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3 Bat Buying Secrets | The When, Where and Whats of Bat Buying

3 Bat Buying Secrets | The When, Where and Whats of Bat Buying

March 21, 2019 | by Brian Duryea | @BatDigest

Over the years of buying performance baseball and softball bats we gathered a number of tricks along the way. We share with you three general categories that can save you several thousands of dollars over the years. Consider this the how-to of best bang for your buck on a bat.

You may also find our weekly best bat deal page worthwhile.

Secret #1: Buy Used Only Sometimes

2017 DeMarini Voodoo Insane Review

One obvious idea is to save some dough is to buy a previously used bat. Sites, like ebay, often have used bats up for auction at remarkable discounts. But those discounts come with a cost in the name of no warranty, damaged goods and dealing with novice sellers. Despite these and other legit reasons to not buy used, here are a few insights to consider when pulling the trigger on a ‘used’ bat.

  • Buy used composite barrels only. It is rare we purchase a highly used aluminum barrel bat. The reason: aluminum loses it’s pop over time. Composite barrels, on the other hand, tend to only get hotter. As long as there are no cracks, a used composite bat is a smart buy. Be wary of aluminum barrels in the used space.
  • Just because the bat is “new in wrapper” (NIW) doesn’t also mean there is a warranty. All bat manufacturers only honor a warranty if you HAVE THE ORIGINAL RECEIPT from a verified vendor. Ebay receipts don’t count—you will need an actual receipt from the vendor. Buying a NIW bat without a warranty might be a good choice if the price is right, but don’t assume it comes with a warranty.
  • Pay attention to the grip. Dirtier grips mean more usage. Lighter grips get dirtier much faster than others. Use that data point to know how used the bat is.

Secret #2: When? Timing is EVERYTHING & Last Year’s Model

hyperz

No matter if you’re buying new or used, the market prices for bats fluctuate. The price curve almost always bottoms out a few days and weeks before manufacturers release their new version of the bat. For baseball this is the last few weeks of July through August. Fastpitch is closer to June.

Often, vendors looking to produce some shelf space dramatically reduce their prices to move some boxes. It is not uncommon to get bats at 50% of their ‘in season’ price during this short window. During this frenzy, check a place like justbats.com old inventory, closeoutbats or amazon’s bat section to monitor. If you are real clever, you’ll find these vendors also have eBay accounts where they really unload prices.

Secret #3: Last Year’s Model?

When to buy a baseball bat: bat buying secrets

We are often asked what the difference is between last year’s model and this year’s model. Is it worth the difference in price? We have a few thoughts on that subject.

  • Last years model may be a different type of bat. Turns out, just because it shares the same type of name, doesn’t also mean it is the exact the same bat. The 2016 Rawlings 5150 is considerably different then the 2017 Rawlings 5150. Finding the actual differences are not simple either. If only there were a bat blog made by some bat obsessed father to keep track of all those changes. If only…
  • Availability. Bat companies and vendors do a good job of ridding themselves of previous years inventory. Turns out, bat companies have a good feel for how many bats they are going to sell in a given year and don’t make much more than that. As a result, don’t assume the price difference or availability in last year’s model and this year’s model will always be around.

Overall

BBCOR Bats

Generally speaking, buy used if the barrel is composite and make sure the grip condition is lining up with the claim of how often the bat was used. Also be aware that a “NIW” claim doesn’t also mean it has a warranty. Make sure, as well, you buy at the right time and, as long as you can confirm the bat is what you want, go with last year’s model. These are the keys to getting the best bang for your buck in a bat.

In an attempt to be pragmatic (although this list will be quickly outdated as they sale) here are a couple of bats I found with a few basic searches in a matter of minutes. Buying these three bats today would be a legitimate $400 in savings.

2016 Easton MAKO BBCOR $249 @ Justbats—down from $450 just a few weeks ago).
201 DeMarini CF8 Big Barrel $179 @ Amazon

Comments

Ken says:

Not sure where you get your information but how can an aluminum bat lose its pop? I have seen tons of Composite bats lose pop in a month or 2.. with no cracks… especially now day talking about the new BBCOR composites not the old ones that were super hot…
I have never seen last years bat cost as much as this years and a lot of the time the only difference is the paint job. I would never buy a used composite bat I don’t care how good it looks…

Brian says:

Hey Ken,

The best way to think about it is simple that Aluminum is not kryptonite. It loses its shape and rebound power over time. It is, after all, a version of a thick soda can. Impact after impact push it to lose its shape and rigidity. Speak to any bat engineer and they’ll tell you the same. They are never hotter than they are first swing out of the wrapper. Good ones will last several thousands of hits. Buying an aluminum bat that has been heavily used is at a measurable disadvantage over a new one.

Composite bats only get hotter over time, its why they work like they work. It’s why governing associations work them in before they test them. They are a plastic that becomes more flexible the more you hit them. (Aluminum isn’t flexible, its rigid. Making it more flexible, like crushing your soda can, gives it less integrity with less rebound power. On the other hand, if Composite bats haven’t broke in the first several hundred impacts its unlikely they’ll ever break with reasonable use. We’ve hit 500 different bats over 10,000 times. If you’ve yet to see a composite bat that isn’t hotter after a few months then keep on looking. There are plenty out there.

Thanks and hope that helps.
Bat Digest

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