Size Matters: Baseball Bat Shopping in January

My older fella has worked his tail off and has made the 12u travel team—they’re looking at their first tournament around St. Patty’s Day.

My big boy getting into one in July.  He's grown at least 3 inches since then.

My big boy getting into one in July. He’s grown at least 3 inches since then.

The one other thing that’s helped my guy since last spring is the fact that he’s grown about a foot over the past 9 months. I’m between 5’9 and 5’10 depending on how David Lynch I go with my hair, and I seriously think this kid is going to lap me by the time his Bar Mitzvah rolls around in June. I just knew there was a good reason to marry a 6-foot Norwegian woman other than the whole “she’s amazing” and “love of my life” thing!

So after the last indoor training session, (his coaches have been kind enough to allow me to abuse my arm throwing them BP. Only hit 3 kids so far!), he complained to me that his bat just felt too light now. As nuts as I am about the game, I am not one of those parents that feel it’s worth it spending $200+ on a bat. Normally, I like to keep it in the $100-max range, as the low-end bats are all well-and-good for t-ball and coach-pitch, but once the balls and swings get harder, the cheapies tend to have little carry, lots of vibration, and quick dents.

Solid, if not spectacular

Solid, if not spectacular

My guy’s current bat is a 32-inch, 20-ounce Easton Quantum—a good, mid-range bat that normally retails for $150 but Dick’s is currently selling it for $75.00. He still got some sting from balls off the end, but I think he got excellent use out of it and was quite satisfied (at least if the expression of unmitigated joy in hitting his first over-the-fence-home run this fall is any indicator).

But, in wanting to go a little heavier, I looked at the -11 (that’s how many ounces lighter the bat is than it is long—a handy thing to know as many bats aren’t showing how many ounces they are anymore, and just using the “drop sign” like -11) bats and ran across this DeMarini Vexxum for $130 (normally $180 and listed for $200 at a lot of places). With a rewards certificate and a bit left over from my birthday gift card, I looked the Vexxum up, and it seems to be quite well rated. Here’s the promo piece on it and a positive review.

Really have no idea how they come up with the names

Really have no idea how they come up with the names

I’m especially excited about the special end-capping, as unlike with tennis rackets and the magic little vibration-dampener you put on the strings, finding good ways to “keep the bees out of the bat” is a challenge at any price range. I’ve had good success with the mid-to-high end DeMarini bats over the years, so I’m psyched to find a mid/high-end model at an affordable price. With Dick’s offering free shipping on $99+, it was an even better deal.

With a lot of people still not fully focused on getting ready for baseball, now’s a great time to sneak in a deal or two on high-quality 2013 products so your slugger can feel big-time on a budget that is a bit more “age-appropriate.”

One last interesting note is the fact that from my research, I have not been able to find a single legal 33’’ bat despite the fact that Little League and Babe Ruth allow it. These bats are available at the Sr. Babe Ruth level, but none for 12u. It does surprise me a bit, but perhaps the manufacturers have decided there’s just not enough of a market for that length bat to be go out and make it. But, if you do find one, let me know, as I think there are some tall 12-year-olds, inclusive of my guy, who could really benefit from the extra inch.

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