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Phoenix Bats is proud to offer the finest quality bats, crafted primarily from Rock Maple, Yellow Birch and Northern White Ash bats. Due to weight and/or dimension requirements, as well as to insure maximum durability and swingability, we make certain bats in one wood type versus the others. Please see the chart and additional paragraphs below for general differences between the woods.
Regardless of the wood and model selected, we're confident you'll see and feel the difference.
|ROCK MAPLE||YELLOW BIRCH||NORTHERN WHITE ASH|
|"Solidness" of wood:||Strongest all around, most dense - not much "give"||Closer to maple but withsome of the flex of ash||Less dense/strong allowing wood to flex more|
|Grains:||Less visible (engraves best)||Similar to maple||Very visible|
Most pop for biggest hits
Best inside pitch protection
Used by more pros
Closer to maple's pop
Best if mishit all over the bat
Good choice if new to wood
Longest sweet spot
More forgiving on mishits off end
Only wood can get flame finish
Doesn't do well with end shots
Stings a tad more on mishits
|Must hit awhile to get max pop||
Not as durable vs inside pitches
Why Choose Maple Bats
Big league slugger Joe Carter is best known for sending a Mitch Williams fastball over the left field fence at Skydome for a walk-off home run that would win the Blue Jays the 1993 World Championship. But a lesser known fact that may be just as important is his status as a pioneer in baseball. Joe Carter was the first big leaguer to start using maple bats as his preferred piece of lumber. He actually used it illegally in a 1997 game, before it had been approved as a new type of wood bat. But don't expect an asterisk to be put above any of Joe Carter's stats; there are now over 500 big leaguers who swing maple bats, for several reasons.
Pros of Maple Bats
Maple bats can be light but are always hard. Just look at the name of a popular wood used by us here at Phoenix, "Rock Maple". Maple wood has less give; more energy is transferred to propel the ball versus being absorbed by the bat. When contact is made hitters seem to literally crush the ball, adding 10-15 feet versus less dense woods. The sound of the ball coming off a maple bat is unmistakeable: crisp and loud. You can tell how dense maple is by just by looking at a maple bat. They seem as smooth as a brand new batting helmet. Run your hand over a maple bat and you can feel how tight the wood structure is. Also, the grains are less visible, leaving a trophy shine. This fact is why maple bats are often used as an engraved keepsake or as a more stylish stick for those fashionable hitters who want to look good at the plate. But no matter how you look swinging it, you will look better on your home trot after a new maple bat gives you the extra power you've been looking for.
Cons of Maple Bats
Maple bats may not be the best choice for a novice hitter. Maple bats tend to come in at very specific weights by model type and have a smaller sweet spot. The hitter that doesn't like to crowd the plate or who drives more balls off the end of the barrel might want to explore other options that we provide at Phoenix Bats. Maple is strong, but that lack of "give" (aka flex) is the prime suspect when a maple bat breaks from a ball mishit off the end of the barrel. One common misconception is that maple bats are dangerous. Because of how dense and hard maple is, when it breaks a piece that comes loose may fly further. This is a controversial topic in the major leagues although it is still not widely believed that bats made from maple are the problem. There is much more proof linking bat dimensions and wood quality to breakage. Neither is a concern with maple bats made here at Phoenix as we use straight grained, pro-graded Rock Maple in designs for all types of ball players. Even if you decide that a maple bat does not fit your hitting style, the Phoenix Risk Free Guarantee gives you the opportunity to return it within 10 days of your purchase.
Why Choose Birch Bats
There's been a recent rise in wood bat baseball, sprouting up more wood bat tournaments, new wood bat leagues, and increased wood bat training. Coupled with a change in metal bat standards, a new generation of players has emerged who have never swung wood before. Metal masked proper form, so the undisciplined player, who never really learned where to hit on a bat, needed a wood bat that would be a little more forgiving. Birch bats have helped fill this void for the player with ball marks up and down, and all-around, the barrel.
Pros of Birch Bats
If you are just now starting to swing a wooden stick, a birch bat is a good choice. Birch falls in between maple and ash for wood density. So you get a wood bat that is closer in strength to a rock maple bat, for a nice amount of pop and for better protection on the inside pitch than an ash bat. But, you still get some of the flex found in a northern white ash wood bat, to give you some protection against the cue-ball-of-the-end-of-the-bat mishit. Consider birch your best insurance policy when you just don't have the discipline yet on where to hit on a wood bat.
Cons of Birch Bats
While birch bats provide a nice solution for the player who mishits all over the place on his bat, it doesn't deliver all the benefits associated with a maple bat or with an ash bat. If you are the type of hitter who predominantly gets "jammed" when mishitting, taking the ball further down the barrel towards the logo, nothing beats a maple bat for strength. Conversely, if you are prone to mishitting off the end of the barrel, no bat will flex like an ash bat. As birch is closer in wood density to maple, weights for birch bats tend to be very similar to that of maple bats, eliminating it as a viable option on some youth bats and for those who want increased bat speed, while not giving up a big barrel. Birch bats also must be hit for a little bit to "firm up" and reach their maximum hardness, at which point they will approach, but not equal, the pop of a maple bat. All that said, we believe our Yellow Birch is an up-and-comer and should be a strong consideration for any player.
Why Choose Ash Bats
Since the early days of baseball wooden bats have been evolving. The earliest pieces of lumber that were crafted into the tools of America's past-time were made out of hickory. These very thick and heavy bats were a pitcher's dream. But invention soon turned towards the side of the hitter when ash bats became the staple in bat racks. Ash bats provided the opportunity for players to swing faster, connecting with the ball more often, as weights in almost every model became more manageable.
Pros of Ash Bats
The game is gravitating back towards its roots and more and more wooden bat leagues are popping up. With it have come new requirements for heavier bats than players are used to with their super-light metal bats. An ash wood bat is the lightest of the three pro-approved woods, which translates in to more bat speed for the hitters that are trying to fight off fastballs with bigger bats. Ash bats are naturally porous and have the beautiful grains that make wooden bats look so natural. There are many people who don't like to associate the word porous with the art of hitting but it can make a bat very forgiving. The give and flexibility in ash bats creates a super sized sweet spot that is ideal for hitters that tend to spray the ball all over the field. A trampoline effect will seem like the ball is jumping off your bat.
Cons of Ash Bats
Ash bats have two negative aspects that are ironically also associated with longevity. Hundreds of major leaguers have switched to maple, as maple is stronger than ash, propelling the ball further. Ash bats, being not as hard, tend to break in the handle when a hitter gets "jammed" by inside pitches that they hit down the handle, away from the barrel of the bat. Plus, ash flexes well in one direction, but not so much when hit on the side of the engraving or the side opposite the engraving. The bigger problem facing ash bats may go back to their roots, literally. Ash trees are starting to disappear from the North American landscape because of a pesky insect known as the Emerald Ash Borer, which is spreading and killing ash trees from Mississippi to Michigan. However, as long as Northern White Ash trees continue to grow Phoenix will continue to make high quality ash bats because of the benefits they provide hitters of all skill levels.
A hitter should know that an ash bat crafted by Phoenix Bats is going to have straighter grains from end to end and better spacing between grains than what you'll find at your big box store. Straight grain equals more durability. Even if you decide that an ash bat does not fit your hitting style, the Phoenix Challenge gives you the opportunity to return it within 10 days of your purchase.