Best Big Barrel Bats 2017: Drop 5, Drop 8, Drop 9, Drop 10, Drop 12 Battle
One of the biggest pleasures that a new baseball season brings with it is the chance to upgrade your equipment, especially your bats. But with so many high quality bats being launched every season by all the top manufacturers, there’s a lot of potential for one to get confused while picking the best one.
It is also easy to get carried away and rush into buying a big barrel bat and then regretting it later, as there are various rules and regulations as well as personal preferences to keep in mind, and so, here’s some information that’s sure to come in handy for you before you ultimately choose a big barrel bat for your upcoming senior league season.
- Best Big Barrel Bats 2017
- The Best Big Barrel Drop 5 Bat - 2017 Marucci Cat 7
- The Best Big Barrel Drop 8 Bat - 2017 Demarini CF Zen
- The Best Big Barrel Drop 9 Bat - 2017 Demarini Voodoo
- The Best Big Barrel Drop 10 - 2017 Easton MAKO Beast
- The Best Big Barrel Drop 12 - 2017 Rawlings VELO
- ABOUT THE WINNERS OF Best Big Barrel Bats Battle
- ATTRIBUTES OF BIG BARREL BATS
- LENGTH AND WEIGHT OF BIG BARREL BATS
- ADVANTAGES OF BIG BARREL BATS
- USING BIG BARREL BATS – LEAGUE RULES
- CARING YOUR BIG BARREL BATS
- BIG BARREL BATS Q&A
- Youth Big Barrel Bat Buyers Guide!
- Best Big Barrel Bat Brands
Best Big Barrel Bats 2017
Who is it for?
Big barrel bats, as the name suggests, come with a much larger barrel area as compared to standard or small barrel bats. These are best suited for players at least 10-12 years old as it takes quite a bit to handle the extra hitting power such a bat comes with. Anyone younger than this often struggles to not only hit effectively but also struggles with the shot technique.
This happens mainly because big barrel bats simply give you a much larger chance at connecting with the ball, and they also have a much larger sweet spot as compared to small barrel bats, which means you are likely to hit the ball much farther than you could with a smaller barrel. On the downside, younger players tend to have difficulty in controlling their shots when using a big barrel bat. This is because it is much easier to hide your flaws using a big barrel bat as even a mistimed shot could very well go far enough for you to get to first base. However, a foul ball is as likely if the player lacks full control.
So, before anything else, let’s have a look at our Top 5 Big Barrel Bats 2017 List.
Marucci CAT 7
DeMarini CF Zen
DeMarini Voodoo Insane
Easton MAKO Beast
The Best Big Barrel Drop 5 Bat - 2017 Marucci Cat 7
Things We Like the 2017 Marucci CAT 7
· The Cat 7 features a sweet spot double the size of its predecessor, which Marucci achieved by tapering the barrel, making it thicker in the middle and thinner near the edges. This creates a great flex motion of the bat and also a nice pop when you connect with the ball.
· A single piece bat with patented anti vibration mechanism called the AV2, it the features composite rubber built into the handle and knob, which works pretty well. Most other bats use a two-piece design with rings, inserts or sting dampeners to overcome this problem. But two-pieces don’t really have the same feel as a one-piece. This was a feature of the Cat 6 and Cat 5 as well, but has been improved upon, and the differences are there to be seen.
· A balanced weight distribution means the alloy bat feels really light throughout and helps in the way of a clean swing with excellent control. The consistency with weight, even at the barrel-end means that it is easy to get a good speedy swing, which can be a bit of a problem with big barrel bats. Made largely of aluminum and a few other additives, it makes for one of the lightest single-piece alloy bats available currently.
Things We Dislike the 2017 Marucci CAT 7
· One of the complaints most users had about the bat was the easily worn-out stock grip the bat came with, especially a lack of grip when building up a sweat. But this is a problem easily dealt with by switching it to a grip of your personal preference.
· Although the AV2 is pretty effective, the vibrations never really disappear completely and can still be felt a fair bit when the hit was mistimed. Two-piece designs still seem to have the edge in this department.
Our Final Verdict
The Marucci Cat 7 is an absolute beauty of a bat made by well known manufacturers Marucci Sports. The Cat 7 is the successor to the equally popular 2016, with a couple of really good feature additions. The Cat 7 comes in two variants - the single piece alloy, which is the main CAT 7, and a hybrid two-piece called the Cat 7 Connect.
