Let’s first answer what are the different bat rolling techniques or ABIs (Accelerated Break In).
1) Manual Bat Rollers
A) Parallel- The bat is placed in-between 2 hard plastic rollers….you guessed it parallel. The bat rolling machine is then twisted in order to break up the composite material along the length of the rollers.
B) Perpendicular- The bat is placed perpendicular in-between to hard plastic rollers and rolled back and forth along 8-16 points around the bat. This breaks in the composite long ways in a line along the barrel.
2) Heated Bat Rolling- Just like regular bat rolling but adding heat to the bat before rolling.
3) Electric Machine Progression- Simply an electric parallel bat rolling machine.
4) Barrel Compression Technique (BCT)- This is where a bat is placed into 2 hard plastic carriers and a hydraulic jack compresses the bat in-between the carriers.
5) Natural Break In- Bat is broken in with official balls as intended by the bat manufacturers.
-Breaks in the entire length of the barrel
-Instant control of the process in case of a problem
-Able to go forward and backwards during the rolling process at anytime
-Most parallel rollers can also roll perpendicular all in one machine
Pros and Cons
Manual Parallel Bat Roller/Rolling
-Takes a long time to complete some bats that need a lot of revolutions
-Fatigue from rolling too many bats
-Mobility can be an issue without certain attachments (such as a mobile stand or I have even seen a trailer hitch bat roller holder)
Manual Perpendicular Bat Roller/Rolling
-Lightest of the bat rollers
-A lot of bats require a perpendicular roll to be completely broken in
-Perpendicular bat rolling machines cannot roll parallel
-These types of bat rollers have become extinct with the invention of the parallel roller
Heated Bat Rolling
-Some bats require a little more elasticity on the top layer in order for the outer shell to be rolled without spider webbing
-Very time consuming.
-It is a myth that heated bat rolling breaks in a bat more completely; It does not break in a bat any more than regular bat rolling
Electric Machine Progression/ Electric Bat Roller
-Can put countless revolutions on the barrel of the bat with a flip of the switch at any pressure
-Eliminates fatigue with bat rolling
-Does not roll the bat perpendicular
Barrel Compression Technique
-Very portable machine
-Has the most break in potential of all techniques
-It is easy to break a bat using this technique
Natural Break In
-Will not void the manufacturer’s warranty
-Some bats actually break in more with this technique than any other
-Very time consuming when done properly
-Operator fatigue is an issue also
I have learned many things in my 10+ years of bat rolling and bat break in. When you are doing something correct others will inevitably follow your lead. It has happened many, many times in BigDawg Bat Rolling’s tenure. I also learned to stay current on bat rolling and break in techniques throughout the years and not just dismiss an idea until I had actually tried the technique. There is not a one size fits all in the bat break in industry; each bat has a different size, length, composite etc., The break in game had to evolve as bats evolved. We have rolled over 50,000 bats in our 10 years of bat rolling. That experience has formulated a knowledge bank that is unparalleled. You would be surprised at the differences in each type of composites on the market. Each one needing a specialized break in; some details are just small adjustments while others caused us to become more creative. This is what the Ultimate Break In is all about. Making sure your specific bat is broken in to its fullest potential while preserving durability. This is the reason we are the only company to use an assortment of techniques to achieve the Ultimate Break in.
To answer the original question; “which bat rolling technique is best for my bat?” That can only be answered by letting us show you what it really means to completely break in a bat. Big Dawg is a true pioneer in the bat rolling industry.