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6 Things You Must Know About Shaved Bats

6 Things You Must Know About Shaved Bats

March 21, 2019 | @BatDigest

We did some experimenting.

We took two identical bats (the 2018 Easton Ghost X in a USSSA Drop 5) and had one shaved. (That is, we had some of its inners cored out so its barrel was more flexible).

Shaved Bats

Then did a number of tests including two different home run derbies as well as measuring their swing weight and compression. That data, combined with a ton of reading and conversations give us 6 things you should know about shaved bats. (See more swing weights here).

Shaved Bats are Illegal in So Many Ways

Let us first be clear. Using a shaved bat is against the rules of every baseball or softball league we are familiar with.

For the record, not only is very likely the bat is illegal in the league you are using, you could face criminal consequences if you use a shaved bat and its hit ball injures another player.

There may be a HR Derby or two a year where manipulated and unsanctioned bats are legal (see, for example, the NCAA CWS HR Derby in Omaha). But, aside from those rare occasions there isn’t a moment we condone the use of shaved bats. They are dangerous, illegal and, to put it in no uncertain terms, flat out cheating.

What a Shaved Bat Sounds Like

If you were closely associated with travel (USSSA) baseball in 2016 you remember the blue and white CF Zen that was eventually banned. You will also remember that you could spot that bat across the park not by it’s looks but by its sound. The bat sounded hollow and deep. It sounded like you dropped a big rock into a well and it splashed into the water at the bottom. Blubmp. That bat was never shaved, but that bat was illegal for a reason. The composite had been manipulated enough during its work it that it was ultra hot.

Shaved bats sound similar.

But, do note, it would be nearly impossible to claim a bat is shaved just by its sound. Each brand and model have their own characteristics. If you could find another one of the same bat that had the same amount of work in and then compare the sound you might be on to something. But, good luck with that.

See our video above to hear the differences.

Where to Buy a Shaved Bat

There are several leagues, derby’s, exhibitions and showcases that allow shaved bats. This makes up the vast majority of sold shaved bats. Even the 2018 College World Series Home Run Derby, for example, allowed any type of bat.

That said, after some blow back on our Facebook page when we first posted this article, a couple expressed some anger about our judgement in linking to places that sell shaved bats. They though we’d advertised it to people and increased the danger and cheating. This, we think, is a considerable stretch. Of the top 10 articles on Google’s first page ranking for shaved bats, 9 of them sell shaved bats. The doctoring business is far from a secret and, we think, we’d rather they found out from us (a group willing to tell them the facts)

It’s a tough line to walk when most willing to buy a shaved bat are doing it for “legal” purposes. But, long story short, we removed the links.

Finding where to buy a shaved bat is easy enough if you know how to use Google.

Using a shaved bat anywhere that it is not allowed is flat out cheating and dangerous. We condemn it in the strongest language we can.

Shaved Bats Hit the Ball Far

Like, real far.

Bat Shaving Information

Others have measured the differences in shaved vs non shaved bats. In short, shaved bats hit the ball much faster—anywhere from 2 to 6mph exit speed more.

Although several factors determine how much further you’d hit a ball with a shaved bat (see below) it is fair to say that an average of 30 to 50 additional feet is a reasonable expectation. Of course, we are talking about a well hit ball at a good launch angle too.

Shaved Bats Have a Lower Swing Weight

The shaved bat in our test, although originally identical, swings 7% lighter than its original counterpart. Removing the shavings removed the 1.5 ounces from the bat and decreased the MOI from 8800 to 8200.

A lighter swinging bat, assuming it is swung at the same speed, will not hit the ball as far as a heavier bat. Of course the trampoline effect has increased on a shaved bat and can make up for that lost weight at impact. But, do note, if you are getting your bat shaved it will swing a noticeable amount lighter.

