Best Youth Little League of 2020: A Look at the Best Little League Bats For This Upcoming Season
Every baseball player is different in size, speed and strength. This is how it’s supposed to be, though, as every position on the field requires a certain type of athlete.
A pitcher needs to have long arms and powerful shoulders to throw blazing fastballs. A shortstop should be lengthy and quick to catch low-fliers and groundballs coming at them from right-handed batters. And an outfielder needs to have elite coordination and quick speed to get to those awkward fly balls that travel quickly toward the back fence.
The differences in the build and athletic capabilities among players is a good thing. Without them, a team would be unable to fill fielding positions correctly.
But when it comes to stepping up to the plate, the type, size, and weight of a bat will make all the difference.
A lengthy outfielder will have different requirements than that of a powerful hitting first-baseman.
So whether it is your first time purchasing a high-quality bat for your child or you’re looking to get an upgrade from last season, this article has you covered with all of the important things to look for in a bat, and the best youth baseball bats for your player.
That's what we created this list of top ten rated youth baseball bats (with reviews), so you can find the best option for your kid in the easiest way possible.
The Anatomy of a Baseball Bat
It’s easier to determine which features to look for in a bat when you understand the composition of it.
The anatomy of the baseball bat has remained relatively constant over time, though modifications (like creating them with alloy and composite material) have been applied. Because of the addition of regulations and the change in play style of the game, bats have adapted into what we know them as today.
Bats Are Made up of Five Primary Aspects
- Knob: the end, or bottom, of a bat; the disk-like object that keeps the player’s hands from sliding off the end of the bat
- Handle: the portion of the bat where the hitter’s hands go
- Grip: a rubber material that enforces a hitter’s grasp on the bat
- Barrel: thickest region of the bat; the part that makes contact with the ball
- End Cap: the cap that sits on the top of the bat; designed to increase a hitter’s control and determine the swing weight
One-Piece vs Two-Piece Baseball Bats
In addition to these five sections, the modern bat can be classified as either one-piece or two-piece.
- One-Piece: a bat that consists of the same material throughout its entire length, hence the name ‘one-piece.’ Displays very little flex which allows for retention of energy. 1 piece youth bats are a good choice for power hitters who want a balanced feel and don’t mind the occasional hand sting with poor hits.
- Two-Piece: a bat that fuses a separate handle to a separate barrel. This allows for greater flex which produces a faster swing speed. 2 piece youth bats are a good choice for precision-hitting players who want to avoid the stinging vibrations.
When selecting which bat is right for you, be sure that you know why it has the various features that it does. Deciding between one-piece or two-piece construction will be the difference in your player’s performance when they’re up to bat.
What Features Should You Look For in a Bat?
The most important criteria for choosing a new baseball bat is understanding the features that your child or youth player requires and what they prefer.
It may seem confusing when you look at bats in terms of their width, weight, length, and material, but it is important to consider each of these when selecting the perfect one.
Here's what you need to know to find the right variation for you:
Bat Performance Factor
The Bat Performance Factor, or BPF, is the value used to measure how fast a ball will bounce off the bat.
This is commonly referred to as the trampoline effect as it describes the rebound on the ball given by a bat’s barrel. This is important considering that parents and coaches are always looking for youth bats with the most pop possible to maximize player performance.
When it comes to youth baseball, the Bat Performance Factor is important to understand as there are different requirements related to it.
The standard for BPF in many youth organizations is 1.15. This has been recorded as the approximate BPF given off a wooden bat. A youth bat that matches this requirement will be stamped with a ‘1.15 BPF’ marking, making it easy to identify if it is approved for use in your league.
USA Baseball governs the sport of baseball in the United States and has developed a set of standards that all bats used must adhere to rules, called ‘USABat’.
For the most part, the majority of youth bats fit those criteria. Some of the popular organizations that follow USABat guidelines include:
- Dixie Youth Baseball
- PONY Baseball
If you don’t know what standards your local team has adopted, it’s best to contact your coach or league director to confirm. Understanding BPF is important to finding the top youth baseball bat for your kids.
