WOOD BAT FAQ's
Where is the sweet spot on a bat?
The sweet spot (where you want to hit the ball consistently) is located about 2" in from the end of the barrel to about 6-7" in on an adult bat. There is a proper side to hit on, so be sure to also see the answer to the next question.
WHAT "SIDE" OF THE BAT SHOULD I HIT THE BALL?
As you're swinging through the plate, with the bat perpendicular to your body about to hit the ball, the Phoenix label should be pointing towards the sky or towards the ground. That way, you'll be making contact with the area on the "side" of the bat where the grains are layered---the strongest "side" of the bat. This is true for all youth bats, softball bats, fungo and training bats and all baseball bats that come with standard logo placement or for baseball bats where you have selected the option "Traditional Logo Placement & No Ink Dot" under the "INK DOT (MAPLE & BIRCH ONLY)" drop down.
For baseball bats that you have selected "Pro Style Logo Placement & Ink Dot", which we have to do for pro players' maple and birch bats, use the ink dot as your point of reference. When making contact with the ball, the ink dot (not the logo) should be facing the sky or facing the ground when making contact with the ball. See FAQ: "What is the black dot I see on some baseball bats" for more about ink dotting.
We care about durability and we think our customers care as well. So, we're placing our logo (or ink dot, if selected) in the location that gives you the best reference point to successfully hit on the strongest side of the bat. This is the same place it has correctly been since wood bats were first used. When you make bats with this reference and with quality wood, made to the right dimensions, you get a durable bat....a Phoenix Bat!
For more information on hitting with wood, click here. Plus every Phoenix Bats order comes with detailed tips for hitting success and for best bat care.
WHAT BAT SIZE IS BEST?
WHAT IS THE BLACK DOT I SEE ON SOME BASEBALL BATS AND WHY IS THE LOGO AND ENGRAVING ON A DIFFERENT LOCATION ON THESE BATS?
Some of you may have noticed that big leaguers and players in the minors, who are swinging maple and birch bats, have the logo and engraving rotated 45 degrees from where it normally is (and had been until 2 years ago). Plus, these bats have a black dot on the handle of their bat.
A couple of years ago, a big stink was made about Big Leaguers breaking more bats, primarily maple bats. This was not surprising as a number of players wanted bigger barrels and thinner handles. Big barrel + small handle diameter = a much less durable bat. So the powers that be decided that in order to reduce the "violent" breakage of these big maple bats, pro players should hit on weakest side of the bat. By hitting 90 degrees opposite of where the grains are stacked (the strongest “side” of the bat), bats won't break as violently or go so far away from the batter….they'll just break more often!!! Since the powers that be don't pay for the bats (the team or player does), this PR move made sense to them. Anyone who knows anything about wood will tell you how ridiculous this rule is.
At the same time, some bat manufacturers were using species of woods that could get the hitter to the bat drop weight he wanted. But in doing so, the bat become much less durable. These manufacturers were also using wood that didn’t have a nice straight grain, which is critical to making a quality wood bat. So, the black dot you see if actually a drop of black ink that we apply. When it spreads down the grain, we use a measuring device (provided by the Commissioner’s Office) to ensure that the ink has not spread more than 3 degrees to the left or to the right. If it spreads beyond 3 degrees in either direction, it is out of spec. This step has helped reduce the breakage of maple and birch bats, as the wood bat manufacturers who were cheating the system are now being held accountable.
Phoenix Bats uses woods from a mill that ensures that all bats meet the test for straight grain. Logs are cut from top to bottom, allowing our mill to visually inspect each piece of wood we receive. With this guarantee, there is no need to pay extra for ink dotting – it becomes a cosmetic feature merely to give you that “Big Leaguer” look. We laugh at how many bats we see from competitors who slap on an ink dot with no regard to whether the piece of wood meets the 3 degree rule. They know that the customer has no way to read the ink dot spread on their own, so they can get away with it. Shame on them.
For those players that want the Pro style logo placement and ink dot, we align the ink dot so that you have a visual reference point as to how the bat should be positioned when making contact with the ball. For ink-dotted bats, the ink dot should be facing the sky (or the ground) at point of contact.
