After hours of real testing, review writing and research—as well as long conversations with major manufacturers and vendors—we think the Rawlings VELO the best balanced bat.
Although there are dozens of really, really good balanced bats, we like the Rawlings VELO for its long term commitment to an ultra light swing. Year in and year out there are few bats that give you more bat for less swing weight. And the 2018 version of the VELO, in its numerous sizes, is no different.
Lots of Other Options
Before we get too carried away, make no mistake about the fact there are dozens of other legitimate balanced bats on the market. Each is worth your consideration before you pull the trigger.
We also suggest you consider more than the swing weight of a bat before pulling the trigger. Among those other factors, and maybe mostly so, we would look at a two piece or one piece construction. That distinction makes the most difference in bat feel. Also before swing weight we would consider the barrel’s material. Do you prefer composite or aluminum on the barrel?
Best Balanced Fastpitch
2018 DeMarini CFX Drop 11
DeMarini makes a half dozen CFX bats, so make sure you are looking at the drop 11 if you want the one with the most balance. The drop 10 in the CFX is, we believe, the most popular. But if you want as much bat barrel for as little swing weight as possible, then look for the drop 11.
What is a Balanced Bat?
We measure swing weights here. That conversation might be helpful for you.
Most consider a balanced bat to be the opposite of an end loaded bat. An endloaded bat is one in which the weight of the bat is focused more towards the end cap, and therefore the bat swings heavier. As such, a balanced bat is a bat where the weight is distributed closer to the knob. This shift in balance point makes it so the bat is easier to swing.
Some consider a balanced bat in between an end loaded bat and a speed or hand loaded bat. A speed or hand loaded bat is where the weight of the bat is focused towards the knob and a balanced bat is simply in between the end loaded and speed loaded.
Best Balanced Slow Pitch
Slugger Super Z Balanced
There is no unified nomenclature throughout the industry. Easton, more recently, has adopted three categories of bat load (speed, balance, end). Most of the other major brands use the two categories (balance, end). We prefer the load spectrum defined into three sections. But, since it is not quite industry standard to use three categories, we use the balanced term often to simply mean a light swinging bat when compared to end load. This encompasses, frankly, the vast majority of bats as only a few are true end loads.
In a sport defined by bicep size, most players like the idea of end loaded bats. And in fact, most bats are categorized into how many ounces of end load are added to the end of the bat. But, if you happen to be playing the sport and are not on steroids, you might consider the Slugger Super Z Balanced slowpitch bat, as it is the best balanced bat out there.
Baseball Balanced Bats
Here is a sampling, and link to the review, of some of the 2018 baseball bats considered “Balanced”.
- Slugger 918 Prime
- Slugger 618 Solo
- Easton Ghost X
- Beast X
- DeMarini CF Zen
- DeMarini Voodoo Balanced
- Marucci CAT 7
- Marucci Hex Alloy
- Marucci F5
- Rawlings Quatro
- Rawlings VELO
- Mizuno Ghost
- Mizuno Covert
- Axe Element Hyperwhip
Fastpitch Balanced Bats
With a few exceptions, almost every performance fastpitch bat is considered balanced.
You should not use performance bats in cold weather. The issue is not a cold bat but a cold ball. Cold weather, according to most manufacturers, is sub 60 degrees.
Cold Weather Bat Recommendations
With that said, we realize that playing in sub 60 degree weather is common place. We play in the rocky mountains and hoping for a cool ocean breeze and a 70 degree game is the thing of legends.
Baseballs and Softballs, made out of leather and string, become more dense as they become more cold. More dense baseballs have less bounce and can cause more damage to a bat. Aluminum bats tend to dent, composite’s crack. This is why we prefer aluminum bats in cold weather.
Here are some cold weather and aluminum bat recommendations:
- BBCOR: 718 Slugger, Easton Hybrid, DeMarini Voodoo
- USA: Easton Beast X Hybrid, 718 Slugger, DeMarini Voodoo
- USSSA: DeMarini Voodoo
- Fastpitch: Anderson Rocketech
Generally speaking, we suggest a two piece hybrid bat. That includes a composite bat with an aluminum barrel. The barrel’s aluminum has less chance of catastrophic failure in the cold weather. The two piece construction gives a smoother feel on a cold night and a mishit ball.
