Reviews and Rankings of the Best Baseball Bats

Premier destination for reviews and rankings of youth and BBCOR baseball bats.

Welcome

Unbiased reviews of youth and BBCOR baseball bats that cut through the clutter and hype. A must read for anyone who will purchase a baseball bat.

This blog is dedicated to providing you with quality information on baseball bats for the sole purpose of helping you make an informed decision. This site is run independently of any baseball bat manufacturer or retailer and prides itself in offering an independent non-biased opinion.

Purchasing a baseball bat can be an agonizing and expensive experience. I’ve learned the hard way over the last 13 years with good, bad and horrific experiences purchasing a bat. One day I came to the frightening realization of how much money I’d spent on baseball bats for my sons, and decided it was time to understand the industry and pass along the knowledge.

This site will help answer some of the confusing questions about baseball bats, including:

  • The differences between composite and aluminum (alloy) material
  • The differences between one and two-piece bats
  • The differences between an end-loaded and balanced bat
  • The differences between a flex and stiff handle bat
  • The differences between the major manufacturer’s line-ups
  • Diffusing the spin and hype the manufacturers throw at us

You can navigate through the site by clicking the links under the categories or recent posts tab on the right side of the page. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Enjoy!

Rawlings 2013 Youth and BBCOR Reviews

Here are reviews of the 2013 lineup of Rawlings youth and BBCOR baseball bats, including the Plasma, Velo, 5150 and Machine. Does Rawlings have a man crush on Louiville and are trying to emulate them because of  this? Read on…

Rawlings has come a long way to make itself credible over the last few years. This is primarily due to the University of South Carolina baseball team winning back to back college world series titles with their bats. Guess I can no longer refer to them as the Rodney Dangerfield of baseball bats. They actually are getting some respect!

They are owned by K2 (the ski company) that also owns the Worth brand. So I’m sure a lot of the technology is shared between their baseball bats.

Rawlings approach to meeting BBCOR standards is different than other manufacturers. The others use rings or inserts in the barrel to deaden the pop to meet the standard. Rawlings thins out the lower portion of the bat, then makes it thicker as it got to the sweet spot, and then thins it out toward the end of the bat. They explain it this way: “the unique feel offered by Rawlings’ BBCOR bats is made possible through Precision Optimized Performance (pOp) Barrel Technology that isolates extra weight to a smaller region of the bat, translating into extra swing speed”. This doesn’t seem to be working as they’re having problems with their 100% composite BBCOR bats. Here’s an example, they do not have a 100% composite BBCOR bat for 2013! The 2012 5150 composite is gone and there is no replacement.

Even with their new found credibility Rawlings still faces challenges in the marketplace. First, they had offered three variations of the 5150 series bats in the past which was confusing. Players didn’t know what the difference was between them without a lot of investigation. They seemed to have fixed it this year by taking the 5150 name off of the Velo and dumping the 5150 composite. Another problem is the lack of use in youth and High School baseball where it is rarely seen. Again, this may change due to the success at the college level but it will take years. They’re also having trouble gaining acceptance of their 100% composite models. Case in point, dumping the 5150 composite and the fact that it wasn’t used much by the Gamecocks in the CWS.

Here’s what Rawlings is offering for 2013:

In the low-end alloy category is the 2013 Rawlings Plasma. It features a one-piece construction made with their older Plasma alloy, a stiff handle and a low swing weight. In my opinion this is only an option if you love Rawlings and are a young player. The BBCOR model costs $119.99 which is extremely low. (read entire article…)

2013 Louisville Slugger Bats and Reviews

The Louisville name is synonymous with baseball bats and in reviews it’s impossible to separate them. Unfortunately they’ve been fighting an uphill battle in the industry to regain the top spot in the industry. The problem has been in the 100% composite category where they have failed to manufacture a bat that has caught on. Last year they took a step in the right direction with the Z-1000 composite. It has received much more acceptance and you’ll actually see college players using it. They’re hopeful it will become a staple in their line-up with the long running Omaha and Exogrid.

