Baseball and Softball Bat Resource Guide
This Bat Resource Guide will help you through the process of finding, selecting, and caring for your bat
How do I choose the right type of bat?
- Tee Ball: -10.5 to -14 length-to-weight ratio with a 2 ¼" barrel diameter. Meant for leagues with youth players hitting baseballs or softballs from a tee.
- Junior Big Barrel / Coach Pitch: -9 to -12 length-to-weight ratio with a maximum 2 ¾” barrel diameter. Meant for players who are in coach pitch leagues and for velocities less than 40 mph.
- USSSA Baseball: -5 to -12 length-to-weight ratio with either a 2” or a 2” barrel diameter. Meant for youth players that are allowed to use a big barrel diameter.
- USA Baseball: approved for USA Bat Standard and meant for youth baseball players. Maximum 2” barrel diameter.
- BBCOR: -3 length-to-weight ratio with a 2” barrel diameter. Required for the high school and collegiate level baseball.
- Fastpitch Softball: -8 to -13 length-to-weight ratio with a 2” barrel diameter. Meant for fastpitch softball players of all ages.
- Slow Pitch Softball: -3 to -8 length-to-weight ratio with a 2” barrel diameter. The most common weights are 26, 27, 28, and 30oz.
- Fungo: Fungo bats are lightweight bats used by coaches to hit infield or outfield practice.
- Training: Training bats range from one-hand trainers to weighted bats to thin barrel diameter bats to improve hand-eye skills.
What is the length-to-weight ratio or drop?
The “drop” as some may call it, the number with the minus in front of it as others call it, or the length-to-weight ratio. What this term defines is the difference between the length of the bat in inches and the weight of the bat in ounces. The larger the number, the lighter the bat. Our bats come in a variety of length-to-weight ratios varying anywhere between a -3 to a -14.
How do I determine the length and weight that I should be using?
What barrel diameter do I need?
The answer to this question is going to depend on the league that you’re in. Each and every league has its specifications and limitations. The barrel diameter of a bat may come in four different sizes: 2”, 2”, 2”, and 2”.
Which material is better: alloy, composite, hybrid, wood, wood composite, or bamboo?
One is not better than the others. Each material is going to offer unique pros and cons. What it ultimately comes down to is a personal preference.
- Aluminum or Alloy is going to offer more of a “ping” sound on contact. These bats will not require a break-in period, and they are going to be at their peak performance right out of the wrapper. Alloy bats are susceptible to denting toward the end of their lifespan.
- Composite is going to offer more of a “crack” or “thud” sound on contact. Some composite bats may require a slight break-in period of about 50 swings off of a tee or soft-toss, but due to regulation changes, many are as good as alloy out of the wrapper. Composite bats are susceptible to cracking toward the end of their life-spans. These bats are composed of carbon, glasses, and Kevlar fibers that are embedded in a plastic resin.
- Hybrid bats are going to offer a lightweight composite handle with an alloy barrel which is said to reduce handle vibration.
- Wood is provided in a variety of options. Maple, Birch, and Ash are the most popular. Wood bats offer that classic and authentic feel but are more susceptible to cracking and breaking in comparison to aluminum and composite bats.
- Wood Composites are comprised of multiple types of wood or different wood blends and are not a natural piece of wood as a typical wood bat is. Because these are not natural cuts of wood, leagues do require these bats to show certifications to be legal for play. Wood composites are typically more durable than a natural cut wood bat.
- Bamboo bats look and perform like a wood bat, but Bamboo is technically a grass. These Bamboo billets are comprised together to make a single bat and are often more durable than a natural cut wood bat.
Should I buy a one-piece or a two-piece bat?
- One-piece bats are stiffer in comparison to a two-piece bat and will offer less flex during a player’s swing. These bats tend to be geared more toward a power hitter with above-average swing speed.
