There are a handful of reasons to choose the best wood bat, but if you’re looking for a quality and performance, there are a chosen ten in particular that players, parents, and coaches should pay close attention to.
Louisville Slugger’s Genuine series are bats that are pulled from the original wood bat production line due to a small flaw in the bat that won’t affect the bat’s performance at all but it does mean that you can get big savings on a genuine wood bat that you can use for batting cages, for practice and even some games.
Check with your coach before using any genuine bats in a game. This is the same type of bat that the major leaguers use in a game. Just for that alone, it’s a great “cool” bat to own and have as part of your collection.
The Series 3X is a little bit heavier bat. It could good for a youth as a training bat, but probably best for 12 years old and up.
The bat is constructed using White Ash from a tree that is at least 50 years old. The Series 3 Genuine is available in three different finishes; all natural, all black or a black handle with a natural barrel.
Make and Feel
Since the Genuine series bats are pulled from the original production line due to a minor flaw, they are not subject to a single turning model and so could be one of the 4 different turns available.
The bats are available in three different sizes, 32 inch, 33 inch, and 34 inch.
Marucci makes a maple wood bat that is crafted with the very same specifications as the adult version of the JB19 meaning that every step of the manufacturing process is meticulous and scrutinized for quality and durability.
The JB19 is manufactured with a 2 ¼ inch barrel and a thick handle making the transition from barrel to handle long and elegant.
Every bat is bone rubbed to ensure the ultimate in wood density. A standard traditional knob is cut into the end for comfort.
The JB19 is available in 6 sizes from 26 inches to 31 inches in length.
Make and Feel
This bat is designed for versatile hitters who are looking to refine their skills in both power and consistent contact, a bat that is good for power hitting or for spraying liners in those gaps.
It gives a more balanced feel with its traditional barrel and its thicker handle.
Marucci does provide a 30-day manufacturer’s warranty on this, one of their best wood bats, so you can be confident in the bat’s construction and quality.
The Youth 125 Maple is a budget bat that is designed specifically for younger hands. The maple used for these bats will give you a great surface hardness and will be less prone to flaking.
The 125 Maple is turned to proper youth specifications. It is painted in a split pattern with the barrel painted, and the handle left as its natural wood color. The label is laser etched right into the barrel so you will have no problems seeing what side of the bat to hit with. This bat is available in four lengths, from 27 inches to 31 inches in length.
Make and Feel
The Genuine 125 is a low priced bat, but that does not mean it is low on quality. The Maple makes the bat very durable and with slightly heavier than Ash to swing, still is well enough balanced to keep great control through the swing zone.
The Mako Composite bat brings some of the design expertise from their metal bats to their wood bats.
Made entirely from USA handcrafted rock-hard maple, so you get an amazingly durable bat.
The construction of the composite Maple produces a much straighter grain making the bat perform better than expectations.
Composite resin covers the entire handle for incredible durability to ensure for fewer breakages.
The large barrel is done with a cupped end to help reduce the weight and keep the bat as balanced as possible. There are two lengths available for this bat, 32 inches and 33 inches in length.
Make and Feel
The Mako Composite gives you the ultimate in balance and swing speeds. The hard maple creates great exit velocity upon contact with the ball, making this bat great for contact hitters and gap hitters.
Wood Bat Buying Guide
There are as many types of wood bats out there are there are companies who make them, so how do you know what kind of bat you should be looking for when buying a wood bat?
As with any bat you are considering buying, you should always consult with your coach about what is best for the league you are playing in and what is legal to use in games.
Not all bats are legal for many leagues, and some leagues don’t allow wood bats and other leagues that are only wood bats.
Wood bats are also great for practice or for use in batting cages.
As a player progresses in age and begins playing in more professional leagues, it is useful to transition from alloy bats to wood bats, and like everything, there is a right way to do it and a wrong way.
Just jumping onto any old wood bat is not going to give you the control or the swing you need to hone your batting skills.
There are several different turn models for bats that are used by the various companies that manufacture bats.
This means that bats are made to a certain set of specifications ensuring that bats meet a certain standard no matter what company it is that is making them.
These turn models are listed here.
Barrel Diameter: 2 ½ inches
Handle Thickness is 1 inch.
The 110 is the balanced of balanced bats. This is the best option for someone who is new to wood bats and will help to ease any transition from using BBCOR style bats. Its thick handle gives a high degree of durability, and its balanced nature helps give a faster swing yet still gives great contact.
Barrel Diameter: 2 ½ inches
Handle Thickness 15/16ths of an inch.
The 271 is very close to the 110 but does have a slightly quicker taper between the handle and the barrel. The thinner handle and the quicker taper will give the bat a slightly higher end load giving you more power in your swings but can still be used by either contact hitters or power hitters.
Barrel Diameter: 2 ½ inches
Handle Thickness is 15/16ths of an inch
An I-13 is a little more end loaded than the 271 due to the quicker taper between the barrel and the handle. This bat is great for those who are looking to work on their power hitting as the end load gives the bat a stronger swing.
Barrel Diameter 2 ⅝ inch
Handle Thickness 29/32 or 15/16ths of an inch.
The 243 has the thinnest handle, and the barrel goes up slightly in size making it the most end loaded of the four types of turns. This is for sure a power hitter bat, and contact hitters will find it much more difficult to control and definitely not recommended for someone who is newer to wood bats.
For more on the different types of turns on bats, you can check out this video:
Best Wood Bat Types
Ash Wood Bats
Ash is the lightest bats on the wood types of bats.
They are the most flexible bats and do tend to be forgiving, but they also have a tendency to break if not hitting the bat with the grain of the wood.
Be sure to keep the logo of the bat straight up or straight down while you are hitting to be sure you are hitting the ball with the grains of the bat.
Because of the lightweight, ash bats are the best bats for swing speeds.
This can help to develop control during your sing and precision when making your hits.
Ash does have a wider grain structure than other woods, and so they can feel softer than other bats when hitting.
Ash bats also tend to flex during a swing and if done correctly can add a touch of whip effect to your swing making the speed even more through the hitting zone.
Maple Wood Bats
Maple is the most commonly used woods on bats.
Maple is a very dense wood, so the barrel does tend to be quite responsive when you hit the ball.
You can feel the ball leaving the bat on a good swing when you make the correct contact.
Maple bats are more durable than ash because of its tighter grain structure.
This means the bat can be a little more forgiving when you hit the ball, not on the grain, but it is still recommended that you work on hitting the grain to extend the life of your bat.
Maple bats can have ink dot tests on the more high-end models.
This dot will show you the straightness of the grain in the wood. The straighter the grain is, the more durability the bat will have.
The dot will also show you the hardest side of the bat, so you know exactly what side to hit on.
Composite Wood Bats
Composite bats would be the most durable bats just due to their construction. Composite bats are made in several different ways.
They could be wrapped in a composite sheath, they could have a core that is then wrapped with a maple laminate, or they could have a composite handle with a maple or ash barrel.
A composite bat will give results similar to a wood bat but have the benefit of being stronger and so will last longer.
They may have a break in period, unlike wood bats, where you will need to use the bat for a while before it is actually ready for the best hits possible.
Composite bats are perfect for players who are wanting to move up from an alloy bat to a wood bat as they will feel similar to an alloy bat in swing but will have the hit and possibly the sting of a wood bat.
They are widely used in batting cages for their benefits.
Composite bats don’t always meet the proper requirements for league play so be sure to check with your coach or your league rules to be sure it is legal.
The technology that has gone into the best wood bats for youth baseball has been advancing steadily for years and offers players a great alternative to bats made from other materials.
Wood bats offer young players to get the feel for making contact with the same types of bats used in the big leagues and the power that can come from a wooden bat hit is often unrivaled by any other materials.