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Mako bats: are they even close to worth it?

Discussion in 'Coaches Corner' started by moondog80, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. moondog80

    moondog80 heart is two sizes two small SoSH Member

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    My 10 year old son, who is a pretty decent baseball player but nothing special, is convinced that he needs a $300 bat to succeed in Little League. I, on the other hand, think otherwise. Even if he will hit the ball a little bit further with one (and I'm not convinced of even that), I'm not interested in paying an extra $225 so he can hit the ball an extra 5 feet. Since it's my money, I've already won this battle. But am I wrong about the bats?
     
  2. Comfortably Lomb

    Comfortably Lomb Koko the Monkey SoSH Member

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    9,330
    It's not the wand, it's the magician.
     
  3. mikeysox

    mikeysox lurker

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    I have an 11 year old son who has played youth baseball for the past few years. He has been on his league's summer travel team for the past three years. I coach a team in the league and help coach the travel team, although until my son started playing I hadn't played baseball since high school (and wasn't very good then). I have spent a fair amount of time reading up on the current bat options (mostly because it gave me something baseball related to do during the offseason.)

    Many of the kids in my son's league, and especially on his travel team, use Makos or similarly expensive bats. My son swings a Demarini voodoo, which is cheaper than a mako and has a composite handle and an alloy barrel. A mako is a two piece composite.

    A high end bat definitively performs better than a regular aluminum bat. I'd say the biggest differences is sting reduction which can be a big deal for younger players. In addition, the high end bats, in particular the mako, have larger sweet spots. They can make a pop up a flare and a flare a line drive. Well, maybe not that dramatic, but still real.The manufacturers also make bats with different weighting options to match to the hitter's swing style, such as end loaded (good for power hitters), balanced, or handle weighted (for a light feeling swing).

    I certainly agree that a good hitter will be a good hitter (and a lousy one, lousy) regardless of what bat he is swinging. But, I definitely think a decent or good hitter will get better results with a high end bat. You don't need to pay $300, either. You can find a really good bat for less than $200, like a Demarini or a Marucci. Check out justbats.com. It's addictive.
     
  4. Cumberland Blues

    Cumberland Blues Dope Dope

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    He will hit the ball farther with the Mako. You are absolutely correct that he won't hit the ball $225 farther.

    And yeah...I'll second the justbats.com recommendation. You can get an older model for < half price of the latest greatest.
     
  5. Fred not Lynn

    Fred not Lynn Dick Button Jr. SoSH Member

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    Just be careful, especially with last year's bats, that you're picking a bat that's still legal.

    And plan on having to get a new one next year, and have zero resale value on the one you have, because they went and changed the rules again.

    ...and learn about what bat rules you'll need to be ready for if he plays any other brand of baseball, (i.e. travel, California Ripken, etc...)

    The thing is, with BBCOR type regulation, no bat should make you hit the ball further. The real impact bat designers can have is in balance and weighting, and size of the sweet spot. Wood should, theoretically give you the same exit speeds, but they don't grow a tree that will give you a big enough barrel to be competitive with.
     
    #5 Fred not Lynn, Apr 24, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  6. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    663
    A lot of good stuff already said, also keep in mind that if you use a Mako or Voodoo or similar bat in the cage a lot, they will wear out.
    justbats.com is great, if you're not in any hurry, you can get a $299 bat like a Voodoo for $99-149 sign up for their emails. Seems to me like the best time to buy is fall, but you never know when a good deal on a closeout might come.

    There should be some great deals on LL bats next season as 2018 is going to bring new bat regulations to Little League. Good year to have a 12 year old.
     
  7. Doug Beerabelli

    Doug Beerabelli Killer Threads Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Seconded on checking your league bat rules before buying anything. We've had situation where 2 and 5/8 barrell ok for our league, but needed 2 and 1/4 four a tourney we played. We bought a few cheaper but decent bats for the tourney to share with the team.

    I've invested a lot of $ into this things over the years, but I've bought at a discount for all but one bat. Justbats is great insofar as returns and good selection. With warranty issues, the manufacturer usually requires the bat to be purchasesd from an authorized seller to get a refund or replacment. So buying one off Amazon (which I've done), even if it's cheaper, has some risks if not an authorized dealer. I've used the "got it as a gift" explanation as to why no reciept in regard to warranty issues, and that's worked.

    Currently, my travel team playing 11u son has a 2015 mako (bought for about $190, or $100 off list) and a DeMarini C7 ($179, almost half off list). I don't feel a need to buy the new models, but buying in fall or early winter as new models are introduced can be a good time to look, because inventory is stil pretty high, but the prices start to come down. I'm a coach, so I will share the bats for other players if they like them, so it's not purely about investming in my kid.

    I've bougt the Easton S3 (one piece alum), S2 (two piece alum head), and XL3 (one piece alum) all last year models around $100, all shared with team over the last few year. I think there is a difference, it's measurable but not huge. I like the composite bats now, and the makos are pretty popular with all the teams I've seen. My kid likes the Eastons.

    That being all said, it's the kid swinging the bat.
     
  8. Fred not Lynn

    Fred not Lynn Dick Button Jr. SoSH Member

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    And take a peek at the other bat rack before the game...there are those who honestly don't know the rules, and others who know them altogether too well - and might try to slip an illegal bat out there, pleading "oh, man, I didn't know" when caught.

