Commonly used terms to take note of when choosing a Wood bat

WHICH WOOD IS BEST? 

In today’s game, players have a number of options available to them when deciding on which types of wood to use. Which wood you choose, though, has an impact on the bat’s performance and lifespan. There is no correct answer, as each wood can suit a player's needs differently. 

MAPLE

Maple bats are made from a very dense wood which features a tight grain structure. This structure makes these bats very stiff and is what gives maple bats their higher energy transfers, or “pop.” Also, because of their tight grain structure, maple bats are less prone to “flaking”, which is when the bat begins to separate between the rings of the wood. This durability and added pop is why maple is one of the most popular choices among ballplayers. Due to their density, maple bats are often heavier than their counterparts, even with the same taper. Currently, about 70% of Major League starters swing Maple bats

ASH

Whereas maple gains its popularity from its density and durability, ash bats are known for their lightweight and flex. Ash is a porous wood, which makes it very forgiving and thus creates a “trampoline effect” upon impact. The ball will jump off of the bat with more force because of this springboard effect. Ash bats also have a larger sweet spot, giving a player more positive surface area and making ash a perfect starter wood bat for someone who is transitioning from metal bats. Most ash bats will be made from Northern White Ash and the best available will show the straightest grains. As ash is less dense than maple, it is often a lighter feeling bat. Approximately 25% of Major League starters swing Ash bats.

BIRCH

Birch features a tight grain structure similar to maple, giving it a respectable strength, but also flexes slightly, like you would see in an ash bat. Whereas ash or maple might break or flake due to inside pitches or impact on the label or at the end of the bat, birch is able to withstand more less-than-desirable points of contact. This makes birch a popular choice among players who aren’t accustomed to finding the sweet spot of a wood bat just yet. Yellow Birch will be the most common wood choice when searching for a birch bat. The density of birch is inbetween Ash and Maple, meaning it feels lighter than Maple and slightly heavier than ash. Birch is only swung by about 5% of starting Major League players, however it has only been around for a couple of years and is growing in popularity at all levels. 

BAMBOO

Bamboo is technically a grass, not a wood, and Bamboo bats are different to wood bats in that they are constructed from multiple chutes of bamboo. The individual chutes are pressed together to form one billet (the “blank” from which all bats are made) and then cut into a specific model. Bamboo is high in density and extremely strong, while being light and featuring a nice pop and transfer of energy. Adult bats made of bamboo must carry the BBCOR .50 certification mark to be used in Wood bat competitions.

COMPOSITE

An increasingly popular style of wood bat is a composite bat, made of more than just one wood material. Composites often combine multiple wood materials or a wood and foreign material. Because of this splicing of materials, composite bats will be the most durable option, but also the most expensive. Also, because composites are engineered specifically to be extremely durable, many will come with a longer warranty than any traditional wood bat. 

TURN PROFILES

The turn model of a wood bat can be considered a "blueprint" for various characteristics that affect its swing weight and feel. Each one is different, and can completely change how a bat feels, even if the length and weight are exactly the same. 

110 Turn

Barrel Diameter: 2 1/2"
Taper: Long
Handle Thickness: 1.00"

The 110 turn has the most balanced swing weight of the standard turn models. The 110 turn wood bat is a very popular choice among contact hitters who are looking for more bat speed through the hitting zone.

271 Turn

Barrel Diameter: 2 1/2"
Taper: Long
Handle Thickness: 15/16"

The 271 turn feels very similar to the 110 turn, but it has a quicker taper between the barrel and handle. This turn model can comfortably be used by contact or power hitters and has a slightly end loaded swing weight.

I-13 Turn

Barrel Diameter: 2 1/2"
Taper: Medium
Handle Thickness: 15/16"

The I-13 features very similar dimensions to the 271. The big difference between the I-13 and 271 models is that the taper of an I-13 turn bat is more extreme, so it will have more of an end loaded swing feel than the 271 turn. The I-13 is a popular choice among power hitters who are looking for more mass in the barrel.

243 Turn

Barrel Diameter: 2 5/8"
Taper: Medium
Handle Thickness: 29/32" 

The 243 turn model features the largest barrel diameter and thinnest handle of the common turn models. It's a great model for a power hitter who's looking for that end loaded swing feel. This turn model may also be a little harder to control for someone new to wood bats, or a contact hitter.

Learn about the Marucci Bat Process here