HOW TO CHOOSE A BAT FOR A LITTLE LEAGUER
So many options, where do you start? I wanted to provide a simple guide through my experience of shopping for the right little league bat for my sons. I have been buying different bats for my boys for the past 2 years. They are all under 9 years old so I thought would share my views to save you some time and money, not to mention explain that every child is different so it really depends on their height, weight, strength and where they are in the skill cycle for little leaguers as it changes so fast month to month and year over year. First bat we bought was a tee ball bat. Great 25 inch light weight and awesome when hitting off a tee with soft balls. Mistake number one was hitting hard balls with it! That day it went right in the recycle bin, dents everywhere. So I guess the big one was ready for a real bat. Onto mistake number two. Well this one was tough to avoid since I bought a great bat 28 inches, 15 ounces. Light for him to swing and long enough to reach the outside corner pitches. He was swinging this one really well and making solid contact. Oh well that bat turned out to not be regulation and the Little League Association change bat weight maximum changed to 11 ounces less than the length of the bat for that size bat. I will refer to this later as “bat drop or just drop”. For example, a 28 inch bat that weighs 17 ounces is a drop -11. Next, I went for value since I figured he was seven and why did he need a fancy bat. Bought a sub $50 Easton bat. Too thin a barrel, too long and too heavy at 18 oz for a seven year old tall enough. This one was no good from the start. Stinging hands, not enough bat speed, etc. Ok, now was on a mission to a good one since he was ready for travel ball and needed a larger barrel.Hastily I got a Rawlings bat on sale that was 28 inches and 20 ounces. He did well with it because he was getting stronger but still not there as far it feeling right for him, a little on the heavy side. Then I heard about composite bats. Sounds amazing! Here we go again and who is counting but mistake number five?? So I wanted it to last him a few years so I “invested” in a 31 inch drop 12, 19 ounce bat. What?? They said drop 11 was the max? Apparently with longer lengths you can drop 12 ounces below length. Too long and he had to choke up. He did ok but this one is in the closet waiting for him to grow another 6 to 12 inches since I spent +$100. Here we are and its 2019 pre-season, new start, new season. I read all winter on how to measure him, use the method of putting bat in middle of chest and if he can reach end of barrel its ok. Is the bat past his waist when you stand it up on the ground with is cleats on? You can click the link below from baseballmonkey.com but I will give you what I think is the best option when sizing up your kid. Remember the bat drop will have to do with how strong your child is because the heavier the bat the more inertia he will generate if he can swing it. The downside is is your child is not strong enough he will need a lighter bat as bat speed in my opinion is more important. For his size and weight 4 feet 5 inches tall and 60+ pounds (based on my quick easy chart below) I went with a 29 inch drop 11 (18 ounce) Rawlings 5150 bat. Finally! this one feels right! He is loving it and it is working well. This inspired me to get the same bat for my middle in a 28 inch drop 11 (17 ounces) since he about 4 feet 3 inches but only 50+ pounds and not too strong. Recap: 6 bats later and my wife thinks I am crazy, I think I have a nice inventory and guide to get my boys through little league!
Measuring by height is best way for length of bat and the drop depends on strength and weight. Most kids I see don’t have the strength so I go with drop 11, 10’s but if your child is strong go with a drop 9 or 8.
Between 3 feet and 3 feet 4 inches = 26 inch bat (drop 11, 10, 9, 8)
Between 3 feet 4 inches and 3 feet 10 inches = 27 inch bat
Between 3 feet 10 inches and 4 feet 3 inches = 28 inch bat
Between 4 feet 3 inches and 4 feet 8 inches = 29 inch bat
Between 4 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 1 inch = 30 inch bat
Between 5 feet 1 inch and 5 feet 6 inches = 31 inch bat
Read link below for tips from a great website…based on my research I would recommend the best value is in a quality aluminum alloy bat for ~$70-$130. Rawlings is my favorite brand for value/quality and Easton is my least favorite value/quality. Bat drop should be -10 or -11 depending on child size/strength. Good luck this spring !!