As they say in the clever AT&T commercials, “It’s not complicated”. A faster bat is more desirable than a quicker bat. Even though these terms are considered to be synonymous, I believe they are very different when it comes to hitting.
Many hitting instructors emphasize being “quick to the ball”. This typically requires hitters to hold the bat close to their body. These hitters also tend to use their arms and hands to hit, as opposed to their entire bodies. I will concede the distance to impact for these hitters is shorter, but they also sacrifice 25% or more of their potential bat speed trying to be “quick”. This can be objectively proven by using a swing speed radar. “Quick hitters” fail to generate enough leverage/torque from their bodies AND the bat doesn’t travel far enough to gain optimal bat speed.
As an illustration, consider the throwing mechanics of different players on the field. Second basemen use a “quick” motion to throw the ball to first base. They only bring the arm back a short distance, which generates only enough arm speed for the short throw to first base. The lower body is also relatively inactive. Conversely, outfielders will reach back as far back as possible. Their arm will only come forward after the lower body generates enough leverage/torque to ensure optimal arm speed. The result is a ball that travels much farther and with more velocity than a second baseman.
Like outfielders, hitters who hold their bats back toward the catcher (just in back of the head), enjoy the culmination of the all-important kinetic linkage of the lower body to generate as much power as their bodies will allow. Even though the distance to impact is slightly farther, these hitters with “fast” bats are actually “quicker” to the ball than hitters who just LOOK quick. A fast bat results in high bat speed, which enables hitters to wait that extra fraction of a second before committing to the pitched ball. So, using my definitions of “fast” and “quick”, I’ll take a fast bat any day.
It’s not complicated…..fast bats are for power hitters and quick bats are for singles hitters.