I always have to shake my head when I see orders come through the system for a 31” 243 or when I get a call from a player or parent wanting to know what model has the biggest barrel. Truth be told, especially people new to wood bats, bigger barrel bats usually aren’t the best option and will result in flaws in your swing.
The age group most guilty of this are the players just switching over from aluminum to wood bats for the first time. Besides being adamant about wanting a bat that is “-3” they also want something that is as big as their metal bat they’re used to swinging. The problem with this is metals bats are designed specifically to be balanced while fitting in the BBCOR regulations. Basically, in a metal bat with technology the way it is, you can have a very balanced bat with a large barrel and ideal weight. That’s not an option with wood bats.
In a wood bat you’re going to get all the weight of the bat where the mass of it is so if you get a bat with an oversized barrel it’s going to be extremely end heavy, or end-loaded. Yes, if you make solid contact with the ball you’ll get great pop, but the control and skill needed to make that contact is greatly increased. As a result of the imbalance, the barrel is really going to dip through the hitting zone if you don’t have enough strength. It’s also going to make it more difficult to catch up to faster pitching.
If you find yourself fouling off a lot of pitches you usually hit, it’s probably a good indicator the barrel is too big for you. Another good indicator that your barrel is too big is if you find yourself breaking a lot of bats. By nature, the big barrel bat is going to put a lot of extra tension on the handle during contact so if you make any contact what-so-ever on the end of the bat it’s going to result in a broken bat.
At the end of the day, unless you’re getting paid to play baseball, more often than not you’ll find more success at the plate with a more “balanced” bat. Even though the barrel on these models may not be as big as your model 243 or 174G, they all have respectable sized barrels that are more than capable of being used by power hitters. I’ll break down some of our more popular models below into 3 categories: contact, gap, and power.
Contact Hitters (Average Barrel): 271, 110, 175G, 280, 141, CUV26
Gap Hitters (Little bit bigger): 222, 271L, APV5, 318
Power Hitters (Large Barrel): 243, 174G, 73, CD61, JH9
Not that any of these models are bad, they just require a greater understanding of your swing and the type of hitter you are. People who get big barrel bats understand that they’re prone to breakage and accept that as a tradeoff for the bigger hitting surface. The other trade off with the big barrel bats is that you’re sacrificing your average for power numbers. Hopefully with this information you’ll be able to help find the right model for you to achieve your goals as a player and if you have any questions I’d be more than happy to help you answer them.