Best Wooden Baseball Bat

8 Best Wooden Baseball Bats for 2022 and Beyond

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Buying wood baseball bats nowadays is kind of like buying fine wine. You could just grab a bottle off a shelf at the grocery store. But with some knowledge, patience, and experience, the end result could be much more enjoyable. Here, we review the best wooden baseball bat for 2022 and beyond.

It’s a rather formidable task, to dig into the latest models by mainstay bat manufacturers like Louisville Slugger and Rawlings, or by upstarts like Marucci, Victus, or Old Hickory. Additionally, there are many more smaller or independent wood bat makers than manufacturers of metal bats.

It can be difficult to ensure we’ll recommend the very best wood baseball bat right now, because we may not be aware of a special stick somewhere out there. (If you don’t see one mentioned in this article please let us know!).

Nonetheless, we push forward. Here we tap our knowledge, experience with the game, and factors like price, type of wood used, durability, and reputation to offer you what we think is the very best wood baseball bat you can buy for 2022.

Summary

Why Use a Wooden Baseball Bat?

Of course, in most baseball games played today, metal bats are used. These sticks are mostly aluminum, with some hybrids, or models constructed of exotic metals. Not everyone is familiar with using a wood bat. In fact, we venture to say that most baseball fans have never used a wooden bat in a real baseball game.

Wood bats are used in Major League Baseball and its minor leagues, and in some wood-only adult recreational leagues. The reason is, that’s how original baseball was made to be played, with wood bats; and for the safety of defensive players. Baseballs fly off metal bats much faster than off wood and the pitcher is only about 55 feet away after releasing a pitch.

Damaged wood bat (Photo courtesy of Gus Ruiz)

The only reason other leagues (e.g. youth and college) use metal bats is for cost-savings, because wood bats can break.

Finally, some players just love the feel and sound of the ball onto wood. Private adult wood-only leagues have surfaced across America in recent years. Many adults have never played real baseball with wood bats, and those that finally did learned they dig it.

How to Choose a Wood Baseball Bat

Professional baseball players are keen to know their favored weights, lengths, barrel and handle thickness, and even finish of their bats. For young or leisure players, the keys are in order, weight, and length.

Too often, young players lean toward bats that are too heavy, thinking the excess weight will add power. Not so.

It’s bat speed (plus strength especially in the legs and torso/core) that provides power. Players can hit better with lighter bats, and if they’re worried about plate coverage, stand closer to the plate. That last part is a challenge for young players who fight with fear of fast pitches.

Really, it’s the feel and comfort of a bat per each individual hitter. Some hitters want thicker handles, maybe for control, or very thin handles to better snap the bat to create more torque and therefore maybe more power.

Some players prefer to tape the handles, others do not. Some like thicker barrels, or barrels that are cupped at the end to reduce weight a bit, or nicely finished bats. Some players even prefer bats based on how they look. Hey, in baseball, appearance can count!

Top Wooden Baseball Bats: Our Choices

1. Best Wooden Bat Overall ~ Marucci AP5 Pro Model Maple Wood bat

Analysis

The brand most commonly used by Major League hitters in 2019, 2020, and 2021, at 28.83%, Marucci hit a home run with its AP5 Pro Model Maple Wood Bat (see Amazon). While non-pro users aren’t as widespread as with established brands, those who use Marucci wood bats are quite pleased with the performance.

Details

  • Price Range: Mid-level
  • Albert Pujols Pro Model
  • First Available: May 2019

What We Like

  • Trust by Major League Baseball players
  • Hand craftsmanship
  • Mid-range pricing for the quality
  • Consistency in quality throughout line

Not So Much

  • Short history

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2. Best Wooden Baseball Bat for Balance ~ Mizuno Maple Elite Baseball Bat – MZM 110

Analysis

While Mizuno is not favored by pro players much any more (at least recently), non-pro baseballers are using this model ~ and reporting quite favorably. With a few notable features, we believe the Mizuno Maple Elite Baseball Bat to be a very solid wood bat at the high end of the mid-range in pricing.

Details

  • First Available: August 2016
  • Ranked 17th in use by Major League hitters in 2021 (less than 1%)

What We Like

  • Very hard, lightweight, quality maple wood, yet well-designed for balance
  • Bigger barrel than previous models
  • Mizuno-exclusive supra-helix grip
  • Cupped end for lighter swing weight

Not So Much

  • Pro-level pricing, without the pros backing it.

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3. Best Wooden Baseball Bat for the Price: Rawlings Sporting Goods Adirondack Ash Wood Bat

Analysis

At this price range we’re not surprised by the number of non-pro users, based on online sales. Rawlings burns a quality, well-established name brand onto the large barrel of over 2.5 inches, and over recent years users have provided for the most part positive reviews of the Adirondack Ash Wood Bat.

Details

  • First Available: May 2015
  • Pricing: Low range
  • Sizes: from 31-34 inches length; 28-31 oz.

What We Like

  • Trusted brand name
  • High-quality ash wood
  • Low price range

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4. Best Wooden Baseball Bat for Material ~ Mizuno 340462 Bamboo Elite Classic MZE 271

Analysis

While we try to avoid touting one brand too much, the Mizuno 340462 Bamboo Elite Classic MZE 271 Baseball Bat offers too much to ignore. The favorable pricing, at the high end of the low range, and very favorable reviews keep this wood stick among our faves.

Details

  • First Available: ‎August 2017
  • Price: High end of low price range

What We Like

  • Glass fiber wrapped into handle with tapering for a stronger overall bat.
  • Premium look with a rich matte finish.
  • Handle sanded to improve grip and feel.
  • Overall, reinforced with bamboo and glass fiber materials for exotic strength.