No surprise that Louisville is sticking to a one-piece stiff handle design for their 2013 line-up. They finally got the message last year and returned to the design that has defined and what people expect from them. All bats listed below are BBCOR Certified for high school and collegiate ball or approved for play in Little League, Babe Ruth, Dixie, Pony, AABC, and USSSA depending on the model/size.

The 2013 TPX Exogrid 3 is back for it’s sixth year. It is their best selling bat and has been vital to keeping sales moving. The design is the same, a hybrid model with an internal carbon composite sleeve in the handle that makes it their siffest handle. The alloy barrel is made from the same AC21 alloy from last year and the composite sleeve is made from their LS-2X composite material. The same material as last year. The change for 2013 is that they are now claiming it has the “lowest swing weight available” for a 2 5/8″ barrel BBCOR model. It has been promoted as a balanced bat in the past, so this is a change they felt was important. They claim the lower swing weight is due to the “innovative new Composite Flex Band Technology.” As said, this is their best selling baseball bat and most college players, who’s team swings Louisville, chooses the Exo. A solid choice for both power and singles hitters. It is available in Adult, Senior and Youth models. The Adult model retails for $299. (read entire article…)

2012 Little League World Series (LLWS) Baseball Bats

Many have been watching the 2012 Little League World Series and have been wondering what bat models are being used. Here’s a brief explanation as to what is going on.

First you need to know Easton is the Official Team Equipment Supplier at the 2012 LLWS, hence you’re seeing Easton being used almost exclusively. They’re having every player experience their HIT LAB which, they claim, features an interactive batting system that uses swing “analytics” to custom fit players’ swings to the “correct” model. Participants will receive feedback and statistics based on their swing, helping them choose the right bat for unique swing characteristics. This is the same technology Easton utilizes for their NCAA Division I teams. Since this is the first time Easton’s new Power Brigade will be swung in the LLWS they are pushing each player to either the S1 or XL1 model with the HIT LAB. So these are just about the only models you’ll see being used. The 1′s are their 100% composite bats.

(read entire article…)

Who’s Swinging What Baseball Bat in the 2012 College World Series?

The best way to know what baseball bat is hot is to know who’s swinging what in college baseball. Here’s a fun article from Baseball Express, Who’s swinging what in the 2012 College World Series

All eyes will be on Omaha this weekend as the 2012 College World Series gets underway.

The field is set, and some of the usual suspects are back again. The SEC leads the way with three teams, including South Carolina, gunning for its third consecutive national championship.

Now that we know who’s in, what are they swinging? Here’s a look at the baseball bats that all eight teams will be using.

(read entire article…)

2013 Youth and BBCOR Baseball Bats

There are going to be few 2013 Youth and BBCOR baseball bats on the market during the normal spring release season. The main reason is due to the BBCOR standard being implemented in 2012. The manufactures had to scramble to get their bats compliant and, hence, had to offer new 2012 models in the middle of the year.  It didn’t make sense to come out with another model a few months later. Most will get their 2013 models on shelves in late summer early fall. Here are the few exceptions:

2013 Easton Youth and BBCOR Bat Reviews
Easton launched their new Power Brigade Series in the middle of the year so the youth S4 is their only 2012 baseball bat. And… you’ll see Easton S1 and XL1 bats being the exclusive bat swung at the 2012 Little League World Series. Easton is the equipment supplier to the LLWS.

