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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bat Rolling - The Truth About Detection

Bat Rolling - The Truth About Detection
By Brock Gibson

Everyone who rolls bats will let you know that bat rolling can't be detected; to a degree this is fact. Any type can be rolled and be undetectable; this statement comes with some exceptions. In about 90% of cases, rolling is virtually undetectable, even if a trained roller was to take it for examination. The other 10% would have issues with being undetectable.

When a roller says that bat rolling is undetectable they are not lying but they are not telling the entire truth either. As I said earlier all can be rolled with no detection. In order to do this the bats will not come even near to being entirely broken in. What that means is the pressure placed on the bat will be not enough to break up the resin. I believe some rollers are afraid of breaking them or are inexperienced and do not know how to properly roll. This is why they roll with less pressure. Some composites and all aluminum bats will have long flat spots along the length of the barrel after rolling. With composites, this is typically caused by low-grade composite material but can also be caused by too much stress. So the question remains what if I have one of these bats that rolling will leave roller marks? Answer: A good roller will create procedures that will work around this challenge. One of these tactics is parallel rolling. One can't successfully roll an aluminum bat with a perpendicular rolling machine. Let me say that again, "You cannot effectively roll an aluminum bat with a perpendicular rolling machine". This is where a parallel rolling machine is a necessity. It will efficiently roll the bat without leaving flat spots.

I can say the same thing about some composite bats. As I made the point in the second paragraph, a few composite bats are made of substandard material and perpendicular rolling can cause flat areas. Some of these composite bats include: 2009 or above Mikens and Worths, Easton Extended 2008, TPS, most youth fastpitch, and most youth baseball bats. This is not a complete list but it gives you an idea of some of the potential problems with perpendicular rolling. I mentioned that Mikens and Worths have this occur, this is not to say that they have low-grade composite but it definitely occurs with these bats. Again, this can be avoided with a parallel roller and an expert bat roller. So if these sorts of bats are rolled to there full capability in a perpendicular bat roller there will be flat areas. Again, there will be flat spots with perpendicular bat rolling.

Getting back to the original question, can bat rolling be detected? No, as long as you use a parallel bat rolling machine and an expert bat roller. I have personally sent 4 bats back to Easton and Miken that had been rolled and got my replacements. You will see bat rollers on Ebay trying to get your business with no real experience. You will see things like "we can roll bats 'Hot' or 'Super Hot'", what in the backyard nilly willy is this? You will find claims of 20-60 feet; rolling has only been tested to increase distance by 40 feet. You will see bat rollers who blame the bat companies for graphics coming off. Ebay is a proving ground for inexperienced bat rollers. What to look for: look at Ebay feedback, make for certain you get it done by a legit bat rolling company, and look for a bat roller who does both perpendicular and parallel. This will improve your chances of not receiving a detectable bat after bat rolling.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick