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The crack of the bat is one of the best sounds in all of sports.
But, now baseball players and fans get to listen to the ping of the bat. Metal bats have taken over all levels of ball with the exception of the professional leagues.
Even though metal bats are more durable and give hitters the ability to the ball farther, Major League Baseball will continue to use wooden bats to preserve the validity of records that date back to the 1800s.
Price and Durability
Metal bats and wooden bats have several benefits for hitters and for defenders.
Both are valuable in their own ways and they both have features that hitters do not like. Wooden bats are available in a variety of hardwoods, like maple, birch, and ash. This link provides a great summary of the different materials. One of the best features of wooden bats is that they are extremely affordable – most are priced under $150. While the better composite or aluminum bats are often priced over $350.
Another advantage to a wooden bat is that they can be used in all weather conditions, on the hottest and coldest days at the park. The biggest issue with wooden bats is that they break. In nearly every baseball game, there will be at least one broken bat, which is why MLB players have so many in the dugout.
Weight of the Bats
Wooden bats also have issues with their weight. Some of them are so heavy that young batters would have difficulty swinging them fast enough to even hit the bat. MLB hitters start using them when they are in the minor leagues so they are used to the weight. Their physical fitness gives them the strength they need to hit baseballs over the fence. So, it is clear that when a Major League hitter hits a homerun, or even gets a base hit, that the player really did earn it.
There are just a few disadvantages to wooden bats. One is the heavy weight and the other is that they are only used in the professional league. So, kids who want to learn to swing a bat don’t have many opportunities unless they enter into wooden bat leagues or unique tournaments that encourage the use of them. We recommend using one of our best youth baseball bats instead.
Advantages of Aluminum Bats
When it comes to metal bats, there are plenty of advantages.
First, they are lightweight, so they are easy to swing with serious bat speed. Some of the composite bats have specially engineered sweet spots that have been designed to put extra pop into the ball. In some cases, composite bats have been designed to move with the swing to send the ball as far as possible. Wooden bats do not do what the composite bats do simply because wooden bats are made of solid pieces of wood and composite bats are not made of solid metal.
Metal bats are durable and often last a season of ball or even more. Aluminum bats are designed are designed to absorb energy from the ball and they give that energy back to the ball. This is what keeps composite or aluminum bats from breaking when they hit the ball. When a ball hits a wooden bat, the bat does not behave in the same way as a composite one does, which is why it is so much more common for a wooden bat to break than a composite bat. For adult players, you can check out our updated list of our top choices for bats.
Denting Aluminum Bats
One of the disadvantages with composite or metal bats is that they do dent. Depending on the bat that you buy and where you buy it, you should get a warranty that lasts a year. These warranties cover damage like dents and cracks. Before you bring the bat home, make sure that the bat comes with a warranty – because the warranty is worth every penny.
Know the Weather Recommendations
Another issue with aluminum bats is that they cannot be used in certain weather conditions.
Most manufacturers will recommend not using their bats when the temperature falls below a certain number. The bats are more likely to crack or dent. Unfortunately for ball players in many states, baseball season takes place when the weather is still cold. There are ballgames scheduled when the weather hovers around the freezing mark and most composite bats are not rated to that temperature. For those ballplayers, there is no other option – because wooden bats are not allowed in most amateur games.
While wooden bats are the traditional tool for the greatest game on the planet, composite/metal bats are the tool of choice for young players who are learning the game. As long as records are still being compared in the Major Leagues, the wooden bat will remain as the bat-of-choice for professional players. Since aluminum bats are lightweight and durable, they will continue to be used in young leagues.