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Wood Bats, how, when, what?

I thought I'd share what our coach recommended on the Wood Bat topic for the benefit of other 13u parents.

"For this tournament, we'll get a couple drop 5 wood bats to share and we'll hope they don't break....they have a little smaller handles to keep the weight down vs. traditional wood bats but that means they break easier too.  

Wood bats are recommended for batting practice going forward as 1.  They teach them to hit the sweet spot(missing the sweet spot they will 'feel' when using a wood bat more than metal)  2.  They are heavier so they build a little more muscle.  3.  By their 15u season they will play several wood bat tourny's and by 16u almost all the bigger tourny's are wood bat.   

Traditional wood bats run about $89-$120 and they are typically drop 2 or drop 3...some are drop 4's.  I recommend you start with 31 drop 3 or 4 now....and they can use them for BP and maybe even in the upcoming wood bat tourny if the drop 5's the team buys break.  

By Fall season, you'll need to buy a drop 3 BBCOR metal, probably in a 31 or 32 inch, as drop 3 BBCOR's are mandatory at 14u at all tourny's and in high school ball.  They are 'dead' and a lot like wood bats....the boys only have a couple months left to use the hot drop 5 super orange bats....no more HR's and no more fly balls that go over the outfielders heads with BBCOR's.  

I'd put a lizard skin bat wrap on the wood bats and if they want to get pine tar...just say NO...it's just a mess to deal with."

Coach  

Comments

  • You can find decent wooden bats on Amazon for under $40.  I would suggest Ash for the 13u kids, they are a bit more forgiving.

    When you go get your BBCOR bat do the hitrax at better baseball, it's $20 and you can find out the bat that works best with your sons swing.  My kid was a diehard fan of Easton, but every one of them was horrible on the Hittrax program.  He wound up going with a Rawlings 5150 and it was half the price and he has swung it well.  By the way, HR's still happen on the big fields too!
  • Why do tournament organizers push wood bat tournaments when they don't even use them in college?
  • Traditionally the organizers push the wood bats because scouts grade players on their power. By watching a player with a wood bat they have the chance to see who has true power versus metal bat "power".
  • Wooden bat tourneys can be very fun, and telling.  If you watch a young team in a wooden bat tourney you are likely to see a bunch of outfielders doing nothing because the ball rarely gets there.  In the older age groups it's fun to see who has power and who just has a bat that pops.

    All BBCOR are "suppose" to be equal but they aren't.  Wood is the great equalizer.
  • My son recently had his first wood bat tournament, so we had to buy him one. He was looking at all of the really expensive bats, but I figured we'd start him off somewhere in the middle of the pack to get the feel of of wood. Needless to say we were going through all of the internet to find the best deal on a good wood bat. Eventually we found our bat at Baseball Bargains. I bought him a Louisville Slugger, I don't remember exactly what model, but they definitely had a great variety of bats for a good price. Here's the link to their website, https://www.baseballbargains.com/product-category/bats/baseball-bats/ 
  • My son's program is exclusively "wood bats only" for all team practices, BP and tournaments.   The only metal bat we own (1 / Easton Alpha 32. BBCOR) is in the garage waiting for use in HS games starting in his freshman year (2019 - 2020).  For training and development, wood bats are more responsive to the batters swing mechanics and communicate better to the hitter about what he/she is doing right or wrong.   One of the biggest differences between wood vs metal is the use of the top hand.  On wood, you need to properly use the top hand to drive through the ball.   With metal, its more forgiving and doesn't need "as perfect" swing mechanics.   Wood also allows the trainers and scouts to understand the true "power" behind the batter's swing.   High probability that if you send a baseball to the fence with a wood bat, its going over when you use metal.  The majority of our "local tourneys" allow for metal bats  so we're always at a disadvantage when we compete but our programs primary focus is on development, not trophy hunting.  Our program is a CDP (College Development Program).  We typically get to the semi finals / finals of a tourney and lose to a group with 20 registered players swinging metal and half of them are shipped in on the last day to simply pitch or DH. My son's team plays with 12 players starting from game 1 to final game.  When we play in strictly wood bat tournaments, we are very successful.  

     My son started with wood age 12 (playing 13U) when he was in 7th grade.  He's now a 13 year old in the 8th grade playing 14U.  If your son's goal is to play college baseball one day, wood bat is the only option.   Through the next 3-4 years, the rate of physical growth player will experience is unlike any other time in their lives.  Every inch in height and overall growth in arms / legs will wreak havoc on their throwing, pitching, hitting and running technique.  As they work out in the gyms to help their kid muscles become adult muscles to better "fit" their new adult size bones, they will need to fine tune everything the knew about baseball and for that, you need an honest bat that can comunicate with the player (wood is the best option).    We're in the East Bay, NORCAL and get out bats from West Coast Sports and you don't need to go crazy with price, we spend on average $40-$45 on a good wood bat (Marucci) and stick to maple, its all about player development.  

    Best advice I can give you is try to keep his experience "fun".   If they feel baseball has become more like a chore or work, they will burn out and never make it to college hardball.   Having coaches and trainers helps the kids stay focused but its a big investment thats seldom realized by the majority.  We all hope ours do. 
  • Concur with Dean. I've had my son on a wood bat for practice only starting at 10, he is now 13. He started with a 110 turn, to a 271 and now likes the 243 turn model. If the player has fast hands I would say get a 243 turn, loaded end.

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