The Best Big Barrel Drop 8 Bat - 2017 Demarini CF Zen
Things We Like The 2017 DeMarini CF Zen
· Excellent transfer of power - Two-piece designs can often struggle to get the right balance when mending the barrel to the handle. While certain stiffness is necessary to get enough power on your hits, too much stiffness can also hurt by increasing the sting if you mistime your hits. Thankfully, the CF Zen manages to get the balance really on the spot here, with a patented design for the handle.
· Improved barrel strength - DeMarini claim to have increased the barrel strength by 22%, and it sure seems so here. On the other hand, the weight is pretty much the same as the CF8, thanks to the new carbon fiber composition called the Paraflex, and it helps in generating good bat speed.
· Bat control and balance – Thanks to its even weight distribution and build technique with the new carbon fiber composite, the bat has optimal balance throughout, meaning it is easy to get a nice, clean swing away.
Things We Dislike The DeMarini CF Zen
· The one major problem users complained was the lack of a thick grip on the handle, which is resolved easily enough by using the Lizardskins popular nowadays.
Our Final Verdict
The DeMarini CF Zen is the follow-up to the popular CF 8, and like its predecessor, will be a two-piece carbon fiber composite design barrel. It comes in two variants – the Balanced and the Endloaded versions. The DeMarini CF series has been immensely popular so far, and the Zen lives up to that reputation pretty well.
The Best Big Barrel Drop 9 Bat - 2017 Demarini Voodoo
Things We Like the 2017 DeMarini Voodoo
The Voodoo comes in two versions – Balanced and Insane Endloaded. The Balanced is the lighter version of the two, perfect for someone who is looking for a nice, controlled and speedy swing. The Insane Endloaded is more for the heavy hitters looking for maximum power.
A two-piece design combined with DeMarini’s patented D-Fusion handle means that there is almost no vibrations or shock felt when you fail to time your hit well.
The Balanced may not be one of the lightest bats around, but does come with a light and smooth swing, offering good control over your hits. According to DeMarini, the swing weight of the Voodoo 2017 is 15% lesser as compared to the 2016 line.
Things We Dislike the 2017 DeMarini Voodoo
The length of the barrel has been worked upon as compared to its previous versions, but if you’re someone looking for a long barrel, the Voodoo may not be your first choice.
The Voodoo comes ready to use from day one, thanks to its alloy barrel, but it does take some time getting used to. Thus, it is more likely to be preferred by experienced players who are very specific about what they want, and not someone still inexperienced in using big barrel bats.
Our Final Verdict
The 2017 Voodoo is the latest in a long line of bats in the Voodoo series, which have made a name for themselves when it comes to hybrid two-piece bat. The Voodoo features a composite handle and an alloy barrel, and comes ready to swing from day one, like most bats with alloy barrels.
The Best Big Barrel Drop 10 - 2017 Easton MAKO Beast
Things We Like the 2017 MAKO Beast
· One of the first things you’ll notice about the Beast is the length of the barrel. It is actually the longest composite bat out there in the market, with an increase of 1.5 inches on the older versions. You won’t be stretching too much to reach the ball with this one.
· Despite the extra barrel length, the Beast is pretty lightweight and offers a smooth and quick swing, thanks to a balanced distribution of weight throughout.
· A patented technology called the ConneXion connects the long barrel to the handle, and helps in transferring power from the handle to the barrel effectively.
· The barrel has been improved upon from the 2016 version, with the Thermo Composite Barrel offering not only more speed and power, but also a bigger sweet spot.
· The Beast comes with a Hyperskin grip which works very well, and even comes with additional guarantee, which shows how confident the company is about the quality of its product.
Things We Dislike the 2017 MAKO Beast
· The only grouse some batters may have against the MAKO Beast is that the anti-shock mechanism is not completely effective when you mistime your hits.
Our Final Verdict
The 2017 Easton MAKO Beast is a two-piece composite bat that is not only one of the newest in the market but has also quickly become one of the most popular, despite having to live up to the big reputation that the 2016 range from the company gathered.
The Best Big Barrel Drop 12 - 2017 Rawlings VELO
Things We Like
· The combination of a carbon fiber composite barrel with a proprietary composite end cap called the Comp-Lite means the 2017 VELO is one of the lightest bats around. You get a fast swing while also carrying some serious hitting power.
· The VELO also has the RAWLING’s proprietary 3C (Consistent-Composite-Compaction) design which gives you increased durability as well as protect you from the shock and vibrations batters hate.
