South Dakota-based RezBats enjoying big-league success as it grows
“It’s cool. I’m humble saying it, but it’s awesome,” RezBats owner Ben Reznicek said. “It’s pretty cool seeing big leaguers and former MVPs swing your training bats.”
SIOUX FALLS — In the baseball world, one of the nation's fastest growing bat companies sits off the beaten path in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Just a few miles off Interstate 90, where the paved road meets gravel and inside the walls of a large residential garage, sits the headquarters of RezBats — the company created by Sioux Falls native Ben Reznicek, where he designs wood bats for all ages, from local prep players to big leaguers.
Reznicek is a 28-year-old former standout at O’Gorman High School who played collegiate baseball at Indian Hills Community College, the University of North Dakota and Creighton University. During his playing days, he had a few issues finding wood bats — not only would he find the bats he was using would break too easily, they were also expensive and never were entirely comfortable for him.
He was ordering bats and having his dad shave the handle to his liking at home when he got an idea.
“We just kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Well, this is stupid. Why are we buying a 100-and whatever-dollar bat and then altering them here at our shop?’” he recalled. “So we did a little research, we found out where to order the raw material from and the rest is kind of history. We made a few bats for me, a few bats for my friends and it was all done by hand.”
In 2017, Reznicek officially registered the LLC for RezBats as a business, but it wasn’t until 2019 that the process really sped up. Prior to 2019, Reznicek made the bats by hand before getting an automated CNC machine, which took the process from roughly two hours to design a model with the lathe machine to about two minutes.
From there, the bat gets sanded then gets treated with RezBats’ special proprietary finish before being left to cure and get painted and engraved.
Through word of mouth, news of the company has spread, with sales reaching from the likes of Canada to as far as Hawai’i. And on the diamond, multiple minor leaguers walk up to the plate with a RezBat in their hand.
Such was the case in spring training this season when Kansas City Royals prospect Tyler Tolbert launched a 400-plus-foot home run.
“I geek out about it still,” Reznicek said. “I've got to focus on the business, but it’s cool.”
Tyler Tolbert’s 400+ ft bomb was the deciding factor in today’s game pic.twitter.com/GqoWl5nVnl— Royals Daily (@RoyalsDaily_) March 10, 2023
While there aren't any major leaguers using RezBats during in-game at-bats yet, there are dozens of MLB players who have swung RezBats in practice. Multiple teams — such as the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles — have some variation of training bats from the South Dakota-based company, and Reznicek said there have been big leaguers who have swung the game models during practice as well. Training bats, which aren't used during an in-game at-bat, are different variations of a bat that a hitter will use during practice to help emphasize a certain area of their swing they're looking to work on.
Last year, American League batting champion Luis Arraez, then with the Twins, went viral for laying in his hotel bed with a bat in hand. And sure enough, it was a RezBats training bat he was wielding.
“It’s cool. I’m humble saying it, but it’s awesome,” Reznicek said. “It’s pretty cool seeing big leaguers and former MVPs swing your training bats.”
This man literally sleeps with a bat in his hands! #MNTwins pic.twitter.com/oG3gmccP3F— Dustin Morse (@morsecode) June 22, 2022
It’s been a steady rise thus far for Reznicek, who handles most of the hands-on work, while his dad takes care of the business-development side, but there's still lots of room to grow the business. For starters, upgrading to a bigger warehouse with a larger area for players to test bats is certainly at the forefront of his mind.
RezBats offers base models of bats but will also customize bats to the liking of every player. And while players and teams can come in now to test bats and models, a larger area for testing bats would make it easier for players to get fitted for a bat that feels right in their hands — the same reason Reznicek started molding bats during his time on the diamond.
“We've done a few team walkthroughs where local teams will come in and get outfitted for bats, and I love doing that because I love talking to kids and I think the point in my business was to provide a bat at a quality price,” he said. “I like being able to get kids in here and get them fitted for a bat that properly fits their swing or their player persona.”