Over 26 years in the wood bat business, we have heard many things about wood bats. Some are more true than others!
Here are three common misconceptions about wood bats:
MISCONCEPTION #1 :
Ash and Birch bats are lighter than Maple bats:
A drop-3 is a drop-3. Put another way, an ash or birch bat that is 30oz is the same weight as a maple bat that weighs 30oz. The confusion probably lies in the feel. Maple is a harder and denser wood than ash or maple. As a result, when ball contact is made, the wood species feel quite different. A maple bat does not flex very much and provides a very solid feeling contact, while both ash and birch do flex a fair bit. Ash, with it’s much more open grain structure will also tend to flake over time. Since SAM BAT was the first to have maple professionally approved in 1997, professional baseball has flipped from being predominantly ash to (as of 2023) over 75% maple.
If you are worried about weight, it if very important to consider the model being swung. A balanced model will feel much lighter and easier to swing than a “barrel heavy” or end-loaded” model- even at the same overall weight! The size and shape of the knob, handle and barrel, as well as the cupping have a profound effect on the feel of the bat. A thin handle with a large, long barrel will feel a lot more “end-loaded” than a medium or larger knob and handle with a smooth taper to a regular barrel. A full cup will also move the center of gravity closer to the knob, allowing a more balanced feel.
Cups make bats lighter:
Yes, of course removing material from the bat makes the bat lighter. The misconception is that this is the only reason to cup a bat. The main reason to cup a bat is actually to change the balance point or center of gravity of the bat. The deeper the cup, the more the center of gravity is moved towards the knob, making the bat feel more balanced.
When selecting a billet to make a bat, the craftsman must take into account the overall weight desired, as well as the cupping preference. At a given weight (ex drop-3), a slightly heavier billet will be used for a bat that will be cupped than for a bat that will remain uncupped.
SAM BAT offers three different cupping options. You can learn more about our patented cup here:
Finish makes the bat harder:
Paint and clearcoat can help keep paint jobs fresh and looking good. While looks are important (look good, play good!), there is no evidence that paint or clearcoat will affect the bat’s performance. Bat performance is dictated by the wood itself, and of course the player swinging the bat!