Baseball bats are more than just wood wielded around by a pitcher. Bats are an extension of a player. Indeed, you have seen some authentic wooden bats swung by the baseball league legends!
What kind of wood are baseball bats made of? Many bats are made with maple, ash wood, birch, composite, and hickory. Each has its own pros and cons. Plus, due to the myriad of options in the market now, the MLB even has regulations on these bats.
What Wood Are Bats Made of?
Back in the 1800s, did you know that baseball players originally carved their bats themselves? They took a piece of scrap wood, trimmed and polished it, and presto, they are now ready to take the pitcher’s role.
Now, manufacturers have been perfecting the art of making baseball bats that are standardized and perfect for the big league. So, here are some types of wood for baseball bats:
1. Maple Wood
The first wood type, and the most common one, is the maple baseball bat. This one is generally the major league bats wood used by pitchers.
The density of a maple bat makes it more durable and less likely to break. Durability is also a plus because maple wood is excellent at not flaking upon long-term use.
However, watch out because maple wood retains moisture as time goes by. The trapped water can make the bat heavier and negatively affect your swing speed. Plus, maple wood is generally more costly than other MLB bats wood.
2. Ash Wood
Ash wood is also used for baseball bats. This is one of the first kinds of wood used in bats, even dates earlier than maple wood.
In contrast to maple wood’s density, ash wood is known for that flex when used. The flexibility gives you more bat speed. And ash wood is the lightest wood used for bats!
Another advantage of ash wood is its lower cost. It is a great option for those who want to start baseball. But as a downside, ash bats are more susceptible to flaking, softer than maple wood, and not as durable.
3. Birch Wood
What other type of wood are MLB bats made of? A meager 5% is using birch wood for their bats. In terms of physical property, birch wood is a little in between ash and maple wood.
Birch wood bats are a combination of the hard surface of maple wood baseball bats fused with the lightness and flexibility of ash wood. This combo makes birch bats more durable.
Looking at the cons, birch wood bats are known for having a break-in period. This refers to the time needed to harden the bat due to repetitive contact from hitting baseballs. Other players observe that the softness of the birch wood could imprint dents on the bat.
4. Composite Wood
The previous three kinds of wood are used in the MLB. But, composite woods are one of the kinds of timber not for the big league. Still, some rookie games allow the use of composite wood bats.
Composite wood is a combination of wood and composite materials. Unlike the previous wood types, these are not made of a single wood billet. The composite materials are often pieces of plastic that help make the desired shape of the bat.
This precise composition of composite wood makes it ineligible for the MLB. The rules state that bats should only be made from one single piece of wood. Since composite wood is technically scraps of wood and plastic together, it is not accepted.
5. Hickory Wood
Hickory wood is the heaviest and hardest of all kinds of wood used for baseball bats. Players describe using this kind of bat as stiff, not flexible, and has little feel of the ball.
The good thing? It is so stiff it would not break on you. But the bad thing here is its weight. Hickory wood bats weigh almost twice than usual MLB bats!
The Best Wood for a Baseball Bat
So, which of these is the best wood for a bat?
1. It’s maple
In the past 20 years, maple bats have been recorded to be the most popular kind of bats used by players in the MLB. Around 80% of players in the major league use maple baseball bats.
It is not surprising because maple bats are rigid, durable, and would not degrade the pitcher’s performance. It could even boost the power of your swing because of its dense shaft.
Also, home runs are one of the most anticipated occurrences in any baseball game. If you are a pitcher looking for your spotlight, maple baseball bats will increase your chances of scoring this home run.
2. Ash wood is also popular
The second crowd favorite is the ash wood baseball bat. It is used if the pitchers want a lighter bat in their games. And ash wood is the go-to bat if players find maple wood too expensive.
Frequently Asked Question
Why is pine always mentioned when talking about baseball bats?
A pine baseball bat may not be a thing, but pine is mentioned often because of pine tar. Pine tar is a sticky substance that is smothered over the bat’s handle to improve the batter’s grip.
Batters claim to boost their grip, control, and ball contact if they use pine tar. But the MLB has restricted the pine tar application as there are issues with cheating in the game. So now, players can only put at most 18 inches of pine tar on the handle.
When you buy stuff like furniture, you need to consider what material they are made of. And sometimes, it is more complex than you think!
With baseball bats, you now know how each wood type has different pros and cons. Some are even regulated as not all kinds of bats are allowed in the major league.
What kind of wood are baseball bats made of? Here we talked about maple, ash, birch, composite, and hickory. If you plan to buy your own, research the material carefully and find what fits you best!
A powerful swing and the ball is flying across the field, just one hit, and we might never forget the thrill it brings. I do not know about you, but I never do. Every baseball game is the chance to compete with others and cooperate with your teammate. It is among my biggest passions.