Standing on home plate, there is one thing you need to be able to rely on.
Composite bats started to make a dent in the market in the early 2000s.
Manufactured with high-tech carbon fiber, these lightweight, robust, and flexible bats are becoming increasingly popular.
Youth composite bats are now among the most common in many junior and senior leagues.
Even the MLB now allows a selection of the best composite wood bats.
The question is:
Are composite bats right for you?
Composite baseball bats are high quality bats made from a reinforced carbon fiber polymer aka composite.
This material can be used in making parts or the entire bat.
Baseball players and fans all over the world frequently argue about aluminum and wooden bats vs. bats made from composite.
Whatever may be the case, we believe that each player and fan is unique and has his/her own preference.
Composite Bats began to give serious competition to aluminum bats during early 2000.
These days, there are numerous different types of composite bats available in the market; bats with composite handles and aluminum barrels, bats with composite outer shells and over aluminum barrels and even some all-composite double-wall bats.
In this article:
We’ll go over the best youth composite bats, BBCOR composite bats, and more.
We’ll also touch on the benefits and features of composite bats, and help you shop for little league composite bats.
Types of Youth Composite Bats
Composite bats are generally divided into two major categories, depending on their fabrication process.
One-piece Composite Bats
One-piece composite bats are constructed from a single piece of reinforced carbon fiber polymer. The one-piece design ensures the bat is solid and has the necessary stiffness.
The carbon fiber adds impressive flexibility, giving these bats a very powerful pop.
Two-piece Composite Bats
Two-piece composite bats are structured as two separate pieces bonded with an adhesive.
They separate the barrel from the handle and typically feature different materials on each part.
Why different materials?
Handles need to be stiff and absorb vibration, while barrels need both stiffness and flexibility. So you’ll find different alloys combined with composites in two-piece bats.
1. Louisville Slugger 2020 Meta BBCOR
The Louisville Slugger 2020 Meta is a BBCOR (drop 3) youth composite bat. It’s a well-balanced and unique three-piece composite design.
The Slugger 2020 goes from 31” to 34” in length, with a 2 5/8” barrel diameter. It’s a potent, precise and speedy swinger, and the best little league composite bat overall.
- Exclusive 3FX three-piece connection system for maximum stiffness with minimized vibration.
- Eco-Composite Barrel provides a thick barrel that’s still light to swing.
- Very loud pops and considerable swinging power.
- Premium RTX end caps for superior barrel length without sacrificing speed
- Somewhat on the pricier side.
2. Easton Adv 360 BBCOR
The Easton ADV 360 is a BBCOR (drop 3) two-piece youth composite bat, with sizes ranging from 30” to 34”.
The ADV 360 has a 2 5/8” diameter barrel, with 360° precision barrel engineering. It’s a powerful bat for players who want more explosive swings.
Best Two-Piece Bat
- Launch Composite Technology and 360° barrel profile engineering provide extraordinary performance and huge pops.
- Dynamic Feel System carbon handle with 90% carbon fiber for exceptional stiffness
- Soft Knob technology adds power to your swings while eliminating vibration.
- A bit too stiff to comfortably swing for some players.
3. Axe 2020 Avenge BBCOR
The Axe 2020 Avenge is a three-piece composite bat, certified for high school and collegiate use. Sizes range from 31” to 34”.
This drop 3 composite bat has a 2 5/8” barrel diameter. It’s a precise bat with excellent handling.
Best Handling Bat
- Premium three-piece composite construction for powerful pops and minimized vibration.
- Charged carbon composite barrel that adds extra speed to the ball on contact.
- Patented Axe handle for superior grip and precision handling.
The sound of the bat lacks a bit of vigor.
4. Demarini 2020 The Goods BBCOR
The 2020 DeMarini The Goods is a BBCOR youth composite bat that delivers, every swing.
Available in sizes 32” through 34”, The Goods this alloy-composite hybrid two-piece bat is built for explosive power.
Best Power Bat
- Huge X14 alloy barrel designed to maximize the power behind every pop.
