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Why are Baseball Bats so Expensive? (Answered!)

The key element of winning baseball is a solid performance by your hitters.

Without good hitting, your team will likely be lost no matter how good other elements of the game are.

And, to be able to provide optimal performance, hitters need to have a good and trustworthy bat that will allow them to take their hitting to an optional level.

However, a reliable bat often costs a lot of money.

Players, and their parents for those in the youth leagues, often struggle to find a bat that will do its job properly and still be affordable.

This can sometimes be a real problem, as a year’s baseball budget also includes helmets, pants, cleats, and gloves at the very least.

Below, I’ll look into why are baseball bats so expensive and are the pricey bats really necessary to do good on the baseball field.

So, Let’s get into it!

Why are Baseball Bats so Expensive?

The price of a baseball bat is determined by several different factors.

Each of them is responsive for a fraction of the final price.

Material

The material that the bat is made of plays a major role in how much it will eventually cost.

On average, wood bats are cheaper than their aluminum or composite counterparts.

However, the manufacturing process of a wood bat probably costs more as it’s necessary to find quality wood to prevent breakage and achieve optimal performance.

On the other hand, the production of metal bats involves much more expenses in the area of research, testing, development, and logistics.

In addition, wood for wooden bats is mostly sourced nationally, while aluminum and other materials are often imported.

But even within bats made of the same material, some are more expensive than others. For example, maple wood bats are much more expensive than those made of ash.

Also, among the non-wood bats, those with aluminum cores tend to be cheaper than high-end composite bats made of materials such as carbon fiber.

Brands and Marketing

Another thing that can influence the price of a bat is the manufacturers.

Most companies offer a wide range of products with varying prices, from the cheap models to high-end bats intended for pros.

However, some brands such as Marucci, DeMarini, Axe, or Louisville Sluggers drive the price up just by having their name on the label.

Also, all of these manufacturers invest significant amounts of money into promoting their products.

This is especially true when a new model of a bat hits the market.

Each company is fighting for its place under the sun and its share of the very competitive market.

A good marketing campaign can do wonders for sales.

However, make no mistakes, those expenses are also calculated into the final price you pay for your bat.

The Situation on the Market

When we ask why are baseball bats so expensive, we often forget that they are not made and sold in a vacuum.

Just like any other product, they’re subject to market fluctuations that can drive the cost of the single bat in a store way up.

There are numerous ways how the situation on the baseball bat market can make them more expensive.

People often forget this when they talk about how bats in their time used to be much cheaper.

People who buy new bats every year know that they’re most expensive from January through April with the Little League season in full swing.

Likewise, in May and July, prices usually go down, as retailers look to clear their inventory.

Production Costs

Market movements can also increase the cost of bats before they even hit the stores. For example, the price of quality wood billets has soared over the last 20 or so years.

As the production of every wooden bat starts with billet, this has had a significant influence on the price offer over the last two decades.

Another good example is how the introduction of new tariffs three years ago resulted in higher costs of production of aluminum bats.

In 2018, the US government announced a 10% tariff on imported aluminum.

As almost a third of aluminum used in the US is imported, this had a great effect on all aluminum products manufacturers, including bat companies.

Do Expensive Bats Really Make a Difference?

With the prices of the bats constantly going up, manufacturers want us to believe that a more expensive bat will make you a better hitter.

Ever-increasing bat sales tell us that most people believe them. Of course, there’s some truth to this.

More expensive bats are usually more durable and don’t break that often.

In addition, bats that come as a result of extensive research and development and use high-quality materials can provide more pop, larger sweet spots, and perhaps help you hit the ball further.

But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are always worth all that money.

After all, an expensive bat can’t do too much for a bad batter. Likewise, a cheap bat won’t slow down an excellent hitter.

How Much Do Wooden Bats Cost?

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Depending on your budget and what exactly do you need, the amount of money you can spend on a wooden bat can vary greatly.

Wooden bats can be purchased for as low as $7, but more expensive models can go up to $300.

Typically, quality bats, that are usable in real games, start at around $30-40.

How Much Do Aluminum Bats Cost?

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EASTON RIVAL -10 USA Basball Bat, Small Barrel, 29/19, YSB19RIV10
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EASTON RIVAL -10 USA Basball Bat, Small Barrel, 29/19, YSB19RIV10
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The prices for aluminum baseball bats start at about $30 and go all the way up to the neighborhood of $500.

The average price is in the $150-250 range. Bats that are made for youth baseball are usually cheaper than those made for adult players.

While this may seem much more expensive than wooden bats, bear in mind that aluminum bats are more durable and will serve you longer.

In addition, unlike wooden bats, you can still use a damaged aluminum bat, at least for practice.

How Much Do MLB Bats Cost?

Louisville Slugger 2020 MLB Prime Maple C271 High Roller Baseball Bat, 33'
116 Reviews
Louisville Slugger 2020 MLB Prime Maple C271 High Roller Baseball Bat, 33"
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Last update on 2021-12-03 at 03:06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Currently, around 30 companies are certified to supply MLB players with bats. They all have to adhere to strict rules and standards prescribed by MLB.

While you may expect that MLB bats used in the majors are the most expensive of all, that’s actually not the case.

As some players can go through even 100 bats per season, teams buy them in bulk and get a significant discount.

The average cost is in the $75-185 range.

In addition, a lot of players don’t buy their own bats but get them for free through endorsement deals with various brands.

Conclusion

The high price of a bat often guarantees quality and, if you can afford it, go for it.

Often, players get a confidence boost from a more expensive bat and overperform their actual abilities thanks to the placebo effect.

In addition, chances are that the more you pay for the bat, the longer it will serve you. If nothing else, you’ll take better care of it.

However, it still comes down to fundamentals and how good a batter you are. An expensive bat is not a magic wand and won’t miraculously make you a better player.

The most important thing is that you feel comfortable with the bat and that suits your age and your style of play.

If you find a bat like that for a decent price, all the better.

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