Maple, the hardest wood for baseball bats, is the best choice for two different types of players:
- a player who mainly gets jammed when mishitting, taking the ball on the lower part of the barrel
- the player who has mastered hitting with a wood bat
A maple bat delivers the furthest ball distance, adding 10-15 feet as maximum energy gets transferred to the ball.
An ash wood bat is the best choice for a player who mishits primarily off the end of a baseball bat. Ash is not as rigid or strong a wood as maple, allowing it to flex. That flex acts as a shock absorber for the cue-ball shots that may do in a maple bat. While absorbing some of the energy used to propel the ball, it's better to lose a little power than an entire bat!
All-over the place when you mishit? Consider birch. It's a bit stronger than an ash bat for the inside mishits and has some flex that a maple bat lacks for the outside mishits. From a wood strength and hitting distance standpoint, it falls in between maple and ash.