Pop is an often used term explaining the measure of bounce a particular bat gives the ball at impact. A bat with more pop would hit a ball further than another with less trampoline effect. But there are so many factors that determine how far bat travels that isolating the pop of a bat in tests is very difficult. To illistrate, some years ago, we thought we would try and measure the pop of Little League bat since we had few. We took 5 bats from the old school. And, although these bats are not readily available today the results were instructive nonetheless.
The 5 Bats We Measured:
- DeMarinni Vexxum
- 2013 Easton XL3
- Combat B2 Da Bomb
- Combat B2
- DeMarinni CF4
We set a Stalker Sports 2 speed gun up at the end of the cage and then our 10 year old at the plate. We threw soft toss to him while he hit the ball directly at the speed gun. The balls would travel 8 feet into the net. It was plenty of time to get a reading on the speed gun. We took 40 swings per bat in groups of 10 swings. After each hit, as long as it went directly into the speed gun, we took down the measurements. The balls we used were of the same type and brand.
What Little League Bat Has the Most Pop?
What we found was disappointing, but at least insightful when measuring the pop in league bats. Our average hit from soft toss into the net was 47.3mph. Four of the Five bats had a max speed of 53mph the other (the Vexxum) was at 52. Statistically speaking, none of the bats were any better than the others. Although they were quite close, the rankings looked like this:
- Combat B2: 48.0 mph
- Combat B4: 47.9 mph
- Easton XL3: 47.4 mph
- DeMarini CF4: 46.8 mph
- DeMarini Vexxum: 46.6 mph
In other words, despite our effort we were not able to really determine what little league bat was best. Others often write the best youth baseball bat articles and, although we do not disparage the effort, we struggle to find value in making lists that are more precption than science. That said, there are clearly bats the public and little league players prefer more than others.
What we Learned about Pop in Little League Bats
If there is a difference in trampoline effect among these bats then it was impossible to tell by us. Most players and parents who think a certain bat has more pop are relying more on sound and feel then on any measurement of actual ball exit speed. As well, in leagues where pitching is slow and swing speeds are down the trampoline effect becomes even less noticeable. Some of that insight is gained in by diving in to the bat standards which govern bat performance.
To take advantage of trampoline effect, a serious collision needs to occur. Some bat manufacturers try and solve this by adding two barrels to a bat. Where the outer one is softer then the inside one that keeps it performing under the standard.
- There is (probably) between very little and no trampoline effect on bat/bat collisions when forces are non-violent. In the very little leagues, where pitch speed and swing speed is lower, we see no reason to believe that trampoline effect, at least significantly, has anything to do with batted ball speed.
- To measure trampoline effect in a hitting scenario you’ll need either more sophisticated equipment or a hitter with an exceptionally fast swing speed.