· Good weight distribution means the VELO composite has a balanced swing weight. Apart from the sweet spot, catching the ball off the lower end of the bell also did not affect the performance too much and you can get away with mistimed shots a fair bit.
Things We Dislike
· The VELO Composite has balanced weight distribution, which may be an issue for power hitters, who generally prefer their bats to be bottom-loaded.
· A two-piece design means you may not always be able to get an effective transmission of power from the handle to the barrel.
Our Final Verdict
The Rawlings Composite VELO is a two-piece design with a carbon fiber barrel that will guarantee you maximum power on your swings while still being one of the lightest bats around. The 2017 Rawlings VELO also comes in a single-piece hybrid alloy barrel design.
ABOUT THE WINNERS OF Best Big Barrel Bats Battle
The Marucci Cat 7, DeMarini CF Zen, DeMarini Voodoo, Easton MAKO BEAST and Rawlings VELO Composite are not only some of the highest quality bats on the market but the most popular as well. With bats of such high quality, it becomes hard to differentiate and pick an outright winner, but even so one particular bat stands tall among these five here, and that is the Easton MAKO Beast.
Although one of the pricier big barrel bats around, the MAKO Beast truly lives up to its name by combining some immense power with the lightest of swings. It features the longest barrel of any bat in its class, while also offering an enhanced sweet spot which is certain to appeal to potential users. The company’s eye for detailing is seen in the Hypergrip the bat features as a standard component, which is not something seen in the other bats.
The Beast is a two-piece composite bat which comes in a wide range of sizes. It is available in 2 ¼ inch, 2 5/8 inch and 2 ¾ inch barrel size, while also available in drops ranging from -5 to -12. It is also pretty light weight, which is perfect for players set to appear in the senior leagues. Although the other bats mentioned in the list may be cheaper, the MAKO is most likely to give you the best returns on your investment.
ATTRIBUTES OF BIG BARREL BATS
Big barrel bats are made up of wood, aluminum or composite materials and come in a variety of lengths and weights. Choosing one depends not only on your comfort in using it, but also on what league you are playing in. Not all leagues allow big barrel bats and some have restrictions on the size of the bats you can use.
Big barrel bats come in a variety of materials – Aluminum (or alloy), wood, composite materials (like Fiber glass, Kevlar, carbon fiber, etc) and hybrid (composite barrel with alloy or wood handles).
Aluminum bats are the most common type of bats out there as they require less maintenance than composite or wood bats. They also come ready to use immediately, which ensures optimum performance from day one, instead of spending extended periods of time breaking in a bat every time.
Composite bats are more durable than alloy bats, but take some time getting used to. They are not ready to use from day one and requires a bit of practice before they can give you peak performance.
LENGTH AND WEIGHT OF BIG BARREL BATS
Big barrel bats usually come in two different sizes – 2 5/8 and 2 ¾. The ratio of length (in inches) to weight (in ounces), also called drop, is also another key factor when it comes to selecting your perfect bat. Subtract the weight of the bat, in ounces, from the length of the bat in inches and you will get the ‘drop’ number. Simply put, the smaller the ‘drop’ number, the heavier your bat is likely to be. And the larger the drop number, the lighter your bat gets. The drop number for big barrel bats varies from -5 to -12.
Due to their design, big barrel bats are heavier at the bottom and lighter at the top, near the handle. This is one major reason they take some time getting used to, with younger players often ending up using the wrong swing action and losing control of their shots.
Also, once players start high school and other adult leagues, they are mandated to use no more than a -3 drop, so it is generally advised to start with a slightly higher drop and reduce it progressively so that a -3 drop is well within your capability by the time you reach high school.
It is important to select a bat with just the right amount of length and drop, taking into account your own height and weight. If you select a bat which is too heavy, you will face difficulty in getting away your shots as you fail to control the bat effectively, while selecting a bat which is too light will greatly decrease the distances you can cover with your hits.
ADVANTAGES OF BIG BARREL BATS
Bigger barrels equate to more chances of hitting, simple right? Not necessarily. Big barrel bats are not just chosen for the reason that you’re more likely to hit a ball. This happens only with wood bats. The more popular reason for using big barrel bats made of alloy or composite is the fact that they have a tendency to flex when they come into contact with the ball.
