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If you talk to any bat manufacturer, one of the biggest shifts in youth baseball bats has been the increase of drop 8 bat purchases over the last few years. The growth in popularity of drop 8s has made many choose between a drop 8 vs. drop 10.
Based on some of our survey data, the drop 10s still outsell drop 8s in USSSA by about 3 to 2. So, for every three CAT X drop 10s sold, there are two drop 8s sold.
Two things have created this:
Assuming you can swing a drop 8 as fast as you can swing a drop 10 then you should be able to hit a ball about 10% harder using the same length drop 8 as you did a drop 10.
However, that’s all theory.
The truth is, changing your bat’s weight is the ONLY thing that changes your swing speed (aside from mechanics—but nothing about a new bat is going to change much about those).
It’s like saying: if you can do 10 reps at 185 on the bench press and we added weight to 225, then you can also do 10 reps at 225. But that isn’t true. More weight means more strength is required. Same as a bat’s weight. More swing weight means more swing weight is needed.
The question for you, is does added swing weight changes your swing speed?
Fundamentally, there are no differences between Drop 8 and Drop 10 bats other than the scale weight. Although each USSSA brand and model has its vibe, the industry generally applies these rules when moving from a drop 8 to a drop 10.
Drop 8 vs. Drop 10
If the only thing that changes between the drop 8 and drop 10 for any given model is the swing weight, then the only thing that will determine which one hits the ball harder is the player’s relative swing speed. If the added weight decreases the swing speed, then it’s possible a drop 10 would do better. If the swing speed stays the same, a drop 8 will do better.
If a drop 8 or drop 10 is the right choice for your player is an empirical question. That is, we can’t answer it here because it asks for data we don’t have access to—only you do. The only trick would be to test it on your player.
Generally, players aged 11 and 12 have better success with a drop 8. Younger players still do well with a drop 10.
Although not every brand and model follows an exact pattern, there are some swing weight equivalents when comparing drop 10s and 8s. Meaning, if you’re looking for a comparatively similar swinging bat, then here’s how it breaks down. You want to drop an inch if you’re going to a drop 8.