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That's an interesting question. History shows that Ash was the most commonly used wood up until Barry Bonds started using Maple. Recently Birch came onto the scene.
Ash = looks and feels amazing but can start to "leaf" away from itself (fall apart) over time. Stays together when it breaks. - Cheaper than the other woods because it these trees grow pretty straight and billets are easy to find. (Except for a disease that is threatening the industry's ash supply... But never mind that for now)
Maple = looks boring and feels clanky but hits hard. Can shatter into sharp pieces when it breaks. Common complaint is that it clanks in your hands after using this wood for a long time because of its stiffness. More expensive because it grows crooked and therefore there are fewer usable billets per tree.
Birch = Best of both worlds = hits like maple but feels like ash. Stays together or "green-sticks" when it breaks. Hard to find good birch sources. (We know a guy... wink wink)
But back to the point... is one better than the other?? Provided that the length, weight, swing speed and quality of contact are all equal, there is no significant difference between the three woods in terms of ball flight and ball speed so it is really up to your personal preference.
The baseball should make contact with the bat barrel at 90 degrees from the center of the label.
This means that if the label is at the 12 o'clock position, you should hit the ball at the 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock position.
Short answer = more tee work.
- The best hitters can use a single bat for months or more. These are the same guys who spend hours a day on the tee. Not just banging away in the cage but actually working on hand pathway and spin control off the tee.
- Albert Pujols hits 1000 balls off the tee on a game day. 1500 per day if he needs to fix something. How many do you do?
Most common reason a bat breaks is because it took hard contact near the end of the barrel (outside pitch). This causes a break about half way up the handle. Hopefully you were able to leg it out and at least score a single out it and in so doing, let your bat die a hero. Taking hard contact on the handle or end of the barrel are surefire ways to weaken or break any natural wood bat.