What’s the best coach pitch (aka junior big barrel baseball bat)? Well, as it turns out, sifting through the plethora of top-notch brands like Easton and Marucci to find the best one is surprisingly harder than we thought. The options are plentiful!
To make your experience easier than ours was, we’ve narrowed down on our 10 best junior big barrel bats to inspire confidence in your lil’ slugger as they step up to the plate.
If you’re in a bit of a rush and aren’t able to go through the entire list, we settled on the Marucci Cat 9 JBB as the best coach pitch bat of the lot. The Marucci Cat 9 JBB boasts some impressive features and is a great all-round bat. If this isn’t what you’re looking for, there are 4 fantastic options below!
These bats are perfect for Coach Pitch and Machine Pitch leagues (typically for kids between 5 to 7 years of age) where pitch speeds range between 40-45 MPH or lower. Using it for player pitch will most likely dent it.
Our Top 5 Coach Pitch Picks for 2021
The Marucci Cat 9 JBB is a drop 10, one-piece, all-alloy coach pitch bat that’s offered in 24, 25, 26, and 27-inch sizes and sports a massive 2 3/4-inch barrel.
Like many other manufacturers on this list, Marucci outfits their coach pitch bats with the innovative material used on their best bats. Its multivariable wall design gives it thinner walls and an enormous sweet spot. Further, its ring-free barrel construction lets the bat flex more and increases performance by eliminating dead spots on the barrel.
The AZR alloy used on the Cat 9 JBB gives it a better feel, better performance, and more forgiving for players learning the fundamentals. The Cat 9 JBB features a massive sweet spot and an aluminum barrel hot out of the wrapper.
Its classic, one-piece design, coupled with an anti-vibration knob, gives players a comfortable bat that feels great to swing. The micro-perforated grip tape is nice and tacky to improve feel and control through the zone.
Another top performer on our list, and for good reason, is the Marucci F5. The F5 JBB is a balanced drop 10, one-piece, all-alloy coach pitch bat offered in 25, 26, and 27-inch sizes. It features a USSSA 1.15 BPF certified stamp on it.
This model offers players a traditional, consistent feel for better control through the zone. The multivariable wall design of the huge 2 3/4 inch barrel gives players a huge sweet spot and makes the bat extremely durable. Ring-free barrel tech maximizes performance while eliminating dead spots along the length of the barrel.
On the other end, the custom bat grip does incredibly well to dampen sting while improving comfort & overall control.
Overall, we love the even load and the pop off the F5.
The Posey is a balanced, drop 10 alloy bat designed after San Francisco Giants Buster Posey’s game model bat. It sports a 2 3/4 inch barrel, is offered in 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31-inch sizes, and features a USSSA 1.15 BPF certified stamp.
The Posey28 uses Marucci’s AZ105 alloy, which is supposedly the strongest aluminum on Marucci’s lineup. This alloy allows for thinner walls, a more responsive barrel, and greater durability. A thinner wall, in particular, is more forgiving to beginners who’ll occasionally hit off-center as they learn the ropes.
The barrel’s balance and lower M. O. I. makes for more precision and control. Its ring-free barrel lets the bat flex more and eliminates all dead spots along the barrel’s length. Its multivariable wall design elongates the sweet spot, while its anti-vibration knob is fantastic for reducing negative feedback and improving this bat’s feel in the hands.
Finally, the tacky bat grip tape works further to improve overall feel and control.
Overall, we love the look and feel of this bat. The wood grain finish and the smoke colorway on the barrel and black on the handle give the Posey28 buckets of “cool factor.” It’s also durable and has awesome pop.
The Easton Beast Speed is a balanced, one-piece, drop 10 pick that features an all-alloy construction and a massive 2 3/4-inch barrel.
Its alloy construction makes for a light yet powerful barrel that is perfect for players who are just starting. These alloy materials give it a light swing and make for a durable aluminum barrel for a buttery, consistent swing.
The new Speed Cap provides more flex while making the barrel more responsive overall. Its custom Lizard Skin bat grip is perfect for a combination of cushion and tack.
We liked the sweet spot’s size as it provided a decent surface-area for that ideal hit. Its lightweight feel, good balance, durability, and pop are the reason the Easton Beast Speed won our hearts.