WHY DOES MY BAT HAVE A CUPPED-OUT BARREL END?
The bowl-like indentation at top of bat, called cupping, allows for that final adjustment, if needed, to hit proper weight. Phoenix bats are cupped at 1.5" in diameter, leaving a thicker wall around the cup for enhanced structural integrity. Most competitors cup at 2", leaving a very thin wall around the cup, increasing the chance of breaking.
Most players who swing a full size bat prefer cupping, but it's probably become more so because they see other players' bats cupped. It does move the sweet spot, the area where you want to make contact, slightly towards the handle, making it slightly less barrel weighted. The down side would only be creating a slightly less structurally strong bat when you hit off the end.
On the -7 and -8 drop weight youth bats for boys and girls, on fungos and on all softball bats, cupping is not needed; it's actually detrimental. These are 2-1/4" barrel and cupping it would hurt the integrity of the bat. In addition, kids have a very nasty habit of banging the head of the bat on the ground, resulting in damage to the bat. We designed it to be properly weighted and distributed.
HOW SHOULD I CARE FOR MY BAT?
Extreme moisture and cold is not a bat's friend. Our recommendation is take your bat indoors (not just in to the garage!) if it is going to sit in those environments for an extended period of time. Lean it up against a corner in as verticle position as you can get. Learn more about caring for your bat. You will also find these tips and more to come with each order.
RUBBER BALLS IN THE BATTING MACHINES EAT UP MY BAT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Those hard rubber balls, preferred by batting cages for their durability versus a real baseball or softball, are brutal for any bat, but especially for wood bats. Take some first aid tape and tape the barrel of the bat. It's easy to remove and doesn't leave much residue. You can also purchase a protective sleeve at most sporting good stores.
WHAT DOES THE NEGATIVE (-) MEAN NEXT TO THE BAT DESCRIPTION?
It refers to the difference between the bat length and bat weight. Ex.: a 34" bat with a -2 means it weighs 32 ounces (34-2=32). This is commonly referred to as drop weight or just drop. For example, drop 3 is the same as saying -3 drop weight
WHAT IS DROP WEIGHT?
Drop weight refers to the difference between the bat length and bat weight.
Normal range for bat drop weights:
- Baseball: -2 to -3
- Softball: -3 to -5
- Youth: -7 to -8
- Youth Transition: -5
- Fungos: -8 to -10
Vintage bats are often heavier than they are long. So, don't be surprised to see a "+" number for a vintage bat. In this case, add that number to the length for weight.
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT BASEBALL BAT?
Let our bat experts help you out with an immediate answer! For general information about wood types and other helpful resources, click here. Of course, always feel free to email or call for any additional help needed.
HOW DO I MEASURE A BASEBALL BAT?
Hold your arm out and measure from the middle of your chest to the end of your middle finger. This in old-school method but will get the job done. Contact us if you need more help.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD I START SWINGING A WOOD BAT?
If you are big enough to swing an aluminum bat then you are big enough to benefit from a wood bat. A player of any age that learns how to hit with a wood bat will be a better hitter, even when swinging aluminum, than a player who has never used wood.
By swinging wood from an early age, the player develops proper swing form to drive the ball and get on base more often. Away goes the golf-like looping swing that comes from the artificially light metal bats. A properly weighted wood bat doesn't lie -- it give the feedback needed to improve the hitter. That's why many coaches and credible hitting instructors have their kids swing wood in batting practice, in the cage and for lessons.
Because all Phoenix Bats are speced appropriately for the age and specs of the hitter, from youth on up, you are assured that the great lessons that come from wood won't be washed away by unreasonable design and/or weight of the bat, something we have seen especially in competitors' youth bats.
WHEN SHOULD A CHILD MOVE FROM A YOUTH BASEBALL BAT TO A PROFESSIONAL SERIES BASEBALL BAT?
