Bat takes shape on a lathe at Rhino Bats. Bat takes shape on a lathe in Sonora.

Sonora bat-maker eyes the big leagues

Rhino Bats wants to see a Major League ball player using one of its products

A baseball bat manufacturer in Hermosillo, Sonora, has his eyes firmly set on the lucrative United States market by getting one of the company’s bats into the hands of a Major League Baseball (MLB) slugger.

Rhino Bats is a small company that was founded 15 years ago with an initial investment of just US $1,000 by Miguel Ortega, an engineer with a passion for baseball.

Ortega and his son made their first bats in the garage of the family home, learning from their own errors along the way and gradually perfecting their technique.

Now the brand is considered one of the best in the world in terms of quality.

In an interview with Forbes México, Ortega said the company’s wooden bats are “practically a handmade product” and explained that his current goal is for at least one MLB player to use one.

If he can achieve that goal, the maker estimated that an audience of 50 million people will potentially see a Rhino bat, providing priceless marketing for the company.

“. . . What pays is worldwide exposure,” Ortega said, adding that the aim is to have one of his bats in the hands of a major league player during the 2019 season.

In addition, the company is also seeking to grow by offering franchises under the brand name Rhino Sports. Ortega hopes that 10 franchises, valued at 1 million pesos (US $53,000) each, will be sold during the first year they are offered.

Rhino Bats makes 17,000 bats a year out of more than 400,000 that are manufactured annually in Mexico, according to the company’s figures.

Rhino has 17 employees and sells its products directly to customers via its website. It also has two warehouses to store the high-quality maple wood it uses. One is in Hermosillo, the other in the United States.

Rhino already sells bats to schools and universities in the United States but Ortega believes that sales can triple there in the next two years if the company manages to get more exposure in the market.

The company also sends its products as far away as Ireland and France but Mexico remains its biggest source of revenue.

“Sales in the domestic market are 85% and the rest goes to the United States and other countries where they’re getting to know the brand,” Ortega explained.

Source: Forbes México (sp)

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