Picking out bats for your young baseball player isn’t as easy as it should be. There are approximately seven katrillion bats to choose from, and all of them seem to be 1) completely different and 2) exactly the same after spending a few hours looking, swinging and researching them. We’re going to try to make things a little easier for you with this short guide.
First off, let’s understand the basics. All bats have a number on the knob. For wood bats that number usually is the “drop” weight – which we will get to shortly. Other bats typically have the bat length on the knob, such as “30”.
The length is just that, how many inches long the bat is. Younger players will have shorter bats and once kids enter their high school years they typically will have graduated to a bat around 33″ in length.
Another detail to understand is your league’s requirements for bat material. Bats are made from wood, or aluminum, or composite materials, or a hybrid mix of two of these materials. Wood bats are typically allowed in all leagues, while some leagues do not allow the use of hybrid or composite bats. Check with your league on this requirement before committing to a bat.
A common point of confusion is the barrel size, and here things get a little tricky depending on what league rules your son plays by. It is best for you to understand that before going further. Most leagues allow a barrel diameter up to 2 5/8″. Again, check with your local league before buying.
The last main detail to understand is what the “-” number means on the bat. This is the “drop”, or the difference between the length and the weight (in ounces) of the bat. For example, a 31″ “-5” bat will weigh 26 oz.
An area where most kids lead their parents astray is with the bat weight. Kids like to be able to swing bats really fast, which helps generate bat speed, which they think in turn helps to generate power. Kids think that in order to hit for power, they need very light bats. This is not true.
Bats that are appropriately weighted will generate more power than “toothpick” bats, simply because they generate more momentum towards the ball. Bats may seem too heavy at first, however once an appropriate acclimation period has set in, hitters will see a tremendous increase in power.
We’re providing our recommendations for the bat sizing below, based on the average sized youth player at that level. If you son is stronger, or smaller than the average youth player at the age below you should adjust the guidance accordingly.
- U9/10 = -10 (28″/18 oz as an example)
- U11/12 = -8 (30″/22 oz as an example)
- U13/14 = -5 (31″/26 oz as an example)
- U15 and beyond = -3 at the most (33″/30 oz as an example)
While we have tried our best to provide concise, simple bat purchasing instructions, we realize that parents can be overwhelmed when trying to choose the “right” bat. It’s always a good idea to talk with your Coach about recommendations, but if you like you can also ask for recommendations by commenting below. Good luck on your hunt!
Oh, if you want to save some serious cash on your online order, check out Easton’s full range of bats by clicking here.