I've noticed the following, but I haven't seen any confirmation behind it, so it's just my own observations: (keep in mind these are comparing two of the same item, as in your baseball bat/mace example, their stats are so different because they're different weapons.
Spiteful tends to have higher damage and higher force (where applicable)
Damaging tends to have higher damage than
Spiteful, but lower force
Cruel seems to have even higher damage than
Damaging, but I've only ever seen one, so it's much rarer, and I don't really know if it's higher damage, or it was just on a very good weapon already, need more info for this one
Devastating again seems to have even higher damage than
Cruel and higher force than
Spiteful, but again, I've only seen it once, so it's the same circumstances as above.
Weak tends to have lower damage
Feeble tends to have lower force
Flimsy tends to have lower durability
Tiring tends to have higher handling (which I'm 90% sure increases the amount of stamina used per swing)
Dependable tends to have higher durability
I have no idea what
disabling does, I'm guessing something like higher force than spiteful, but lower damage, kind of like the opposite of damaging.
Firearms also have:
Sluggish which tends to have a lower rate of fire
Defective which tends to have a lower damage score
I've also come across a couple more than I don't have enough information on yet, but I'm working on, they are as follows:
Also, keep in mind that it's not named based on it's stats. It's given it's stats, and then given the prefix modifier afterwards, with the lower end stat changes less likely to occur on higher quality (blue/purple/etc) weapons.
So in general, a Spiteful weapon is generally the most well rounded high end weapon, while
damaging/disabling (if I'm even correct) seem to be more specialized high end weapons.