Not So Much

  • Overall sales are not impressive.

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5. Best Wooden Baseball Bat for Youth Play ~ Louisville Slugger 2020 Youth Genuine Ash 125 Baseball Bat

Analysis

There is much to like about the 2020 Youth Genuine Ash 125 baseball bat by Louisville Slugger, from its use of classic ash wood to its low price. The wood is strong for durability yet light enough, flexible, and has an above-average sweet spot in that barrel.

Features

  • First Available: April 2019
  • Price: Low price range

What We Like

  • Cupped end to further reduce weight
  • Solid yet lightweight ash wood
  • Low price

Not So Much

  • A vanilla bat without frills, but maybe that’s what’s needed to keep that price point.

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6. Best Wooden Baseball Bat for Beginners ~ Barnett BB-W Wooden Baseball Bat

Analysis

The sheer amount of user reviews, delivering very solid ratings, says much about the BB-W Wooden Baseball Bat by Barnett. It’s not exactly a household name in baseball gear, but this masterpiece of composite wood is strong and durable enough for those just starting to play baseball.

Details

  • First Available: April 2012
  • Price: Low price range

What We Like

  • Low pricing
  • Composite wood construction
  • Years of production means the product is dependable

Not So Much

  • Limit in length sizes
  • Aimed mostly for training, not game play

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7. Best Wooden Baseball bat for the Finish ~ Louisville Slugger Prime Warrior – Maple U47 Wood Baseball Bat

Analysis

It seems everything with the Louisville Slugger Prime Warrior – Maple U47 Wood Baseball Bat aims squarely on the hardness of the wood, from the shiny finish down to the bone-rubbing(!) at the end. The trouble here is the high pricing, which means players must trust that hardness will deliver results.

Details

  • First Available: July 2020
  • Price: High price range
  • Redesigned end-cup to protect against cracking or chipping

What We Like

  • Bone-rubbing for finish (or maybe luck a la Wade Boggs)
  • Unique knob taper aimed at improving feel in the hands
  • Very high-gloss finish for appearance and, hopefully, hardness

Not So Much

  • High pricing

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8. Best Wooden Baseball bat for Entertainment ~ smart-hormarket Solid Wood Baseball Bat

Analysis

Not all bats are made just for baseball play. The Solid Wood Baseball Bat by smart-hormarket is unabashedly marketed for costume play, costume parties, carnivals, birthday celebrations and more. What’s amazing is this prop bat ranks among the top 100 of all bats sold on Amazon!

Details

  • First Available: June 2021
  • Price: Mid price range

What We Like

  • Simplicity in construction
  • Looks kind of cool
  • “Good Night” burned in large lettering across the barrel! (“covered with protective oil layer, won’t wear off easily.”)

Not So Much

  • Price seems high for what it’s used for

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Honorable Mentions

That baseball manufacturers like Victus and Old Hickory were the second- and fourth-most common sticks used by Major League Baseball players the past year indicates that the wooden bat market is probably wide open at this point. At least 34 bat manufacturers were approved for MLB use in 2021, then only 24 were actually used on opening day.

Who is Victus, used by 18.36% of big leaguers? Or Old Hickory, which produces the bats favored by 11.33% of the top-level pro players. These are brands to keep an eye on in coming years. Some details:

Victus

Pro models are $220; others $140

MLB starters who used Victus bats: Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Bryce Harper.

Old Hickory

Models cost $100 to $170

MLB starters who used Old Hickory bats: Mike Trout, Trevor Story, Nolan Arenado, and Charlie Blackmon.

Costs of Wooden Bats

Generally, a single quality wood bat costs from $75 to $185. Major and minor league teams might get group discounts for bulk purchases to drop single-bat prices to the $40 to $60 range.

In the MLB, some players can use up to 100 bats in a season, whether due to breakage, or they just don’t like the performance or feel of a certain bat. (Sometimes they give them away to fans, too, maybe handing them off into the stands).

Some MLB players only need a few bats all season, like 4 to 6 of them. Still, so the math according to the single-bat cost estimates above, and you get the idea why college teams stick with metal. College baseball is said to be the equivalent of AAA minor league ball, which means pitchers throwing hard inside.

That is what breaks wooden bats most often, fast inside pitches that crack the thin handle. Sometimes, especially if a bat is worn out or just defective deep inside (not all trees are perfect inside), wooden bats might break if the pitched ball strikes the very end.

Who Provides MLB Bats?

Some MLB players might purchase their own bats, but most have endorsement deals with manufacturers who provide bats to a player’s specifications in batches. Clubs also might provide some bats for each player.

In the minor leagues, clubs might buy players 1 or 2 wooden bats, and they might not be at the quality level of those used in the majors. Those bush leaguers who want top quality must purchase their own.

What Bats are Preferred for MLB Players?

Louisville Slugger reported recently that over 70% of MLB players prefer maple bats, which can seem to be more solid with a more stiff feel upon bat-on-ball, but the wood can tend to carry a little more weight.

Years ago, all MLB bats came from ash. This type of wood is lighter and more flexible (all bats bend upon striking a pitched ball. Yes, even metal bats). Ash, however, tends to dry faster which leads to breakage.

Some players now use birch bats which more players, including Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles, favor. Birch is soft and can be dented, but it’s flexible and more durable.

See Also:
Does Minor League Baseball Have a World Series?
Top 10 Biggest Comeback in MLB History ( With Videos)
Can Composite Bats be Stored in Cold Weather?
Why Don’t Walks and Sacrifice Bunts Count as At Bats?