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
Louisville Slugger TPX Exogrid 2
The Exogrid 2 is “technically” a hybrid bat with a composite sleeve in the handle that makes it very stiff. It is made with Louisville’s newer SC21 alloy. In my opinion this bat is closer to a 100% alloy/aluminum bat, but the carbon sleeve in the handle “technically” puts it in the hybrid category. Its very similar to the Exogrid models in previous years which have been Louisville’s best selling bat for the last 6 years. The change for 2012 is the addition of the “Power Disc Technology”, meaning “Two independent discs are positioned inside the barrel to supposedly allow for peak performance around the sweet spot, and provide an oversized hitting surface and balanced swing weight”. Like most manufacturer claims, this is more hype than any real benefit. A good choice in the high end hybrid category, but my recommendation is the Demarini Voodoo. The Audlt -3 model retails for $299.99
Louisville Slugger TPX Omaha
It’s the long running Omaha that we’ve seen for the last ten plus years now BBCOR certified. It’s a one-piece, 100% alloy bat with a stiff handle, a balanced design and made with Louisville’s older ST-20 alloy. This bat is my choice in the low cost 100% alloy/aluminum category. The Adult -3 model retails for $149.99
Here’s Louisville’s promotional video on their 2012 bats: