Big leaguers use them, minor leaguers use them, even some college leagues use them. Hitting with a wood bat can be a frightening idea at first. The biggest concern definitely surrounds their easy ability to break and send parts of the bat flying, and money flying out of your wallet at the same time. So why purchase a wood bat? At The Hitting Vault, we back Coach Matt Lisles’ ideology that hitting with a wood bat can teach you many things, from plate discipline to hitting the ball on the sweet spot of the bat. Do not fear the wooden bat, it can teach you so many things about your swing and help you develop as a player.
To help with the buying process, we have laid out five of our favorite wood bats on the market, with three honorable mentions to give you plenty of options. The top five list is constructed around our own testing of the bats, the feedback we have received from the companies manufacturing the bats, and more importantly, the MLB players who swing these sticks on a regular basis.
A smaller company that is on the rise, Warstic offers premiere wood bats used by established professionals such as the Los Angeles Angels’ Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton. The Upton model is only offered in maple, while the Kinsler models are offered in maple, flame ash, and natural ash. The collection also includes former Mississippi State superstar Brent Rooker, who won the 2017 National Player of the Year for college baseball. Rooker’s bat is composed of maple as well. Warstic’s pro signature series wood bats are the results of collaborations with professional hitters, and are replicated to give the consumer the same look and feel. Pictured below are the Upton and Kinsler models, with Upton on the left and one of the Kinsler maples on the right.
Not only does Warstic offer their pro signature series, but they also offer a full range of customizable bats. Cut from their top 10% of wood, they allow you to choose
your wood type, the turning model it is made on, the length, and weight. Stain colors, stain style, logos, engraving color and names are all options as well. They even offer the option to use the same top 3% of wood that professionals use to be customized.
For a smaller company on the rise, Warstic gives the consumer a wide range of options from swinging the same sticks that professionals use, all the way to full customization. Ranging from a price of a base price of $63 to $173, Warstic is an affordable option that provides excellent products.
Marucci has one of the strongest reputations among professional baseball players, with all star players such as Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, Chase Utley, Andrew McCutchen, and David Wright amongst others, using Marucci with their own signature bats.
When searching for the“best selling” wood bat on the Marucci website, the AP5 Custom Pro model is at the top of the list. This bat is built for power with an explosive barrel “primed for some heavy mashing”. The handle and knob allows for superior bat control while still giving the bat an end-loaded feel to punish baseballs through the zone. Marucci’s AP5 comes with a 30 day warranty and is customizable, allowing you to choose the color and finish from the handle through logo engravings and color for $160. The AP5 comes in both Maple and Ash offerings.
Similar to the AP5, the Cutch22 is another excellent offering from Marucci, inspired by San Francisco Giants Outfielder Andrew McCutchen. As the AP5 is more suited for power hitters, the Cutch22 is designed for all around hitters, both those who hit for average and those who hit for power. The bat maintains a thick tapered knob and handle that gives the Cutch22 speed and control through the hitting zone. The even weight distribution through the bat gives “pitchers long days and sleepless nights” as described by Marucci. Like the AP5, the Cutch22 is customizable and comes in maple and ash offerings. Bat speed is one of the most important aspects of unlocking your power, and the balanced Cutch22 is a bat that will certainly help bat speed.
Both the AP5 and Cutch22 come in non-customizable options as well, for the price of $150. Marucci’s line of wood bats are outstanding buys for the price given. The AP5 and Cutch22 are at the forefront of the range, with the highest reviews and performance. Marucci makes the top five list of best wood baseball bats because of their commitment to craftsmanship and giving amateur players the ability to swing the same bats that professionals use.
Victus cracks the top five not only because of their range of bats, but also the quality of the range. The X15 Pro Reserve Axe Bat features one of the most innovative technologies to we’ve seen in wood baseball bats. The Axe Bat knob is there to create a well balanced and durable bat that allows for the slightly end-loaded barrel to fly through the zone. Victus top line bats are more expensive than both Warstic and Marucci, but it is justified by the bat’s performance. Like the X15, the X4 has the Axe Bat technology in the knob and the handle.