With wooden bats, this does not happen because they are much more dense, while alloy or composite barrels are hollow inside. This means the balls fly off the bat much faster due to the flex action as compared to wood and small barrel bats.
USING BIG BARREL BATS – LEAGUE RULES
The inability of younger players to handle big barrel bats properly is the reason many senior leagues outright ban big barrel bats or have a restriction on the barrel size. Big barrel bats often come in 2 5/8 inch or 2 ¾ inch barrels. Most leagues allow only 2 5/8 inch barrels and that too only in the most senior age groups. So it is a good idea to check with your league before proceeding to buy a big barrel bat.
CARING YOUR BIG BARREL BATS
Big barrel bats can be sensitive to the temperatures they are used in, as well as the kind of materials they come into contact with. Avoid using these bats in cold weather and against wet balls or even using them to get the dirt off of your shoes. Using them as a club as seen in popular console games is definitely not recommended!
BIG BARREL BATS Q&A
How Do I Select a Youth Big Barrel Baseball Bat?
Selecting a big barrel bat largely depends on your comfort level with the bat. Big barrel bats come in various lengths and drops, and it is important to pick the bat with just the right length and weight so that you can hit not only effectively, but also efficiently. Take into consideration your height and weight. Ultimately, the level of control and power you achieve is the biggest deciding factor when picking a big barrel bat.
These bats are usually 26-32 inches in length and the drop ranges from -5 to -12. High school only allows bats with a -3 drop so it is better to start with a slightly higher drop and then start reducing the drop as you progress further.
How do I take care of a Youth Big Barrel baseball bat?
It is imperative to take good care of your bat to optimize performance and durability. While aluminum bats are ready to use from day one, composite bats take some time to reach performance, requiring a ‘break in’ period of around at least a 100 hits on average.
Bats can also be sensitive to temperature they are used in and the kind of surfaces they come into contact with. Both alloy and composite bats are pretty durable, but it is generally advised to not use either of the bats in colder temperatures, especially if it is below 55F.
Also, to avoid damaging the surface of the bat, one should avoid banging the bats against your shoes to get the dirt out.
What types of Youth Big Barrel baseball bats are there?
There are a few different types of big barrel bats which differ mainly due to the material used and also by design. These bats can come in wood, aluminum (or alloy) composite and hybrid elements.
Alloy is the most commonly used as they are less sensitive to the temperature they are used in, and also come ready to use from day one, unlike bats of other materials, which require a break in period.
Wood bats are mainly made of maple, ash and bamboo and are more durable than alloy or composite bats. However, the latter have hollow barrels while wood tends to be denser, which may affect your hitting power.
Composite bats feature a mixture of materials, including carbon fiber, fiber glass, Kevlar, etc. Sometimes, they can be combined with alloy or wooden barrels, which are called hybrids.
By design, big barrel bats come in one –piece or two-piece design. A one piece design is where the barrel and the handle are made up of one single piece of material – either alloy or wood or composite. In a two piece, the bat is made up of two different pieces of the same material.
What are the current rules and regulations regarding Youth Big Barrel baseball bats?
The rules for using big barrel bats can vary by the league you’re playing in, and it is always a good idea to double check on these before selecting a bat for the upcoming season.
In the Little League, big barrel bats are only allowed in the Intermediate division, the Junior League, the Senior League and the Big League. Irrespective of the age division, only 2 ¼ or 2 5/8 inch barrels are allowed. Composite bats need to be BBCOR certified and bats of any drop are allowed while there is a restriction on the length of the bat at 36 inches.
The United States Specialty Sports Association, on the other hand allows for the use of both 2 5/8 and 2 ¾ inch barrels. If the bat is made of alloy or composite or hybrid materials, they need to be BBCOR certified as well, while there is also a restriction on the length of bats at 36 inches.
PONY league allows the use of 2 5/8 inch barrels only, and not 2 ¾. Divisions up to the 12 year age group allow bat lengths to be up to 33 inches, while older age groups allow use of bats up to 35 inches. Drops are not regulated for any age group.
Dixie League allows the use of 2 5/8 inch barrels only, and that too in only the Junior Dixie division, the Pre-Majors, and the Majors. There is regulation on bat length and drop, although if you are using a composite bat, only a -3 drop is allowed. Additionally, bamboo bats or hybrid wood bats are not allowed in this league.
Youth Big Barrel Bat Buyers Guide!
Choosing a big barrel bat is a big decision, but also a highly exciting one to make considering all the wide range of options there are. As already mentioned, there are various factors to consider when buying a big barrel bat.
