Following up our 2017 MLB Glove Report and Catcher Report, here we’ll break down, MLB bats for the 2017 season. What bats do pros swing? Which brand makes the most popular bat in the MLB? Read on to find out.
Other good info for those shopping for wood bats:
- The Best Wood Bat for your Hitting Style
- 8 Best Pro Custom Bats Available to Us Commonfolk
- What Pros Swing: The Top 5 Most Popular Wood Bats in MLB
We tracked the starting lineups for all 30 teams according to Baseball-Reference. This is our first year tracking bat usage for all starters. The bat category is a bit trickier than gloves considering the perpetual experimentation of many of baseball’s best hitters. Pros routinely change companies, models, sizes, and even wood species throughout the season to pinpoint the “feel” they need in the box. For many, this is a process that literally never ends, and these numbers are merely a snapshot in time (the second half of the 2017 season).
Before we get started, wood bat swingers, what brand do you swing?
Bats by Brand
#1 Marucci – 25% of MLB Starters
Marucci came into the league with ambitions to take control of the pro wood bat industry. They did just that on the unwavering loyalty of the true trend-setters in the MLB. When guys like David Ortiz and Albert Pujols swing your bat exclusively during first-ballot Hall of Fame careers, it tends to rub off. In 2017, one out of every four MLB starters swung Marucci.
For a little perspective, Marucci could field EIGHT spectacular baseball teams with guys who swing their bats, but here’s a few:
- Freddie Freeman
- Dustin Pedroia
- Anthony Rizzo
- Jose Abreu
- Francisco Lindor
- Alex Bregman
- Corey Seager
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Buster Posey
#2 Victus – 14% of MLB Starters
With 25% starter usage off the top, that’s a comfortable lead as it is, but Marucci really entrenched themselves atop the pro bat landscape with their 2017 purchase of Victus Sports.
Victus, a player-founded brand that was selling bats on eBay in 2012, has since skyrocketed past Louisville Slugger to become the #2 bat among MLB starters.
Victus is swung by some of the most feared hitters on the planet, and most of these guys rarely deviate if at all:
- Mookie Betts
- Andrew Benintendi
- Jose Altuve
- Carlos Correa
- George Springer
- Gary Sanchez
- Robinson Cano
- Bryce Harper
#3 Louisville Slugger – 13% of MLB Starters
Louisville Slugger, not the untouchable powerhouse that they’d been for more than 100 years, still makes one of the best bats in the game. Guys like Cody Bellinger are setting records with them and they’ve got 13% of MLB starters. Every company who makes bats is using profiles that Louisville Slugger invented. They aren’t going anywhere.
- Cody Bellinger
- Joey Votto
- DJ LeMahieu
- Salvador Perez
- Brian Dozier
- Didi Gregorius
- Josh Harrison
- Joe Panik
- Evan Longoria
- Daniel Murphy
Daniel Murphy talks Slugger with WPW:
#4 Old Hickory – 10% of MLB Starters
Old Hickory is another company that tends to find itself in the hands of the best hitters on Earth. One in ten Big League starters swing it, but the quality here is what stands out:
Here’s Arenado taking us through his gear choices, including the Old Hickory bat:
Old Hickory has MVP types. The numbers back this up. Players who swung Old Hickory had the highest slugging percentage among the top bat brands in 2017 at .483 (minimum 20 hitters).
#5 Chandler – 8% of MLB Starters
We could say the same about Chandler that we’ve said about Old Hickory—the quality of the players swinging Chandler is spectacular, with 8% of MLB’s starters:
- Rafael Devers
- Kris Bryant
- Dee Gordon
- Yoenis Cespedes
- Aaron Judge
- Nelson Cruz
- Manny Machado
- Robinson Cano
- Bryce Harper
Chandler’s roster won our bat brand batting title by a percentage point over Victus.
#6 Rawlings – 7% of MLB Starters
Rawlings bat division seemed to take a step forward this year, showing up in the hands of a growing number of players, including Khrush Davis with his Rawlings KD18 Birch.
Of the 7% of starters that swing Rawlings here are the biggest names:
The remaining brands are lead by Sam Bat and Tucci who each have about 4% of the league’s starters swinging their bats. Sam Bat’s headliners are Miguel Cabrera and Jason Kipnis (Altuve has mixed them in sparingly, too), and Tucci’s biggest name is Xander Bogaerts.
Herea are the remaining bats and the notables swinging them:
- MaxBat – 6 (Hunter Pence, Wil Myers)
- B45 – 5 (Carlos Gonzalez)
- Mizuno – 4 (Victor Martinez, Brett Gardner)
- Dinger – 4 (Kyle Schwarber)
- Trinity – 4 (Mark Trumbo, Ben Zobrist, Yasiel Puig)
- Warstic – 4 (Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton)
- OTW Bats – 3
- Dove Tail – 3 (Alex Gordon, Javy Baez)
- Zinger – 2 (Addison Russell)
- SSK – 2 (Javy Baez)
- BWP – 1 (Miguel Sano)
- Hoosier – 1
- Show – 1
Show is a new company with only one MLB starter but they certainly made the most of him, Scooter Gennett, a breakout player in 2017 who had one of MLB’s greatest single games ever. Back in June, Gennett went 5 for 5 with 4 bombs and 10 RBI, swinging that Show RJG 34.25″ Maple.
Mostly for fun, we took the combined stats of every player swinging the top brands and gave each brand a batting average and slugging percentage. The key thing here to know is that this is a very superficial group of stats. These numbers are a composite of the final batting average of every MLB starter who swung a particular brand. If a player with 500 at bats hit .300 and a player with 400 at bats hit .200, we said their combined average was .250. If that goes over your head, just understand that we did these stats for fun—don’t take them too seriously. And if you have any questions just @ us.
(Note: Minimum 20 hitters to qualify.)
Slugging Title – Old Hickory
Old Hickory lead the way in the slugging category with a .483 slug, a healthy 12 points ahead of the next best slugging wood, Chandler.
That healthy lead for Old Hick is thanks to 4 of the top 11 sluggers in baseball, #2 Trout, #4 Charlie Blackmon, #6 Arenado, and #11 Goldschmidt.
Batting Title – Chandler
Chandler out-hit Victus by a hair, leading the league’s top bat companies with a .2724 batting average. Chandler’s batting average leader was Bryce Harper at .319, while Marcell Ozuna (.312) and Dee Gordon (.308) helped win Chandler the title.
All other companies had numbers that beat the 2017 league averages of .255/.426.
Batting gloves and grip report up next!