Our Cold Weather BBCOR Pick
Heavier swing weight? Check. Aluminum barrel? Check. Good transition piece to help dampen sting on a cold day? Check. The 718 is the perfect BBCOR cold weather bat. Price check: Amazon.com.
Bat performance in Cold Weather
Ball flight changes when the weather is cold. Colder weather brings down both slugging percentage and Home Runs/At Bat.
Aluminum or Composite?
Per our industry conversations, we suggest you tend towards aluminum in cold weather months (sub 55/60 degrees). Hitting an aluminum bat with a ball too dense (cold) is a possible dent. The result of a ball too dense on composite is a crack and, then, the ultimate failure of the bat.
Our Cold Weather USA Bat Pick
We love this USA Bat for lots of reasons. The fact it works very well in cold weather is towards the top of the list. Is it made with a nice big aluminum barrel and a smooth transition that dampens some of the most violent of mishits. Do note, however, this bat swings heavy compared to others “drop 10” counterparts. It should be categorized as a drop 8.
How Cold is Too Cold?
For cold weather bat weight and an aluminum barrel help performance and durability. In the USA Bat space, no other bat quite captures those cold weather value like the 2018 Easton BEast X Hybrid. This is also one of our most favorite overall USA Bats. Price check: Amazon.com.
Really, no Hitting Below 60 Degrees?
Our personal experience has shown that a 60 degree cutoff is a rather conservative figure. We have used composites in 50 degree weather and a few times in 40 degree weather. Do note, however, we were not seeing massive pitch and swing speeds. If you are seeing 90+ from the mound and are swinging close to that to match it we would guess the 60 degree cutoff is reasonable.
But, if it is more like 60mph or so from the mound with a 60 or so swing speed then going below 60, in our eyes at least, is reasonable. The manufacturers feel differently and, likely, have data to back it up. This is just our layman’s observation.
Some manufacturers do not recommend hitting with a thin walled, high-grade, aluminum bat either in sub 60-degree weather. The denser ball, they argue, creates a greater chance for the aluminum bat to dent. Others manufacturers accept the risks for aluminum bats but admit the outcome of small dents on a barrel is much more satisfactory when compared to the catastrophic results of a cracked composite bat.
Best Fastpitch Cold Weather Bat
For many of the same reasons we like the Beast X Hybrid in baseball, we like the Rocketech in fastpitch. That is, the bat swings heavier (a drop 9) and is made of an aluminum barrel. This helps with durability and feel on those cold weather days. Price check: Amazon.com.
What Does Cold Weather Bat Damage Look Like?
For composite bats, bat breaking appears in the form of cracks. Cold weather cracks tend to be more focused at impact than manufacturer defects which often crack along a certain seam or length. But, that doesn’t mean cold weather cracks don’t look like that either.
Aluminum cold weather damage exhibits dents by hitting objects too hard for the bats rating. This type of damage is consistent with most aluminum bat problems as they rarely break. Instead, they bend.
You might also read our best cold weather bat recommendations, which fall along these lines. The catch with the best fall ball bat is we consider fall a transition period for most players as well as, potentially, a cold weather bat. In our minds, hefty composites still make a lot of sense as well as an aluminum bat, get this, a well weighted wood bat too. Although many options to consider based on the league, we think the best fall ball bat is the drop 5 DeMarini Voodoo.
Best Fall Ball Baseball Bat
|Best Overall||DeMarini Voodoo||All||1st|
|Best BBCOR Bats||Easton Hybrid||BBCOR||2nd|
|Best Big Barrel Bats||Rawlings 5150||All||4th|
|Best USA Bat||Easton Beast X Hybrid||USAbat||11th|
|Best Wood Bat||Baum Composite Wood||Composite Wood||N/A|
|Another Legit Option||Marucci Cat 7||All||3rd|
Our introduction to the 2017 DeMarini Voodoo Balanced was love at first sight. We’ve long been enamored with the two piece hybrid design that DeMarini pioneered, but believed it out of many players’ realm in a heavy swinging bat. But a new alloy design for 2017 finally gives us a lighter swinging version of the bat that started the hybrid craze.
