We have a lot of tools in the world of baseball to help us get better. When it comes to fielding, few tools are as useful as the fungo bat—a little bat with a funny name.
Fungo bats are used by coaches to hit grounders fly balls for fielding practice. Made out of wood or metal, fungo bats are substantially smaller and lighter than a traditional game bat, and can be swung with one hand.
The one-handed swing leaves the other hand free to toss balls up for batting practice. And Phoenix’s lineup of fungo bats will let you crack line-drives with all kinds of spin in all kinds of directions—just like during a live game—without breaking (too much of) a sweat.
What Makes for a Good Fungo Bat?
Reputable fungo manufacturers prioritize achieving the right balance between bat weight and durability for an easy swing. However, it's important to note that some wood fungo bat manufacturers prioritize clearing out unused wood, which can be disadvantageous for buyers.
To determine the difference and find the best fungo bat, you can easily check if the drop weight (length minus drop weight equals weight in ounces) or the actual weight for a specific length is listed. If this information isn't provided, it's likely that you are dealing with an improperly weighted fungo bat.
At Phoenix, we hold ourselves to the highest standards by exclusively utilizing the finest quality woods available. The wood used for our professional bats is the same wood employed across our entire range. When you make a purchase from Phoenix, you can rest assured that you are acquiring top-notch merchandise.
For optimal performance in hitting fly balls and ground balls, we recommend selecting a fungo bat with a -12 drop weight. As an illustration, a 34" fungo bat (which happens to be the most popular length) would weigh 22 ounces.
Is Wood or Metal Better for Fungo Bats?
Determining the ideal material for a fungo bat, whether wood or metal, ultimately depends on how it's utilized and cared for.
Coaches who tend to neglect proper fungo bat maintenance often lean towards metal bats. There are a few reasons behind this preference:
- Metal fungo bats excel in withstanding improper storage conditions, such as not being stored in a controlled environment or in a vertical position during the off-season.
- They can endure significant abuse, like being struck against the dugout or even being used in live batting practice (which is strongly discouraged, by the way!).
Conversely, coaches who take their craft more seriously tend to gravitate towards wood fungo bats, and here's why:
- A majority of coaches believe that wood bats provide superior control, allowing them to hit balls to specific spots on the field with precision.
- Wood fungo bats eliminate the annoying "ping" sound associated with metal bats, providing a satisfying wooden "pop" instead.
As an added bonus, wood fungo bats offer the unique opportunity to personalize them with engravings of one's name or even a logo, which adds a special touch.
While even the best metal fungo bats have their merits, there are notable downsides to consider. The sting experienced when hitting with metal bats in colder weather can be quite painful after a few rounds of volley. Moreover, for purists who despise the "ping" sound, metal bats simply do not measure up. We all want satisfying wood *pop*.
What Type of Wood is Best for Fungo Bats?
When it comes to using a fungo bat effectively, finding the appropriate weight is crucial. However, there's another significant factor to consider when it comes to wood fungo bats: the type of wood used in their construction. Wood options generally fall into two categories: composite (consisting of multiple pieces of wood glued together) and single-piece (crafted from a single solid piece of wood).
Bamboo wood bat fungos, constructed from glued-up sections of fast-growing grass sourced from Asia, tend to lack the satisfying "pop" that the finest fungo bats on the market deliver. Using a bamboo fungo bat may require more effort to achieve greater distance when hitting the ball.
There are other wood fungo bats available that are made from multiple pieces of wood, with varying degrees of success. However, some of these bats may experience structural issues over time, especially if not stored properly, as improper storage can lead to glue line failures.
On the other hand, single-piece wood fungo bats, such as those made from hickory, offer exceptional durability. However, they tend to be on the heavier side, which may not be ideal for all users. Some companies opt to use ash wood, likely due to cost considerations, but these fungo bats may experience flaking over time due to the nature of the wood's grain structure.
Through competitive analysis, we have determined that fungo bats constructed from birch or silver maple wood strike the best balance between weight and durability, making them the most resilient options available.
How does the Feel of Metal Fungos Compare to Wood Fungos?
An additional benefit of using a wood fungo bat is the unique feel it provides when held in your hands. Unlike metal bats with a standard metal bat knob that extends directly from the handle into a full knob, wood bat fungos offer two knob designs.
The traditional metal-bat style knob is advantageous for individuals with sweaty hands, as the knob provides a secure grip. It effectively prevents the bat from slipping out of your hand during use. On the other hand, the flared knob is favored by those who prefer to avoid discomfort on their bottom hand caused by the knob continuously hitting it during practice. This design offers a more comfortable grip for extended periods of use.
At Phoenix Bats, the majority of users, especially those new to coaching, tend to prefer the flared knob fungo.
What Type of Fungo Should I Use to Practice with Infielders?
The most versatile fungo bats are designed for both infield and outfield practice. Should you desire a fungo to really rip the ball to young ball-hawks in the infield, consider an infield fungo. It tends to be heavier and thicker through the middle to give more oomph. This thicker fungo bat also works better for softball coaches to hit the bigger ball used for softball.
Do Your Research Before Purchasing
It’s not a bad idea to test out the bat you intend to purchase. Should the manufacturer not offer a risk-free guarantee to try out the fungo for a period of time after purchase, word of mouth and independent site reviews can help you determine which company’s fungo bat to choose.
At Phoenix, we proudly stand by our bats and offer a risk-free guarantee. Our bats are made from the absolute best wood available, hand-picked from our favorite mill. We also have an industry-leading, hyper-precise industrial lathe to get you the exact bat you want every time.