The baseball bat is one of the most important pieces of equipment that a player has in his arsenal. Having the right bat can drastically improve your hitting and move you up into the heart of your lineup. One of the big decisions you have to make when choosing a new bat is whether you want a regular sized barrel or a barrel that is bigger than normal. Each barrel has its own positives and negatives for players and by examining the differences between the two options, you can find which barrel is best for you.
Big Barrel Bats vs. Regular Barrel Bats
While it may seem like there aren’t that many things to consider when comparing barrel sizes on bats, the size of the barrel can affect several aspects of the game, even some that you wouldn’t think of. These are some of the main factors you should consider when looking at the differences between barrels.
Age is a major factor to consider when looking at whether to purchase a regular or big barrel bat. It goes without saying that a big barrel bat will be heavier than its regular counterpart. This means that for someone to use a big barrel bat, they have to be physically able to swing the bat.
This is why it is advised that players 10 or younger do not use a big barrel bat when they play. While they may be physically strong enough to lift and swing the bat, their form could be off when they swing. Using too heavy of a bat will cause younger players to be behind pitches, causing more ground balls and pop outs. So unless your child is strong enough to handle it, a regular barrel may be more beneficial until they get older and stronger.
Using a big barrel at a young age can also result in longer swings for players. As mentioned above, the heavier big barrel bats could cause a swing to take too long to develop, resulting in the player progressing through the game with poor mechanics that will hurt them as they move up into tougher competition.
Bat control is another factor to consider when comparing a big barrel bat and a small barrel. Big barrel bats obviously have a larger diameter (2.75 inches) compared to that of a smaller bat (2.25-2.6 inches) so that makes it harder to control.
Smaller barrel bats allow players to have a lighter bat in their hands that they are able to swing more comfortably and confidently. The smaller barrels provide more aerodynamics and because they are easier to swing, it may be more likely for younger players to hit home runs with it, rather than the big barrels.
While a big barrel bat would presumably allow for players to hit the ball further than the small barrel, the extra weight on the big barrel bat prevents players from generating the needed bat speed to take advantage of the larger barrel.
If contact is what you are looking for, it may be more beneficial to go with a big barrel bat over the small barrel. While it may be easier to swing the bat using a smaller barrel, there is no way to rival the contact that a big barrel provides.
Because the big barrel bats have a much bigger diameter compared to their regular counterparts, this allows for the ball to have much more surface area to make contact. And if hit correctly, the ball can be hit far and wide all over the field.
While that contact may not be as solid every single time, at least you know that you will be putting the ball in play more if you use a big barrel bat. And at a younger age, any ball put in play has a high likelihood of becoming a hit than at any time so there is great value in having a high contact bat.
Another aspect that you want to take into account when deciding between a big barrel and regular sized barrel is if you will actually be able to use the bat when you play. Rules have changed for youth baseball in recent years and there are now specific barrel diameters and drop weights that are allowed in certain leagues.
The most popular barrel diameter that is used in leagues is 2 5/8 inches and the most common drop weight is -13. This would make big barrel bats illegal to use in many leagues since they have a diameter of 2.75 inches. So, when considering whether a big barrel or small barrel bat is right for you, make sure that you would actually be able to use a big barrel bat if you were to choose one.
The final aspect to consider when choosing a big barrel bat or a regular barrel bat is whether a reliable brand makes your preferred bat barrel. Luckily for most players, the top equipment brands have several models that are made for those who prefer big and small barrels.
It is obvious that there are many positives and negatives to using both a big barrel bat and a regular barrel bat. It does seem, however, that the younger the player is, the more beneficial it is for them to use a regular sized barrel. That way, players can learn the basic fundamentals of a swing and can move to the big barrel bats as they gain strength to swing it with the same mechanics. Do you agree that it is better for younger players to start off with smaller barrel bats? Comment below if you believe that big barrel bats can still be useful for younger players.