    Its a lot easier to clear up before the game than it is after a triple...
     
  9. loshjott

    loshjott Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Ebay is also a good deal for last year's bats. My 13 yr old son just got a 2015 Mako Torque (new) for about 1/3 price of a new 2016 model.

    And the good bats are not just for hitting the ball a few feet farther. They help the kids hit harder so those grounders to the 5.5 hole scoot through for hits rather than DPs.

    Having said all that, I never considered getting my sons anything more than a $50 bat until they reached travel ball.
     
  10. PaSox

    PaSox lurker

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    84
    Not to take this thread off topic or anything but I often wondered about this. Wouldn't that be the responsibility of the umpires to check both dugouts prior to the start of the game.
     
  11. Cumberland Blues

    Cumberland Blues Dope Dope

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    Yes it is. But (at least where I'm from - northern VT) this only happens during tournament season when you have experienced umps. During the regular season - you're just begging anyone to don the gear and get behind the plate - they aren't checking bats and likely wouldn't know an illegal bat if it hit 'em in the head.
     
  12. doc

    doc Member SoSH Member

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  13. BigMike

    BigMike Dope Dope

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    The Mako is a weird bat to me. I hit infield and hate hitting the ball out of my hand with the Mako. Just feels dead. But then I see a kid who hasn't come within 30 feet of the fences before suddenly hit one 10 feet over, on an off balance swing and it is just shocking. It is a heavy bat though

    I know one of the leagues we play has banned composite bats this year, but aluminum bats are still allowed? Are there any actually bats out there still being made out of pure aluminum? I thought that basically went away 20-25 years ago
     
  14. mikeysox

    mikeysox lurker

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    The Mako seems weird to me too, but the kids do love it. The thing I notice the most about it is how long the barrel is. I think that really helps kids who might otherwise have a hard time barreling up. Not sure how good that is for their long term development, however.

    I just got my son a Marucci Hex alloy which is a single piece metal bat ($129). The ball definitely seems like it is jumping off the barrel more than off the Demarini voodoo he had been using. My guess it that is due to the Marucci have much less flex than the voodoo which has a composite handle. The downside is that when he doesn't barrel up, he gets sting. That's OK, builds character :)
     
  15. doc

    doc Member SoSH Member

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    There are a ton of all aluminum bats, there are also bats with aluminum heads and composite handles that should be legal. In my son's league (13 yo senior league) the composits are banned unless they are BBCOR certified and a drop 3
     
  16. BigJimEd

    BigJimEd Member SoSH Member

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    Yes, the same rule in our turn league. I believe that's a Little League National rule for that age group.
    Any composite and the bat must be BBCOR drop 3. That can be a tough transition for many 13 year olds so some switch to all alloy drop 5 or 8 while they develop more strength.
    Marucci CAT 6 seems to be popular among the few I know.
     
  17. The Price Is Wrong

    The Price Is Wrong Banned

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    I thought they stopped making things with Mako after the whole Shinra / Sephiroth thing.
     
  18. wildeman

    wildeman lurker

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    The more I think about this, the more I think - why not just have my kid use wood? He's still young enough where he hasn't been ruled out of playing professionally (I know, I know), and it sounds like the metal advantage is "marginal" at this level. Why not have him get used to sweet spot, etc. now?
     
  19. Doug Beerabelli

    Doug Beerabelli Killer Threads Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    It's rather heavy. I got my son a custom made maple wood bat at Barstable Bat Co. a couple years ago (that was fun). A 29", 2 1/4 barrel. We break the thing out on occasion - I hit pepper with it, and it's fun. But it's noticably heavier. My kid uses 30"/19oz and 30/20 for games, and from handling them, it's a pretty big difference. I'll try to weigh the bat at some point to compare. He didn't scoop the top of the barrel on his, so it could have been made a little lighter.

    Nothing wrong with giving it a go. Also, there may be summer wood bat leagues that he could play in - likely more like 12 years an older. The league our team is part of in has the summer wood bat leagues. Everyone on same footing with that.
     
  20. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    A good two piece bat virtually eliminates all hand stingers (LL and BBCOR). A pretty big advantage over wood.
    Wood bats sweet spot is smaller too.

    You can't beat the crack of a well hit ball off a wood bat though.
     
  21. IHateDaveKerpen

    IHateDaveKerpen Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Well done.
     
  22. JimBoSox9

    JimBoSox9 will you be my friend? SoSH Member

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    Additionally, to mitigate this for kids a lot of wood bats have to be cut with really thin handles that are just begging to be sawed off in the hands of an amateur. I totally reject the premise that metal doesn't hold an extreme advantage in durability, let alone sweet spot size, stingers, and pop.
     
  23. Doug Beerabelli

    Doug Beerabelli Killer Threads Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    My home doctor's style scale weigh-in had the boy's 29" wood bat at 1.6 to 1.8 lbs = 25.6 - 28.8 oz. So compared to a 30"/19 oz. Mako, 7-10 oz. heaver = @ 35-50% heavier, smaller sweet spot, and smaller barrel (more tapered than the mako at same 2 1/4" max width). Handle is actually cut pretty thick compared to barrel.
     

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