The days of youth baseball bats being a cheap piece of wood are long gone. Today, computer and advanced technology has turned the bat race into a competitive and lucrative market. Companies try to develop the newest, best, high-performance technology. One area of difference and competition is the older one-piece bat versus the newer two-piece bat.
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Until 1999, the only baseball bats on the market were conventional one-piece models. However, in 1999 Easton Sports debuted its ConneXion bat, a two-piece system in which the barrel and handle are made separately and later bonded together. Other companies quickly followed suit by turning development and production toward two-piece models. Despite this, the country's largest bat manufacturer, Louisville Slugger, still primarily produces one piece models. Most two-piece models are composite bats, which are made from a mixture of graphite, fiberglass and resin. Most one-piece models are made from traditional aluminum, while some are made from wood.
The main difference between one-piece bats and two-piece bats is that one-piece models are developed as a single, continuous piece of metal. Two-piece models are created in two sections, a barrel and a handle, and then those two pieces are bonded together. Older model bats were aluminum or some sort of alloy, and those types of bats are still available today. Most of the newer styles are composite bats, and some are even a mixture of composite and alloy.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The main purpose and advantage for a two-piece bat is to reduce vibration for a batter's hands and to make the bat's "sweet spot" larger. The "sweet spot" is an area on the barrel of a bat where it's ideal to hit the ball to make it travel the farthest. Two-piece models also give you the ability to choose between a more flexible handle or a stiff, more rigid handle. With a one-piece model, all of the handles will be rigid and more stiff. The two-piece models also give players the ability to mix one part alloy with one part composite, another option that is not available for one-piece users. The main argument against two-piece models is that they are not as hard and act more like a wood bat, as opposed to one-piece aluminum bats which are seen as very hard and dense with little to no give. New hybrid bats with a composite handle bonded to an aluminum barrel are seen as a compromise between the two styles.
The cost difference between one-piece and two-piece models is not really a factor, because cost differences depend more on the materials used to make the bats. All composite bats, both one-piece and two-piece models, are more pricey than aluminum and alloy bats. One-piece and two-piece composite bats will usually cost from $300 to $400. Hybrid bats, a mix of composite and alloy, usually range from $200 to $300, and all hybrid bats are two-piece models. Alloy bats cost anywhere from $100 to $200, and all alloys are one-piece models.
Technology and development rapidly change the bat market yearly. Already, Louisville Slugger has developed a three-piece design to suit individual tastes. The market and the game seem to be pushing toward composite models that behave more like wood bats. These styles are thought to be safer than the older, harder aluminum models. Many college teams and bat companies have gone to strictly using two-piece models and that style looks like the wave of the present and future.