Save an Arm: Swing a Wood Bat

There is help on the horizon for all those sore arms in High School and Summer Leagues. It’s the ever expanding support for a shift back to wood bats or bats that are made to respond in the same manner as wood.

I’ve heard the argument that if we just develop more pitcher’s to spread out the workload, then it doesn’t matter what the bat is made of, we can reduce injuries. Well, that’s not happening period. Pitching is a highly competitive position and the most effective pitchers will always command the most innings. The better you are the more at risk you are for overuse.

A simple return to the wood bat has shown evidence of the following:

  1. It is more challenging to square the ball up and get a hit.
  2. The sweet spots are smaller and the ball comes off the bat slower.
  3. Base hits off the handle or the end of the bat are diminished.
  4. The average 8 and 9 hitter will not be slamming home runs anymore.
  5. Last year’s BBCOR college hitting stats according to NCAA Div 1 have scoring at a reduced 5.58 runs per game. The first time below 6 per game since 1977.
  6. Home runs were nearly cut in half at .52 per game last season compared to .94 in 2010.
  7. Overall batting average was down to .282 as compared to .305 the year before.
  8. Lineups will not feature power hitting.
  9. Earned Run Average: was 4.70 last year. The last time it was lower was 4.59 in 1980.

Pitchers are going to have the opportunity to go longer into the game with the same pitch limits, throw fewer pitches per game, throw fewer pitches per inning, reduce their walk ratio by attacking the strike zone instead of nibbling on a squeezed strike zone. In short pitchers will be taking back some of the ground they gave up when they had to go up against those dangerously wicked voodoo monster screaming latest high tech lightning bats.

Back to small ball and tradition.

That’ll be nice to see. But I still think its going to be a while yet.

I hated pitching in College and giving up shots that were off the ends of the bat, or to a number 9 hitter who got jammed but still managed to get it out.

I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I went into a collegiate summer league and was actually breaking bats and getting guys out all because the league was wood and it proved just how big of a difference wood makes when compared to aluminium.

Wales I know how it is, the harder throwing pitchers get penalized the most too, last summer the only dinger hit on my kid was a really hard fastball that the batter just stuck the bat out there, didn’t finish the swing and there it went. Maybe pitching will return to being an art from instead or just throwing and hope it doesn’t go over the fence because of the bat.

It’d be nice for it to return to that at the lower levels.

I can remember when I was in HS maybe as a sophomore, we were having practice and I was throwing BP and a buddy of mine stood in the box and just held the bat out level across the zone and he wanted me to throw at the bat just to see how far the ball would bounce off and it came halfway back to the mound. It’s incredible what happens with aluminium.

[quote=“Wales Diesel”]It’d be nice for it to return to that at the lower levels.

I can remember when I was in HS maybe as a sophomore, we were having practice and I was throwing BP and a buddy of mine stood in the box and just held the bat out level across the zone and he wanted me to throw at the bat just to see how far the ball would bounce off and it came halfway back to the mound. It’s incredible what happens with aluminium.[/quote]

What people never seemed to get, and obviously many still don’t, is that the bats only got as hot as the customers wanted. I can’t tell you how many times I came across dads really angry because it was so dangerous for their kid, but if you pursue the matter, you find out they buy their kid the hottest bat they can afford for when he was hitting.

It’ll really be nice after a year or so under the new standard, to get back to worrying about baseball rather than what bat to buy the kid. :wink:

I don’t know…just how much lower levels are you talking about?

Baseball (along with a lot of other sports) now has to compete with the XBOX/PS3 and such. Getting thrown out due to weak hits to the infield isn’t much fun…much better to just stay home and play Modern Warfare.

[quote=“scorekeeper”]

What people never seemed to get, and obviously many still don’t, is that the bats only got as hot as the customers wanted. I can’t tell you how many times I came across dads really angry because it was so dangerous for their kid, but if you pursue the matter, you find out they buy their kid the hottest bat they can afford for when he was hitting.

It’ll really be nice after a year or so under the new standard, to get back to worrying about baseball rather than what bat to buy the kid. ;)[/quote]

Ditto. I actually purchased my son some 31.5/28 wooden bats to use this year for LL. I can see some parents being scared of their kid being hurt when he is hitting with the 32/23 Techzilla, and for good reason. I throw BP from 60’ for the very same reason. I wouldn’t pitch to him from 46.5’ without having a screen in front of me and the sense to duck on anything hit up the middle.

[quote=“SomeBaseballDad”]…I don’t know…just how much lower levels are you talking about?