Youth Bat Width
The width of a bat is also known as the barrel size, or the barrel diameter of the bat’s barrel. This is important to consider with little league and youth players.
For athletes under the age of 12, it is advised that they use a 2-1/4” bat barrel diameter, though USA Baseball allows for barrel width up to 2-5/8”. In fact, some of the top rated youth baseball bats are of a 2 and 1/4" bat barrel.
A smaller width allows young players to focus on accuracy as their swings will be easier to control. As they grow and become stronger, they will be able to hit a ball farther and will then look for a wider barrel to add more power when they make contact with the ball.
Understanding Bat Weight and Length (Bat Drop)
Weight is very important to look at as you consider your options. A baseball bat's true weight is measured in ounces (oz.) but is more commonly marked by its drop.
Bat drop is the difference between the length and weight of a bat. If a bat has a length of 28 inches and a drop weight of -10, you can find its actual weight to be 18 ounces. The higher the bat drop is, the lower the true weight of the bat will be.
In order to choose the correct weight, it is necessary to find the right length.
To make things easier, we made a chart to help you find the right bat length based on the players height and weight
Once a length has been determined, the bat drop is dependent on your requirements and preferences. These values will be based on a player’s size and the physics and mechanics of their swing.
A slugger may want a heavier bat to put more distance under their hits. This would mean a smaller bat drop weight. And a player that is just looking to get on base consistently may want a lighter bat with a higher bat drop weight.
To make things easier, we created a chart for to help you find the ideal bat weight based on player height:
Some of the best youth baseball bats for players under 12 have a length under 32 inches and a bat drop weight between (-13) to (-10) (anything from -13 to -10 is what we recommend!)
Be sure to try out multiple lengths and weights to best suit you or your players’ needs!
Youth Bat Material
There are two different classifications of bats; wood and non-wood. Wood is pretty straightforward in material, however, it is primarily used in professional leagues or high-stakes tournaments. Non-wood bat materials are classified as composite, alloy, and hybrid.
Composite Youth Bats: This material is similar to that of carbon fiber, allowing for an easier way to control weight distribution through a balanced or end-loaded style. It reduces bat vibration on the hands and places more pop on the ball, but is more expensive and requires some time to break-in.
Alloy Bats: The most common bat type in amateur baseball. These are metal bats, typically aluminum. They are relatively inexpensive, last long even when damaged, and will dent as opposed to crack, making them still usable. However, they produce less of a pop and do not have a large sweet spot for initiating contact.
Hybrid: This bat is, well, a hybrid. It’s a good balance for players who are unable to decide between composite bats and alloy. It reduces hand-stinging vibration, can be used in all temperatures and has a larger "sweet spot" than alloy bats, but a smaller one than a composite bat.
It’s also important to note that USA Baseball adopted a new bat standard requiring affiliated Little League teams to have a USA Baseball certification sticker on their bats for them to be considered game-legal. If you are part of a USA-affiliated Little League team, make sure to check the bottom of prospective bats before you buy.
The Top Ten Best Bats for Youth Baseball
So you've established the perfect width, length, weight and you've chosen which type of material you want. Now the fun part - picking the bat. The brand or manufacturer is important when it comes to selecting a baseball bat, which is why we included only the best and most reputable brands in our list.
There are companies that are known for their quality baseball gear and are highly-regarded as industry leaders in developing great products.
Let's dive into the top-rated bats that will increase any youth players' performance throughout the 2020 season:
The older CF Zen models from DeMarini just got an upgrade. Coming out on top is the popular and very effective 2019 CF Zen Balanced. Highly-regarded by many players, coaches, and parents, this superior piece has earned its reputation through faster swing speed, consistency and proven performance. With a lightweight feel and powerful barrel, this bat gets the job done. DeMarini has designed this bat with the perfect features:
Paraflex Plus Composite Barrel: This 2-5/8” barrel was developed to create consistent responsiveness and provide a large sweet spot
2-Piece Composite Construction: The 2-piece composite bat improves weight distribution to have great balance, faster swing speed, and better control
3Fusion Connection: Allows better weight control/feel, reduces vibration, and redirects energy from contact back into the barrel
ReACTION End Cap: The end cap presents a blend of stronger and lighter materials, enhancing barrel performance while maintaining swing speed
Easton has always delivered some of the best youth baseball bats to the market and their 2018 Beast X USA Bat is no exception. Being one of the most superior youth composite baseball bats, the Beast X provides an improved connection between handle and barrel through the extension of the barrel, which provides a larger sweet spot for those satisfying drives. On top of its impressive design and trustworthy name, some of the notable features of this bat include:
Dynamic Feel System: Its hybrid design gives an improved feel for the hitter
Exact Carbon Handle: Creates a slight end-loaded approach while maintaining a balanced feel
Advanced Thermal Alloy Construction (ATAC): Strong and durable aluminum enforces the barrel’s power
Z-Core X-Tended Barrel Design: Barrel core technology that gives a greater sweet spot and faster swing speed.
Coming in at number three is yet again Easton; this time with their 2019 Ghost X Hyperlite. Its two-piece composite material provides a balanced swing weight, while the optimized technology in the 2-5/8” barrel offers big-hitters the mass they need to get under the ball, making it one of the greatest composite youth bats around. Here’s what contributes to its explosive power and pop:
Exact Carbon: Advanced Carbon Technology one-piece construction leaves the hands of the hitter feeling great and adds more pop on contact
One-Piece HYPERLITE Design: Brings a lightweight feel that puts speed behind the ball when contact is made
SPEED CAP: Brings a better and more flexible barrel and enhances the sound of contact
Custom Lizard Skin Grip: Cushions the hands and provides stronger tack for the perfect grip comfortability
Marucci brought together their strongest alloy yet to develop this bat. Designed to improve durability and a higher response rate, the CAT youth bat will enhance your performance at the plate. Its one-piece configuration boasts many features:
AZ105 Alloy: Marucci’s strongest alloy increases responsiveness and durability
Multi-Variable Wall: Enlarges its sweet spot through a thinner barrel wall design
2nd Gen AV2 Knob: Enriches the feel of the bat and gives upgraded vibration reduction, making it one of the best alloy bats around
Ring-Free Barrel: Flexibility of barrel walls is increased to combat dead spots
One-Piece Construction: Give the hitter a cleaner and smoother swing with consistency in the aluminum alloy material
Precision-Balanced: Increases bat control and lowers the natural tendency to resist angular swing motion through precision balance
A three-piece hybrid bat that will help you dominate the league. The hybrid design features a composite handle to mimic its fully-composite bat rivals, while the aluminum barrel provides a strong and durable structure. Louisville Slugger came through with some ultimate features for this one:
Hybrid Design: A premium ST 7U1+ alloy barrel combined with a composite handle encourages strong and powerful hits while providing a comfortable feel that helps increase pop
Speed Ballistic Composite (SBC) End Cap: Perfectly designed to increase bat control and maximize swing speed
Premium LS Pro Comfort Grip: The precise combination of grip cushion and tack to keep hands set and promote swing control
VCS Connection System: Louisville Slugger's elastomeric connection gives independent movement between the handle and the barrel that reduces vibration and creates a satisfying feel when contact is made
Balanced Weight: The balanced aspect of the bat brings nothing but speed and power to its swing
Rawlings has been a staple in the sports gear world for quite some time now. Being one of the most popular brands in baseball, they have created a bat perfect for the smaller player who loves the traditional bat feel that provides an easier swing through the zone. This alloy bat comes through with some great upgrades, making it one of the best youth little league bats on the market. Let's take a look and see what features it comes with:
pOp 2.0 Engineering: Enlarges the sweet spot and improves the feel of the bat for those smooth and in-control swings
5150 Alloy: Rawling’s strongest alloy material with elite responsiveness, designed with aerospace-grade alloy to increase performance and bat durability
Hyper-Lite Speed Cap: Brings that lighter feel and a faster swing speed
Marucci isn't just limited to creating great metal bats. This wood bat is perfect for hitters who want to focus on precision while building swing strength. Whether you're using a wood bat for practice or a game, the AP5 Pro Maple is sure to raise your awareness and accuracy, as wood bats have a smaller sweet spot. It's not only great for practicing precision hits - this end-loaded bat will be a pitcher's nightmare when contact is made. Let's take a look at what Marucci brings to the plate here:
Specialized Bone-Rubbing Technique: Less porous and higher compressed fibers maximize its durability, making it one of the best youth wood baseball bats on the market
Tapered Knob & Handle: Maintain great control of the bat during your swing
End-Loaded: Adds nothing but pure power through the zone and high ball speed on contact
Maple Material Construction: High-quality maple wood retains bat strength and provides a heavy and authentic feel for the true slugger
Yet another quality product from one of the best bat manufacturers in baseball. A hot commodity in youth leagues, its one-piece design creates consistency and durability by using top-quality alloy material. Easton knows how to make a bat catered to the requirements of players at every level, and the S500 “Speed Brigade” is not to be excluded:
Alx-50 Aluminum: Military-grade aluminum alloy offers balanced swing speed and maximum durability
One-Piece Construction: Allows for increased durability throughout the barrel and the handle while promoting a smooth and consistent swing speed
Pro Tack Grip: Increases ability to handle the bat while providing control and enhanced comfortability
-8 Drop Weight: A smaller length-to-weight ratio creates a heavier bat for the big-hitters
The 2020 DeMarini Voodoo is an excellent choice for players who want a balanced bat. Its two-piece hybrid design allows for a lighter swing with the alloy barrel while keeping swing speed and comfort with the composite bat handle. Extend the distance of any ball on contact with the power of the barrel and the easier control of the handle. Coaches love this bat so much that many say it is one of the best little league bats, period. The engineering of this beast will amplify your performance:
ReACTION End Cap: Improved barrel performance with more pop and flexibility without any sacrifice to swing speed
3Fusion Taper: Uniquely designed to elevate feel and weight distribution
Balanced Swing Weight: The perfect combination of swing speed and power for precision-hitting
Paraflex Plus Composite Handle: High responsiveness and superior feel that retains energy in the barrel for explosive hits on contact
X14 Alloy Barrel: Premium quality alloy features sturdy barrel walls and powerful swings
A truly unique design that offers sharp performance. The 2020 Avenge Comp is held as AXE's best USA Baseball approved bat to date. AXE is always developing the most innovative bats in the industry and has designed the 2020 model of the Avenge Comp to bring impressive swing speed, power and control. Its two-piece composite design balances the swing profile for younger players as they develop and begin to increase the effectiveness of their hits. Some of its advanced features include:
Two-Piece Charged Carbon Construction: A variable-layer composite structure in the barrel specifically targeted toward increased speed and power
Vibration Cancelling System (VCS): Materials that absorb shock from contact at three different locations in the handle to give a hitter the confidence to swing at any pitch
New HyperWhip End Cap: Composite end cap slims the figure to provide a faster swing that is more effective
Axe Handle: Patented handle design that sustains grip and feel so you can swing with more speed and control to hit the ball more frequently and with great authority
Endogrid Technology: Installed directly into the Axe Handle, this technology reduces negative vibration by resisting it from traveling to your bottom hand, presenting a smoother and more comfortable swing
The bats that made the top ten list are some of the highest quality and best-performing youth bats on the market today. This does not mean that they are the only ones you should consider, though.
There are a few honorable mentions to bring to light that might be in line with your preferences. Not to be looked over, these bats are worth checking out if any of the previously mentioned options didn't quite fit what you're looking for.
The old and faithful baseball brand that hardly ever disappoints. Louisville Slugger has brought a smaller barrel to the market (2 1/2”) for the youth players who are younger or undersized and are not able to produce strong results with the common 2 5/8” barrel bats. This model allows the player to enjoy a lighter weight to help them focus on accuracy and increase swing speed, consequently increasing power. The Solo SPD is comprised of an SL Hyper alloy, Louisville Slugger’s thinnest aluminum material. The thinner walls also make up the -13 drop which boosts a player’s swing consistency through the zone. Check out some of the appealing characteristics of this stick:
SL Hyperlight Alloy: Thinner aluminum barrel walls favor a greater pop and lighter feel
One-Piece Construction: Stiffens feel and sends more energy to the barrel on contact
Speed Ballistic End Cap: Composite cap adds more swing speed and control with attractive design and color for a sleek look
LS Pro Comfort Grip: Grip cushion that maximizes comfort and decreases vibration intensity on poor ball contact
Balanced Configuration: Promotes high-speed swings without sacrificing control
Arguably belonging in the top 10 list, Easton did an excellent job seamlessly integrating the 2 pieces to create a bat that helps with speed and power. The handle is a good size and features a sturdy end cap. The patented Conation technology helps with vibration and with redirection energy back to the ball, giving that trampoline effect that every batter is looking for.
TCT Thermo Composite Technology: Provides massive barrel and unmatched swing speed
Patented 2-Piece Conation Tech: Get The most energy transfer and pop you're looking for.
Ultra Thin Design: The 29/32" composite handle comes equipped with 1.2mm hyperskin grip
This might be one of the hottest youth bats available for Little League players. Revealed during the Little League World Series in August 2019, it immediately showed its ability to give a lightweight swing and put more power behind any pitch. Easton also put some incredible engineering into the creation of this bat; from the carbon handle to the Nitrocell Foam handle-to-barrel connectivity. Having a stacked list of features and distinct technology, the 2020 FUZE 360 was extremely popular with the players in the 2019 Little League World Series, and it’s easy to see why:
Launch Comp Handle: 90% carbon fiber composition reinforces the stiffness of the handle
Advanced Thermal Alloy Construction (ATAC): Popular style barrel presents a durable and strong body while giving a lightweight feel to increase swing speed
Two-Piece iSo CXN Construction: Separates the handle from the barrel using Nitrocell Foam technology to improve bat feel and deliver more power through the zone
Power Boost Soft Knob: Helps strengthen the player’s leverage while swinging and reduces the vibrations from poor ball contact to create ultimate comfortability for the bottom hand
Forged Composite End Cap: Improves the trampoline effect from the thin aluminum barrel walls and allows for a quick swing through a lighter and tougher cap
Custom Lizard Skins Grip: A perfect grip to cushion the hands and increase grasp with a strong tack
It is important to make sure you understand your child’s preferences and requirements before you decide on which bat to purchase. How they will perform at the plate depends on their preference, size, and strength.
Are they more conservative? Do they approach their swings placing their focus on making precision contact? Look toward balanced and lighter weighted bats with smaller barrels.
Do they struggle to pack a punch to the ball? Are they not able to properly utilize their strength on contact? Consider an end-loaded and heavier weighted bat with larger barrel size.
Being able to identify the type of bat or the perfect combination of features that improves batting performance is crucial.
Take a look at your old bats to determine what brands or sizes have worked in the past, and what specs have contributed to the success at the plate. Once you have decided what works, use this list as a guide to your decision-making process.
Compare these options, paying attention to the details and features of each bat to customize the perfect product for your player.
Consistency is key as a hitter. A bat that is proven to promote consistency and enhance a player's abilities makes all the difference. It may be one with elite engineering and innovative features or one that has simply proven its reliability through its classic design and traits.
The search for a new bat can be a complicated journey to go on. However, this article has brought together the top-performing bats available on the market for the 2020 season, equipping you with the only guide you will need.
Choose one of the elite options from this list, and let the bat take it from there. It’s time to elevate your player’s game to the next level.
Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment below or share this article if you found it to be of value!