The aluminum barrel is perfect for fall baseball, and its somewhat heavier swing than the DeMarini Zen, or other two piece composite bats, facilitates some strength training for fall ball.It is far and away, our favorite choice for fall ball—especially for those in cold weather states. It fits well, too, in our Best BBCOR bats page.
See our full 2017 DeMarini Voodoo Balanced Review
For much the same reason we like the Voodoo Balanced, the Z-Core Hybrid’s aluminum barrel and focus on a more balanced swing, fit in the wheel house of many fall ball players. It will work in cold weather, and give top shelf performance from a well known brand.
The Z-Core Hybrid is a two piece design. The idea is a focus on dampening hand sting that will make it a favorite among those who love two piece composite bats. And this bats ads the unbreakable nature of aluminum alloy in the barrel for fall ball. (Amazon Price Check)
See our full 2017 Easton Z-Core Hybrid Review
In terms of a value purchase for fall ball, the 2017 5150 Rawlings is a legit choice. Its single piece design should increase power, make stronger hands through contact and not break in cold weather. There are definitely other choices in the realm of best big barrel bats, but the 5150 is as good as any we’ve swung. (Amazon Price Check)
See our Full 2017 Rawlings 5150 Review
Although very early in the USABat world, the 2018 Easton Beast X Hybrid is our favorite cold weather USABat. We like the big barrel, multiple drop options and the durable aluminum. The two piece design should help dampen sting for those cold days where an endcap hit might send your thumb to the hospital.
We should also note, this bat is not technically required until January 1st of 2018.
If you’d like a wood bat to swing in fall ball—specifically for strength training and a focus on good mechanics—the composite wood Baum Bat is a must have. It is nearly unbreakable and has great performance. Unfortunately, it is not an inexpensive bat, but you’ll only need to buy one for your entire life anyway, as it won’t break like other wood bats.
We have a full article on the best composite wood bats that may be worth your time. We think any of those would work quite well in cold weather.
See our Full Baum Bat Review
How We Decided the Best Fall Baseball Bat
If you are an avid reader of our site, you know what is about to come next. It is our disclaimer in terms of claiming the ‘best’ bat. We heavily caution, the ‘best’ bat for everyone else might not be the best bat for you. We suggest you consider the opinion above, read our review of the bat in detail, and then make an informed decision. In large measure, bat fitting is a function of taste and preference over science and popularity.
With that said, we have objectivity in deciding the best fall baseball bat. For starters, we have hit extensively with every bat in the performance space since 2014. On this very blog we have documented those efforts. Our YouTube page shows just a small glimpse into our due diligence.
We’ve also spent a considerable amount of time discussing bat production and performance with bat manufacturers and major vendors. Additionally, we have meticulously gathered reviews from players across the country and their direct feedback on these, and many other, bats.
Information gathered in our now thousands of hours of reviewing and writing, gives us confidence in selecting a best fall baseball bat.
Do You need a Fall Ball Bat?
It’s possible you don’t need a fall ball specific bat. But here are at least three reasons you might:
- If your growth spurt justifies it. Few things will make your upcoming spring ball season more painful than swinging with too light a bat this fall. Players who have grown a lot since the spring may have maxed out their bat speed with their current bat as fall arrives. To avoid making the kind of considerable jump in weight that makes hitting more difficult than it already is as next spring comes, you might want a transition bat in the fall.
- If you use fall ball for strength training more than for filling up the stat sheet. Many players approach fall ball as a way to get in some quality reps and build muscle in time for the spring when baseball tends to be more competitive. If this is your plan, consider a heavy bat (or even a wood one) to produce stronger at bats come the spring.
- If it gets cold where you live, playing with a composite barrel is not recommended. Composite barrels are not good for cold weather. They are infamous for breaking. Most manufacturers suggest weather 60+ degrees. If your fall season puts you on the field in sub 60 degree weather, you should really consider getting an aluminum barreled bat for the fall.
Best Fall Ball Baseball Bat Conclusions
As we mention above, the ‘best bat’ for any given hitter may very well not be the best bat for the next. As such, consider all the information when you see lists like the ones we’ve made above. After thousands of hours of research, hitting, reading and writing, we are confident the above are good choices for the best fall ball baseball bat, especially if your focus is on good strength training, a transition bat into something heavier next spring and durability for cold weather play.
