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We’ve been asked more than a few times to compare the exit speeds of USA Bats and wood bats.
We took up the challenge.
Three different hitters of differing ability took over 300 swings with two competing bats. We measured the exit speeds on our Rapsodo device. Then, we compared to the 2019 Techzilla S-Series USA Bat and a pure maple Sam Bat MC-5 exit speeds. Note, too, we controlled for the bat’s swing weight and gathered enough information to make a determination on exit speeds across the board for age categories.
In short, the USA composite Techzilla S-Series outperformed in exit speeds the wood bat among each of out hitters. For the 11 year old it was 2.2 mph better, the 13 year old was 4.0 mph and the 14 year old was 4.2 mph better. This results in, on a well struck ball, a difference of 11, 20 and 21 feet respectively.
Feedback from the player’s mirrored the results. They liked how the composite bat felt when compared to the wood bat. And, although some wood bat hits felt amazing, the S-Series was more useable. We even found the youngest hitter shying away from hard swings with the wood bat due to hand sting.
Another reasonable concern for wood bats is their durability. We’ve found that most of our wood bats, especially the youth ones, stay intact quite well. Rarely are the players swinging hard enough or see the top end pitch speed/sliders that can break a bat.
But, they are less durable than composite and aluminum bats. Not that those bats have never broke, but the vast majority of aluminum and composite bats have at least 12 month warranty. We have yet to see a wood bat with a warranty over 90 days.
We tried our best to control for swing weight. Swing weight is a considerable factor in measuring ball exit speeds. Bats with a higher swing weight (all things, like swing speed, held constant) will hit the ball further than their counterparts. Controlling for bats swing weight (i.e. making sure they have the same swing weight) is paramount in documenting useful data.
But, wood bats swing considerably heavier than their aluminum and composite counterparts. Getting an apples to apples comparison in exit speeds is therefore difficult. This heavy swing, in large measure, is why most parents and players remove wood as an option from the start.
We did find a reasonable swing weight match in our inventory—although the wood bat still swings 8% heavier. A 30/25 Sam bat and a 30/21 Techzilla S-Series have a swing weight difference of 6.5%. The MOI of the Sam Bat Drop 5 in a 30 was 6200 and the drop 9 Techzilla is 5800.
Of course not.
We think players who want to be great hitters should get a wood bat as early as possible. Wood bats build strength and force players to find the center of the barrel. Both great things to work on while doing batting practice, cage and tee work. We could even see an at bat or two that makes sense with a wood bat for a particular USA player.
But, when the game is on the line and your at bat matters the right answer, nearly all the time, is an aluminum or composite USA Bat.