Bat weight is the most significant factor in determining an individual’s best bat. It should be noted, highlighted and underlined, however, that total weight measurements—found on the knob of every bat in production—are not necessarily transferable between bats. Meaning, it is a mistake to assume one bat weighing 30 ounces swings just like every bat that weighs 30 ounces. There are two major factors influencing why the numbers are not always transferable. Both must be understood to find the best bat weight.
Bat Weight Problem 1: Weight Distribution
The most obvious reason weights don’t transfer from bat to bat is that weight distribution changes how the bat feels on a swing. Weight distributed more toward the end cap feels heavier than the load mass feeling closer to the hands. The further the balance point of the bat moves towards the end cap, the harder the bat is to swing.
The industry derives names for these different load balances. Although these are not uniform across brands, they are somewhat helpful. A balance point more toward the hands is often referred to as “balanced.” A balance point more towards the end is called “end-loaded.” On this site, we prefer the clarity of three distinctions: hand loaded (weight really toward the knob), balanced (evenly balanced weight between knob and end cap) and end loaded (weight toward the end cap). This idea has yet to catch on in the industry as a whole, but we think it nonetheless helpful.
If you are following along, you now see why a 30-ounce balanced bat, doesn’t swing like a 30-ounce hand-loaded bat, or necessarily like a 28-ounce end load. There is not enough consistency across brands to make swing weight relationship claims either, for example, assuming an end loaded Easton 30-ounce is equal to an end loaded Slugger 30-ounce. Nor do many bats state their balance point. We are left, in many respects, to our own devices in comparing how different models implement their construction for swing weight.
Full Marks For Easton
With such ambiguity about size and weight, It is with great delight we find Easton Bat’s 2017 line finally putting some information on their bats concerning swing weight. We hope more companies follow suit. Printed on the end of their Speed and Hybrid lines is a swing weight chart. Although the numbers, found between 9 and 10, are not convertible to an actual mass moment of inertia metric, they are relatable to each other within the brand. This is the first attempt to give consumers real data on swing weights and they deserve a slow clap.
Outside of Easton’s markings, we know of no other way to calculate swing weight than to do you it on your own with the swing weight calculator here.
Bat Weight Problem 2: Stated Weights are not Actual Weights
Chalk it up to poor quality control, or the additional weight added from the grip, but few bats actually weigh exactly what they claim to weigh. Even bats within the same brand, make and model differ despite what is printed on the knob. Things as simple as extra glue to maintain the end cap’s position might change the total weight from one bat to another.
See some of our examples here:
Bat Weight Solution
The lack of consistency between stated weight and actual weight, compounded by the change in weight distribution among bats, make comparisons and decisions on bat weights a difficult process. As well, the increasing tendency for consumers to purchase high-end performance bats online only compounds the problem as hefting the bat without payment is impossible.
We are hopeful manufacturers and vendors recognize the problem and are creating processes to fix it. Easton’s printing of swing weight metrics toward the end cap is a good first step, but consumers need more data across brands.