Image credit: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Every Chandler Bat produced in the company’s Pennsylvania factory is made to the same, exacting Major League Baseball gold-label standard. Whether crafted for one of the professional baseball players swinging Chandler Bats, or for amateur players who expect the best, every bat features grade A maple, a lightweight, high-density wood, and is crafted the same way, right down to the ink dotting to certify the quality of wood.
“We ink dot everything,” says Izzy Salazar, Chandler Bats president and CEO. “I don’t care what bat it is, we are ink dotting all of our bats and every bat is swingable to every level of baseball. Every bat we produce is ink dotted and made like a Major League bat, like a Major Leaguer would swing.”
That attention to quality, Salazar says, is why the company still uses 22-karat gold on the bat’s label. “The gold label has always been the standard of excellence for any product and we believe Chandler Bats is the gold standard of bats,” he says. “It is a standard that this company is being held to and production is being held to.”
Every Chandler Bat undergoes a 16-point quality control process during manufacturing, a rigorous process that has evolved since the company’s founding a decade ago into bats crafted with more strength, resulting in less breakage. Ensuring an identical standard for all levels of play requires using the same premium wood and workmanship across all lines. Dimensions are held to a tolerance of .008” in diameter, weights to 1/10th of an ounce.
What has changed at Chandler Bats is the leadership and brand reach. Based on what Salazar calls some “business issues behind an awesome brand,” the prior management at Chandler Bats filed for bankruptcy in January 2019 in the state of Pennsylvania. By the end of July 2019, MLB outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, the largest investor in the company, had acquired all of the assets and intellectual property of the company, and installed an experienced executive team. Cespedes went from swinging the bat to owning the company. Salazar, a longtime family friend with a successful business career was brought on to lead the transition.
Chandler Bats has always seen success at the MLB level. Having never signed an endorsement deal with a player to swing Chandler Bats, Salazar says the label is still driven by MLB players. In addition to the MLB players already using Chandler Bats, Salazar says the company is on the cusp of announcing over a dozen new “major major” MLB players who will be swinging Chandler Bats in the 2020 season. Chandler Bats has already brought on several high-profile prospects across the landscape of Major League Baseball.
What harmed the company in the past, Salazar says, was a lack of product diversity. Without changing the manufacturing—Chandler Bats retained its production team and actually added to it—the company expanded its product lines.
While Chandler Bats had catered well to MLB players, it didn’t have a product range that translated well to retail, so Chandler has introduced a new line of bats geared toward collegiate and high school players to go along with lines of youth models, softball bats, and training bats. With the same integrity and premium maple, the retail-specific creations will get the bats into more stores, academies and players’ hands across North, South and Central America. Now with six full-time sales reps led by national sales director and former MLB player and motivational speaker Adam Greenberg, Salazar says Chandler Bats will continue to excel in MLB circles while supporting a new retail effort.
That dedication to quality, Salazar says, gives Chandler Bats its reputation. And having every bat—no matter the final use—made to Major League standards helps bring credence, not just a cool aesthetic, to the gold label. “That is unequivocally never going to change in our facilities. Ever,” he says about the manufacturing quality. “It is the foundation of the company and it works. It takes more time, but it works.”