Why We Are Right (and wrong)
We have hit with every bat in every category. As well, we have had long conversations with industry insiders and major vendors about each bat. That experience, combined with thousands of hours researching and writing about bats and actually playing week in and week out, give us some some insight to the best bat for an 9 year old.
Best Baseball Bat Options For 9U
Choose the following performance baseball bat for your 9 year old based on price (below) and barrel length (see below chart). Other things to consider are below the chart.Best Bat for 8 Year Old Criteria
As there are a number of good bats made for 9 year olds, league and swing type will be the most important factors in determining which one to select. As we show below, there is a range of bats in different price points worth considering.
One bat that should be on the list is DeMarini’s JBB 2 3/4 CF Zen*. We think the bat is outstanding in terms of pop and balance, but enough complaints on the durability make us hesitate at least a little bit. If it comes with a warranty, we say go for it. Otherwise, the following three bats are well worth a good look.
*After writing the above paragraph, the CF Zen JBB drop 10 has been banned by USSSA.
Common Questions from Parents of 9 Year Olds
1) How Much Should You Spend?
For 9 year olds we like to use the Rule of 10. This rule states that the maximum amount of money you should spend on a baseball bat for your 9U is 10 multiplied by the number of games he or she will play.
For example, if you are scheduled to play 15 games this year (a lot for an 9U, then spending a maximum of $150 on a bat is a pretty good limit. Of course you can spend less if you find a better deal or simply want to limit your budget.
2) What Size Is Allowed?
Before spending real money on a baseball bat, you need to know what restrictions apply in your league. At 8 years old, most have very few rules, but there are some who restrict the diameter of the barrel to 2 5/8 or even 2 1/4. As well, many require special stamping (like BPF 1.15 to printed on the bats).
How We Rate Bats
We hit every bat we rate. Most our hits come from real players that might very well use the bat in a game. Over the past 5 years we have swung every performance bat made from every serious manufacture. As well, track the exit speeds, measure the barrel sizes and collect reader feedback about bats. We don’t sell bats and we aren’t interested in doing so. We are an independent bat review site out to #spitonthehype as we like to say.
What You Should Know Before Buying Your 6 Year Old a Bat
Question 1: What bats are allowed in his or her league?
Few 6-year-old leagues have actual restrictions on bats. In fact, many of the Junior Big Barrel bats on the market are not rated for anything. Nor are tee-ball bats, generally speaking. These bats are built much more for a light swing than they are for wild performance.
That said, however, you should make sure there are no particular bat restrictions for the league you are playing in. Some, we have heard, don’t allow certain weight drops or 2 1/4 barrels. Most are anything goes. Check with your local league director or coach.
Question 2: How much money do you want to spend?
Pricing for bats, you may already know, can be ridiculous. There are some Junior Big Barrel bats pushing $250 while many others in the 6-year-old tee ball space are not much more than $20. Our general rule for bat budget is the “Rule of 7”. That is, take the number of games the child is playing and multiply it by $7.00. Do not spend more than that.
Question 3: What size bat does he or she need?
Bat sizing at age six should not be difficult. Few are really hitting for serious distance. We do have an honest bat sizing chart worth reviewing if you are ultra-concerned about the right size.
For 6-year-old kids, lighter is almost always better. Bat speed and bat control will mean much more for on base percentage than barrel size and weight distribution. Many bats come in weights as low as 11 and 12 ounces. Some Junior Big Barrel bats are as heavy as 15 or 16 ounces. When in doubt, choose the lighter swing.
Question 4: What about USA Bats?
Some leagues, even as young as 6, require the USA Bat stamp on their bats. If that is you, then make sure you look under the USA bat section of major retailers. We have a list of our favorite USA Bats here.
Trying to find the best 32-inch baseball bat? A lot of league models come in a 32-inch, but we cover every category below. In short, our favorite BBCOR 32/27 could be the 32/29 618 Solo, in a drop 5 USSSA we’ll take the CF Zen, drop 8 then the Marucci CAT 8, drop 10 how about the Easton Ghost X, in a drop 12 then the VELO for sure. The best 32-inch USA Bat is the CF Zen–although we are not sure the price makes it worth it.
