Major League Baseball (MLB) players no longer have an easy decision when it comes to deciding which bat to choose.
Inside a woodshop in Norristown, Pennsylvania, David Chandler, the CEO of Chandler Bats, is a rising star in the bat maker industry. He’s perfecting his skills for making what he calls the ‘best maple baseball bat in the world,’ drawing on his background in metalworking and high-end furniture manufacturing. In its first year, the company received a MLB certificate and started making bats for players and has been expanding its presence inside ballparks.
Getting a relatively unknown bat brand in the hands of Major Leaguers is not an easy task, as small bat manufacturers account for only about 10% of the market. But fierce competition hasn’t deterred Chandler Bats. Since opening its doors just six years ago, it’s already managed to win over some of MLB’s biggest names, including MVP Bryce Harper, Home Run Derby Champion Yoenis Cespedes, batting champion Dee Gordon and Rookie of the Year winners Kris Bryant and Carlos Correa.
“It’s player-to-player, peer-to-peer influence that has allowed us to take the stance with professionals and high levels of amateur baseball,” said Chandler. Currently more than 40 professional players use the bats.
Chandler Bats is among many boutique bat makers gaining traction inside an industry that’s long been associated with only one heavy hitter, Louisville Slugger.
“Many people looked at the situation and said ‘they’ve been making bats in this country for well over 130 years, how could you possibly make something better? They’ve probably mastered it.’ But I knew there were some inherent changes that could happen in terms of material sourcing and raw material production, as well as finishing techniques and engineering design techniques.”
With more and more players using Chandler Bats each year, Chandler says he has a solid plan in terms of continuing to be the ‘most innovative and the most ingenious’ when it comes to wooden bat production.
“We plan to increase our distribution channel throughout this winter into next spring, and we’ve been developing and getting ready to prototype our metal bat.” Chandler also notes the company plans to expand into batting gloves, backpacks, bat bags and apparel lines.