to alloy bats, resulting in fewer vibrations along the bat handle when the ball hits off at the wrong spot. These vibrations can cause a stinging feeling in the hands of the players, causing them problems during the game. Since the bending stiffness in composite baseball bats is low, they damp the rate of vibrations caused in the bat. As a result, the players feel lesser or no stinging sensations when the ball is hit off the mark.

Here is a great selection of composite baseball bats for all levels of play and for all budgets.

Little League – Does the Baseball Bat Make the Player

Coach’s Corner | A personal perspective

Does the Baseball Bat Make the Little League Player?

Little League CoachingThis is a question that is often asked by parents and players alike as they enter into the world of playing with little leaguers. The answer is actually yes…and no. As a parent, I would have to say the player makes the difference and not the bat of choice. Yet, as a team mom, I have learned that through the years, it actually depends on how the player feels about him or herself and the love of the game.

One would have to consider many factors including what the player knows, what he wants to learn, and what she can already bring to the game. This is why what a player hits with can be as simple as a stick from back in the day or the number one bat on the market. The player is what makes the bat and the game come to life—even in the little leagues.

Does the Player Make the Bat?

Once a child shows interest in a game like little league baseball, the floodgates of knowledge open everywhere, in that every person seems to know all there is to know about the game. Rather than getting caught up in all the chaos, any young player (and the parents) should remember one thing: the object of the game is to HAVE FUN. Part of the fun involves the “tools” chosen by the parents and/or players to play the game. At times, it would seem that some parents make a bigger game—or show—out of choosing the ultimate, top-notch equipment for their “star” slugger.

However, I have to reiterate that even the equipment cannot make a player play the game, as some kids just want the exercise or fun without having to do the work. For example, my favorite line from kids over the years has been, “Put me in for my two innings so I can get taken out…”

The Other Side of Little League: Players and Bats Unite

Once their innings were up, they were happy enough, but to the parents who paid umpteen dollars for the “perfect baseball bat,” I often got a lot more than just grumbles. Through the swearing and the insults, I have learned that one should not expect high performance out of a child using a bat with the same description, but rather, just let the child play to his or her heart’s content and let the games begin.

As a player grabs the bat, and you see that big smile, even the price of the bat gets forgotten as he or she steps up to the plate and begins to swing.

 

 

 

Choosing the right Softball Bat for League Play

Softball swingChoosing the right softball bat

Every athlete that has ever played the game of softball understands that there is a lot more to the game than simply hitting the ball with the bat. It requires a quality swing, proper form and excellent eye/hand coordination. This is the only way to achieve consistent hitting. Making that happen requires choosing the right softball bat. How can an individual choose the ideal bat that will have a dramatic positive impact on their game?

Selecting a bat that is too long, too short, is worn out, too lightweight or heavy, can all affect how well an athlete plays the game. The ideal bat will be the one that allows the player to increase the speed of their swing and hit, which will naturally improve their results.

Purchasing a new softball bat can be a real expense. Bats can range from $30 to well over $200. Many professional-grade composite bats are available, but these bats can cost over $400. Although it can be a significant outlay of money, a serious softball player should take the time to choose the right bat and consider the investment.

Sizing a Bat

Properly selecting the ideal size and weight of a bat for a player will require consideration of their height and weight. Additionally, it is important to consider the bat barrel’s size. The process is simple.

Start with the player’s weight and height. Look over the chart of available softball bats. Bat specifically designed for fast-pitch softball are manufactured in sizes that are generally one-quarter inch bigger in diameter than a softball bat designed for slow pitch. Typically, a standard slow pitch bat is 2-1/4” in diameter.

Easton Bat Sizing Chart

Choose the proper softball bat size based on the player’s specific weight and height. Usually, lightweight shorter players require a shorter bat. Overall, bat lengths typically range between 26” and 34” long.

The Best Material

Choosing the ideal softball bat often means selecting between available materials. Both fast pitch and soft pitch bats are crafted out of aluminum, mix metals and composites. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. Aluminum tends to dent easily during cold weather, and composite bats are substantially higher in price than other materials.

Choosing the right softball bat is an easy process by selecting the right diameter and length based on the player’s weight and height. Making the right choice can substantially improve the batting results of any player.

Types of Baseball Bats for Adult League Play – The Basics

Different kinds of baseball batsAs more men and women become interested in joining adult league baseball teams, they often find themselves in need of purchasing the best baseball bat for their swing. However, because of all the available choices, exactly which types of baseball bats serve the player best? There are a myriad of choices and the answer can be confusing unless you know more about what is available.

So, let’s start with the basics of narrowing the choices for adult baseball bats.

Single Piece vs. Two-Piece Baseball Bats

Baseball bat manufacturers craft bats in a single piece and in two pieces that are bonded together. Bats that are made of a single piece have the same material in the overall design. The significant advantage to this type of design is that it provides a stiffer, stronger bat that only produces minimal flexibility. This is the ideal solution for any batter that does best with a quality stiff bat for hitting.

Alternatively, baseball bats that are manufactured as two individual pieces are held together in a bonding process. The barrel is separate from the handle. However, when bonded, they create a strategic point of contact that has the natural ability to produce a trampoline effect when the ball is hit. It also produces significantly less vibration because it is more flexible than a one-piece bat.

Composite vs. Alloy or Hybrids

Baseball bats that are composite are often two piece and manufactured using a mixture of fiberglass, graphite, carbon fiber, and at times Kevlar. Alternatively, bats manufactured from alloys are typically a one-piece design that uses either just aluminum or aluminum and other alloys to create a stronger unit. These types of alloy bats are thinner and extremely durable along with being highly responsive – a tradeoff for less vibration control.

However, it is important to understand that some adult leagues are banning bats that are manufactured using a composite barrel. This is due to the carbon fiber weave that produces a hotter response than many leagues allow. It is important to check the rules of the league before making the purchase of a bat with a composite barrel.

Using a hybrid composite baseball bat offers the best of both worlds between aluminum alloys and a composite barrel. It is typically a two-piece design that offers durability and flexibility.

There are players that still prefer wood baseball bats specifically designed for adults. They’re usually crafted out of composite wood, bamboo, maple or ash.

Tip: Before making the choice of which bat to purchase it is important to understand the bat’s BESR (Ball Exit Speed Ratio). This criteria indicates the exit speed of the ball combined with the pitch and the swing and is a factor in whether or not a baseball bat is legal for use.

So what is the best baseball bat for you? Leave us a comment on this blog and we will be happy to answer questions to help you determine the right bat based on your league, size and experience.