Maple, the hardest wood for baseball bats, is the best choice for two different types of players:
- a player who mainly gets jammed when miss-hitting, 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.
Who should not swing maple: the hitter who tends to miss-hit off or close to the very end of the barrel.
An ash wood bat is the best choice for a player who miss-hits primarily off the end of a baseball bat.…as long as the player has the discipline to have the logo facing the sky when making contact with the ball. Ash is not as rigid or strong a wood as maple, allowing it to flex when hit on the side 90 degrees opposite the logo and engraving. 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!
Who should not swing ash: the hitter who tends to get jammed, miss-hitting towards the middle of the bat, just above the bat's logo or the hitter who doesn’t pay attention to how they are holding the bat when striking the ball.
All-over the place when your miss-hit or new to swinging wood? Consider birch. It's a bit stronger than an ash bat for the inside miss-hits and has some flex that a maple bat lacks for the outside miss-hits. From a wood strength and hitting distance standpoint, it falls in between maple and ash.
The more you hit with birch the harder it becomes. In about 50 hits, it will move closer to the pop of a maple bat, but never equal it.
Certain woods are not offered on certain lines of bats, primarily because we know they won't hold up well. Secondarily, certain woods don’t yield proper bat weight, which is critical to developing/maintaining the right swing.
For youth bats, silver maple is offered as a more cost effective alternative to birch for the 5-11 year olds. At ages 9 & up, we recommend birch over silver maple or over ash (offered for the 12-13 year old transition bats) for the reasons above. Birch is more forgiving for this age group.
For more information about Maple, Ash and Birch, click here