A Baseball bat is an essential piece of equipment in a young players locker. If a kid learns to yield a baseball bat correctly at the right age, his/her chances to make it to the top of the game in the future will definitely increase. But we also understand that the search for the best bat that can match your child’s ability and style can be difficult. This article is inspired from the personal experiences of a ‘baseball dad’ and strives to provide a detailed and resourceful analysis of the best youth baseball bats on the market.
Before we jump into the review, let’s look at the different materials that are used to make a baseball bat.
Wood bats have been a part of the game since the inception of baseball and continues be the standard for the highest levels of the game. Professional leagues across the world whether Major or Minor only use wood baseball bats for games and cage sessions. In the olden days, due to lack of guidelines players were seen crafting their own bats of different sizes to give them the best possible advantage. But later with the change in rules, bats saw a 2 ½ inch barrel restriction leading to the evolution of the modern wood bat. Wood bats historically were made only from Ash wood but in the recent times it has fallen out of favour and professional leagues are preferential towards Maple wood bats. Ash wood has a denser composition while Maple woods are lighter but prone to breakage. Wood bats today are also made from Bamboo and Hickory but they are yet to be sanctioned for professional play.
Ever since Aluminium bats were introduced back in the early 70’s, they went on to dominate the youth and amateur baseball scene. The loud ‘ping’ that is generated from an aluminum bat is unmatched by any other baseball bat material and the sound clearly is a resonating factor for youth and amateur baseball and softball. Aluminium is a lightweight and sturdy material which makes it easier to swing in comparison to a wooden bat. And many coaches say that it is the perfect vessel to inculcate proper swing habits in a younger player. A young players lack of strength and accuracy are perfectly masked by these bats by allowing the ball to travel much faster in comparison to a wood bat. And in turn, ensuring that the lower league games and scores are much more high level and excitable.
Even though Composite bats are not allowed in the MLB, they are widely used and are a norm across youth platforms from Little League to Collegiate Level plays. But it is also worth to know that these bats have been part of the game of Softball for quite a while now. Composite bats are made up of composite materials or augmented carbon fiber polymer which is basically a blend of graphite and fiberglass/plastic material. These bats are also bit pricier than aluminum bats but they are definitely more durable as well. Aside from durability, these bats also weigh a fraction of their wooden or aluminium counterparts and even help young players maintain a high level of play in lower leagues. And with the trampoline effect, a large sweet spot and decreased vibrations their popularity can be seen in youth baseball.
The Hybrid Bats features a two-component bat design which incorporates a barrel made from alloy with a handle made from a composite material. The bat tries to combine the strengths of both aluminum and composite material while effectively trying to reduce the disadvantages. The idea is to create a superior bat with the benefit of a light swinging composite bat and the durability of aluminum alloy barrel. But these days, there are several different variations of hybrid bats which combine aluminium barrel with composite end caps or an aluminum bat with a composite shell or a composite shell on an inner alloy barrel. The connective piece between the composite material handle and aluminum alloy barrel is apt at absorbing vibrations which ensures improved feel when the bat comes in contact with the ball.
Here’s our list of the Top 5 Youth Baseball Bats.
The Easton S500 Youth Baseball Bat is one of the best youth baseball bat on the market and there is a reason it is so popular amongst the youngsters. This bat comes with a drop 13 length to weight ratio, a 2 ¼ inch barrel diameter and a well balanced swing weight perfect for contact hitters. The S500 is a one piece aluminium alloy design and is made up of the 7050 aircraft-grade alloy which gives the bat greater durability along with enhanced performance. And thanks to the lightweight material and the 29/32 inch handle, the bat gets faster swing speeds. The handle also features the All-sports grip which makes gripping the bat extremely comfortable and helps reduce the vibrations to the hands by a great extent.
The Slugger lineup includes some top-notch youth baseball bats and the Louisville Slugger Solo 618 USA Baseball Bat is one fine specimen. The Solo 618 comes with a drop 11 length to weight ratio and a 2 ⅝ inch barrel diameter. It is an one-piece alloy construction which is made from the Louisville Slugger’s proprietary SL Hyper Aluminium Alloy giving the bat the maximum energy transfer along with some of that premium pop on contact. The 2018 model features the latest Speed Ballistic composite end cap which helps to extend the barrel and also gives you a much larger sweet spot while making it one the most balanced and best youth bats out there.
The Marucci Cat7 Senior League Baseball Bat is one bat that we really can’t afford to miss out on when looking for the best youth baseball bat. The Cat7 is a one-piece full aluminium alloy design which has been crafted out of Marucci’s extremely strong AZ4X alloy which gives the bat a great ‘pop’ on contact along with long lasting durability. It features a drop 10 length to weight ratio, a 2 ⅝ inch barrel diameter and the USSSA 1.15 BPF Certification. The 2018 model comes with an optimized barrel design which means that you get a sweet spot that is twice the size of its predecessor, the Cat6. It also includes the ring-free barrel technology which guarantees zero dead spots. The AV2 knob on the end of the handle ensures comfort while eliminating sting to the hands.
Rawlings manages to bring out a lineup of some of the best youth bats every year and the Rawlings 2018 5150 USA Baseball Bat happens to be no different. This model features the drop 11 length to weight ratio, a 2 ⅝ inch barrel diameter and the USA Baseball Certification which makes this bat eligible for play in AABC, Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken, Dixie Youth, Little League and PONY leagues. The 5150 is a one-piece alloy construction and it is made up of the Rawlings traditional 5150 aluminium which makes it a high-performing and extremely durable bat. It comes with the proprietary POP 2.0 technology which gives an enormous sweet spot and an unmatchable feel on contact. Also, the negative feedback and stings are largely reduced thanks to the premium synthetic grip.