Baseball (along with a lot of other sports) now has to compete with the XBOX/PS3 and such. Getting thrown out due to weak hits to the infield isn’t much fun…much better to just stay home and play Modern Warfare.[/quote]

Lower levels being HS and below, look at LL for example and how many kids hit a ball off the end of the bat and it goes over the fence.

Yes unfortunately Baseball and other sports have to compete with video games nowadays it’s sad. I remember listening to a radio show and the guy being interviewed was talking about how he was out for a walk and saw two children talking about what they wanted to play, hockey or football so the man decided he was going to wait and see what they decided and watch a little because it reminded him of when he was a kid. He said next thing he knew the kids were gone and had went inside to play a video game. It really is sad that that’s the world these kids are growing up in.

That’s a great talking point, but I wonder how many HRs at any level with any bat were “hit off the end of the bat” or as may have also opined, “off the handle”.

As much as people may want to believe otherwise, in order to propel a baseball a specific distance, no matter what the material, a minimum bat mass and velocity are required. Now it may take less mass or velocity depending on the material, but its not like you can lay a bat on the ground and have it generate a HR by simply setting a ball on top of it.

The truth is, its nearly impossible for the human senses to determine where on the bat a ball was struck, or the velocity of that bat at impact, so how many times one of these “unworthy” HRs has really been hit is really unknown.

A big reason video games have become so pervasive in relation to sports is, its increasingly more difficult to get the minimum number of players together to play a given sport. FI, compared to 60 years ago, how many parents would allow their unsupervised child to go up to a mile away to play baseball? Heck, many of my friends and I used to do that nearly every day, but with all the hazards out here now-a-days, I doubt nearly as many parents would even entertain the idea.

Besides, even one kid can play a game of baseball against the computer or on line against someone he doesn’t even know, even though e may not have the physical tools to play the game for real. Not only can he bat, he can also be the big hero pitcher, something a much wiser coach would never let him do.

[quote]That’s a great talking point, but I wonder how many HRs at any level with any bat were “hit off the end of the bat” or as may have also opined, “off the handle”.

As much as people may want to believe otherwise, in order to propel a baseball a specific distance, no matter what the material, a minimum bat mass and velocity are required. Now it may take less mass or velocity depending on the material, but its not like you can lay a bat on the ground and have it generate a HR by simply setting a ball on top of it.

The truth is, its nearly impossible for the human senses to determine where on the bat a ball was struck, or the velocity of that bat at impact, so how many times one of these “unworthy” HRs has really been hit is really unknown.[/quote]

Seriously? While the exact numbers aren’t known, juiced bats surely accounted for alot of offcentered home runs. New bat regulations are a good thing and like it or not they are here to stay.

I have to agree with Wales, how many times have you watched the LL world series and seen a kid stick the bat out against a hard throwing pitcher and there goes the ball, over the fence. The kid is instantly a hero. Nope, the bat is the hero. Whether he squared it up, or hit it off the end, doesn’t matter, the juiced bats were built in high dollar factories for high dollar corporations, so “Daddy” could ensure that his kid can hit the ball just as good as the current stud.

We always discuss pitching mechanics, however, hitting mechanics are just as important, especially with the new bat regs.
A return to wooden bats would be ideal and bring the game back to where it should be.
Lets face it the video game kids are going to be video game kids. The athletes are going to play the game. Maybe it’s time that the herd of kids got thinned out and separated anyway. Baseball is in need of a return to its roots, where talent prevails. Should all kids have the opportunity to pay baseball, YES. Should all kids have the opportunity to play at the same level, NO.

This…right here is the issue…Americans are the greatest people because they, as a people have always been able to come together and overcome obstacles of whatever height…because we could be free to associate without fear…this included and perhaps most importantly, our kids “going out, and playing”…this is what is robbed today…our kids being able to go to a yard, size it up and through shear self determination, get out there and participate…nobodies “mom” to make someone let them in…nope…have enough courage…you could do it…The Bambino honed his skills at his school (Juvie detention it’s called today) on the yard…and generations of kids dreamed.
We need to go back to swift public execution and torture for crimes against kids…make it safe to go that mile Scorekeeper mentioned…and acceptable to allow it again.

Well said JD

fixing

I have to admit being a seriously liberal guy, but as liberal as I may be, I also have to admit that for crimes against kids, I’d be the 1st one in line to vote for any and all of the most hideous retributions the human mind could come up as punishment.

I don’t think I could be more disgusted and completely sick and tired of the things so many depraved people do to children, and are not only allowed to get away with them but a justice system that’s totally out of whack, but are accepted as being ok by a frighteningly larger and larger portion of society.