Best 32 Inch Baseball Bat
|BBCOR||Louisville Slugger||618 Solo||32/29||5/5||$$$|
|USA Bat||DeMarini||CF Zen||32/20||5/5||$$$$|
|Drop 5||DeMarini||2019 CF Zen||32/27||5/5||$$$|
|Drop 8||DeMarini||CAT 8||32/24||5/5||$$$$|
|Drop 10||Easton||Ghost X||32/22||5/5||$$$$|
Best 32/39 Bat: Louisville Slugger 618 Solo
We cover our best BBCOR High School bats in an extensive article. Our answer for a 32 inch bat does not change. In fact, the 32 inch is the sweet spot for BBCOR bats. In that article, like here, the 2018 BBCOR 618 SOLO from Louisville Slugger is our favorite 32 inch BBCOR bat.
We love the single piece feel but the ultra light swing. It is helpful, too, the bat has a more reasonable price point then some of the so called top shelf bats. We like the stiff feel, extended composite endcap and the custom Lizard Skin Grip.
See our Best BBCOR Bats
Best 32 32 Inch Wood Bat
Like with the BBCOR market, we see no reason to change our favorite wood bat in the 32 inch space. As we write in our best wood bats article, the AP5 or CU26 from Marucci stand as our favorites. In the 32 inch in particular, we would likely lean toward the CU26 as it a bit more of a hitters bat instead of the distance focused 33 inch. But, we are splitting hairs. Marucci’s stuff dominates the market and delivers pro-quality stuff for a somewhat reasonable price.
See our Best Wood Bats.
Best 32/22 Inch USA Bats
In USA Bat, we love a number of 32-inch drop 10s. But, true to form, we think the Demarini CF Zen is you best bat. Is it worth the price? We discuss that more on our Best USA Bats and Best Youth Baseball bats page where you can find the links to below.
Best 32/27 Drop 5 Bat
The best drop 5 USSSA big barrel 32/27 inch bat on the market today is the CF Zen. If you can find the 2017 version (the green/white one) then go that direction if it doesn’t cost a fortue. Otherwise, the 2019 version is worth every penny. And it is a lot of pennies.
See also our Best Drop 5 Bats
Best 32/24 Drop 8 Bat
We discuss our favorite drop 8 baseball bats in an article dedicated to the weight and length ratio. But hard to ever pass up on the value and performance Marucci’s CAT 8. This is an upgraded version from the CAT 7 (which was also fantastic).
Of course there are some very legit options in this particular space—starting with the Easton MAKO Ghost X and CF Zen. But, if made us choose, we’d go with the CAT 8.
See our best drop 8 bats.
Best 32/22 Drop 10 Bat
No space in the 32 inch lengths of bats is more competitive than the 22 ounce drop 10. Everyone makes one of these drop sizes and a 32 is likely the second most popular (behind the 30/20). While there are more than a few options that will likely fill your needs, we would recommend the 32/22 2019 CF Zen or Easton Ghost X for most hitters.
If budget is not a serious concern and you prefer a real balanced feel in a two piece composite, then we feel confident you would fall in love with this bat.
See our best Drop 10 Bats.
Best 32/20 Drop 12 Bat
A drop 12 32 inch bat is a bit of a conundrum. The reason is simple enough. Drop 12’s are usually needed by players who are struggling for as much bat speed and control as they can muster. Shorter bats also tend to solve that problem as much as drop 12 bats do. As such, it is odd to put an extra long 32 inch bat on a drop 12. It is a bit like mixing oil and water.
To each his own, though. And, if we were forced into this bucket, we think the 2018 VELO would do well. This is actually a two piece composite bat—although most associated the Rawlings VELO with an alumnium. (It is in the other sizes). But this drop 12 is a beauty.
It is an ultra light swing with great user reviews. The 32 inch should serve your purposes well.
See our Best Drop 12 bats.
Best 32 Inch Baseball Bat Sources
We cite a number of articles in this best 32-inch baseball bat article. You can find each of those on our bat reviews page. We also mention a number of best baseball bats lists. There we have compiled those, and explained our research and decisions.