If you want more power in your swing then you definitely should consider the DeMarini Voodoo Overlord Youth Baseball Bat. The Voodoo Overlord is a two-piece hybrid design with a drop 13 length to weight ratio, a 2 ¼ inch barrel diameter and is approved for play in most youth organizations. It features DeMarini’s X12 alloy barrel which creates strength at the bats thinnest points ensuring the maximum amount of pop. The D-Fusion FT handle combines a composite rod with a thermal fuse taper which help eliminate vibrations and redirect energy back into the barrel. The Low Pro End Cap along with the RCK Knob makes this an extremely comfortable bat to swing and is one of the best youth baseball bats on the market.
Definitely one of the best youth baseball bats worth a mention. The Easton Mako Composite Youth Baseball Bat comes with a 2 ¼ inch barrel diameter and drop 12 length to weight ratio. Easton’s proprietary two-piece ConneXion technology helps maximize energy transfers and eliminate negative feedback by separating the handle from the barrel.
If your child is serious about playing professional baseball then having a good wood bat in the armoury will certainly be helpful. The Marucci AP5 Youth Maple Wood Baseball Bat comes with a 2 ¼ inch barrel diameter and a drop 5 length to weight ratio. This is MLB all-star Albert Pujol’s signature model and is one of the hardest wood bats in the game owing to the bone-rubbing technique implemented by Marucci.
The Louisville Slugger Youth Armor Baseball Bat is a serious contender in the Slugger youth lineup. The bat comes with a 2 ¼ inch barrel diameter and a drop 12 length to weight ratio. The one-piece frame of the bat is constructed from the indestructible aircraft-grade 7050 aluminium alloy.
The DeMarini 2018 Voodoo Balanced USA Baseball Bat is a worthy entrant in the youth baseball scene. The bat features a 2 ⅝ inch barrel diameter along with a drop 10 length to weight ratio. It also includes the one-piece X14 alloy which ensures that you get a precise weight distribution and a balanced swing weight.
The 2018 Raptor Alloy USA Baseball Bat from Rawlings is a quality bat which is affordable as well. It comes with a 2 ¼ inch barrel diameter and a drop 10 length to weight ratio. And the alloy bat comes ready for play, being approved for 2018 by USA Baseball League standards.
Here are few things to consider for choosing the ideal baseball bat.
The material of the bat is an important factor to consider while choosing a baseball bat. Like we’ve mentioned earlier, bats today are made of different materials like wood, composite, aluminium and hybrid. Though usage of wood bats is practically non-existent in youth leagues, it can be used for practice or wood bat leagues and can be helpful in learning the traditional way. An aluminium bat is cheaper when compared to composite or hybrid and they come hot out of the wrapper. A composite bat is slightly on the expensive side but produce the least vibrations while a hybrid gives you the best of both worlds.
You should always consider the height, weight and skills of the batter while choosing the perfect length of bat. So it is always recommended to measure and weigh your kid before you go shopping. And once you have the figures in hand, there are sizing charts that will help you determine the best bat lengths. Always consider the recommendations that are provided for the given measurements. But you can also choose a slightly longer or shorter bat depending on the skills of the child. A longer bat will provide a longer reach but it can be slightly heavier to wield as well. On the other hand, a slightly shorter one will be a bit lighter but reach could be compromised.
The weight of the baseball bat determines how much power you are able to generate behind a swing. A heavier bat has an advantage of an added momentum of force which can make the ball travel further when struck. But the added weight can also affect the way the batter swings the bat and sometimes could become a task for a young player trying to swing the bat. A lighter bat will definitely ensure faster bat speeds and swing weights but the momentum of force behind the ball could slightly reduce. So it is important to know what would work best for your kid.
A handle ranges from a thicker variant to a thinner one and is an essential part of the bat that must never be overlooked while choosing a bat. A thicker handle has an advantage of better absorption of shocks from miss-hits while also being more stable. But it also means that the mobility is reduced and so does the bat speeds. A thinner handle ensures quicker movement of hands and increased bat speeds but stability and shock absorption is reduced. Also, a lot of youth baseball leagues have requirements for knobs to avoid mishaps from the bat slipping out of the hands.
Always try to be in tune with the rules and regulations of the leagues that your child has enrolled in to avoid paying later. A recent change in USA Baseball Bat standards means that youth organizations like ABC, Cal Ripken, Babe Ruth, Dixie Youth, Little League and PONY have adopted the new bat standards to ensure uniformity and long-term integrity of the game. So the requirement of the barrel size ranges between 2 ¼ inch to 2 ⅝ inch while the weight drop ratio can vary from -13.5 to -5.
Trust us, being in possession of a good baseball bat will facilitate and improve the learning ability of the child than a bad bat which could even plateau the growth. So it always pays dividends to invest in the best product. And if you’re reading till the end we know that you love your child and want the best for him/her. So with this article we’ve also tried our level best to narrow things down for you so that the search for the right product becomes a lot easier. Even if you’re a first-timer, our comprehensive review would’ve helped you gain a valuable insight and perspective. And remember to consider our aforementioned buying guide before buying to ensure that you make the ideal choice for your child.