Feast your eyes on four years’ worth of data on MLB All-Star Game bat usage. Below find a graph of the five companies that have been represented at each of the last four All-Star games:
The raw data is here, which includes every brand that was brought to the plate at any of the four games (some guys swing two brands during the game which results in a half-point):
As you can see, Marucci has dominated the last two years, surpassing Louisville Slugger who was king for 80 years before (read last year’s report here).
Marucci was able to hold its position, especially dominant in the National League starting lineup, where 8 of the 9 guys took Marucci to bat (though notorious flip-flopper Bryce Harper switched over to Old Hickory for his last AB). Kris Bryant, who’d been swinging Victus and Chandler for the entire first half (we saw him with a Chandler in his last game before the break), picked up a Marucci KB17 for the HR Derby and brought it with him to the All-Star Game, too. We’ll keep an eye on him in the second half and see if it continues.
Louisville recovered from last year’s low thanks to some young guys like Joe Panik, Nolan Arenado, and AJ Pollock swinging baseball’s oldest brand. It should be noted that Alcides Escobar has been pretty consistently swinging Slugger in 2015, but went with Marucci for the ASG—on the flipside, Escobar swung Marucci in last year’s World Series, so he’s been known to switch it up.
Aside from Marucci, the company that’s gained the most ground in the ASG since 2012 is Old Hickory, swung religiously by Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt, and Lorenzo Cain. Old Hick is one of the companies that WPW enjoys covering, because many of their pro models are made available on their website.
Sam Bat, the original makers of the Maple bat, always have their subscribers. Jason Kipnis is tearing the cover off the ball with his 33.5/31.5 JK22 from Sam Bat, which he’s been swinging since his Minor League days. Ryan Braun has also been loyal to Sam Bat, swinging a 35/33 KB1 club which you can buy on the Sam Bat site. Another All-Star who didn’t get a chance to play, Miggy, would have most definitely been swinging Sam Bat, too.
Chandler could have easily had a few more guys than just Russell Martin. We’ve seen many of the 2015 All-Stars swing Chandler this year, including Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant, Joc Pederson, Manny Machado, and Mark Teixeira. Dee Gordon, injured, would have likely been swinging Chandler, too. For whatever reason, Chandler only made one appearance on this night, though if we were looking at All-Stars’ regular season usage, they might be in the top three, or even top two.
On a Chandler-related note, many of our readers let us know that the 4th of July bat that Bryce swung was a Chandler. (Graphics like these are not allowed in the MLB. The umpire got caught snoozing on this one, but it worked to our benefit, because it was sweet.)
A debut appearance for Dove Tail Bats came thanks to Mike Moustakas’ 34/31.5 inch MM8.
Perhaps the most interesting bat-related event of the game happened in Josh Donaldson’s first AB. He came up swinging a Marucci JD20, the same bat he swung in the Derby the night before. Zack Greinke threw him a disgustingly sharp slider that darted off the plate, and Donaldson swung out of his shoes (as Josh Donaldson does), and the bat went flying down the left field line, still in the field of play. Instead of just retrieving his Marucci for the next pitch, Donaldson grabbed an Old Hickory from the batboy and proceeded to swing that stick for the rest of the night.
A few questions arise: Why switch bats? If you felt good with the Marucci before the AB, what about that pitch/bat-toss changed your mind?
We won’t get answers to those questions, but WPW’s main takeaway from Donaldson’s switch, and the main takeaway from all of our research is this: the bats made by the top manufacturers are all EXCELLENT. They are virtually interchangeable, and many times it is the feel of a particular piece of wood, not the logo on it, that determines whether it is used in a game. With that said, Marucci is still King of the All-Star Game and, by our estimation, the most popular bat in baseball, and its clear that they are the brand to beat going forward.