The wood bat movement for softball is something that really caught my eye. I have played slow pitch softball for a few summers now and have always thought that the metal bats used today are way too “hot”. I agree that having to have a home run limit is something that should immediately be a red flag. Not to mention, everyone now apologizes if they hit a ball up the middle.
In baseball, we are taught to drive the ball up the middle. As a baseball player myself (currently in a wood bat league), and a huge numbers and analytics nerd, I decided to do some research on the numbers.
A study was done out of Mamaroneck High School comparing metal bats and wood bats and swing and exit speed. The average swing speed was 8 miles per hour faster with the metal bats. The exit speed difference for someone of my age (22) was 14 mph faster off of the metal bat as compared to the wood bat.
If you take these numbers and put them into game like reaction times, you would find that with a wood bat, you have 0.04 more seconds to react on a ball hit back at the pitcher. Now this may not seem like a lot of time, but that can be the difference between getting your glove up to catch the ball and being hit by a hard line drive. As a pitcher who has been hit by a line drive back at me, I will take all the time I can get. In terms of softball, the base paths are 20-30 feet shorter than baseball, depending on the league. This reaction time is now reduced even more, which has caused pitchers and even some infielders to wear masks. At the end of the day, I am completely on board with the change to wood bats for softball. Not to mention the customization that MaxBat offers is something that softball players everywhere would enjoy.
Written by MaxBat contributor, Tyler Flakne