Off this site we always find the user reviews on each bat via Amazon fun, if not often useless. But, occasionally, we will find a legit option.
Are These Bats Really the Best 32 Inch Bats?
In some sense of the term, the bats on this list are, in fact, the best. We would argue they are the best bats in terms of performance, durability and price point for the largest percentage of players.
Are there other bats that are the best for a particular player? Of course. Not all hitters’ needs and budgets are the same. As we often say, the best bat for some is not necessarily the best bat for all.
With that disclaimer out of the way, we do think this list of 32-inch bats are the best in baseball.
If we were forced to buy the best wood bat then we’d buy Marucci’s AP5 in pure maple. Our hitters love the flared knob version and the massive barrel. In terms of a big wood bat for strength training, durability and barrel profile nothing is better. If we wanted a bit of a lighter swing, we think the best wood bat is the Victus JC24. The barrel’s balance transition and hard maple construction is a perfect feel for us and, apparently, a number of pro players too.
Best Wood Bats
Albert Pujols’ bat is built for power and durability. It is an end loaded bat with an extra large barrel. Our hitters preferred the solid feel, lack of sting on mishits and the muscle required to swing it well.
The bat has a tapered knob and a longer tapered handle.
If we could only have one wood bat for the rest of our lives we would choose the AP5 from Marucci. Its durability and value in strength training and cage BP is our deciding factors. Granted, there are a lot of great wood bats and no company has yet to patent Maple Trees. But the AP5 is where we first came to love maple bats and we’d never go back.
Sam Bat 2K2
GianCarlos Stanton’s Sam Bat is a 100% pure Canadian maple stick. The Maple 2K2, GianCarlo and Rideau Crusher are stamped on the barrel. The traditional Sam Bat Logo is there too. GianCarlo’s bat is a 34 inch and 32 ounce stick of dynamite. Although a little thinner barrel the 2K2 is very similar to Stanton’s hitting coach’s bat called the 2K1. His hitting coach is Barry Bonds. He is known for putting Sam Bat on the map.
(See Aaron Judge’s Bat)
You can think of the JC24 from Victus as a remodel of the C271 (which is our favorite Slugger wood bat). This very popular Victus bat is built for durability and the base hitting player. It is built with a smooth transition, great balance and a slightly flared knob for a comfort feel.
If you are new to wood bats, or consider your self a base hit wonder, then the JC24 will likely be a perfect fit for you.
Victus, once and obscure small wood bat company, has come on the scene like mad over the last few years. (Getting bought by Marucci must have helped). The Houston Astros use of the bats on the team has improved their image and reach. But their bats have always been top shelf.
See our Victus Axe handle bat review.
Slugger’s C271 is the traditional look and feel that most associate with a wood bat. We prefer the bat in Maple, although you can get it in either Ash or Birch.
It is also the most common shape of any bat in the MLB. It has a great combination of balance and girth and uses a medium flared knob for a great feel on the bottom hand.
If you want a no frills wood bat from a great company with longstanding tradition of making the best wood bats then the C271 from Slugger is where start and end.
Are Wood Bats Different?
There are several fantastic wood bats on the market with great pop and power. They come from a number of brands and companies. In 2018, no less than 50 wood bat brands were readily available for purchase. We review many of them, although impossible to keep up with all of them, here.
No one invented or put a patent on maple trees.
Since Marucci is the most popular wood bat on the market, we think it reasonable to suggest they make the best wood bat. And, since the the most popular bats in the Marucci Pro line are the AP5 and the CU26, we submit the AP5 and CU26 as the best wood bats on the market today.
After hours of hitting and testing, anyone wetting their feet in the wood bat market will be perfectly happy with the AP5 or CU26 from Marucci.
Ash or Maple?
Pro players tend to prefer maple bats. In 2018 closer to 90% of all MLB at bats were Maple and with the rest filled by Ash (and a very few filled by Birch).
Players newer to the wood bat market might like the Ash or Birch models better because they have a little more give.
Although we claim the AP5 and CU26 in maple are the best wood bats on the market the fact is there are a number of great craftsman taking top end billets of maple and ash and turning them into great wood bats.
See, for example, our small wood bat companies.
Where to Buy Wood Bats?
