Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's In Your Bag? MaxBat Kicks Ash

Wood bats continue to grow as a trend for serious amateur players from high school through adult league. The must-attend, premier high school events run by Perfect Game are virtually all non-metal tournaments. Through their World Wood Bat Association (WWBA) group, Perfect Game hosts the National Underclass Championship and the World Championship in October every year where all the best players in the country step out in showcase mode to show what they can do with wood. And in July at the unparalleled East Cobb Baseball Complex in Marietta, Georgia, WWBA runs a series of age group tournaments with 128 teams per tournament swinging nothing but lumber.

We've noted here in the past that these games tend to be far superior in quality than metal bat tournaments. The reasons for this are obvious: metal provides players with far too many opportunities for cheap hits; and full barrel contact with trampoline power means the difference between a metal home run and a wood fly out. I've been to enough showcases and elite tournaments and heard scouts and college recruiters bemoan the use of super bats. "How do I make a judgment about whether this kid can hit?" a regional scout for the Red Sox asked another scout. The answer is, you can't. (Although, I've also talked to college coaches who say that they want to see kids hit with metal since that's what they use in NCAA competition).

All this said, amateur players who love to hit with wood are having a ball these days messing around with various bats from specialty companies. There seems to be a preponderance of maple in dugouts that I frequent. MaxBat is really picking up steam out there on local diamonds. Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, and Jimmy Rollins probably have something to do with this. But the company is also focused on the maple market and as such pay close attention to wood quality, looking to ensure straight wood grains and low moisture content. As with most top-notch bat companies, they provide a phenomenal number of options for customization. Certainly if you're after a maple bat, MaxBat is a company to check out. We like the moxy of their "Our Bats Kick Ash" campaign too (although ash bats have their merits without doubt).

It's close to Christmas now, but we really like MaxBat's special packages with multiple custom bats, plus accessories. These typically run between $200 and $350 and offer great products. There's a blemished bat package that starts at $135 for three. Check them all out here and think about the fact that you can buy a top of the line composite/metal bat for only $400.

See you on the field.

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