- Direct Connection two-piece Half+Half construction to maximize energy transfer for even bigger pops.
- Seismic End Cap technology with extra-stiff materials to add even more power to your swings.
- Can be difficult to handle with precision for many players.
5. Rawlings 2020 Velo Acp Bbcor
The Rawlings 2020 Velo ACP is a BBCOR-certified (drop 3), big barrel (2 5/8”) two-piece aluminum alloy-composite hybrid bat.
They come in sizes ranging from 31” to 34”. It’s an extremely flexible, fast-swinging baseball bat.
Best Speed Bat
- Accelerated Carbon Performance technology to deliver exceptionally light swings.
- Precision laser-etched groove that enlarges the sweet spot for bigger pops.
- Thin-walled Ai909 alloy barrel for improved performance and higher exit velocity.
- Despite the alloy barrel, the bat can feel underpowered
6. Louisville Slugger 2020 Prime
The 2020 Louisville Slugger Prime is a three-piece youth composite baseball bat. It’s got a balanced weight distribution and excellent feel on contact.
The Prime comes in sizes 30” through 32”, in a big barrel 2 5/8” diameter. It’s a fantastic composite bat at the middle point between swing speed and power.
Best Balanced Bat
- Balanced swing weight for optimized swing speed and power.
- SB Turbine composite end caps for faster swings with added precision and control.
- Vex vibration control bonding technology, allowing barrel and handle to move independently, minimizing vibration.
- While the bat delivers adequate speed and power, it doesn’t give an impressive performance in either category.
7. Demarini 2019 CF Zen Balanced BBCOR
The DeMarini CF Zen Balanced composite bat is a two-piece youth composite BBCOR bat. Available in sizes 30” through 34”, this bat provides a swift, balanced swing.
Best Value Bat
- Lightweight Paraflex+ Composite Cured Barrel for better performance in all temperatures and climates.
- Paraflex+ Composite Handle with D-Tak Grip for improved feel on contact.
- 3Fusion Taper Improved End Cap for better weight distribution and more balanced swings.
- Lacking in explosive power.
8. Easton Project 3 ADV BBCOR
The Easton Project 3 ADV is a two-piece composite BBCOR bat with a 2 5/8” barrel. It provides excellent stiffness and vibration reduction with superior swing power.
- ISO CXNTM technology two-piece fabrication with exclusive Nitrocell foam.
- Power boosting knob for added leverage and more potent swings.
- Improved barrel layup design for better performance and maximum power out of the box.
- Less precise than other youth composite bats.
9. Demarini 2020 Voodoo Balanced
The DeMarini 2020 Voodoo Balanced is a USA Baseball-certified hybrid two-piece composite bat. Length-to-weight ratios of -10, -9 and -5, and sizes ranging from 28” to 32”.
It’s a well-balanced bat with a relatively light, speedy swing.
- 3Fusion Streamlined Design for reduced vibration and improved weight control.
- ReAction End Cap combines stiff, lightweight materials to improve barrel performance.
- Half+Half X14 Alloy technology provides a balanced and solid barrel with stiff, isolated Paraflex handle.
- Lackluster pops.
10. Easton Ghost X Hyperlite 2019
The Easton Ghost X Hyperlite 2019 is a one-piece drop 11 composite baseball bat designed for speed and precision.
Sizes range between 27” and 31”. It’s an extremely lightweight and fast swinger.
- One-piece balanced design and Hyperlite fabrication for superb weight control.
- SpeedCap technology provides a flexible and responsive barrel performance.
- EXACT carbon engineered optimized barrel for improved performance and energy distribution.
- Suboptimal pops, somewhat underpowered.
- Material tends towards superficial cracks under certain conditions.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Composite Bat
One-piece, two-piece, or three-piece?
Structure determines bat performance. Composite bats can be stiffer one-piece bats, or more flexible two/three-piece bats.
Composite bats can be made of a single carbon composite material, combine different composites, or combine composites and alloys.
Composite bats are manufactured in a range of sizes, from 25” to 34” and beyond. Composite BBCOR bats tend towards a range of 31”- 34”.