Sorry to go off on things outside of baseball, but this is a subject tied to every phase of life today, and it honestly frightens many old folks like myself. :frowning:

I never said many bats didn’t account for many HRs that wouldn’t have been HRs with wood or one of the BBCOR bats, and I darn sure didn’t say or even imply that BBCOR wasn’t the best thing to happen to the amateur game in the last 40 years!

What I was trying to get across was, I seriously doubt that nearly as many HRs were hit by what can be described as “poor or weak contact and low bat speed” as people make out.

I’ve never in my life seen a kid simply stick out the bat, even against the hardest thrower, and hit a HR, and I seriously doubt you, Wales, or anyone else has either. That’s pure, unadulterated hyperbole, borne out of frustration with what is perceived as kids being undeservedly rewarded.

Is it possible that bat construction made it a lot easier to hit a ball the distances necessary to go over the fence? You bet! And that happened because of consumer demand, not because bat manufacturers are inherently evil!

Of course they’re important, but making out as though the BBCOR bats make it next to impossible to get hits or even HRs is using hyperbole in the exact opposite way it was before. The game has not changed dramatically! A hitter has always had to be able to put the bat in the path of the ball at the right time, no matter if it was broomstick or the hottest composite to hit the market.

[quote]A return to wooden bats would be ideal and bring the game back to where it should be.
Lets face it the video game kids are going to be video game kids. The athletes are going to play the game. Maybe it’s time that the herd of kids got thinned out and separated anyway. Baseball is in need of a return to its roots, where talent prevails. Should all kids have the opportunity to pay baseball, YES. Should all kids have the opportunity to play at the same level, NO.[/quote]

Where is it written that where you feel the game should be is the right place for it? Why not give the new bat standards the chance to either prove themselves one way or the other? There is a growing number of people who used the new bats last year hated them, who are now singing their praises. Give them a chance and even you may find the new bats are quite satisfactory. :wink:

[quote]I never said many bats didn’t account for many HRs that wouldn’t have been HRs with wood or one of the BBCOR bats, and I darn sure didn’t say or even imply that BBCOR wasn’t the best thing to happen to the amateur game in the last 40 years!

What I was trying to get across was, I seriously doubt that nearly as many HRs were hit by what can be described as “poor or weak contact and low bat speed” as people make out.
[/quote]

You may doubt it, but that’s your opinion. My opinion is that juiced bats, composites, “trampoline effect” built into the bats, all made it alot easier to hit longer without centering the hit. That is in itself the marketing hook used by bat manunfacturers advertising a "larger sweet spot."
By the way I’m all for BBCOR and do agree it’s the best thing to happen in a long time. I’d personally like to see a return to wood.

[quote]I’ve never in my life seen a kid simply stick out the bat, even against the hardest thrower, and hit a HR, and I seriously doubt you, Wales, or anyone else has either. That’s pure, unadulterated hyperbole, borne out of frustration with what is perceived as kids being undeservedly rewarded.

Is it possible that bat construction made it a lot easier to hit a ball the distances necessary to go over the fence? You bet! And that happened because of consumer demand, not because bat manufacturers are inherently evil!
[/quote]

Your right, I’ve never seen a kid stick a bat out and hit a home run in the literal sense. I have seen pretty weak, ugly swings crush baseballs. And yes that is frustation. Frustration that kids get $400 bats designed to crush baseballs and never learn the proper way to swing them.
Are bat manufacturers evil? Of course not, they’re making a buck like the rest of us.

Where did you get the implication that I think BBCOR makes it next to impossible to get hit or even HRs. My own kid uses BBCOR in HS and has hit 3 homers this year, along with a .389 batting average. He is also a pitcher and I am in full support of BBCOR.

What?? My opinion is just that. An opinion. Where the H### is it written that I shouldn’t have an opinion?

[quote=“Turn 22”]You may doubt it, but that’s your opinion. My opinion is that juiced bats, composites, “trampoline effect” built into the bats, all made it alot easier to hit longer without centering the hit. That is in itself the marketing hook used by bat manunfacturers advertising a "larger sweet spot."
By the way I’m all for BBCOR and do agree it’s the best thing to happen in a long time. I’d personally like to see a return to wood. [/quote]

Correct, that’s my opinion. But having been around the game for more than 60 years now, I KNOW, not OPINE but KNOW that more often than not, perception of what’s taken place is much mistaken. :wink:

Didn’t mean to imply that you thought one way or the other about BBCOR. I was making a general statement.

You can and should have an opinion, and just like you’re challenging mine, I’m challenging yours.

I believe, in this case, we are going to have to agree to disagree. That’s not my opinion, but fact. :slight_smile: