Barrel size and wood density are the buzz words in baseball lately.
Over the years we get asked for the largest barrel possible. Even some well-meaning parents ask for 2 5/8 barrels for their youth players.
We as bat makers have always thought that Bigger is not always better. In 2010 Major League baseball reduced the size of bats that players can have. Because of that we had to redesign a lot of models like the 243. We trimmed the barrels and made the sweet spot bigger to fill the player’s needs.
Along the way we found that denser wood with smaller barrels hit better. So we created the HD series. Bats that hit harder with the denser wood and smaller barrels.
Until now it was just our opinion. With some help from our friend Chris at Pommel bats the studies have been done and now we have proof that we were correct.
Here are some of the facts from Chris’s studies.
Many times, when I or other wood bat manufacturers are receiving an order from a customer, a series of requests comes up. Can you make it lighter? Can you make it stronger? Can you make the barrel bigger?
The idea that these three traits can be modified separately is a carryover from usage of composite or alloy hollow bats. Most of these bats are at maximum barrel size, modified by weight with dense inserts and have durability/power directly correlating to the strength of the material.
With wood, this is not the case. These three qualities are all interconnected. Wood bats are solid instruments. They have flex, but little trampoline effect. A wood bat’s quality is a game of trade-offs, and this includes barrel size, but NOT for the reason you might think. Today we will be focusing on just this aspect.
When a person requests a bigger barrel, typically they do not want to change the overall weight of the bat dramatically. In that case, what they are doing is putting more mass at the end of the bat compared to the handle. The farther away the majority of the weight, the heavier the bat will feel. This means a slower and less controlled swing, but more power delivered to the ball. This is called end load. In the elite class of power hitters, end loaded bats are commonplace. Their high strength allows them to overcome the issues with control and speed, in order to deliver more power to the ball.
When it comes to players not in the elite level though, the perception of a bigger barrel is not a matter of weight or power. It’s the idea that like a tennis racquet, it makes it easier to hit the ball, in which case they are only partially correct. The differences in a small barrel and large barrel are so minute that they cannot be relied upon. I will be tackling this notion in its entirety and give the facts hereof.