The very first step to choosing a big barrel bat is to make sure they are allowed to be used in whichever league it is you’re appearing.
Alloy bats are the most popular of big barrel bats as compared to wood and composite/hybrid bats. The biggest attractive feature of alloy bats is their ability to perform well right away while composite barrels are more durable but take some time to get used to.
Composite bats are also more likely to flex than alloy and while this would be of greater advantage to you than an alloy bat, there have been controversies regarding the amount of flex generated by composite and hybrid bats, with some claiming that it gives batters an unfair advantage. This is why most leagues either disallow composite bats or require them to be certified.
The design of a bat is also important when selecting the right kind of bat for yourself. A two-piece design is generally more preferred as the handle and barrel are separate units, which allows for more flex. Also, when the bat comes in contact with the ball, there are vibrations created which are felt less when using a two-piece design as compared to a one-piece. This also means you have a much greater control of your swing throughout, especially during the follow-through.
Length of the bat and drop also need to be considered when picking up a big barrel bat. Many leagues have restriction on the maximum length of the bat, usually around 33-35 inches, so make sure to stick within the regulations. It is also necessary to consider one’s own height and weight when picking a bat of the right length for you.
One popular way is to hold the bat horizontally from the center of your chest (right around the sternum). If the end of the bat fits snugly in your palm, it is generally of the right size for you.
Once you’ve figured out the right bat length, the next thing to do is to pick out the drop, which is the length to weight ratio. Big barrel bats come in a range of drops, right from -5 to -12. You may get away with using a lighter bat (with a high drop) initially, but remember that high school and further on, only -3 drop bats are allowed, so it’s a good idea to start with a moderately high drop bat, and then reduce the drop as you get used to using a big barrel bat.
Generally, a -8 drop is a good start for most players to get used to a big barrel bat, and then drop to a -5 when you’re about a year away from high school. This way, when you finally have to make the jump to a -3 drop, you will face very little or no issues in making the switch and performing at your best.
There are two different barrel sizes to consider when choosing a big barrel bat – 2 5/8 inches or 2 ¾ inches. Most senior leagues do not allow 2 ¾ inch barrels, so make sure to double check the rules of the league you’re playing in.
What is larger 2 5 8 or 2 3 4?
It is important to remember that a 2 ¾ inch barrel is bigger than a 2 5/8 inch barrel. And a 2 5/8 inch barrel is bigger than 2 ½ inch barrels or 2 ¼ inch barrels. Most senior leagues do not allow the use of 2 ¾ inch barrels. In the few cases they are allowed, they are more likely to be used by players of only certain age groups. 2 5/8 is the largest barrel allowed in senior leagues usually, sometimes with a restriction on the barrel material or length of the bat.
What is senior league baseball?
Senior league baseball is a popular division of youth baseball, featuring 13 to 16 year olds. They are also called youth big barrel league because they allow the use of big barrel bats, usually up to 2 5/8 inches long.
Senior league is the most popular league of youth baseball, and is a step up from junior league baseball, which features players 12 to 14 years old. Senior league baseball is a stepping stone to the Big League which features 17 to 18 year old players.
Big barrel bats vs. Regular bats?
Both big barrel bats and regular bats come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Big barrel bats, quite obviously, are simply bigger, meaning you have a much better chance to not only connect with the ball, but you also have the chance to get a good hit off the pitch, because the ‘sweet spot’ is much bigger in big barrel bats. The biggest problem players face in using a big barrel bat is in getting a good, speedy swing of the bat
Standard or small barrel bats may not offer the same hitting range as big barrel bats, but they make up for it by offering you more control over your shot. It is also faster to get your shots away using a small barrel, as the weight is much more equally distributed along the length of the bat.
Best Big Barrel Bat Brands
Adidas is one of the biggest and well known sporting goods manufacturers in the world. They sponsor multiple teams and players in Major League Baseball and also in Japan’s Nippon Professional League, including the likes of the New York Yankees and star players likes Kris Bryant.
Currently, Adidas themselves do not manufacture baseball bats, having chosen instead to partner with Dick’s Sporting Goods, who not only oversee the manufacturing process, but also license the products to sell them on. These bats have still come up only recently, since 2014, which is why they are still considered a notch below the likes of DeMarini, Easton, Louisville Slugger, etc.
