There is nobody in baseball hotter than Carlos Gonzalez. He slugged a silly .841 in July on his way to his first NL Player of the Month award. Since July 9 he’s got 15 bombs. He’s hitting balls like this:
I don’t know much about being locked in, but I’m pretty sure when you hit a lefty/lefty OPPO (!!!) 110 mph pea into the party porch at Citi Field that would qualify as LOCKED IN.
At Spring Training I met CarGo and he was very happily swinging his Sam Bat CG5 at that time. I asked him why he swings that bat. He told me, “I won a batting title with this bat.”
That’s a good reason.
Fast forward to mid-May, and Gonzalez was looking for a change. With his batting average plunging to an unsightly .188, he started to mix in lumber from other companies like America’s Bat Co. and Tucci. The new sticks did the trick, as CarGo’s June was a productive one. Then, on July 9, CarGo picked out one of Wilin Rosario’s Birch B45s, and that’s when the floodgates opened. He hit 3 consecutive doubles that night. He followed that up with 9 jacks in his next 11 games. No one was safe.
Could it be the Birch?
Proponents of Birch bats say its the best of both worlds. They say that Birch is more flexible than Maple and almost as hard, while being harder than Ash and almost as flexible. They also say that Birch gets more pop the more you use it. One company who supplies Birch to Minor Leaguers claims that once a Birch bat has been used enough, it becomes nearly indestructible, and told WPW that some guys have swung one Birch bat for an entire season.
I haven’t used one, but I think the “hybrid” properties of the Birch might result in a bit more forgiveness (like Ash) when you hit off the sweet spot while still giving you that blunt force of Maple.
CarGo’s hot streak coincides with the switch to Birch, and we’ve only seen him deviate once since that night (to a Marucci). To say the bat is the reason for his torrid hitting is a “chicken or the egg” paradox, since we all know that if we hit three consecutive doubles with a number 2 pencil, that’d be our choice for the rest of the year.
It reminds me of something CarGo himself told me in Spring Training when I asked him about his bats. He said:
“If you got a bat stuck up your ass, and you’re hitting—keep it there.”
That’s one I’ll never forget. Check out B45 Birch here, and please leave your comments below if you’ve used Birch and have an opinion!