Baseball season is coming up fast, so on Friday we asked you to send in your baseball equipment questions.
We forwarded those questions to a group of baseball equipment experts around the office. Each expert added their take on the questions you submitted, which we hope will give you some help as you prepare for this season.
Our experts are: Jamie, Steven, Troy and Justin.
Jamie works in merchandising, Steven is in team sales, Troy is one of the helpful hands in the call center and Justin works in marketing.
Each question is in bold, with answers directly following.
What’s the best bat for a 14-year-old in Little League?
Steven: One-piece technology (an aluminum barrel fused with a composite handle) is the way to go. You want the flex when the ball impacts the bat. I would suggest the Louisville 2010 TPX H2 -10 Youth Baseball Bat.
Get it in 31″ / 21 oz. A couple of years away from High School, this would be a good bat. This is more than likely only going to be used for one season. He needs to start transitioning to bats with bigger barrels.
Troy: If this is his first year with a big barrel bat, a 31″ / 25 oz. bat would be a good choice. I would also suggest a 32″ / 24 oz. all-composite bat for the best overall performance or a similar-sized aluminum bat at a lower price.
What size glove should a 13-year-old middle infielder be using? (5’7″ – 120lbs) I’ve always heard smaller is better for middle infield. And what type of webbing for the pocket?
Jamie: Middle infielders normally have the smallest gloves on the field. Shortstops should use 11.5″ gloves, and second basemen should use 11.25″ with a modified web or an I-web.
If he’s playing both positions, go with 11.5″. If he’s also going to pitch, use a modified web.
Steven: When you are talking about middle infield, you want a smaller glove. I would suggest something between 11″ to 11.5″ glove. The webbing is just what the player would like it to be. It’s not really that important, but most infielders like an H-web or an I-web.
Troy: Get an 11″ to 11.5″ glove with a solid, two-piece or basket web. That’s so he won’t accidentally stick a finger in a hole when he’s trying to turn two.
We are looking for catcher’s glove for 7-8 year olds. Can you help us with that?
Jamie: I would suggest the Rawlings Renegade 31 1/2″ Youth Catcher’s Mitt, the Rawlings Player Series 32 1/2″ Youth Catchers Mitt or the Mizuno Prospect Series 32″ Youth Catcher’s Mitt.
Steven: I would look for an inexpensive glove for a player at this age is growing. My suggestion would be a Mizuno Franchise Series 33 1/2″ Catcher’s Mitt. The retail is $69.99. This is more than enough glove to meet the needs of a 7-8 year old.
Troy: I would also suggest the Mizuno Franchise Series 33 1/2″ Catcher’s Mitt. It has a notch in the heel of the glove, so a small hand can close it easier.
I’m trying to break onto the college scene for my sophomore year next year. How would I go about getting on the coaches’ watch list?
Steven: Start looking for showcases in your area. This is a good opportunity for you to showcase what you have. Also look into playing select baseball during the summer. A lot of college coaches attend showcases and select baseball.
Also for two year schools, the summer before your senior year, call around and try to set up tryouts.
Troy: Let them know that you’re out there. E-mail coaches at colleges you’re interested at attending. Let them know who you are and be honest.
Also get on a select or travel team, because they play at college fields. It’s a way for college coaches to go out and see more kids without using scouting trips.
Justin: It’s all about doing the legwork to get your name out there. In addition to playing select ball, build a good relationship with your high school coaches and make sure they know you want to play college ball.
They say coaching is a tightly-knit fraternity — everyone knows everyone — and a good high school coach will “sell” his outstanding players to college coaches he knows. If he sees you working hard, respects your hustle and he knows you want to play at the next level, he’ll do what he can to help you reach that.
You can e-mail college coaches directly, and you can also fill out “Prospective Athlete Forms” at colleges you’re interested in. Most colleges have these forms directly on their official Web sites. As an example, here’s the form at Oklahoma City University.
This will not only let these programs know that you’re interested in playing for them, it will also get you invitations to elite-level camps that these universities hold. These camps will cost some money (they’re athletic department fundraisers) but you’ll get instruction from college-level coaches and you’ll also get some exposure.
It’s a lot like select ball. Coaches use their camps as an informal way to scout talent.
I am in a men’s slow pitch league that only allow single wall, aluminum (metal) bats. What are my choices?
Steven: When you find a bat, your best bet is check it on your league’s Web site to see if it is legal to use.
Troy: Try the DeMarini 2010 White Steel ASA Slowpitch Bat or the DeMarini 2010 375 ASA Slowpitch Softball Bat.
Is a flex bat or stiff handle bat better?
Steven: I believe a stiff bat is better. You can get a better trampoline effect when you’re swinging a stiff bat. When you make contact out in front, the stiff bat makes it easier for consistent contact.
If the player is very strong he can use either. The bat and technology only make up about 10% of the swing. If you have a good swing it all depends on how strong you are…
Troy: It depends on the player. The bat companies say that stiff is for the big strong hitters and flex is for all the rest.
I think there is a group that are good hitters but not strong enough to make a flex bat flex, so the ball dampens off the bat and the player is cheated out of power. These players are ideal for stiff bats, so the ball will not dampen on contact.
Also, some players just don’t like the flex, regardless of size, and they prefer the stiff bat. Whatever the player likes, it’s his decision. Performance is based on bat speed and not flex.
Related: Feel free to ask us questions any time on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.