Having the right baseball bat for your style of play can take your game to a new level. Instead of being a one-size-fits-all option, some bats are better suited for different hitters.
To help you identify the best bat for you, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide that covers the top bats of 2022 for USA, USSSA, and BBCOR and T-Ball.
Whether you're playing rec league, travel ball, high school or college baseball, this list has something for you.
What is “Drop Size” with baseball bats and why does it matter?
If you’re confused by “drop size” regarding baseball bats, you’re not alone. But fear not: it’s simple.
The drop size of a baseball bat is the difference between the weight of the bat and its length.
For example, a 20-ounce bat that measures 28 inches long would have a drop weight of -8. The greater the drop weight, the lighter the bat.
As players get older and stronger, their drop weight will decrease over time. For example, a young player might be using a -10, but by the time he reaches BBCOR bats he’ll be swinging a -3.
How do you know what baseball bat length is right for you?
What’s the ideal length for you?
While the perfect length varies from player to player, the easiest method of checking it remains the same.
To measure the length of the bat you should use, place the end of the bat on the ground and stand beside it. Reach down to the knob of the bat. If the knob reaches the center of your palm, you’ve found the right length of bat!
What Baseball Bat Construction is right for you?
In BBCOR, USSSA and USA baseball, there are two common types of baseball bat construction: one-piece and two-piece bats.
Here’s a look at the differences.
Whether they’re metal, wood or composite, one-piece bats have no break in the material between the barrel and the handle. This makes the bat more powerful upon contact but it also increases stiffness and cuts down on the amount of flex batter’s can expect.
Two-piece bats are constructed by bonding two pieces together between the barrel and handle. Sometimes they can feature a blend of materials: composite, and metal. The two-piece bonding technique gives the bat more flex upon contact with the ball and helps generate more of a whip effect.
What type of baseball bat should you swing?
You’ll encounter three common types of baseball bats: composite, hybrid and metal aloy. Here’s an overview of the differences.
COMPOSITE BASEBALL BATS:
These are the premium bats in the game, but that quality comes with a heftier price tag than the other two types of bats. They’re the most explosive bats you’ll find with a large sweet spot and vibration reduction, making big hits feel effortless. A catch? They are not ideal to use in cold weather.
METAL ALLOY BASEBALL BATS:
These are the most economic of bats, but they shouldn’t be overlooked. They have a smaller sweet spot and more vibration than composite bats. A major advantage of metal alloy bats is that they can be used in any temperature range.
HYBRID BASEBALL BATS:
As the name suggests, hybrid bats blend metal alloy and composite materials. This makes them a mid-priced baseball bat with a mid-sized sweet spot and less vibration than a metal alloy but more vibration than a composite. Like metal alloy bats, hybrid bats can be used in any temperature range.
BBCOR bats are explosive bats built for high school and college baseball players, and you’ll also find them in various Men’s League play.
AGE AND SIZE: The bats are typically used by ages 14 and up, and unlike USSA and USA bats, they have a specific size and drop weight expectation: all BBCOR bats are drop -3 and have a 2 ⅝” barrel.
LENGTH: BBCOR Bats can have various lengths. You’ll often find them in 31", 32", 32.5", 33", 33.5", 34".
FUN FACT: BBCOR stands for “Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution.” This is a standard to measure the among of energy lost during the contact of the bat and ball. Greater energy loss means more “trampoline effect” for the bat, and the National Federation of State High SChool Associations and the NCAA decided to cap that number at .50 for BBCOR bats. That’s only slightly more explosive than a wood bat, and it’s why you see “.50” stamped on BBCOR bats.
USSSA bats are commonly used in travel baseball and competitive baseball.
AGE AND SIZE: USSSA bats can be for athletes from ages 8-14 and they come in drop weights of -5, -8, -9, -10, -11, -12
LENGTH: USSSA bats typically come in lengths of 27", 28", 29", 30", 31", 32", 33"
FUN FACT: The difference between USSSA and USA bats is not age-related, but rather experience-related. A 14-year-old who’s new to baseball should not necessarily use a USSSA, while a 10-year-old with experience shouldn’t be expected to use a USA bat. With all bats, find an approved bat the athlete is most comfortable with.
USA baseball bats are a go-to fo Little League, Rec League, Babe Ruth League and Cal Ripkin league. They’re a great beginner bat for athletes getting into the game.
AGE AND SIZE: USA bats, like USSSA, can be for athletes from ages 8-14 and they come in drop weights of -5 through -12.
LENGTH: USA bats typically come in lengths of 27", 28", 29", 30", 31", 32"
FUN FACT: The expected natural progression of baseball bats is an athlete starting with a USA, moving to a USSSA and finishing with a BBCOR. That said, the speed of development is different from athlete to athlete, so don’t feel pressured to “move on.” Do what’s best for you or your favorite athlete.
T-Ball bats open the gateway to a love of baseball and are approved for USA T-Ball leagues. They’re great for young athletes learning the fundamentals of hitting off a tee.
AGE AND SIZE: T-Ball bats are made for athletes that are 7 or younger and come in drop weights of -10, -11, -12, -12.5, -13, -13.5
LENGTH: T-Ball bats typically come in lengths of 24", 25", 26".
Ready to weaponize your trips to the plate?
Now that you’re a bat expert, the next step is to find the perfect bat for you. Once you do, you’ll become a threat every time you step up to the batter’s box.
Guardian Baseball wants to help you on your search.
As a thank you for reading our guide, take 15% off all bats with this promo code: BATGUIDE15
And remember, all orders from Guardian Baseball include free shipping and The Guardian 6-Month Extended Warranty.
We’re here to help!