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Periodically we try to provide information especially fit for coaches, and the topic today is one we get asked about quite often so we really want to dig deep into it: What is the best fungo bat for baseball? Does it matter?
To answer the latter, yes, it does matter which brand or type of fungo bat a coach uses, not just for performance, but also durability.
Remember that this is a tool, with a very long and thin handle, that will strike hard objects with force over and over and over. It needs to have the ability to take a beating, so to speak.
In answering the former, we provide the following, the result of a lot of research into the top fungo bats available today. We offer details, insight, and of course recommendations on each. Hopefully, this will help in the decision-making process ~ and eventually on the diamond.
- The Louisville Slugger K100 Ash Wood Fungo Bat tops our list for a number of reasons, among them affordability considering the great quality.
- For design elements based on suggestions from the pro players, look into the Marucci MTRBFA Aluminum Fungo Bat, and notice things like the anti-vibration handle.
- We like a lot with the SSK Z9 Professional Edge Comp Coaches Fungo Bats, especially how the model is handcrafted from special Japanese Magnolia Obovata Wood.
- The Easton F4 Fungo Training Bat is quite durable with an alloy design, and we appreciate the ease of swinging with a super-thin handle and tapered grip.
- The BambooBat by Pinnacle Sports Equipment is the only all-bamboo stick on our list, and we really like how the manufacturer made this a composite by mixing different types of the large grass.
- The Rawlings Fungo Composite Wood Bat provides an excellent mix of the light and flexible bamboo, with hard maple for the barrel, for a distinct feel on impact.
A fungo is a type of baseball bat specially designed to help coaches to execute defensive drills, namely for infield and outfield training.
Officially known as fungo bats, these baseball-specific tools are usually made of a hard wood like birch, and are longer and much lighter than regular baseball bats.
Fungo bats are recognizable by their distinct look: like that of a bottle stuck upside-down atop a broomstick. These bats have thinner and smaller barrels than standard bats, and have a much longer handle.
These coaches’ bats are not designed to hit baseballs thrown as pitches, or even really to hit off a tee. They are made to hit baseballs tossed by the hitter to himself to strike in mid-air.
The unusual design aims to make it easier for coaches to generate power with the swing, which is lacking from the ball not being pitched fast.
There are some commonalities with almost all fungo bats:
- They are lightweight to allow coaches to hit baseballs over and over again, without fatiguing. If necessary they can be swung with a single hand (albeit usually with a lot of choking up on the handle).
- Fungo bats are long ~ most often 35 to 37 inches in length. (The average regular baseball bat in Major League Baseball is between 33 and 34.5 inches in length).
When we say light, we mean it. Their drop weight, for instance, can be as large as -15 (most veteran parents of baseball or softball players know what this means) ~ or 22 to 24 ounces (compared with pro hitting models that are around 30 ounces and up).
Most fungo bats used today are made of wood. Reasons can vary, but we can just say this is always how it’s been. We assume because fungoes are used really only at the higher levels of baseball play, where wood bats are used exclusively, so coaches prefer to mimic the sound off bats the players are used to.
Coaches use fungo bats to simulate real hits in baseball games. Some coaches are so insistent on this that if their league uses metal bats, then they would use a metal fungo so it at least sounds like hits in their games.
A lot of fungo bat training is for defenders to get accustomed to a situation, such as identifying a long drive, or a line drive. To do so, most good baseball defensive players start with the sound off the bat. The louder the crack, the faster or farther the ball will probably be traveling.
So if defenders are used to balls flying faster off metal bats in games, compared with wood, using a wood fungo bat for them could throw them off in terms of the sound, and velocity of the hit balls.
Going into the process to research and buy a fungo bat, here are the most common features or elements that coaches look for:
- Weight is probably number one. Because striking practice balls does not command the timing of hitting a pitched ball, the bat can be very light. The length of it can provide some pop if needed, but in reality coaches want a fungo as light as they can get away with due to the potential to fatigue.
- The length is not as important except maybe for coaches who in real life have little power and struggle to hit long drives into the gaps for players to practice on. Lengthier fungos can help in that area.
- Grip. Remember these tools are used in repetitive fashion, often with sweaty and/or dirty hands. If the grip is not comfortable, or looks like it won’t last, coaches are likely to move on.
- Will the bat last? Durability is important because as stated these bats take a beating with all the hitting. The brand of fungo bats can say much about the trustworthiness of a fungo bat model. Experiment with new or unknown brands at your own peril.
With that, let’s take a look at what we found in the world of fungo bats!
1. Best Fungo Bat for Baseball Overall ~ Louisville Slugger K100 Ash Wood Fungo Bat
There is so much to like about the Louisville Slugger K100 Ash Wood Fungo Bat, we wonder where to start. Well, let us start with the lowest pricing of any of the top bats on this list. Not that cost should always be a primary consideration, but it’s amazing that LS packed this much quality at that price point.
In an era where bat manufacturers experiment often with newfangled metal materials and exotic exterior designs, Louisville Slugger goes straight plain-wrap with the K100 fungo bat. A natural finish over the high-quality Northern Ash Wood, stamped with a big manufacturer’s logo, is all that’s needed on this fungo bat that executes and lasts.
- Weight: 1.8 lbs.
