If you are a new baseball fan, you may want to grasp all the technical how-to, from game rules to equipment. In that case, a good place to start is knowing the answer to “What are baseball bats made of?” In this article, we will explain to you in detail the materials that baseball bats are made out of.
In general, most baseball bats are either wooden or metal alloy-based. However, within each type, there are other considerations worth knowing. So, continue reading to find out!
What are Baseball Bats Made of
In today’s market, you can get wooden or metal alloy baseball bats. The latter is often hardwood, such as ash, hickory, maple, and birch. As for the former, aluminum is used.
Wooden Baseball Bats
The more classic version of the baseball bat is made of wood. In particular, ash, hickory, maple, or birch hardwood. Read below for the elaborated baseball bats wood types.
This was the original go-to wood material for baseball bats. It was dense enough to meet the needs of baseball users, and thick grains to solidify durability and strength.
Bats made of ash offer more flex for users to gain better control. On top of that, ash is very lightweight. You will not encounter shoulder strain or arm fatigue in handling ash baseball bats.
Thanks to the combination of flex and lightness, ash baseball bats can deliver the “whips” and “pops” that baseball players like. Moreover, they enhance batting speeds for an exciting experience. Ash is also aesthetically pleasing. From a creamy white to light beige, you can rest assured that your baseball bat is beautiful.
Given the above attributes, ash baseball bats are suitable for youth players and recreational players.
However, baseball bats made of ash snap more easily than other types of materials available in the market. This is because ash is a porous wood with low moisture content. The wood can dry out easily, which, in turn, causes the grains to flake. It wears down quickly, plummeting durability to the disappointment of users. Nevertheless, this is only common if you use ash bats as a professional, playing for long hours every day. For occasional batting, ash baseball bats are still commendable.
Or, if you are willing to replace your bats regularly for “whips” and “pops”, ash bats are ideal. This is not too bad of an idea given that ash bats are relatively cheaper than bats made of other materials. You can find standard quality ash baseball bats at an affordable price, online or offline.
Hickory is a very hard type of wood. So, it gives baseball bats unrivaled durability. Players never have to worry about it breaking or snapping during play. By the same token, hickory baseballs have superior longevity. Hickory is also, by nature, dense and shock-resistant, making it the ideal baseball bats material.
In the past, it was the wood of choice for baseball bats. The Old Hickory was the most famous and sought-for baseball bat brand.
However, today, hickory is mostly replaced by other materials. It is deemed too heavy, making it hard on the arms of players. Although players can hit the ball further, they cannot achieve the much-needed speed.
Nevertheless, hickory still suits a lot of players’ personal preferences. In particular, those who want the “tough stuff” continue to like bats made of hickory. You can find a good range of hickory baseball bats in markets nowadays.
This is the baseball bat material chosen by over 70% of players in the MLB—for good reasons. It is a dense wood that possesses excellent attributes of durability and hardness. At the same time, maple has close-grain, which prevents it from flaking and splintering. Unlike ash bats, the more you hit a maple bat, the more compact it becomes.
Maple’s tight grain is not too visible. Thus, maple bats are great for customizing through engraving and painting. Any player looking for a solid-looking trophy bat will surely love one made of maple.
You can easily find modern maple bats. A lot of reliable brands offer them at a reasonable price. But, do not expect them to be cheaper than baseball bats made of ash.
However, keep in mind that maple bats do not offer the same flex as other materials. They are less forgiving, especially when striking at the end or near the bat’s trademark, and limit players’ sweet spot. In addition, maple has a tendency to absorb moisture over its course of life. As a result, it can gain weight and become less handy over time.
Birch is another hardwood used for baseball bats. However, it is on the softer side compared to maple and hickory. This softness grants flexibility for users to enjoy “whips”, “pops”, and boost batting speed. Thanks to this softness, birch bats are more forgiving when struck at the end or near the trademark.
Furthermore, birch has curly grains that make it durable even under repetitive harsh contacts. As such, it is very suitable for baseball. Unlike other bats, however, birch bats must be “broken-in” before use and after a period of sitting idle. This is because the material can harden over time.
This type of wood is known for converging the attributes of maple and ash bats. It provides a hard-hitting surface, like maple, as well as a lighter and flexible feel, like ash. Birch baseball bats are relatively affordable while delivering quality performance. You can find them in local sporting goods stores and on e-commerce sites.
Metal Alloy Baseball Bats
Aluminum is the most popular type of metal alloy for baseball bats. It gave bats more durability at a lower price. Bats made of aluminum do not break, given their quality construction. At the same, these bats provide the desired flex for a trampoline effect, creating “whips” and “pops”. Unlike wood, which absorbs the energy of the baseball when coming into contact, aluminum redistributes the energy to the ball.
With aluminum bats, users can execute faster swings. Since aluminum is lightweight, any bats using aluminum can deliver enhanced speeds. It is easier to handle and users get more control as well. In essence, users can get optimal coordination for a flawless playing experience.
Also, unlike maple bats, aluminum bats do not limit players’ sweet spots. Consequently, aluminum bats are very fitting for beginners, youth players, and once-in-a-while recreational players. They are typically used in the Little League and in schools.
However, aluminum bats are a no-no in the MLB. If professional players were to compete with aluminum bats, the ball can fly too hard and too far, potentially risking the audience’s safety in the stands. This can also be an unfair advantage for batters.
Additionally, aluminum bats do not improve players’ skills by hitting the right spot, but merely rewarding contact. Then, baseball is reduced to a game of luck rather than praiseworthy and hardworking players.
It is also believed that aluminum bats will not be entering the MLB picture because that will throw off comparisons with players in the past. Given that records are a big deal in the MLB, it is unlikely that new types of bats will be introduced in trading off the game’s history.
To wrap up, check out this video on Youtube comparing wooden and aluminum baseball bats!
So, there you have it! You should now know the answer to “What are baseball bats made of?” To recap, baseball bats can be made of wood or metal alloy. The latter includes a range of hardwood, such as ash, hickory, maple, and birch. On the other hand, the latter is mostly referring to aluminum.
Hopefully, this has been helpful. If you have any other follow-up questions or thoughts on this topic, feel free to let us know in the comments. We are always delighted to hear from our readers. So, do not hesitate!