Thinking about sticking an ash bat in your bag? Before you do, it’s best to make sure that it fits your profile. We love all types of wood bats, but it’s important to understand the benefits of an ash bat versus the other wood types.
Ash has been a popular wood choice for decades, hitting the scene shortly after hickory began to decline in popularity. Up until the tail end of the 20th century, ash was the bread and butter of the major league. Though its popularity has dwindled slightly in more recent years, that is more of a response to the rise of birch and maple rather than a knock on the quality of ash.
What makes ash bats unique is the combination of a lightweight feel and forgiving flex. These features are a direct result of the natural properties of the ash tree. Ash is less dense than birch or maple, weighing in at 540 g/m2 compared to maple’s 750 g/m2 and birch’s 670 g/m2. See, we all passed our science classes here.
Many players are surprised to find that ash is actually a tougher wood than birch and maple. Ash bats are known to break frequently, but it’s not due to its relatively low density—it’s the compression of the bat’s porous structure when striking the ball. At the moment of impact, the ball doesn’t launch straight off the bat; the bat actually flexes around the ball for a fraction of a second before sending into the stands. The small pores in the bat compress and then rapidly expand, creating a “trampoline effect” that launches the ball off the bat.
Just because ash bats are more forgiving and offer more “pop,” that doesn’t mean they are strictly for amateur players. In fact, lab performance tests have produced mixed results showing that ash performs up to par and in some cases better than its competition.
It’s more about what you want the moment of impact to feel like. Ash is perfect for those who want to feel like they are swinging right through the ball and want minimal vibration on mishits. They are also a great option for those transitioning from metal bats, or those who have lower swing speeds and want more control of the direction of the ball.
Every bat has its advantages and drawbacks, so be sure to pick one that best fits your playing style and preferences. If you have any additional questions about ash bats, feel free to chat with us. The pros here at Phoenix Bats take pride in producing and finding you your perfect bat!