- Two-piece bats will offer more flex during a player’s swing. This causes a whip-like action through the swing zone and results in more inertia and power. These bats tend to be geared more towards a contact hitter or a hitter that could use assistance in improving bat speed. Because the handle is separate from the barrel, two-piece bats tend to help mitigate felt vibration on mishit balls.
Do I need a balanced or an end-loaded bat?
- Balanced bats will have their weight distributed evenly throughout the entire length of the bat and are geared more towards your average player with average or slower bat speeds.
- End-loaded bats have a portion of their weight focused towards the end of the barrel and are geared more towards your power hitters looking to hit for the fence.
Which bat offers the biggest sweet spot and the most “pop”?
Typically, a larger barrel diameter will result in a larger sweet spot or hitting surface. The pop of a bat is not a physically measured feature. It will vary from player to player and bat to bat.
Does my bat require some break-in time? Should I roll or shave my bat to help expedite the break-in period?
- Aluminum / Alloy bats do not require a break-in period. These bats are “hot out of the wrapper” and can be used in a game right away.
- Composite bats may require a break-in period. If you feel your bat is not at optimal performance out of the wrapper, we recommend about 50 swings either off of a tee or by soft toss with a rotation of the barrel after each swing.
- Rolling is the process of compressing a composite bat between two rollers to accelerate the break-in period. We do NOT recommend this process as it may void a manufacturer’s warranty, deem your bat illegal for play, lessen the durability of your bat, and become a danger to other players.
- Shaving is the process of removing the bat's end-cap and shaving the insides of the bat walls to make the bat walls thinner. We do NOT recommend this process as it will void the manufacturer’s warranty, deem your bat illegal for play, lessen the durability of your bat, and become a danger to other players.
What do the different types of stamps and certifications on my bat mean?
- BBCOR: Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution. This certification is the standard that regulates the overall performance of adult bats used by high school and collegiate players. BBCOR measures the trampoline effect of the bat.
- USSSA: United States Specialty Sports Association.
- USSSA BPF 1.15: Bat Performance Factor measures how fast the ball comes off of the bat. 1.15 is the standard for youth baseball bats.
- USSSA BPF 1.20: Bat Performance Factor for Slow Pitch and Fastpitch softball governed leagues.
- USSSA BPF 1.21: Bat Performance Factor for Slow Pitch senior softball leagues such as SSUSA.
- ASA: Amateur Softball Association.
- ISA: Independent Softball Association.
- ISF: International Softball Federation.
- NSA: National Softball Association.
- SSUSA: Senior Softball-USA
Which bat is the most popular? What is the best bat on the market right now?
Once you have filtered your search on JustBats.com, our bats are defaulted to list in order of most popular. The best bat on the market right now will depend on who you are asking. Here at JustBats.com, we carry a wide variety of great brands because we realize everybody has their personal preference.
How long will my bat last? How many seasons should this bat last?
We cannot guarantee that a bat will last a specific amount of time or a specific number of seasons because there are so many variables. These variables include the amount of use the bat receives, the number of players that use the bat, and how well the baseball bat or softball bat is protected. For optimal bat life, please refer to our bat care page. Most alloy and composite bats do feature a manufacturer’s warranty.
What are the best bat care tips?
- Limit the bat to individual use
- Do not use in temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not store the bat in extremely hot or cold temperature areas
- Do not use the bat to hit the dirt off of your metal cleats
- Use regulation leather-covered baseballs and softballs. Avoid the dimpled yellow cage balls
- Do not hit waterlogged balls
- Routinely check your bat for any damage
- Rotate your bat ¼ turn each swing to distribute the hitting surface evenly
Does my bat come with a warranty? What do I do if my bat breaks or otherwise becomes defective?
Not all bats feature a warranty, but most alloy and composite bats feature a full twelve-month manufacturer’s warranty. Warranties will differ from bat to bat. If your baseball bat or softball bat should break or become defective, and it comes with a warranty, you need to go through the warranty replacement process with the manufacturer. However, we will pay for shipping back to the manufacturer on your behalf.