If you’re looking for a wood bat, you’re likely seeing a lot of maple and ash options. These are certainly some of the more traditional and longest-standing choices available on the market, but are they really the best?
B45 and Yellow Birch
The folks at Quebec-based bat manufacturer B45 would certainly disagree. A relatively new company in the baseball world, B45 was formed in 2004 by forest engineers who believed yellow birch would make for a stellar baseball bat.
Over years, testing came to show that they were right. Where maple is hard and heavy and ash is light and flexible, birch brings the best of both worlds, with a soft wood profile that won’t break. The soft profile allows it to harden over time, making it more and more durable with use. There have been instances of people using birch bats for over 100 games without breaking, a truly remarkable feat.
For players looking for a mix of durability, flexibility, and hard contact, yellow birch is a solid option, and perhaps more conservative in price than bamboo or composite options emerging on the market. B45 continues to produce yellow birch bats for players at all levels. Their wood bats are broken into three basic categories: premium, pro select, and promotional.
B45 Premium Bats
B45’s Premium bats are manufactured with professional players in mind. They are made with two special requirements for the major leagues, including the ink dot test, a test of the durability of the wood and a check on integrity of the bat to ensure player safety.
The other requirement is the logo. All bats used in professional baseball must have the logo placed on the grain side of the bat, as opposed to the face side. The face side is 12 percent stronger than the grain side and much less likely to break.
While players aren’t required to hit on the grain side, this rule helps them choose to keep the game that much safer.
B45 Pro Select Bats
B45 Pro Select bats are made with the same high-quality materials and processes as the premium bats, but don’t have the ink dot. This lowers the price and makes them more accessible for the amateur player.
B45 Promotional Bats
Promotional bats, or trophy bats, are not meant for use in games. They are made out of blemished wood or logs found otherwise unfit for production into premium or pro select products. These would make for great gifts or decorations, but certainly shouldn’t make their way onto the field.
Pro Players Using B45
B45 has grown quite a bit in 15 years, and are now a common sight on the Major League diamond. Perhaps the most prominent ambassador of B45 bats is Carlos Gonzalez, who found his best success over 9 seasons with the Colorado Rockies. Other ambassadors include Jonathan Lucroy, Ender Inciarte, Eduardo Escobar, Ketel Marte and Mallex Smith.
Other prominent players, while not official ambassadors have been seen using B45 bats, including Bryce Harper, Trevor Story, Joc Pederson, Miguel Cabrera, Ronald Acuña Jr., and Nelson Cruz.