Exclusive: The science behind major league baseball bats

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
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Amy Freeze talks to the man who makes baseball bats for the pros to find out what's magic aboit the hitters of major league baseball.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Major league baseball players can alter their hitting bats to compensate for more than just hitting style. Weather and even their own height can go into the equation to equal a home run.

Even some New York players have personalized bats with a secret science behind them.

The magic behind the hitters of major league baseball has a lot more to it than you think. Once a piece of a tree, bats are usually the deciding factor for teams going into the playoffs.

And there is one man who understands how all the pieces come together.

"It was just a piece of wood," Dave Chandler of Chandler Bats explains. He designs the most successful bats in baseball today at his own factory less than 100 miles from New York City.

Chandler has probably made bats for a player you know, "On the Mets alone Amed Rosario, Juan Lagares, Tomás Nido, Phillip Evans, Yoenis Céspedes, Adrián González, Kevin Plawecki," he said.

And not just the Mets. Chandler produces personalized bats for hitters on both New York teams, including Yankees fan favorite Aaron Judge.

"We have been working with Aaron since he was in college," Chandler said.

Every bat is custom and it's true - size matters when it comes to a bat. Length and weight are all crucial, and dependent on the player's needs.

"Here is an Aaron Judge used game bat. Much heavier than other players, it's much heavier," Chandler said, explaining how every player is different.

Length and width specifications all aim to give players consistent contact.

Sometimes the bat changes as the player's ability or strength changes. Even injuries can create the need for bat adjustments.

"Whatever makes them unique with swing style they have," said Chandler. "Sometimes it's based on their size. Aaron Judge is well over 6 feet tall and he needs a large, long properly weighted bat."

Bats can be designed in just hours. Materials, measurements - whatever consideration that comes up - are altered for the athletic ability.

Even the time of the baseball season, from fall to summer, can create the need for a change of bat.

Size and weight can vary for players during the long season from sturdy maple to flexible ash to lightweight birch.

Anyone can get a custom bat. Chandler works with all ages. He loves seeing players succeed but he says the real thrill is seeing fans react to hit after hit after hit.


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