Baseball hitting question

I apologize if this has been asked before, but why don’t professional baseball players use different types of bats in different hitting situations?

For example, a bigger, heavier bat for home run or long out situations and a smaller, lighter bat for base hit situations. It seems the most major league players use the same bat at each ‘at bat’ and simply adjust their swing according to the circumstances. I realize that changing bats during a particular ‘at bat’ would be problematic, but in some cases the batter knows what he needs to do.

For example, for a pitcher in a bunting situation one could imagine an over sized bat that would make bunting easier. Or perhaps use harder or softer woods in different bats depending on the hitting situation. Or maybe they do this already to a certain agree? Or maybe it’s just a crazy idea…

Hitting at the major league level is all about consistent swing mechanics and feel. My guess is that finding that groove is hard enough without constantly changing your bat’s weight and length.

Also, there isn’t a consensus that a heavier bat = more power. If the bat could be swung at the same speed then yes, but often power hitters will sacrifice bat weight for swing speed. And the faster you can swing, the later you can start your swing and still catch up to the ball.

I do like the “giant bunt bat” idea, but I’m guessing that the largest allowable bat isn’t much larger than a normal bat, so there’s no real profit there.

It’s an interesting question because once in a while you will see a batsman in cricket ask for a heavier bat if he is, due to the match position, going to start hitting for the boundaries.

That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of Cricket having the same issue, but sure, why not. Again, I’m not saying that ever batter has to do this, but I’m surprised that some batters don’t adjust their bats, even if only slightly, in order to give them a slight edge depending on the batting situation.

The lighter the bat, the farther you can hit the ball. The faster you can make the bat go ,the better it is. That is why so many bats break.
There of course has to be enough bat mass to crush the ball.
Going for singles is done by shortening you swing and often choking up on the bat. that slows down the swing and provides control.

That’s absurd. The heavier the bat, the more mass you hit the ball with. There’s a tradeoff between mass and speed, which is why major league ballplayers have been using the same weight of bats for DECADES. If light = more power they’d all be using 25-ounce bats, but they’ve stayed consistently at 31-34 ounces for a long time now - Roger Maris used a 33-ounce weapon. Super heavy bats will hit the ball further still - Babe Ruth used a 40-ounce bat - but put the batter at a disadvantage against power pitchers, since you can’t hit the ball very far when it’s already in the catcher’s mitt. Average pitch speed is exceptionally high now so using a super heavy bat won’t work, even though you could crush the ball even further.

As a bat gets heavier you gain more mass, which puts more speed into the batted ball, but beyond a certain weight you begin to lose bat speed, losing ball speed. So there’s a law of diminishing returns. However, there’s also a law of diminishing returns going down; dropping a few ounces might gain you some bat speed but at the cost of mass striking the ball, and below a certain weight you really aren’t going to be able to swing the bat any faster. It’s very unlikely a strength-trained major league ballplayer isn’t swinging a 31-ounce bat with 10% less speed than a 28-ounce bat. That weight different might matter to me, though - but I’d gain little bat speed going from 28 to 25 ounces. You can only move your arms so fast.

So in truth, every batter has an ideal bat weight which maximizes his return between mass and bat speed. Lighter would not be better from that ideal weight.

The reason bats are breaking is that they’re making the handles thinner to shift more mass to the barrel, plsu there’s some reason to believe maple bats are more prone to shattering than ash bats.

Here’s a great resource on the physics of the matter:

As you will note, the ideal bat weight for maximim batted ball speed is not lighter - it’s HEAVIER. This author calculates that the ideal bat weight for a major leaguer would be 41 ounces, which is much heavier than any bat currently used. Major leaguers use lighter bats since 41 ounces wouldn’t allow for enough speed and control to make consistent contact - but you’d hit the ball further if you could.

The energy of the equation is greatly enhanced by the increase in velocity which is squared. It really is quite simple.
Of course if you want to see a different perspective, why not swing a 10 pound bat. Because it would slow down the swing and you could not hit it as far. Why do golf club manufacturers spend a lot of time and trouble on developing lighter and lighter clubs? Because it allows you to hit the ball farther.
I am quite surprised you don’t know better than that.

Really? Can’t say I’ve ever heard of that before. Given that timing and bat angles are so important to making the ball go where you want it to, getting used to a different weight mid-innings might be counter productive.

Tendulkar is said to wield the heaviest bat, with claims of up to 1.51 kg.

(Bolding mine)

The problem is that you can’t know if you’re going to get a pitch you can hit the way you want. Sure you may be in a situation where the best outcome is a long ball even if it’s a sac fly, but then you’re unlikely to see a pitch that will allow you to do so. If the pitcher throws a pitch you can jump on, great, but if it’s late in the count a base hit is better than nothing.
Being a good hitter is all about adapting and making the most of your at bat.

I think RickJay’s point is that eventually a lighter bat won’t allow you to swing any faster. Even w/o a bat you can only move your hands so fast. So the question is how heavy can I make the bat and still swing it really fast - that’s the ideal tradeoff.

E=mc[sup]2[/sup] has nothing to do with it. You’re thinking of kinetic energy, which is E[sub]k[/sub]=1/2mv[sup]2[/sup]. But it’s really not about energy, it’s about momentum, which is p=mv, in which velocity is not squared.

There’s also the factor that in order to shave off another six ounces, you’d have to make the bat shorter and/or thinner, which cuts down on the batter’s ability to make contact with the ball in the first place.

No, they haven’t. Bats have gotten lighter over the years. I’d say the most common bat weight in the majors today is probably 31 ounces. In the eighties it was probably 33 or 34 ounces, and in the sixties they were heavier than that. Also, the heaviest bats then were much heavier - Dick Allen used to swing a 40-ounce bat, a weight I can’t imagine anyone using today. Bat weights declined significantly over a historical period in which the number of home runs increased dramatically.

The mechanics of a person swinging a bat at a ball are very complex. It’s not just a matter of how much energy the bat itself transfers to the ball. There is a human being holding one end of the bat - this human being has kinetic energy, too, some of which is also transferred to the ball. The human being is much heavier than the bat, so the differences in energy imparted to the ball from different sizes of bats is less significant than it might seem at first.

It’s obvious that a bat can be too light or too heavy- no one would ever hit a home run with a five ounce bat or a hundred ounce bat. There is an ideal bat weight for each hitter that is somewhere in between. Over time the consensus in professional baseball has been toward lighter and lighter bats, and the evidence is that this hasn’t hurt power at all. The frequency of strikeouts has increased along with home runs, and this is probably due in part to the lighter bats (a swing and miss is more likely with a thinner bat).

In answer to the OP, the one place where I think it would make the most sense to use a different bat is for a sacrifice bunt. Why not use a bat with a big barrel and not much taper in this situation? I’ve never seen this done, and I don’t know why.

As for the oversized bat, the rule is that any bat can not be more than 2 3/4 inches in diameter at its thickest part. There is also a length limitation at 42 inches.
Plus, using a big long bat might be more difficult for someone to handle accurately for bunting.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some guys went up or down an oz. on their bat depending on who they’re facing that day. Tim Wakefield? Heavy bat. King Felix? Light bat.
But for the most part, guys just get comfortable with a particular style of bat and stick to it.

A lighter bat allows you to swing faster. That is exactly what it does. That is why bats are lighter and lighter.
After this post, i wasted a lot of time looking up the physics of baseball bats. It is all about bat speed. But there is a point where getting too light, will not tradeoff into greater power. So the premise is both right and wrong depending at what weight bat you have and who is swinging it.

Bats are not getting lighter and lighter.

Actually they have over the last few years. They may have reached their minimum effectiveness now. Which means they will not get lighter from here on.

Oh yeah? What about e equals mc squared? That kinda proves you wrong,huh?