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By Bat Digest
Updated August 28, 2023
11 years old is when many baseball players start to get very serious about their baseball pursuits and, in accordance, their bats. Players start seeing better pitching and develop better swing speeds, too. As such, we find our softball and baseball bat recommendations becoming more expensive. It's why we are comfortable putting an expensive bat like the Easton Hype and Marucci CAT X in the top spots. (You may want to see our 10U recommendations if your 11U is on the smaller side). As we say everywhere, the size is what matters most. Many 11-year-olds can start swinging drop 8 bats. So, if they have some skill they might really appreciate that extra ounce or two. And, of course, you must pay attention to the league if you want the right bat for an 11-year-old. USSSA, USA, and Fastpitch are all their own animal, and we discuss our favorites in each category below.
The right baseball bat size for 11 year olds is, on average, the 30/20. Based on our research and survey data with over 200 respondents, almost 30% of 11 year old baseball player use a 30/20. The next three sizes, which make up 60% of the respondents, are the 31/21, 29/19 and 30/22. You can see more details no the 11 year old bat size market here. Here is one 11 year old bat size chart we made from the data.
At the time of this writing there is nothing new on the horizon. Most bats have been released for 2023. Usually, especially as the holidays near, big manufacturers release a few bats with a new and fresh look. Those bats won't perform any differently than what is on the market now but they do look cool. So, if you're down for paying a premium on a major stick you already like you might want to wait towards the holidays to see if your choice drops in an updated look. We usually expect a CF and a CAT to drop with some color up, but we don't this year.
The answer, to some extent, depends on what you can afford. Never spend more than that as going into debt for a baseball or softball is a silly financial move.
Otherwise, we like to use the age x game rule to know the highest price we’d potentially pay. Simply, multiply the age of the player by the number of games they will play with the bat. For example, an 11-year-old playing in 20 games this year shouldn’t spend more than $220 on a bat. That would take most of this list off the table. And that is a good thing.
The excitement behind an 11-year-old using a wood baseball bat is reasonable. Young kids, really starting to get into the sport, will love the idea of a wood bat. In the vast majority of cases, we think it makes sense to have one in their bat bag. Start, for example, with our favorite youth wood bats.
But, in reality, the performance of a wood bat (and its heavier swing weight) makes any player struggle. Even when compared to a USA Bat, whose pop is restricted from the USSSA counterparts, the barrel profile, swing weight, and durability (warranty) of an aluminum or composite bat make it the more reasonable option.
In other words, we don’t suggest a wood bat as the main game bat for any 11-year-old player. But, have one in your bag for the occasional at-bat and strength condition batting practice.
Our experience with 11u baseball players is the vast majority of them prefer a composite barrel. These tend to have a bit more forgiving feel on hits and mishits. As well, the barrel profile of composites tends to be bigger, and younger players prefer as much plate coverage as possible.
However, do note, that aluminum barrels tend to do better in cold weather as well as cost less. If you’re going to go the aluminum barrel route, we suggest you look for a two-piece (often called hybrid) aluminum barreled bat.