- Length: 36 inches
- Material(s): Northern White Ash wood exterior, foam core
- Special Feature: End-weight design
What We Like
- Brand, track record, and the most positive user reviews we could find
- Classic no-frills natural finish over performance-grade Northern White Ash wood
- Affordable pricing
2. Best Fungo Bat for Baseball Professionals ~ Marucci MTRBFA Aluminum Fungo Bat
To go with a brand that provides the most bats for Major League Baseball hitters, see the Marucci MTRBFA Aluminum Fungo Bat. Marucci has been making baseball bats only since 2003, but already an estimated 40% of MLB players use bat models under the brand name.
What sets this fungo bat apart that also sets regular Marucci bats apart is design based on input from respected users, that is, MLB players. That’s how the company relatively quickly surpassed Louisville Slugger as the preferred manufacturer of bats for the top-level pros.
For details, notice the patented AV2 anti-vibration knob, professionally inspired handle, ergonomically designed knob shape, and micro-perforated soft-touch grip. The 1-piece aluminum alloy construction is built to be durable.
- Weight: 22 oz.
- Length: 35 inches
- Material(s): Alloy
- Special Feature: Anti-vibration knob
What We Like
- Handle and knob design for comfort
- 1-piece design for durability
- 1 year manufacturers warranty
3. Best Fungo Bat for Baseball for the Wood ~ SSK Z9 Professional Edge Comp Coaches Wood Fungo Bat
There is much to like about the SSK Z9 Professional Edge Comp Coaches Fungo Bats, which the company offers in 3 sizes. That they are handcrafted in Japan and are available in over 22 color schemes is good to know. Even more important is to notice the special Japanese wood used in its manufacture.
The Japanese Magnolia Obovata Wood is known for being super lightweight, yet durable. Some reviewers comment that this bat will show indentions where balls struck it, indicating softness, yet they do not break. That sounds like a really special design.
The “comp” in the model name is for composition, which in this case means 2-piece including the hard maple barrel. For length, the shorter 33-inch is for youth baseball, the 35-inch is the standard used by most coaches, and the 37-inch is for hitting long bombs.
- Weight: Varies per length
- Length: 33, 35, or 37 inches
- Material(s): Hard maple barrel on a Japanese Magnolia Obovata Wood
- Special Feature: More than 22 colors to choose from
What We Like
- Great options for colors
- 60-day warranty
4. Best Fungo Bat for Baseball for Ease of Swinging ~ Easton F4 Fungo Training Bat
It would hardly be a review of the top baseball bats without an Easton entry. So here we suggest the Easton F4 Fungo Training Bat and its durable alloy design along with a super-thin handle and pro tapered grip. It just looks and feels like it means business.
Easton is known to test its bat models extensively, and we have to believe it was no different for the F4 fungo. A special end-weight design along with the thin handle seem to accelerate swings and make using this fungo bat very easy.
Coaches can ping away for hours with the lightweight 1-piece aluminum construction, and have trust in the Easton brand name that this bat will last quite a while.
- Weight: 22 oz.
- Length: 35 inches
- Material(s): 1-piece aluminum bat with polyurethane grip
- Special Feature: Thin handle and pro-tapered grip
What We Like
- Ease of swinging, end-weight design
- Lightweight aluminum
- 1 year manufacturer’s limited warranty
5. Best Fungo Bat for Baseball from Unique Material ~ BambooBat by Pinnacle Sports Equipment
The Bamboobat by Pinnacle Sports Equipment is a fine entrant in our list of best fungo bats, namely for how the company engineered a different type of grass into the product. That’s right, we said grass, as bamboo is a type of grass and not a tree.
As such, bamboo material is naturally designed for flexibility, which is a good thing with non-metal baseball bats. People don’t understand that every bat, regardless of what it’s made of bends at least a little upon impact with a fast-moving baseball.
Bamboo gives these fungo bats that much more pliable than unforgiving hard wood or metal. That Pinnacle Sports chose to use a composite blend of bamboo types indicates these bats are stronger than might first meet the eye. The 34-inch model is for youth baseball usage, the 37-incher for high school and above.
- Weight: 21.5 oz.
- Length: 34 and 37 inches
- Material(s): Bamboo composite
- Special Feature: Use of special proprietary mix of different types of bamboo
What We Like
- Strength of bamboo as a type (the largest, in fact) of grass
- 100-day warranty
6. Best Composite Fungo Bat for Baseball ~ Rawlings Fungo Composite Wood Bat
Not to leave the model above alone in the bamboo bat world, take a peek at the Rawlings Fungo Composite Wood Bat and now the well-established manufacturer blends the large grass material (bamboo) with hard maple for the barrel.
That Rawlings combined the strength of maple with the light-weightedness of bamboo is no surprise, as the company has experimented over many decades with newfangled technology for baseball equipment. It’s no different with its Fungo Composite.
An element we especially like is how very light this fungo bat is, at 19 ounces, while still long at 36 inches. This is not always possible to pull off with fungo bats, at least for models that last. This tells us Rawlings is confident in this model for use by coaches for many, many practice sessions.
- Weight: 19 oz.
- Length: 36 inches
- Material(s): Bamboo and maple wood composite
- Special Feature: Maple and bamboo construction
What We Like
- Lightweight design
- Tough and durable
- 90-day manufacturer’s warranty