The weight of a composite bat determines its length-to-weight ratio, which in turn determines the leagues it’s approved for.
Youth composite bats can have a range of diameters, with the most common being 2 3/4” and 2 5/8”.
Composite Bat Features
Most two-piece youth composite baseball bats will feature special bonding technology. The point of union between the two pieces is susceptible to vibration and energy transfer issues. Special bonding technology addresses both issues.
Different manufacturers employ different composite materials or alloys in composite bats. Each has unique properties and advantages.
Custom Barrel Profiling Technology
Composite bats often have special techniques and processes applied to the barrel profiling. This optimizes the sweet spot and provides bigger pops and better performance.
Most composite bats have unique grip technologies to improve contact feel and reduce vibration feedback.
Getting The Most From Your Composite Bats
Performance Over Time
Composite bats are notorious for exhibiting improved performance over time. In fact, that quality meant composite bats were temporarily banned from several youth and collegiate leagues for a while.
Still, manufacturers and certifiers wised up and reformed the relevant bat standards. New, BBCOR/USABaseball Certified composite bats are perfectly legal in most leagues.
Care and Maintenance
Composite bats are sometimes susceptible to cracks under certain weather conditions. The rule of thumb most often cited is to avoid using them below 60°F.
However, not all composite materials are equally vulnerable. Newer generations of composite materials, and two-piece aluminum alloy barrel composite bats, tend to have better performance.
The Right Bat
Composite bats have to be the right fit for the player in question. Bat length and weight will determine the ease and confidence that you can swing the bat around with.
A number of bat sizing charts are available online. Buying the right bat size is crucial for an optimal swinging experience.
Fit for a League
Every league that teams participate in has its own baseball bat standards they enforce and adhere to. Making sure that the bat you buy is approved for the league it’s intended to be used in is essential.
One of the most common standard certifications is BBCOR. Another common certification is USA Baseball. The Little League publishes their baseball batting standards for multiple divisions online.
Best Big Barrel Bat Brands
The Louisville Slugger is an American tradition, since its introduction in 1855. It’s one of the most iconic baseball bats in the game.
Hillerich & Bradsby is the company commonly known for the name of their star product, the Louisville Slugger. The division responsible for the bat was sold to Wilson Sporting Goods back in 2015.
This specialty Hillsboro, Oregon manufacturer, founded in 1989, produces baseball and softball bats and batting gloves. They’re leaders in the research and design of new, advanced bat technologies.
Acquired by Wilson Sporting Goods in 2000, DeMarini continues to be a bat R&D powerhouse. They continue to introduce high tech innovations with their lineup every year.
First patented in 2007, Axe bats utilize a unique handle based on those of traditional axes. After being successful with prominent teams and in high-level games, Axe Bats began to gain wider adoption.
The company has a broad lineup of ax-handle bats, including some of the best composite wood bats in the game.
Are Composite Bats Better?
Composite bats tend to be very lightweight, with high exit velocities and optimal precision and handling.
They generally give players bigger pops and more explosive power than traditional bats.
Do Composite Bats Lose Pop?
Mostly, no. In fact, quite the opposite.
Composite bats need to be “broken in” before they unleash their full popping power.
If your composite bat is already broken in and is losing pop, it’s probably at the end of its life.
What Is a Composite Wood Bat Made Of?
Composite wood bats incorporate wood materials and composite materials.
They can use wood pieces, strips, or shavings. The composite materials can bond the wood together or be mostly in the handle.
What Temperature Can You Not Use a Composite Bat?
The general recommendation for composite bats is to avoid using them in temperatures of 60°F or below.
When it comes to youth composite baseball bats, your decision needs to be weighed carefully.
Different composite bats offer advantages and drawbacks that may suit the style of different players.
Do your research:
Composite BBCOR bats offer impressive swinging power with lightweight, precise, and maneuverable bodies.
Each model incorporates advanced technologies that improve upon the base performance of composite bats.
No matter what bat you choose, remember to make sure it’s legal in the league you want to play in.