Similar to the offerings of Marucci, the X15 is more suited for power (AP5), while the X4 is a balanced bat that has one long taper that moves upwards into a well-balanced barrel. It is made from maple and also offers a customizable option. If you are interested in getting the most power out of a wood bat, you can’t go wrong with the X50. It is specifically crafted for power, combining the Axe Bat knob with a large barrel and end-loaded feel.
At a lower price of $100, Victus offers the V-Cut Maple Bat, also in a three bat bundle for $240. The V-cut maple is perfect for the gamers who do not care about flashy bats and technology, this bat is primed for cranking baseballs. Victus notes that the bats were made for professionals but a “non-structural imperfection” had them dropped from the pro line.
It is hard to bring technology into wood bats, but Victus does this successfully with their Axe Bat technology in the handle. While the price is closer to $200, the bats are well worth the price as the handle gives the player extreme control through the zone.
Tucci claims they are the gold standard of wood bats, is this justified? Well, they have a wide range of bats from customizable options starting at $120, all the way up to pro signature models starting at $160. One of the best hitting shortstops of the past decade, Troy Tulowitzki, a two time silver slugger shortstop has his own signature series with Tucci. Tucci also offers the Pro Select Limited Series, which includes the highest line of Tucci’s range. What separates Tucci from other bats is each of these pro series bats are steel burnished, compressing the wood to confirm that you are hitting the ball with the hardest bat possible. Tucci’s bats are also well designed for young hitters transitioning from BBCOR metal bats to wood. On the left, is one of the pro series bats, where Tulowitzki’s signature line is on the right. Tucci offers more expensive bats than Marucci and Warstic, but maintain high quality and a superior finish.
Like Marucci, Louisville Slugger has an extensive line of bats that pro baseball players use. Elite hitters such as Baltimore’s Adam Jones and Cincinatti’s Joey Votto swing Louisville Slugger’s lumber. Louisville Slugger primarily offers maple bats, and one of their highest rated is the MLB Prime Maple C271 Natural. At a price of $140 this bat is the most popular model at the Major League Level. A model built for both contact and power hitters, the C271 comes with the standard handle and barrel of a Louisville Slugger bat, including a maximum taper on the knob. The barrel is evenly balanced, and finished with three coats of Louisville Slugger’s EXOARMOR technology, a finish that gives extra hardness to the bat. The wood is MLB grade and made from the top 3% of the harvest. The C271 is by far and away their best option, their range of bats of this model comes in over 15 different colorways and wood makes. If you still have any doubts about the C271, here are Yankee infielders Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird talking about Louisville Slugger Bats. Louisville Slugger also offers a fully customizable option for all their maple models starting at $170, which is a very reasonable price for a custom bat in which you can choose the color, finish, and engraving.
Just outside our top five are Sambat, Old Hickory, and Chandler. Sam Bat offers a customizable version of the MC1, the bat used by Tiger’s First Baseman and 2012 Triple Crown Winner Miguel Cabrera, for a price of $180. Old Hickory’s pro line is used by players such as Eric Thames, and their bat is offered with the option of a ‘smart sensor’. Their line of pro stock bats begin at $120, which is a great price for a bat used by so many professional players. Rounding out the honorable mentions is Chandler Bats. Chandler is on the more expensive side, with their most popular model, the AP5A, checking in at $195. It is a bigger barrel model designed for a combination of balance and barrel with a taper that provides a smooth transition into the knob.
Review and Recommendation
The top two bats on our list, Warstic and Marucci are the top two because not only do they provide some of the best bats, but are some of the most trusted bat companies across the industry. Investing in a wood baseball bat can be a scary idea originally, since they could break when swung incorrectly. However, with all the benefits of swinging a wood bat, purchasing a wood bat is well worth the investment to improve as a hitter. For more information on drills that you can use with both a metal and wood bats that improve your swing and approach at the plate, join The Hitting Vault, and gain access to our library of hitting videos.