As a baseball player progresses through their career, one major change will likely come into play: wood bats. For a variety of reasons, including affordability and durability, younger levels of play use metal bats. Wood bats require more skill and force the player to use better mechanics and can bring back a feeling of great nostalgia with a solid ‘crack’ when the player makes contact.
Apart from weight and type of wood, there is one other question to look into when making the move to wood bats: which wood profile should you go for?
Why are there different wood profiles?
The profile essentially refers to the taper and thickness of the bat at certain points. If everyone went out swinging with perfectly uniform wood cylinders, the game would have a very different feel and look. The wood profile allows for more control and for each hitter to swing at their very best.
Here’s a breakdown ofsome of the wood profiles you’ll likely encounter:
The most balanced swing weight and construction can be found in the 110 profile. This is especially good for players making the initial transition from metal or BBCOR bats, or those looking for better bat speed to make contact.
Profile 110 bats come with a relatively thicker handle, making it a more durable option as well.
Similar to the 110, 271 turn bats have a slightly quicker taper between the barrel and the handle. Where the 110 is more for contact hitters, the 271 can be used for either contact or power hitters.
The I-13 profile is similar to the 271, only it comes with an even more extreme taper from the barrel to the handle, which loads more weight on the end of the swing. This makes it a better choice for power hitters.
The added weight aids the hitter, adding a natural heaviness to the swing. Combined with a flexible wood like ash, the bat can do almost as much work as you do.
A challenge for contact hitters, the 243 is designed for the power hitter wanting a more defined barrel and a heavy end to the swing.
It also features a very thin handle, only adding to the definition of the barrel.
If you’re looking for more bat control, the 318 should be on your list. It certainly allows for power, but is made for those looking for all the control they can get to drive the ball to the gap.
For perhaps the easiest swing, look no further than the 141. With a medium-sized handle and the longest sweet spot, it allows for a quick swing and good control.
If you’re overwhelmed by the number of choices of wood profiles, don’t worry. By the time a player gets to the level of using a wood bat, their playing style has come a long way. They will either know who they are or what type of player they’d like to be, and there’s always a bat for that.