Another pick for the best junior big barrel/coach pitch bats is the Axe Bat Elite One. This is a balanced aluminum bat offered in 26 and 27-inch sizes and a 2 3/4-inch barrel diameter. It’s certified for 1.15 BPF standard, stamped for USSSA NTS.
The balanced swing weight is engineered for speed, and the alloy barrel is hot out of the wrapper and needs no breaking in.
Unlike the traditional knob found on most bats, the Axe Elite One Junior Barrel Bat uses Axe’s patented handle. The handle’s angled ergonomic shape fits the palm of your hand naturally, providing a stable grip for more control. A composite end cap gives the Axe Elite One a sleek, lightweight profile for faster swings. Furthermore, the end cap angles to eliminate unnecessary weight for a balanced, faster swing given the large barrel.
Overall, hitters love this bat’s balance and incredible pop. The axe grip helps beginners swing better, and the sweet spot is massive! Great bat.
What is a Coach Pitch Bat?
Coach pitch bats (aka Junior Big Barrel baseball bats) have the younger player in mind, typically players eight years old and younger. They are perfect for Coach Pitch and Machine Pitch leagues where pitch speeds range between 40-45 MPH or lower.
These bats are lighter, shorter, and have a length-to-weight ratio (or drop) of -10, -11, or -12. Generally, they’re the perfect bats for players eight years and under.
Coach pitch bats are short, lightweight, have a barrel diameter of 2 5/8 or 2 3/4 inches. They have a typical length-to-weight ratio (aka drop) of between -8 to -10, though some bats could go down to -5 and as high as -12.
Coach Pitch vs. Junior Big Barrel vs. Big Barrel – What’s the Difference?
Coach pitch bats (a.k.a Junior big barrel bats) have the younger player in mind. They rate for slower pitch speeds and are shorter. Big Barrel bats, on the other hand, have just as big a barrel as coach pitch (aka Junior Big Barrel bats) but rate for higher pitch speeds.
How to Pick The Best Coach Pitch Bat
The first step to picking the best junior big barrel bat is to find something that is reasonably priced and fits within your budget. That said, there are plenty more factors that go into choosing a decent coach-pitch option. Let’s dive right in!
A good coach pitch bat’s main aim is to let young hitters square up more often. With this in mind, always go for the biggest barrel possible. A larger barrel size coupled with a lower swing weight makes the bat easier to swing and hit. If you’re in a non-USA Bat league, a big 2 3/4 barrel bat is a perfect choice. On the other hand, if your young slugger plays in a USA Bat league, then a 2 5/8 barreled bat (with a USA Bat stamp) will do.
NB: As of January 1, 2018, Little League Baseball implemented the new USABat standard. This change required youth big barrel bats to bear a USABat stamp (except U-trip, who kept their own standards).
Because your young hitter is still learning, a few mishit balls are par for the course. That said, vibration is bound to kill your young hitter’s morale. The best coach pitch bats absorb hand sting and deliver a much smoother swing.
Choosing the best coach pitch bat material is crucial for success. Composite coach pitch bats are our go-to. They are lighter than aluminum bats, have better weight distribution, greater strength, and better pop. However, the biggest upside of composite bats is that manufacturers can easily stretch out the barrel. Manufacturers can make a larger sweet spot or shorten it to decrease swing weight if a coach pitch bat is too heavy. As a result, young players who are still honing hits can dramatically improve their confidence at the plate.
Weight & Length
The key to choosing the right weight is finding a comfortable drop weight for your child to swing without sacrificing bat speed. The term “drop” describes a bat’s length (inches) to weight (ounces) ratio. A “drop 10” or -10 coach pitch bat is 27-inches long and weighs 17 ounces. Subtracting the bat’s weight from its length gives you the bat’s drop weight. The right bat feels comfortable in the hands and provides maximum control through the zone through its balanced weight. A bat that’s too heavy is difficult to control and will tire you out quickly.
Lengthwise, pick something that easily swings through the zone but isn’t too long that it is awkward to swing. The ideal bat length varies from one player to the next. This this guide will help you find what’s right for your child.