We took our Rapsodo hitting device and tested pre and post break-in exit speed velocities on a brand new out of the wrapper 2018 Rawlings Quatro in a 31 inch drop 10. We found a slight increase in ball exit speed (1.0 mph faster) after the 200+ swing break in period.
Although the exit speed is positively correlated with the break in of the USABat Quatro, we are not ready to make such a claim for every bat. But, the data is encouraging enough to assume that what manufactures have been telling us for years is true: composite bats perform better after they are broken in.
Breaking In A Composite Bat: Exit Speed Data
Collected Pre/Post Break in Baseball Flight Data
30 Hits Fresh out of the Wrapper
Avg: 58.4mph Rapsodo Exit Velo
30 Hits After 200+ Work In Hits
Avg: 59.4 mph Rapsodo Exit Velo
Pre Break In Composite Exit Velocity
Post Break In Composite Exit Velocity
How We Broke in Our Baseball Bat
We hit the Quatro off a tee 250 times. Between each hit we rotated the bat between a 1/8th and a 1/4 of a turn. Although not always successful, we rotated between hitting the ball on the inside of the sweet spot and the outside of the sweet spot. As well, we used several different hitters and did our best to use hitters that were much stronger than what the bat required.
6 Steps to Break-In in a Composite Baseball or Softball Bat
- Take bat out of the wrapper
- Use a tee or soft toss
- After each hit rotate the bat between 1/8 and 1/4 a turn
- Alternate hitting inside the sweet spot then outside the sweet spot
- Repeat at least 200 times---the more the merrier
- Alternate hitters---use hitters that are much stronger than the bat's size is intended for
How Much More Exit Velocity does a Composite Break-In Produce?
The scientific answer to that question is not possible for us to answer with the limited data and resources we possess. Insight from articles like this from Dr. Russell at Penn State are the places better answers can be formed.
But, our anecdotal test says that the composite Quatro appeared to improve in exit speed after it was broken in. Our 30 hits average increased by 1.2mph of exit speed or, at a perfect angle, about 5 feet of distance. If you are playing on a 210 foot fence then 5 feet might be all the difference you need.
We think it likely other composite bats run similar in terms of break in and changes in exit velocity. And as such, we suggest you break in your composite baseball or softball bat with at least 200+ hits to get better performance.