MLB: Going to Aluminum Bats

Well not really…but

USA Baseball on behalf of the following organizations has released the following statement:

  1. American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC)
  2. American Legion Baseball
  3. Dixie Baseball
  4. Little League Baseball, Inc.
  5. Babe Ruth Baseball
  6. PONY Baseball
  7. National Amateur Baseball Federation (NABF)
  8. National Baseball Congress / Hap Dumont Baseball
  9. Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)
  10. United States Sports Specialties Association (USSSA)
  11. National Police Athletic League (PAL)
  12. T-Ball USA

click on link

My question to you is twofold:

As a pitcher do you believe (as USA Baseball and the rest by proxy) that aluminum bats are no more dangerous than wood; balls come off both bats at the same rate; injuries are no more severe from aluminum and you are at no more a risk from a batter with an aluminum bat than wood?

If so, aesthetics and purism aside, would you be in favor of MLB going to aluminum for the sake of consistency across the entire range of baseball?

just wait wood bats dont hit it as far as alluminum.

I would say that there isn’t enough data to be conclusive, but it is good news if true that the frequency of catastophic injury is that low.

On the other hand, BESR measures the rebound of the ball from the bat and moment of inertia, but does nothing to address the whip action of a swung bat on a ball. I wouldn’t trust the moment of inertia test to determine the effect of large muscles acting on a long metal rod. All they do is drop the bat and let gravity determine its acceleration. This wouldn’t appear to accurately mimic the act of swinging a bat.

The difference between non-wood bats today is primarily the ability of the bat handle to deform and then rebound into the ball with force in addition to the force applied by the batter alone. BESR doesn’t address this, and thus is a poor barometer of the relative dangers posed by metal v. wood bats.

In my experience there are few kids of Little League age that are capable of causing much deformity (known as deflection) of even the most expensive bat. Balancing this, however, the aluminums are easier to swing and thus should be easier for kids to find the sweet spot more often…which means the ball coming off the bat hot on a more consistent basis than with wood.

As the players get older and stronger, bat deflection becomes more likely. By the time you get to the Majors, even maple bats can be seen to deflect in stop-motion pics. Just imagine Barry Bonds with a Stealth. No way.

Lastly, I predict that the Majors will never go to aluminum. They hate asterisks, and every record has been made using wood.

You’ve addressed some excellent points:

Why is it that the collection of minds repersented by USA Baseball and all the other organizations fail to address these issues?

Whip action
Poor testing model
trampoline effect
larger sweet spot

Is this the best all these organizations can do? Little League just signed a 30.1 million dollar television contract with ESPN. Couldn’t some of that money be used to study this properly? Or are they afraid of the ramifications of such a study? There’s more than one reason MLB would never go to an aluminum bat. I don’t think you’d find a pitcher willing to stand 60’6" away and throw the first pitch.

Partial quote from USA Baseball statement: