The drop weight in baseball is the difference in measurement of the length (inches) and weight (ounces) of a bat. This is a guide used to measure each player’s comfort zone with a bat.
When you shop for baseball bats, you should see the measurements that would generally look something like this:
If you have ever come across the menu categorizing the bats with ounces like this:
- -4 oz., -5 oz., -6 oz., -7 oz., -8 oz.
That just means that they are sorted using the drop weight.
To find the drop weight in a baseball bat, you just have to minus the length from the weight:
20 (Weight in Ounces) – 30 (Length in Inches) = -10 (Drop Weight)
The drop weight for a bat that is 20 ounces in weight and 30 inches in length would be -10 or a drop 10. The minus sign is there to indicate that the bat is 10 ounces lighter than the length of the bat. A bat with a 0 drop weight means that the bat’s weight is the same as its length.
Baseball Bat Length
The length of the bat is measured from the knob to the end cap. Many baseball enthusiasts tend to believe that a longer bat would have more area coverage of the plate. The truth is, even though longer bats will allow you to reach balls outside the plate, they have a greater weight at the barrel end of the bat and will require you to put more strength into their swing. Additionally, a bat that is too long will compromise your swing speed and trajectory.
If your bat is too short, it will decrease your plate coverage. You need a bat that is suitable for your own weight and height. Adult baseball bats generally have a range between 24-34 inches while youth baseball bats range from 24-32 inches.
For youths, it really depends on their height and weight. Generally, the taller the player is, the longer the bat should be.
In MLB (Major League Baseball), the longest bat allowed in the game is 42 inches.
How to Measure Bat Length
There are three methods to find the perfect bat length for yourself. All you need is your baseball bat, or you can use a measuring tape.
Method 1: Place the knob flat on the middle of your chest so the bat sticks horizontally outward from your body. If your hand can grab the barrel of the bat, then it is the right size.
Method 2: Place the knob in the middle of your chest and point it to the side instead, aligned along your dominant arm. The bat is the right length if your fingers can reach the endcap.
Method 3: Place the bat beside you with the endcap touching the ground. If your hand can grab the endcap of the bat without you leaning over to touch it, it’s the right size.
A measuring tape can be substituted for a bat if you just stick your arm out and measure the length from the middle of your chest to your fingers. Remember to measure in inches. Measuring this will make it easier to shop for baseball bats because you will already know the length you should get.
Baseball Bat Weight
Bats with the smaller drop weight are heavier and built for power while bats with the higher drop weight are lighter and built for speed.
The general makeup of a bat is a factor that determines the weight. There are wooden bats that are mainly made out of ash, metal alloy bats that are mainly made out of aluminum, composite bats that are made out of carbon fiber or polymer, and hybrids that are commonly made with a combination of a composite handle and an alloy barrel.
You would generally think that wood bats would weigh the least when compared to aluminum and composite but it is in fact the heaviest, therefore making it the most difficult to swing with.
Every baseball enthusiast understands that the heavier bat built for power will result in the ball getting hit further and might even result in a homerun. However, a heavier bat is harder to swing if you do not have the strength for it.
If you want to test out whether a bat is too heavy for you, hold your bat by the handle or grip, stick out your arm, and count the seconds. Have 30 seconds passed yet? Is your arm hurting? If your arm can’t handle the weight of the bat for at least 45 seconds, if not 30 seconds, then the bat is probably too heavy for you.
A good way to see if a bat is too heavy for you would be to just try out a few swings. If the bat doesn’t feel heavy at all, then it’s not too heavy for you.
Even though power is a major determining factor in a homerun, you would still want to choose a bat that would allow you to swing at a significant speed.
The weight of your bat should be printed on the side. If you want to know the weight of your bat exactly, you should weigh it. The bat’s weight is often printed or measured incorrectly so it doesn’t hurt to double check.
The Length & Weight of a Baseball Bat
When combined together, the length and weight of your baseball bat must be in perfect balance for you. A bat that is too long with a higher drop weight might let you swing fast, but you will be giving up power along with it. A bat that is too short with a lower drop weight might let you have more power but your swing will be at a much slower rate.