Which wood bat is best?


This is something of a loaded question when it comes to wood bats. When you are choosing a wood bat, there are many things to consider, and the majority of them involve at least some level of personal preference.



When it comes to choosing what model is right for you, you must consider your age, the level at which you play, as well as your personal hitting style. At Walter Bats, we offer a variety of different models that appeal to a wide range of hitters.

We have a few models that would be considered to be very balanced. These would include models such as the WB71 and WB10. These models feature slightly thicker handles with slower tapers into the barrel, and a thinner to medium-sized barrel. Balanced models such as these offer a greater feeling of control over the barrel, which can lead to a quicker swing and more direct path to the ball. Balanced models are often preferred by players who are looking to consistently make solid contact and drive the ball to the gaps.

Some of our more end-loaded models include the WB5 and WB43. Both of these models have slightly thinner handles with a quicker taper into a larger barrel. These can be an excellent choice for a larger or stronger player whose primary goal is to drive the ball a long way, ideally over the outfield wall. With models such as these, what you compromise in control and speed, you make up for in barrel surface area and power.

As you might imagine, there is also a happy medium to be achieved between those varying degrees of balance. For instance, our WB23 and WB41 models sit somewhere in between balanced and end-loaded. Certain players prefer models such as these because they feel they are getting the best of both worlds - a feeling of balance, control, and speed, while also taking advantage of the boost in power due to what are slightly beefier barrels.

Wood Type

As is the case with the model you choose, the wood type you opt for is just as much personal preference as it is anything else. Each wood type offers certain pros and cons, but each has a fervent group of hitters behind it who claims that said wood type is superior to the others.

At Walter Bats, we offer a choice of three different wood types for our bats, each of which can be purchased in the highest professional grade of wood there is to offer: Ash, Maple, and Yellow Birch.

Ash bats are generally the most flexible out of all the bat types and create a faster whip through the hitting zone. Similar to a trampoline, when a ball hits an ash bat it flexes down into the barrel before flying off the bat. People tend to believe that, because of this flex motion the ash provides, the bat has a greater sweet spot than most other types of bats. 

In terms of the breakage of ash bats, they statistically tend to break more often when jammed by inside pitches. So, just as you should when choosing your model, take into consideration your specific hitting style when looking for the right wood type for your bat, as ash bats are great for the experienced hitter that tends to hit for contact.

Maple, contrary to the flexible nature of an ash bat, is much harder and denser. With this harder surface though comes a faster speed in which the ball will rocket off the barrel of the bat. 

Maple also has a much tighter grain than ash which results in no splintering as it wears out over time. The durability of this bat is one of the reasons it is very popular within baseball nowadays and is the top choice for many big leaguers. Unlike ash, Maple will be a stronger bat for those deadly inside pitches. This wood type is perfect for the all-around hitter who prefers a denser, stronger, and less forgiving bat when stepping into the box.

Birch has become a newly popular choice amongst ballplayers throughout the game. This wood acts as a kind of a hybrid between ash and maple. Many hitters say they enjoy birch bats because it has the perfect combination of the hardness of maple while also retaining some of the flexibility that ash is known for. 

In terms of breakage, this bat is great at dealing with miss-hits around the bat. This wood type is great for the athlete who is new to hitting with wood, as it will allow for more forgiveness with every hit.

Length and Drop Weight

The standard drop weight for most adult wood bats is a -3, or a -5 on most youth models. This can feel quite heavy if a player is used to swinging metal, which can occasionally feature a drop weight as high as -12. However, if a hitter uses this to their advantage and begins swinging a wood bat as a training tool, especially at a young age, they will begin to feel like they have superpowers every time they switch back to metal. The earlier a hitter can begin swinging with wood, the better. Not only will they naturally become stronger and quicken their swing due to the increase in weight, but they will incidentally get better at controlling the barrel and making solid contact due to the fact that wood bats tend to have much smaller and less forgiving sweet spots than their metal counterparts. If a player is consistently barreling up balls with wood, they tend to be unstoppable once they make that transition back to metal.

Where the drop weight of a wood bat is fairly standard with only a couple ounces of leeway in either direction, the length of a bat is another aspect of choosing a wood bat that is partially personal preference. However, there is usually a sweet spot (pun intended) for someone of your specific height and weight. The chart below can help guide you in the right direction as you decide on the desired length of your bat.

At this point, you most likely have a solid idea of what kind of wood bat would suit you best. However, if you still have any questions about wood bats or what would be best for you, feel free to reach out to info@walterbats.com and we will gladly help you along your search for the perfect wood bat. If you're local to the Nashua area, we even have an in-house training center where you can try out some of our stock wooden bats that we have available on our demo rack. Anyone is welcome to reserve a tunnel and try some out to see what feels best.

Happy hitting!