Baseball is a strong batting game wherein every hitter aims to make contact with the pitch, get on the base, and eventually score a home run.
However, hitting a home run is not an easy task. You need to have a bat that is strong and powerful enough to send the ball far and long.
In order to accomplish that, many baseball hitters adopt bat shaving and rolling methods to increase the performance of their bats.
In simpler words, bat shaving and rolling techniques improve the trampoline effect of the bat and ultimately increasing the bat performance.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about bat shaving and bat rolling.
What is Bat Rolling?
Alloy and wooden baseball bats are usually ready to use right off the shelf. However, a new composite bat generally requires to be broken in, and that’s where the concept of bat rolling comes in.
In a nutshell, bat rolling is a process in which the barrel of the new composite bats is broken in to increase the performance of the bat.
In this process, the bat is put in a specialized machine roller where the composite fibers in the barrel are slowly stretched to increase the trampoline effect of the bat. This trampoline effect then increases the overall batted ball speed and distance.
In any case, a new composite bat right off the shop may take about 500 or more hits to start experiencing a performance increase. Therefore, to speed up this process and to have the maximum performance on the game day, some players get their bat’s heat rolled as well.
While this can significantly improve the batting distance, the main benefits that players can draw will be from the center hits and those hits that get past the infielder’s gloves. Anyway, the main advantages of getting your bat rolled are explained below.
Advantages of Bat Rolling
Bat rolling can magnify the performance of the bat by increasing the batting distance and batted ball speed. However, there are many other factorial benefits a player can get by getting their bat rolled before the game. These benefits are discussed below.
When a composite bat is rolled, the pressure is applied evenly on the walls of the bat, causing the fibers to extend and epoxies to break down, while holding the bat together.
This is the same process that occurs every time you make contact, causing the fibers to become more relaxed and increase the rebounding nature of the bat surface.
When a bat is rolled, it attains merely more power. Rolling the bat significantly fortifies the fibers while making them more flexible and improves the rebounding nature of the bat. Good bats, when rolled, can easily experience an improvement of 20 to 40 feet hitting distance.
Larger Sweet Spot
A normal bat has the sweet spot on the barrel, where the bat exhibits the maximum trampoline effect. However, on a rolled bat, all the fibers have been optimized for flexibility. Because of this, the entire length of the barrel turns into one huge sweet spot with a unified flex.
Eliminating Dead Spots from Used Bats
Even a used bat can undergo the rolling process, and it is advantageous because the process eliminates any dead spots that have occurred on the bat.
Usually, when a bat is regularly used, it develops a pattern of areas on the barrel where the ball is contacting consistently. These areas on the barrel are usually great performing areas.
However, the rest of the bat is still a new composite and creates a less trampoline effect on the contact. Ideally, rolling can turn the whole barrel into a sweet hitting spot. Therefore, when a used bat is rolled, dead spots are eliminated, and the entire barrel of the bat becomes a hitting point.
Ready for Game One
Bat Rolling eliminates any need for an extensive process to break in the bat or to wait for the bat to get hot. No matter if it is a freshly purchased composite bat or an already used one, bat rolling allows you to be ready for the game anytime. So if you are even on a hitch, do not worry and just roll your bat well.
What is Bat Shaving?
Bat shaving is a process in which the inner walls of a baseball bat are shaved to increase the performance of the bat. In this process, the end cap of the bat is removed, and from there, the inner walls of the bat are evenly thinned out to increase the trampoline effect of the bat. In any case, it is essential to roll the bat first to eliminate any need for break-in time.
Bat shaving dramatically increases the performance of the bat by increasing the pop and distance of the bat. It is not uncommon to experience an increase of 30 to 60 feet batting distance after the bat is shaved. Now, add an end-load to the bat after shaving, and the range can be increased further.
When bat shaving is done, the inner walls are thinned. This causes the barrel of the bat to compress even more when the ball is in contact, ultimately improving the trampoline effect of the bat. However, shaving the bat also dramatically affects the life of the bat. On average, shaving the bat can reduce up to 25% of the life of the bat.
Bat shaving is an internal process, which means there is no way you can tell whether your bat is shaved or not just by looking at it from outside. Many shaving and rolling bat services take advantage of this fact and fool their customers for their money. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand whether a bat is correctly and adequately shaved or not.
The easiest way to check whether or not a bat is shaved is by removing the end cap and looking down the barrel. Another way to check is by using a Barrel Compression Tester, which measures the stiffness of the bat, and if the bat flexes below the allowable limits set by the association, then the bat is likely to be shaved.
Another easy way is to compare two similar bats on the field. Hit the ball using both the bats. If the ball travels farther when hit by either one, then that bat is more likely to be shaved. Shaved bats can add around 30 to 60 feet distance to the ball, which is a visible distance.
Is Rolling a Bat Illegal?
No, rolling a bat is not illegal. In fact, all composite bats undergo rolling as a part of testing before they are legally certified to be used in the game. This is done to make sure that as the bat gets hotter, it will not exceed the bat performance standards that are placed by the association.
Is Shaving a Bat Illegal?
Yes, shaving a bat is completely illegal as it makes the bat too hot to play. The bat shaving process is declared illegal in all baseball and softball associations, mainly because shaving a bat is considered as altering a bat. This is because once a bat undergoes a shaving process, the distance restrictions put on the bat by the association are no longer within limits.
Therefore, a shaved bat is to be used in specific settings only, such as during batting practice, in controlled environments, and homerun derby contests. In any case, bat shaving is illegal, and if a player is caught on the field with a shaved bat, the consequences can be severe.
Bat Rolling and Shaving can significantly increase the performance of the bat by increasing the trampoline effect of the barrel. In both cases, the bat is being optimized for maximum performance. However, bat rolling is a legal process, while bat shaving is declared illegal.
This is mainly because the bat shaving process can cross the standard bat restrictions put by the associations such as Little League, Pony League, etc.
Bat rolling is legal because it clearly falls under the standard restrictions put by the leagues and allows a fair game as well as incorporates a competitive spirit amongst the players.