At Apex Bats I take great pride in the efforts made to create the best wood bats that I can. To put it bluntly, I am kind of a geek. Collecting data, testing bats and measuring moment of inertia is fun to me. Lucky for you that means a better bat!
Instead of having to guess at what bat model is right for you, simply refer to this guide then make the selections when purchasing, the result is a bat made just right for you.
If you have a favorite turn model that you would like translated to an Apex Bat, then this chart will help you get started.
The most popular adult model is 2.5" barrel, end loaded, 0.95" handle.
The most popular model for 10 to 12 year olds is 2.5" barrel, balanced, 0.95" handle.
The diagram below covers the basics of bat anatomy, the combination of all your preferences adds up to your perfect bat.
If you are replacing a bat then the decision is easy, if you are starting from square one, use the chart below to get started.
Game bats (2.4", 2.5", 2.6" barrels) are available from 30 to 34 inches, 1/4" increments available at checkout.
Weighted trainers: get the same length as your current bat, don't increase length.
It should be no surprise that the most important part of a wood bat is the wood itself. The two most common wood species used are Maple and Ash, but there is also an increased presence of Birch. Maple is more common today then Ash, a flip from past generations. Maple has a closed grain structure that leads to (typically) higher densities. Ash has a more flexible feel to it than Maple. I only use billets that are high quality and all game and fungo bats are ink dot tested. What is ink dot testing? this is a simple test performed on Maple bats, where a drop of ink is placed on the handle of the bat. The ink bleeds, following the grain lines of the wood and allowing the slope of grain to be measured. In order to be a "good" blank the slope of grain must be less than 2.86 degrees.
The bleed lines of the ink dot run parallel to the long axis when the grain is of high quality
The other critical aspect of the wood is the density. The right density wood has to be matched with the various design in order to meet the desired mass. In general terms, the bigger barrel bats and end loaded bats will need to use a lighter density billet in order to meet the typical mass, referred to as drop. Where a bat with a smaller diameter can use a higher density billet to achieve the same bat drop. Bat drop is simply the length of a bat minus the weight, if a 34 inch bat weighs 31 ounces, that is referred to as a drop 3. You don't need to worry about billet density when ordering, we will take care of that for you!
A traditional knob may be preferred for the positive stop, however it may also contribute to hamate bone injuries. A flared knob is used for comfort and possible relief for the little hamate bone. I make Apex Bats with three knob choices depending on the end users preference. The knob style has little to no bearing on the balance of the bat, this is purely a personal preference.
I offer handles in three different thicknesses: 0.95, 1.0 and 1.05 inches. Many people prefer a thinner handle in the 0.95 or 1.0" size as this feels more like the thin handles that many kids grow up hitting with. Note that youth bats only come in 0.95" diameter while fungo bats and weighted trainers have the 1" diameter handle for long lasting durability.
The middle region of the bat is called the taper. When the taper is longer the result is a bat that is referred to as "balanced", when the taper is shorter the bat is referred to as "end loaded". If two bats were made from the same density wood, drop, knob and handle with the only difference being the taper: the balanced bat would "feel" lighter because the weight is shifted more towards the handle. This is because the balanced bat has a lower moment of inertia. If you are new to swinging a wood bat then a balanced design may be a better choice to transition to.
Game bats are offered in 3 choices of barrel diameter: 2.4, 2.5 and 2.6 inches. The smaller diameter bats can use a higher density billets and the opposite is true, a larger barrel will require a lower density billet. 2.5" is a very common wood bat diameter.
Cupping refers to removing some wood from the end of the bat. Cupping serves to shift the weight more towards the hands, reducing the moment of inertia. It is also a useful tool to help achieve the desired bat drop.
Adult and fungo bats are available with several color options (see below), weighted trainers and one-hand bats are only made with a clear finish, no color options.
Barrels and handles can be stained or painted. Painted barrels will have a white Apex Bats logo, while stained barrels will have a black Apex Bats logo.
Stained barrels do not have the option for coloring the letters, they will only be left in the "burned" color.
Custom Barrel Text
Custom barrel text can be added at no cost. Enter text at checkout. Choose from either a bold font or a script font. Bold fonts will be engraved in all capital letters, script font will not be all capitals. Barrel text is added via laser engraver.
Bold font and script font options
A unique option that Apex Bats offers is the addition of a "focal point" on the barrel of the bat. The focal point gives the batter a chance to clear their mind, center themselves, and get ready to crush it. I offer a simple point and cross option. These will only be about 3/8" on the bat. Focal dots will be colored white unless communicated otherwise.
Focus point options
Focus dot on a bat
What's on the Knob?
The markings on the knob have meaning too. In the image below, the top row is initials. The middle set of numbers and letters is the model that is generated based on your choices. Therefore, down the road if you want another bat of the same design you know exactly what you have. In this example the model "335f95B5" refers to 33.5 inches long, half-flare knob, 0.95" diameter handle, balanced taper and 2.5" barrel. The bottom set is the serial number.
How do I hit this thing?
You would think the easy answer is to pick it up and swing, however there is more to it than this. An Ash bat should contact the ball on the edge grain, that is the grain that looks like layers. A Maple bat should be struck on the face grain, where you may see a "V" pattern. In either case the Apex Bats label is placed so that if you swing with the label up (or down) you will contact the correct surface.
Disclaimer, Care and Maintenance
Bats are tools, be safe with them and don't use them inappropriately. It is advised that you only hit baseballs (or lighter) with a wood bat. There are many weighted training balls used now, these could impact the durability of a wood bat. Also, avoided hitting baseballs that have been overly saturated or are wet. Like any organic material wood can fail, even the highest quality wood can break unexpectedly.
Don't leave your bat sitting outside when not in use, or laying in wet grass for long periods of time. Even though the bats are finished with polyurethane, they can still pick up moisture.
Don't hit rocks with your wood bat, this will chip, dent and crack the finish, leaving the wood susceptible to moisture.
Is there a warranty?
No there isn't. Wood is a natural material that will fail eventually. I take as much care as I can to select and use the highest quality billets available to me, however, I can't see inside the wood or predict if the bat will fail on the 10th swing or the 10,000th swing.