How to Spot a Shaved  Bat

If it is done well then spotting a shaved bat is nearly impossible to notice. That is, putting the cap back on without any cosmetic signs is probable. Field compression tests can also do the trick. But, we think, a simple kitchen scale would indicate it as well. See:

Weight Tests

We think a more reasonable way to determine if a bat has been shaved is to simply weigh it on a kitchen scale. Bat companies, notorious for having bats above their sticker weight, have yet to produce a bat (in all our time of doing this) that weighs LESS than the sticker weight. Shaved bats weigh less than their sticker. Our shaved bat that should weigh 27 ounces (32/27) ended up weighing 26.55 ounces. The original bat weighed in at 28 ounces.

Compression Tests

Some argue that using a compression tester is a fail safe way. But this is not as true as it used to be. Non-linear designs in bats these days change the transferable nature of compression tests—making them less and less useful. (We talk about that in our rolling article here).


Robert Stafford says:

I bought a Demarini J3A from Dunhams, took it home, removed the wrapper and weighed the bat. It was a 26 ounce bat, my scaled showed It weighed 25.2 ounces, with factory grip still on it. So stock unaltered bats can absolutely weigh less than the sticker, I used to own one.

Robert. Thanks for the comment. We’d guess you’re right about slowpitch bats. In our experience, we’ve yet to find a baseball bat in the literally thousands we’ve tested and weighed over the years to be less than the sticker weight (with the exception of a 2017 Rawlings Threat). To your point, slowpitch bats might be an entirely differently animal.

Anonymous says:

Just finished a 13U tournament this past weekend here in SoCal – the sound indication is very telltale – even more is if the bat gets handed to every big batter in the line up and each player checks it to see if it cracked yet…
Very common among some the most well known teams – becoming more common is one piece aluminum or BBCOR only

Anonymous says:

Putting the bat even on a digital scale is not a true sign that it has been shaved if it weighs under the sticker weight. First of all i can tell you that almost every composite bat on the market is not true to sticker weight. They always come in heavier and sometimes by over an ounce or more than it should. I have had almost every brand of bat in composite and they are all over weight. Second, the slightest change can make the bat lighter if it did weigh exactly what it should. For example, take off the grip that these bats come with from factory and put bat tape on the handle and it will weigh less. I have proven that with my scale cause i use bat tape. Bottom line…Only way to tell if it is shaved is to take off the end cap and look inside or cut it in other way. So if your gonna call out someones bat to get looked at cause you think its shaved you better be 100% sure it is or your gonna look like an idiot. Also the compression test won’t be accurate either cause once the bat is broken in through the process of bp and hitting with it, it will test at a much lighter compression.

We definitley never claim that scale weight is a fail safe test. At the risk of repeating what we wrote in the article, this much we know, of the 100’s of bats we’ve weighed (and documented that we weighed) the only two which have EVER shown to be less than the sticker weight are the Rawlings Threat and the shaved ones. The Threat was NOT shaved. So, there’s your answer.

Still, if there’s suspicion the 1st thing we’d do is weigh the bat. It’s a much cheaper alternative than getting a field compression tester. No one in their right mind would start prying off the end cap. Come on now.

Is it a fail safe test? Of course not. But, if a composite bat weighs less than the stated weight, sounds more hollow than its counterparts and hits monster bombs on check swings then we’d be willing to “look like an idiot” so some cheater dad who bought from some cheater company can get the lifetime ban they deserve.

lab scale says:

a simple kitchen scale does not have the accuracy to tell one that a bat is 27.00 vs. 26.55 oz. if you said a lab scale that was accurate to three-decimal places, then i would concur.

Hmmm. We aren’t sure of this. Some kitchen scales are pretty accurate—measuring grams of flour/butter/whatever. (28 grams in an ounce). But, fair enough, kitchen scaled might not be the best litmus test for shaved bat. But they are the least expensive. And if a bat weighs LESS than the stated weight–even on a kitchen scale—we think it probable something funny is going on. We’ve weighed, on a kitchen scale, over 500 bats. Only two have come back below the stated weight: The Rawlings THREAT USA (not shaved) and the shaved bat we used for this write up. Anyhow, thanks for the comment and something to consider.

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