One of the (few) joys of cleaning the office is you always find something cool! While cleaning the other day I ran across some old backup CD’s of the Viper Site. For those that don’t know, I’ve made all the Viper Sites since the beginning so it was quite a trip down memory lane to see how much has changed in 10 years.
It’s not uncommon for parents and players alike to call me asking for recommendations on what to buy and what bat is the best, and I’m happy to field questions of all types. With that said, here are the questions I get asked the most and why they can be misleading when it comes to picking out the right bat.
Question 1. – What’s the weight of the bat?
Especially in the case of adult bats, I often get asked if the bat is a -3. The reason why this question isn’t that important is because how a bat swings is what’s important. I can give you a +0 balanced bat that swings like it’s a -3 and alternatively I can give you a -3 that swings like a +0. Instead of concerning yourself with overall weight you’ll be better off trying to figure out the right model that compliments your swing. Also, the heavier the bat the denser it will be and the more distance you will see. The bat will also last longer the heavier it is.
Question 2 – What wood has the most pop?
There might be a study done in a vacuum where they tested what wood has the most pop but we don’t play in a vacuum. There are too many variables at hand from the player swinging it, to the model, to the pitches you’re seeing. Overall, you’re not going to see much difference in distance amongst the woods but the one thing to be aware of is the durability. Maple and Birch are going to be the more dense woods so they’re going to be more durable and harder to break. Ash is a porous wood and has a different grain structure which makes it weaker. A better route to go than worrying about what bat is going to give you the most distance is trying to figure out what wood is going to give you the most bang for your buck and that’s going to be birch, maple and bamboo. Ash is a great wood and some players swear by it, and I’m not saying they’re wrong, but they understand that ash bats aren’t going to be as durable which isn’t common knowledge amongst many players.
Question 3 – What’s the biggest barrel you have?
I did a separate blog post on big barrels here: http://blog.viperbats.com/?p=208 but I’ll try to add on to this. I often get dads calling trying to find bats for their sons transitioning from little league to the bigger barrels and the first they want is a wood bat with a 2 5/8” barrel. Or I get the ex-high school stud playing amateur ball for the first time with his buddies wanting the biggest we have to offer and I’m just left shaking my head. We have, I believe, 1 model that has a barrel diameter that big and I rarely recommend it. The biggest problem with a big barrel that players, coaches and dads alike don’t understand is that in a wood bat all of the weight is going to be where the mass of the bat is. If we make a 2 5/8” barrel bat whether it’s a 31” or 34” it’s going to be extremely end heavy and hard to get around. Out of the hundred or so professional players we talked to over the last month about models, not one requested a bat with a barrel larger than 2.55”.