There are several fantastic wood bats on the market. They come from a number of brands and companies. In 2016, no less than 50 wood bat brands were readily available on the market for purchase. Below we make the case as to why Marucci makes the best wood bats. And because the most popular bats in the Marucci Pro line are the AP5 and the CU26, we submit the AP5 and CU26 in Maple are the best wood bats on the market today.
Best Wood Bat Table of Contents
- Best Wood Bat Table of Contents
- Best Wood Bat Sources
- The Best Wooden Bat: AP5 Wood Bat
- Best Wood Bat for High School: Marucci’s CU26
- Best Wood Bat For Youth
- Criteria for Choosing the Best Wood Bats
- Is the AP5 really the Best Wood Bat?
Best Wood Bat Sources
The Best Wooden Bat: AP5 Wood Bat
Albert Pujols’ Bat is built for power. It is an endloaded bat with an extra large barrel. It is built with a tapered knob and a longer tapered handle for more control. Ultimately, it is an endloaded beast of a bat that is, as far as we’ve been able to gather, the most popular pro-quality wood bat on the market today.
Best Wood Bat for High School: Marucci’s CU26
There are two lines of thinking in terms of the best wooden bat for high school play. The first is that cheaper is better, for no other reason than the fact that even the best wood bats tend to break. As high school kids are usually not equipped with unlimited resources, a cheaper replacement may be the right fit. We tend to agree with this thinking.
Of course the second line of thinking is to disregard price and just use a great bat regardless of price. If you have the resources, this may be your route.
An optimal solution may be to use a cheaper wood bat for high school practice and BP while saving the gamer for the game. If opting for that reasonable approach, our gamer choice would be Marucci’s CU26 for our go to high school wood bat.
With a very traditional feel, the CU26 is a hitter’s wood bat. It has a traditional knob, balanced feel and an undersized barrel. For hitters who are looking for contact as devotedly as your tin-foil hat cousin is looking for aliens, the CU26 is right in line with what they want at the plate. The bat’s light swing is perfect for most high school players.
You can get this bat in either ash or maple. We suggest the maple. Like the AP5, it is bone rubbed.
Best Wood Bat For Youth
For much the same reason the Marucci CU26 is our favorite high school bat, we also think it a fantastic youth wood bat. Its normal sized barrel and slower transition make for an easier swing. Most little league players should like that. The youth version comes in a 2 1/4 barrel, too. Marucci makes a pro model version of their CU26 in youth so you can expect top shelf performance wood just like the pros swing.
We would run amiss if we did not mention the CD1 from Sam Bat as a fantastic youth wood bat option also. The bat comes only in maple, but has a great feel and smooth swing like the CU26. Both are great bats. (See our Sam Bat Youth Wood Review).
Criteria for Choosing the Best Wood Bats
There are a few criteria for deciding the best wood bat. These are clearly debatable. But, three principles in particular kept our attention long enough to help form our decision.
Best Wood Bat Material
If only God owned a bat company. Then they might be able to claim they owned the patent on growing stronger trees. Instead, all bat manufacturers draw wood from the same earth and billet farms. Access to the best billets of wood are available to the highest bidder. As such, there are more than a few companies or brands that use top quality hard woods to make pro level bats.
Each company also has a process, much of it proprietary, on determining which billet ultimately makes the best bats. Marucci, as an example, uses sixteen different sets of eyeballs and sixteen different manufacturing stations. Each with a quality control process that ensures, in their mind, they are producing the best piece of ash or maple on the market.
Is Marucci’s process of determining the best wood any better than Louisville Slugger’s or Chandler’s? It is unlikely that is the case. But, we are confident the best wood bats need some serious vetting by trained eyes to be considered.
What do the Big Boys Swing?
Another reasonable approach to deciding the best wood bat is to consider what the best players use. As that group of folks have the most riding on their wood bat’s performance, it is not unreasonable to assume they have the best one. It turns out, as you might have guessed, there are nearly as many wood bat models being used in the pros as there are players. Often, each have their own style, feel and turn model.
There are, however, more Marucci branded wood bats in the pros than any other brand. Just watch any game or check out the bats of the World Series. Some reports suggest no less than 35% of MLB players use Marucci. The next closest brand, Louisville Slugger, is not much more than 20%.
As we are sure their competitors would argue, Marucci’s market dominance at the big league level may have more to do with other company traits not tied to bat performance. They are, after all, the same wood from the same trees. Fair enough. But, if deciding the best wood bat was a democracy, and votes were cast by the amount of players in the big leagues that used a certain brand, Marucci should be considered the best wood bats on the market today.
Options, Options, Options
We also consider Marucci the best wood bats because they offer any number of options. No doubt, many companies and brands in the wood bat space do too. But as a requirement for the best wood bat and wood bat brand the options box must be checked.
We would suggest you don’t use the phrase bone rubbing in any normal conversation. But, do know, bone rubbing a bat is a real process that only the best wood bats in the business utilize. It is an extra step in the process. To bone rub, a bovine bone is rubbed against the grains of the bat to make them more dense. A more dense wood grain is stonger. A stronger wood bat is almost always better.
As we looked to determine the best wood bats on the market today, they must be bone rubbed. Marucci’s top shelf Pro model bats, like many, are bone rubbed.
Is the AP5 really the Best Wood Bat?
In many respects, the answer is yes. The AP5 is the most popular bat from the company that dominates the Pro Model space. The bat is also bone rubbed, comes in some custom color options and is made from the best billets the world has to offer. As such, it is reasonable to claim the AP5 is the best wood bat.
However, it can be disingenuous to claim the AP5 is the best wood bat. There are at least a few reasons for this. Marucci does not own the only forest that creates the most dense maple wood. They also have not cornered the market in the category of knowing what billet makes the best bat. As well, Marucci may have the largest chunk of MLB players using their sticks, but their total share is shy of even a simple majority. Year in and year out, many serious hitters with MVP stats often don’t use Marucci.
Other Best Wood Bat Competitors
In terms of market presence, MLB uptake and legitimate options, a few other wood bat companies and brands stand out in addition to Marucci. Sam Bats is a dead serious bat company that was first to market with the maple bat. Now, upwards of 90 percent of hitters use maple. Slugger, the same Slugger that your great grandfather knew and loved, is still strong. Not nearly as dominate as they once were, they are, however, still a serious player in the space. Others like Chandler, Victus, Old Hickory and Trinity make very serious single billet wood bats that perform at least good enough for some of the best hitters in the world to use them. And there are so many others.