2013 Easton S4

Easton added a 2013 model to the Power Brigade BBCOR lineup, the S4 baseball bat. The S4 is unique from the other Power Brigade models in two ways. First, it has a 2 1/2″ diameter barrel which is slightly smaller than the typical 2 5/8″ big barrel bat. Second, the smaller diameter means less weight giving the S4 the lightest swing weight (MOI) of any Easton big barrel model. This is a one-piece, 100% aluminum bat using Easton’s THT100 alloy. The Adult -3 model retails for $199.95

2013 Demarini Youth and BBCOR Bat Reviews
Demarini’s is using the same bat designs in 2013 that they’ve been using in the recent past. The change for 2013 is a change to their TR3 composite material and a new alloy material. They claim the new X10 alloy “was designed with a proprietary blend of alloy agents creating an aluminum with the most optimal strength possible”, and “is so strong, it allows them to adhere to BBCOR or any other standard while still making the thinnest, lightest, and strongest bats possible.”  Here’s Demarini’s 2013 baseball bat line-up:

2013 Demarini CF5

A 100% composite, double wall, baseball bat with a flex handle and low swing weight (MOI). This bat is made with Demarini’s TR3 F.L.O. composite and uses their long running half and half technology. The Adult -3 model retails for $399.99.
The change for 2013  is the TR3 F.L.O. (Fuse Layer Optimized) composite. It seems to be a slight change from their introduction of the “Tri Strut TR3″ material last year. The basic design employes Demarini’s half and half technology and is the same design as the CF4 & CF3.  It’s a double wall, 100% composite two-piece bat with a flex handle and light swing weight (MOI). College players on teams swinging Demarini bats tend to stay away from the CF5  due to its light (or too light) swing weight. Also, many prefer a single wall bat and feel double walls deaden the pop. Because of this I do no recommend this bat in the top tier 100% composite category. The Adult -3 model retails for $399.99

(read entire article…)

2012 Best Baseball Bat Recommendations

Here are my reviews and recommendations of the best youth, senior and BBCOR 2012 baseball bats. Everything is sorted by the composition of the bat and the price. I believe this simplifies a complex decision making it easier to pinpoint the bat that’s right for you.

My Baseball Bat Recommendations for the 2012 model year are:

100% COMPOSITE BATS

High Cost Recommendation:

Easton 2012 BB11S1 S1 (-3) BBCOR Adult Baseball Bat

Easton 2012 BB11X1 XL1 (-3) BBCOR Adult Baseball Bat

  • 2012 Power Brigade S1 or XL1:
    First here’s the difference, the SL1 has a low MOI (claims to be the lowest on the market) and balanced design. The XL1 has a higher MOI, is slightly end-loaded and has a longer barrel. Otherwise they are made with the same material and design. Choose the XL1 if you’re a power hitter and the SL1 if not. These are two-Piece bats with flex handles made from Easton’s new IMXTM composite material. Easton has always been the leader in composite bats and the 2012 model year is no exception. The Adult -3 model retails for $399. (read entire article…)

2012 Easton Reviews

Easton is far ahead of the competition when it comes to BBCOR baseball bats, especially with 100% composite bats. Easton has always been the leader in composite bats and the 2012 model year is no exception. They continue to push their two-piece design in their top tier Power Brigade bats. They were the first to release a BBCOR approved composite bat, the Omen, and then quickly followed that up with new models (Power Brigade S1 and XL1). They are known for offering many options (sometimes so many its dizzying) to appeal to just about any player. Easton is the most popular bat brand in the market and it’s difficult to go wrong with one of their bats.

Here’s their youth and BBCOR offerings for the 2012 model year:


S1
The S1 is a 100% composite two-piece bat with a flex handle and low swing weight (MOI). The “S” stands for Speed Series and it claims to have the lowest MOI on the market. It is made from Easton’s new IMX composite material which replaces the composite material used on their first composite BBCOR bat, the Omen. Choose the S1 over the XL1 if swing speed is most important to you. In the end their best youth or BBCOR bat is based on your swing. The S1 and XL1 are my choice in the high cost, 100% composite bat category. The Adult -3 model retails for $399.99


XL1

Also a 100% composite two-piece bat with a flex handle made from their IMX composite material. The difference between the XL and S is a slightly end-loaded design (higher swing weight) and a longer barrel. It’s named “XL” because of the “extra long” barrel design. This is the case between all the XL and S models. Choose the XL1 over the S1 if you’re a power hitter. You can tell the difference between the S/XL 1, 2 and 3 models by the handle color. 1 is black, 2 is gray and 3 is yellow. As mentioned, the S1 and XL1 are my choice in the high cost, 100% composite bat category. The Adult -3 model retails for $399.99

S2
The Easton S2 is a two-piece hybrid bat with a flex handle made from Easton’s IMX Composite material and THT100 alloy barrel. As with all the S/XL models, the S2 has a lower swing weight (MOI) than the XL2. Not my top choice in the high cost hybrid bat category, but a good choice. The Adult -3 model retails for $299.99
(read entire article…)

2012 Louisville Slugger BBCOR Baseball Bats

Louisville has a long and respected history in the baseball bat industry and was considered the holy grail of baseball bats. That distinction has long since faded and they are trying to catch up. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a long recovery as they were slow to get out of the BBCOR bat gate.

For 2012 they’ve made significant changes to their line-up. They’ve discarded the poor selling multi-piece bat design of the last few years and have gone back to their core, a one piece bat design (say bye-bye to the Triton and H2). Not to say I told you so, but these were my comments regarding their 2011 models:  “They need to decide if they’re going to jump into the multi-piece bat market or not. If you’re coming out with a multi-piece design tell me it’s a multi-piece design and why that makes sense, or come out with a one-piece design and tell me why it’s better. Stop with the “bonded to be a one-piece bat”, nobody believes it and that is why sales are lagging.”

Louisville needs a strong entry in the 100% composite category to become a top player again. Getting back to the one-piece design, with the Z-1000,  in this category is a step in the right direction. We’ll see how sales respond.

You can check out my recommendations for each bat category and price point here.

Here’s what Louisville has to offer for the 2012 model year:

Louisville Slugger TPX Z-1000
Louisville’s first BBCOR certified 100% composite bat. The new composite material is called LS-2X. It’s has a one-piece design with a stiff handle and a balanced swing weight (yes they’ve finally abandoned the poor selling 3-piece Triton model in this category). Their pitch is that “two inner discs” create just enough barrel flex to produce good pop, but limit it enough to pass the new BBCOR legal limit. I’m glad they took my advice and it appears they finally have a top tier 100% composite bat with a chance to compete with Easton and Demarini in this category. The Adult -3 retails for $369 which is on the low end for a top tier composite bat. The Easton Power Brigade S1/XL1 is my choice in this category
(read entire article…)

2012 Demarini Bats

The 2012 Demarini BBCOR baseball bats have a similar look to 2011, with the addition of a lower tier alloy model (Versus) and exclusion of a lower tier composite model (Vendetta). While they are sticking to their bread and butter, a two-piece baseball bats with a flex handle and their “half and half” technology, they have started expanding their reach into the alloy market and exploring different technology.

Demarini has been a major player in the baseball bat industry for years and makes quality bats. The only thing I don’t like about their bats is the overlapping seam connecting the handle and barrel. I much prefer a seamless connection on a baseball bat. I believe 2012 is going to be a make or break year for Demarini as there are some new, highly competitive, manufacturers looking to gain share. Demarini on the other hand doesn’t have much that is new or exciting.

Take a look at my recommendations by category and cost, and here’s a look at the 2012 Demarini bats:


2012 CF5
The change to make the CF5 BBCOR compliant is Demarini’s new “Tri Strut TR3 composite material”; otherwise it’s the same design as the CF4 & CF3. They’re pushing the limits of believability with the Tri Strut claiming it “imitates the structure of crystals which are one of the strongest and most stable compounds on Earth”.  It’s a double wall, 100% composite two-piece bat with a flex handle and light swing weight (MOI). Most college players (who’s team swings Demarini) stayed away from the CF5 due to its light (or too light) swing weight. Also, many prefer a single wall bat. It is not my choice in the top tier 100% composite category. The Adult -3 model retails for $399.99

(read entire article…)

Baseball Bat Reviews