We recommend, for baseball, that a child swings the K240 (new to wood, especially for 9-11 yr olds), K455 (if wood bat experience or 8 or younger), K271 (for the biggest kid) youth bat until the age of 11 or 12. Then the child should transition to the DR100 or DR5S youth bat. The barrel size changes from 2-1/4" to 2-1/2", but the length-to-weight differential only goes from a -8 to a -5. This makes for a smoother transition to a professional series bat a year or two later. By 14 years old, we definitely expect to see a youth swinging one of our pro series baseball bats.
When ready to move up to a professional series bat, go with a -3 bat, which is required by most high school programs. The BB71 is a good choice, as well as it's sister the JK5 (same barrel but with a straighter transition in to the knob from the handle). Also look at the 271HD and 72HD, which offer increased durability, albeit without some of the customization options of the BB71 or JK5. A recommended length is normally 31", but it's available from 30" to 35". For all bats listed, birch for wood choice will give the most all-around forgiveness if new to wood and all-over miss-hits.
WHAT WILL BE THE AVAILABILITY OF ASH BATS DUE TO THE EMERALD ASH BORER?
While there is still ample supply of ash, there will be an increasing impact on ash availability in the next five years. Price will rise accordingly.
HOW DO ASH, BIRCH AND MAPLE COMPARE TO BAMBOO?
While bamboo (a grass) is very durable, it doesn't hit like a wood bat. None are single piece bats. Players who have tested bamboo bats have commented on the lack of pop versus maple and ash. Additionally, bamboo bats are not approved for use in the pros.
WHICH IS BETTER: MAPLE, BIRCH OR ASH?
All three woods actually make great baseball bats, but in different ways.
- If you tend to take balls off the end of the bat a lot, white ash handles such the best. It's also has a little larger hitting area on the barrel. The downside to ash is that it is the "weakest" on the inside mishits and it is the most critical wood to insure that you are hitting on the proper "side" of the bat (see FAQ question above: What "Side" Of The Bat Should I Hit The Ball?")
- Maple is a very dense wood and will drive the ball a little bit better when you really nail the ball squarely. It's also a great choice versus ash if you tend to take balls off the handle or get jammed more often. Where maple doesn't do as well is with the cue ball shots off the end of the barrel.
- Birch, the new comer to wood bats, is a great choice for the player who is all over the place when mishitting. It is closer in hardness to maple (for the inside mishits) but has some of the flex that an ash bat (better for the barrel end mishits).
Not all of our bats are available in all of the woods. Why? Because some bats will be too heavy for the type of wood bat play. We don’t want to see the great lessons that come from wood destroyed by an improperly weighted bat. We’ve selected the best woods for each, with durability and swingability in mind.
Find more information on selecting the best baseball bat.
ARE YOUR BATS BBCOR CERTIFIED?
Yes, in that there is no BBCOR certification required for a single piece wood bat, which is what we proudly offer.
BBCOR standards apply to bamboo bats (a laminated grass, not a wood), metal bats, composite bats (wood, metal, ceramic and others), hybrid bats and other non-wood bats. The standards were designed to force these bats to perform more like a single piece wood bat for greater safety.
At Phoenix, we craft our wood bats from a single piece of maple, ash or birch to meet the standards for every level of play. Most players find that the baseball travels further when hit with their Phoenix wood bat versus their BBCOR bat. And, at a price much more affordable than most non-singe piece wood bats, it’s time to start swinging wood in practice and in games.
If your purchase a Phoenix Bat and the league or umpire challenges its use (clearly, because they don’t understand enough about BBCOR), we’re here to assist: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW WILL WOODEN BATS FOR LITTLE LEAGUE PLAY BE EFFECTED BY THE NEW USA BASEBALL BAT STANDARD?
Solid, one-piece wood bats that adhere to Little League’s regulations will be allowed for play with or without the USA Baseball mark. So, if you have a Phoenix wood youth bat, you are all set! All of our bats are crafted from a single piece of wood. And, our youth bats continue to adhere to Little League regulations.
Multi-piece wood bats (something we don't sell) must have the USA Baseball mark to be approved for play. This includes two-piece wood bats, composite wood bats, laminated wood bats, bonded wood bats, bamboo bats, and any wood bat that could be defined as an ‘experimental’ design.