Wood bats, due to their rarity, are much more difficult to track down. Most wood bats are best bought directly from the company’s website. But, if you are looking for very common wood bats, like the Marucci ones on the top of this list, then man major vendors sell them too. Amazon’s wood bat section is growing too and we often find our selves looking through the huge amount of options there too.
How To Choose 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.
What Are the Best Wood Bats Made From
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 Wood Bat Do Pro Players 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.
What is Bone Rubbing?
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.
After hours of testing, we decided the best fungo bat on the market for any budget is the SSK PS-200 or SSK PS-100. The bat is a smooth swinging stick used at the highest levels of baseball. The shorter version, PS-100, is a 33-inch bat made for shorter hitting—so infield practice, or if you are little league coach, then all field hitting. The PS-200 is a longer 37-inch and built for big hits on 400 foot fields. A skilled fungo user could put a ball a in a trash can on the warning track.
There are a number of fungo bats on the market today, many of which feel and look a lot like the SSK. The SSK is a standard bearer of wood fungos and is used at the highest level of baseball. All other fungos wish to be like it, hence the reason many feel and look like it. But, the Japanese white ash wood is the perfect blend of durability, balance and control. Price check: Amazon.com. See our full review: SSK Fungo Reviews.
Best Fungo Bats
|3||Easton MLF-5||34 or 37||Check|
|4||Axe Composite Maple Fungo||35||Check|
|5||Aluminum Easton F4||35||Check|
1 & 2 SSK PS-200 or PS-100
As we state above, the fungo from SSK consistently ranks on the top of our best baseball bats pages. It is a smooth swinging stick made with a unique brand of popular wood. MLB players and teams use it obsessively. The fact it comes in every color imaginable is another huge plus.
The 200 is a 37 inch bat that weighs around 17 ounces. It is made for bigger fields and skilled fungo hitters. The PS-100 is a 33-inch bat that is built for infield practice. Coaches of teams that use smaller fields could use the 33-inch PS-100 for all fields practice.
Coaches prefer the SSK for its long barrel, balanced weight, and durability. The Japonica Poplar wood is unique for being lightweight, yet dense and durable at the same time. A few users are not appreciative of the lack of durability in the SSK. It is, after all, a wood bat. Mishits and off grain jacks could spell trouble. Despite those concerns the SSK fungo sits top our best fungo bats lists.
3. Easton MLF-5
The Easton MLF-5 Maple Fungo is a single piece maple fungo with fantastic user reviews. The bat comes in both a 34 and 37-inch length just like the SSK. The pure maple is a traditional, durable hardwood with significant density for towering bombs. It has a much stiffer feel than the SSK’s poplar wood. The extra thin handle on the MLF-5 allows for more control. The fungo bat is easily one of the top fungo bats on the market.
4. Axe Maple Composite Fungo
The Axe Maple Composite Fungo is durable and built for hand ergonomics. It is the fungo bat we use most often. The wood maple is combined with composite pieces and strategically placed to create a very durable bat. It also creates a very light swing. The axe-shaped handle is smartly designed. After hours of hitting infield our wrists are thankful for ergonomic handle.
5. Easton F5 Aluminum Fungo
You might also consider an aluminum Fungo. These bats are nearly indestructible–especially compared to their wood counterparts. In comparison to a wood bat, most little league and highschool coaches would do just fine with this bat.
However, they’d have to get over the stigma of using an aluminum fungo bat. Wood is the standard bearer and in a game built largely on tradition you might get a few sideways glances for using a metal fungo bat.
Our Fungo Experience
Over the years, we have hit with a number of different fungo bats. We have tried high-end pure maple sticks, composite wood fungo bats and aluminum fungos. As well, we have spoken with a number of coaches about their fungo preferences. Our experience, combined with feedback from other coaches, bring us to our Best Fungo Bat Review conclusions.
Common Fungo Bat Questions
How to Hit a Fungo?
If it isn’t terribly obvious, this video gives a few good tricks on hitting with a fungo. Worth watching if you’re intimidated by the process.
How much do fungo bats weigh?
Depending on the brand and model, Fungo bat’s can weigh as light as 13 ounces and up to 25 ounces. Most are considered, around a drop 20. So, your 37 inch fungo might weigh around 17 ounces. However, the balance of the bat is so thin that they swing very light. Control is, in large measure, the point of the fungo bat.
