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Wood Baseball Bat Materials

Wood Baseball Bat Materials

Today’s modern day “Wood Baseball Bat”, that you see used by Major League Baseball Players came to life in the 1890’s. At this time, flat bats were declared illegal and all baseball bats in the future were required to be round and no thicker than 2 ¾” diameter. Modern day bats are very similar to the bats used in the 1890’s, except not as heavy and feature a thinner handle.


Wooden Baseball bats can be made of all kinds of different materials. Each material comes with various positives and negatives.  

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  • Ash bats are the most flexible and forgiving of all the various types of wood.
  • A lot of players prefer Ash wood because they like the ability to “feel” the ball while hitting.
  • Ash bats are typically preferred more by the contact/line drive hitters due to the flex in the bat and the wood's lightweight characteristics.
  • Ash produces a splinter or crack effect while breaking.
  • If repeatedly hit on the "flat side" of the wood grain, the layers in an Ash wood bat often begin to flake apart or "delaminate".


  • Maple is the most common type of wood that you will find being used by Major League Baseball players. However, this type of wood was not prevalent in the MLB until the 1990’s.
  • Maple is an extremely dense wood that offers a harder hitting surface and stiffer flex in a bat compared to Ash. There is going to be generally no flex in the bat during the swing when hitting with Maple wood, so it transfers energy very efficiently to the baseball.
  • Maple tends to also be heavier than Ash, which decreases the ability for the player to “feel” the ball make contact with the bat and may prove to be harder to control during the swing.
  • A Maple wood baseball bat typically breaks into two distinct pieces, which--at times--has led to safety concerns for players on the field.


  • Birch is a good option for someone who wants some of the aspects of both Maple and Ash.
  • Birch is harder than Ash, but not as hard as Maple.
  • However, Birch has more flex than Maple and tends to feel lighter, but not to the level of Ash.
  • Birch has not reached the popularity of Maple or Ash, but it is one of the wood types approved for play by Major League Baseball. Although limited, you can find a selection of MLB Approved Birch wood bats at


  • Hickory wood is going to be the heaviest and hardest of all the types of wood.
  • A bat made of Hickory is going to have basically no flex and is not going to produce a “feel” when the ball makes contact with the bat.
  • Hickory was the most popular type of wood in the early days of Major League Baseball, but has vanished from today’s game in favor of Maple, Ash, and now Birch.

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  • Bamboo is quite a bit different than other woods. In fact, it is not a wood at all. Bamboo is actually a grass.
  • The process for making Bamboo baseball bats involves pressing bamboo strips into long/rectangular billets, then turning these billets until they form the shape of a round baseball bat.
  • Bamboo is very strong and durable, but is not approved for MLB use and is typically required to carry a BBCOR certification mark for organized play at lower levels.
  • Bamboo is sometimes paired with other wood materials to create a lightweight bat that is also durable and strong. This process involves pressing the Bamboo around a Maple or Ash core.

Composite Wood

  • Composite Wood bats are the most durable kind of “wood” bat on the market.
  • Composite Wood bats are, essentially, wood bats that are encased in a composite shell, are united to a composite handle, or are simply a blend of 2 or more wood types.
  • Composite Wood bats are a great option for wood bat leagues or other leagues that require bats to be BBCOR certified.
  • Composite Wood bats, like Bamboo, are not approved for use in MLB.

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There's a lot of wood baseball bat choices, so if you still have questions our pros here at JustBats can help. Feel free to chat, call (866-321-2287), or email ( ).

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