Fish, however, wouldn’t mind seeing another change to college bats. Since 2011, BBCOR bats have been used in college baseball. The switch from composite bats to BBCOR, which are designed to perform more like wood bats, cut home run numbers drastically.
“Hopefully the game can switch to wood here soon,” Fish said. “I love using a wood bat, and I know a lot of guys would like that because a wood bat probably has more pop than the BBCORs.”
Due mostly to cost, that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. And regardless of the opinion, BBCOR bats have revealed some universal truths. First and foremost, hitters are focused more than ever on squaring the ball up. To hit one out, that’s now a necessity.
“You can’t just go up there and take ill-advised swings and accidentally hit one out of the ballpark anymore,” OSU outfielder Saulyer Saxon said. “With the old bats you could be off-balance or catch one off the end and it would go out. With these, if you get jammed or catch one off the end, it’s not going anywhere.”
And although power numbers are down, Holliday said that doesn’t mean baseball is less exciting.
“Sure, there are less home runs, but now an exciting play can be a hit-and-run or a double steal, a play you weren’t seeing as much with the old bats,” Holliday said. “It’s not less exciting, but maybe a different type of exciting.”
So while players have their opinions and preferences, most agree success is less about the stick and more about the player wielding it.
“No matter what you’re using, I’m trying to barrel it up, so really it shouldn’t make a difference,” Neuse said.