Are wood fungos better than aluminum?
If you askt he pros they will tell you yes. Nothing quite feels right until you hit with a wood bat. And that extends to fungo work too. But, we have found that aluminum bats are smooth and simple too. They are also somewhat cheap and, to boot, they do not break. For the average coach on the average team aluminum fungo’s work just fine.
How much do Fungo bats costs?
Depending on the quality, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $80 for a legitimate fungo. There are several outside of those ranges too. But, last we checked, even our winning SSK fungo is close to $80 a stick.
In conjunction with our best cheap baseball bat article, we put together one with a $100 top end threshold too. (The ‘cheap’ article uses a $50 limit). $100 doubles our money but does not double our bat’s ability. After much testing, we think the best NEW baseball bat for under $100 is Axe’s Senior League drop 10 Origin.
However, with a $100 budget we would struggle to pass up some of the deals a keen eye can find on eBay or on closeouts from major vendors.
During the months with lower bat demand (like October) $100 can go a long way on eBay to getting almost any older bat you want. Granted, the bat likely has no warranty and will take a while to get to you. But, if you have the luxury of being patient, check out our guide to buying used bats and our what to buy when article.
Best Bat Under $100
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Closeout Bats under $100?
Also, a lot of really good bats often get pushed out by major sellers at sub $100 price points. That is, they were once going for $150+ and, for a limited time only, are going for $99.
Those deals are nearly impossible to keep track of because they often change daily. But, try these links to see some of them:
Best BBCOR Bat Under $100: Bret Bros MM-110
It is odd, for us, to choose a wood bat for the best under $100 bat. But, honestly, if we had to choose a NEW bat under $100 in the BBCOR space we’d go with the Brett Bros Maple wood bat. This thing gets outstanding user ratings, and is a true high quality wood barrel and a composite-type, very durable handle.
The company is owned, and named after, the Brett brothers of George Brett fame.
It also helps that there just aren’t any intriguing options UNDER $100 in the BBCOR space. You can find several of last year’s models under $100 via markdown. Those are often tempting. But, in terms of an original price point under $100, in the new bat category, you won’t spend your money any more wisely then on the MM-110 from Brett Bros.
You might also like our Best BBCOR Bat article.
Best Big Barrel Bat Under $100
Five years ago, when Axe really started to come on the scene, most were very skeptical. Today, only some are skeptical. Others, not so much. The fact a number of MLB players use the ergonomically shaped handle is a testament to the feel.
If we had $100 and wanted to get a NEW Big Barrel bat we’d buy the 2018 Axe Origin. It is a single piece aluminum and swings like one. That is, a stiff feel with great power transfer to the ball but very little forgiveness on mishits—just like long ball hitters like it.
As we state above, at $100 we would also try our luck on a used bat via eBay. Finding last year’s model or a bat whose original buyer misjudged the size can make $100 go a long way in the USSSA Big Barrel space. In fact, at the time of this writing, we found a 2016 Easton MAKO go for $81. That bat sold for 4 times that price just a few short months ago.
You should also check our best big barrel bats article.
Best USA Bat Under $100
The USA Bat market is volatile. There are very few options on the secondary market and bat companies are often scrambling trying to get inventory levels where they need to be. As well, there aren’t very many $99 USA bats available. There is a swath between the $39 and $79 range, the another grouping starting around $149+.
In the $99 space you have the Rawlings 5150 in a drop 10 or drop 11. It would be where our money would go if we had $100 and wanted a new USA Bat. You can also find an Axe Origin in this space too and we’d recommend it. Note, however, it runs at a drop 9.
Best $100 Bat: How We Decided
With the exception of the USA bat space, $100 bats are plentiful. Even during the season, when few bat deals go down, you can find a number of in wrapper bats new from factory by certified vendors. These bats are often not considered high performance or top shelf as they lack the barrel size and max performance factors along the length of the bat. However, plenty of players do just fine with these bats. They also serve well as backups.
With $100 dollars in your pocket, you can make some wise decisions in terms of the best bat to buy. If you have the time, check the used market. If you need something now, with a warranty and new in wrapper, then the above are our best bets.