We get it, it happens sometimes. That $350 bat you bought a couple of years ago, just doesn’t feel right in your hands now. When you step up to the plate, the ball doesn’t go as far and you don’t hear that satisfying noise when the ball hits the bat.
What is a dead bat in baseball?
A dead bat is a baseball bat that has lost it’s power. When you get up to the plate, the ball doesn’t go as far and you don’t hear the characteristic sound you heard when you first used the bat.
Is my composite bat dead?
If you have a composite bat (perfect for high school), you should look for cracks along the barrel. In short, you’re looking for one of the following things. If you see any of these in your bat, your composite bat is dead:
Obviously if you see a gigantic crack running down the center of your composite bat, it’s probably dead.
Look closer for hairline fractures or stress fractures – these will appear as tiny scratches along the bat. Look at how deep they are and how long to try and see if they’re the cause of the dead bat.
Note: Don’t worry if you see something that looks like a spider web on your bat! Composite bats are made up of composite materials (duh!) and a spiderweb simply means that the fibers have been broken in.
This is a good sign! It means the trampoline effect is greater allowing the ball to go further.
Also, make sure you know the difference between a scratch and just paint chips falling off. Paint chips falling off are normal – a deep scratch that breaks the bat is not.
Is my aluminum bat dead?
Unlike composite bats, aluminum bats don’t show any type of cracks or fractures due to their material.
The best way to find out if your aluminum baseball bat is dead is to run your hand along the barrel. A good aluminum baseball bat should have a smooth barrel.
If you notice any kind of indentation, dent, or notch, this can significantly impair the bat’s performance.
How to identify if a baseball bat is dead?
Look for cracks or dents
First of all, run your hands up and down the barrel of your bat. You’re looking for any cracks or dents in the barrel of the bat.
Mostly, composite bats will crack and aluminum bats will dent. If either happens to your bat, it can result in a significant loss in power and you will have to buy a new bat.
Whether you were 6 years old or 22, when you first got the bat what did you do? Of course, the answer is you went out and swung with it!
Remember that sound it made? And remember the distinctive sound it made every single time you hit a ball over the next year or two?
That’s the sound it should continue making every time you hit a ball.
When your baseball is dead, you may hear a dull thud sound when hitting the baseball compared to the normal high-pitched ping it first had.
One other way to evaluate if a baseball bat is dead is by this simple method.
Hold your bat by the barrel and tap the knob on the ground. If it makes a dull thud sound, it may be dead.
Some bats do require a break in but for the most part, your bat should still provide just as much pop as it did when you first bought it.
Most baseball bats lose their pop over time but if you’re suddenly noticing a huge decrease in how far you’re hitting – test out a different bat. If it was the bat, it may be dead.
Do your hands sting?
While hand stinging happens during occasional mishits in baseball and is a big reason why batting gloves are so popular, excessive vibrations during great hits can be an indicator that your bat is dead.
If you know you’re consistently hitting the sweet spot and you’re still feeling a lot of vibration throughout the bat, that’s a good sign that the bat is dead.
That means that the trampoline effect of the bat has decreased and as a result, the energy which should be going into the baseball are instead causing your hands to sting.
How long do baseball bats last?
There’s no empirical research on how long baseball bats last but there sure are a lot of discussions about it.
The problem is that it varies so much by number of hits, ball type (baseball, softball, weighted baseballs, etc), weather, and pitching speed.
All baseball bats should last for at least 1 year. If they become dead before then, normally there’s a warranty in place so you can get your money back or request a replacement.
Most baseball bats last 2 years – especially if you’re in the little leagues. Once you get into high school and college, it’s a little more variable – but plan for 1 year maximum.
When should you replace a dead baseball bat?
The second you notice a crack in your baseball bat or see that it’s losing it’s pop, you should replace the baseball bat. Playing with a dead bat has the potential to cause injuries to you if you keep playing with it.
Before you throw out the baseball bat though, check the warranty. Most bats come with a 1 to 2 year warranty that gives you a replacement or even a discount on a brand new bat if you discover your baseball bat is dead.
My name is David Farnum and I’ve been a Little League Coach in my community for the past 7 years. With 2 boys playing baseball and 1 girl playing softball, most weekends I can be found near a baseball diamond.