As we continue looking at the wood bat spectrum, we want to highlight some of the names you should know. A quick search will find you at least 20 different name brands that manufacture wood bats. If you’re someone that doesn’t have much experience, that may be a bit overwhelming.
1. Louisville Slugger
Louisville Slugger may be the most well-known manufacturer in the game. They have an incredible story that dates back to the 1880s. They continue to produce high-quality bats and they’ve formed a relationship with a number of players.
The Slugger name carries a reputation of quality and performance. Players such Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and more recently Derek Jeter and Ronald Acuna are known to use Louisville Sluggers. Over the last two seasons about 14.5% of Major League players are using a Louisville Slugger model.
You’ll find that most Slugger models are maple. They do carry a few models that are birch.
Marucci is a bat that has gained acclaim in recent years. This rise started in the late 90s when Kurt Ainsworth and Joe Lawrence teamed up with Jack Marucci. A large chunk of their popularity has come from the fact that the company likes to use player endorsements. They don’t sign players for endorsement deals. Marucci lets players come to them.
Marucci is becoming one of the premier names in baseball. 13% of the bats crafted by Marucci make it to a major league dugout. Marucci has also become the most common bat in the league. 23.7% of bats in Major League Baseball come from Marucci. You’ll find endorsements from guys like Pujols, Lindor, and Posey, just to name a few.
Much like Louisville Slugger, most of the bats that Marucci puts out are maple. They do offer a composite model as well. They also offer a “blem” model which is a model that doesn’t meet their strict requirements.
We’d like to make an important note here. Victus is an outstanding company, but they’re a sister company to Marucci, so we decided to put them together. They’ve partnered together to create the ideal bats.
After seeing the success of axe-handled bats, Victus partnered with Axe Bats to develop a wood model. It’s taken off over the years with players like Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts opting for the new handle.
Over the last two years, Victus has made up about 19% of the bats used by MLB players.
4. Old Hickory
Old Hickory is another great bat company. They don’t offer quite the variety that some of the other companies do, but they offer high quality products. Old Hickory has been around since 1999. They’ve developed a reputation for offering some of the best customer service in the business.
Old Hickory is another company who has had some big names sign up to use their bats. Players like Sammy Sosa, Carlos Beltran and Mike Trout have signed up to use Old Hickory as their weapon of choice.
Like everyone else, Old Hickory produces more maple bats than anything else. You’ll find that they also have ash bats. Their pricing is very reasonable. In the last two seasons, Old Hickory has had, roughly, 11% of the market share among MLB players. They’re a popular bat that provides great quality.
When you’re talking baseball, Rawlings should come up in most conversations. They’ve been around since the early 1900s and have become one of the biggest manufacturers in the game. Initially, they were known for their gloves (their name is still on the gold glove awards). They’ve become a well-rounded company and players respect their bats as well.
Rawlings produces maple bats more than anything else. They do offer a blended composite model that is part maple and part bamboo. They also produce bats made from ash and birch wood as well. Rawlings may offer a larger variety of models than any other manufacturer.
You’ll find a Rawlings bat in the hands of players like Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, and Ozzie Albies. Over the last two years, they’ve averaged about 3.5% of the market share in major league baseball. While the product is still among the best, players seem to be turning away from Rawlings. In 2019, they had a 5.1% market share. That dropped to 2.6% in 2020.
We’d like to point out a few other great companies who aren’t quite at the top of the list.
Mizuno was established in Japan in 1906. They have focused on maple and composite bats. They do make up .74% of the market share in the majors.
Tucci is a relatively new company in the bat game. They were founded in 2009, but fairly popular. Tucci has focused on maple bats. They do have a model (Tucci X9) that is an axe handle model. Over the past two seasons, they’ve made up about 3% of the MLB market.
Finally, Chandler Bats is a manufacturer that has really impressed us. They were founded in 2009 with a focus on player safety. Yoennis Cespedes has actually become an “athlete entrepreneur” who is trying to grow the brand. Chandler Bats has grown immensely over the past 2 seasons. In 2019, their market share was only 5.5%. In 2020 their market share reached 9.3%.