Adidas currently has only the 2016 EQT X1 and X2 series of bats on sale. While the X1 is a single-piece alloy bat which is pretty lightweight for a big barrel and has a pretty smooth swing. The X2 series, on the other hand, is a two-piece hybrid design featuring a big barrel made of alloy, and a composite handle.
Although it is likely Adidas will come up with more bats in 2017 and beyond, there is no word yet on the variants, although a composite two-piece design is still awaited.
Axe is an innovative and popular line of bats made by parent company Baden Sports who have been into manufacturing of sports equipments since 1979. The company is known for its innovation, having designed sports equipment like the first ever women sized basketball and the all-weather baseball.
The Axe line of bats started in 2009 after deciding to work with Bruce Leinert who approached the company with an innovative bat design, which still remains the most distinguishing feature of these bats. Unlike other bats with a circular knob at the top of the handle, Axe bats feature an asymmetrical axe like handle designed to fit snugly in your hands, and has proven to reduce wrist injuries and increase efficiency.
Currently, the Axe line features a wide range of products, including the 2017 big barrel variants of the Axe Elite, the Axe Avenge, the Axe Element and the Axe Origin, with the Elite and the Avenge proving to be the most popular among these. The Axe Avenge is a composite two-piece design while the Elite is a hybrid two-piece design.
Combat first started making baseball bats in 2004 and have proclaimed themselves to be a company obsessed with making the best bats. They have the same owners as Easton, the Performance Sports Group, and midway through 2016 they made a decision to discontinue all bat models except for the Combat Maxum. They also announced that the composite technology used in the Combat range would instead be directed to Easton.
Combat, however, have released two new lines of bats since that announcement, coming up with the 2017 Combat Maxum and the Combat VIGOR. Both are single-piece composite bats, but the VIGOR seems like a lower-end (and cheaper) version of the Maxum, having many similar features, but also lacking in some areas as compared to the latter. The majority of composite bats out in the market are generally two-piece designs, so it could be worthwhile to consider either the Maxum or the VIGOR if you’re not a big fan of two-piece designs while still wanting a composite bat.
DeMarini is a brand that has become popular with power hitters ever since the company first started manufacturing bats in the mid-90s. This is mainly due to their ‘Doublewall’ technology that most of their bats use, which helps create a nice flexible barrel.
DeMarini are one of the most popular and commonly used bats in the United States, with players from over a 100 colleges reportedly using the bats, including multiple College World Series champions and also by teams from various divisions of the NCAA. They were taken over by famous sporting equipment manufacturer Wilson Sporting Goods in 2000, but still maintain a lot of independence in making baseball bats, continuing to work from their Oregon facility they initially started.
DeMarini have produced many popular bats over the years, catering to various kinds of players, right from the junior and youth leagues to the senior and adult leagues as well. They also have a wide range of alloy, composite and hybrid design bats, with the most popular ones for 2017 being the DeMarini CF Zen, which is the latest in the well respected CF series, and also the DeMarini Voodoo.
Easton is a California based manufacturer knowing for making quality baseball bats since nearly a century, having first started way back in 1922. They have a big reputation in other sports as well, especially archery, where Easton arrows have been used to win all summer Olympics Games held since 1972. They are owned by Performance Sports Group, which also owns the Combat brand of bats.
Easton have been well known for making bats capable of generating some serious hitting power, while also giving great swing speed and control. In fact, the company faced a lawsuit back in 2013 after a player got hit by a shot flying off an Easton and ended up in coma, with some serious brain trauma. The allegation against Easton was that they had failed to advise players on the kind of power and speed their bats generated.
There have been several popular models made by Easton over the years, and the most popular of them all for 2017 is undoubtedly the MAKO Beast, which is one of the best big barrel bats out in the market currently. The S2 and S3 series have also proven quite popular with youth and senior league players.
The Louisville Slugger is one of the oldest baseball bat companies in America, having set up shop in the mid 1880s. The company has also branched out into manufacturing of gloves for various sports and also golf clubs. They were taken over by Wilson Sporting Goods in 2015, who also own DeMarini.
The company has been famous for making several extremely popular and high performance bats over the years, having been used by even Hall of Famers like Carl Ripken Jr. and Robin Yount, while even Yankees legend Derek Jeter used a Slugger bat throughout his major league career. Current high profile users of the bat include the likes of Josh Hamilton, Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia.
While the P72 used by Jeter and other legends is the most famous bat ever made by Louisville, the current bat models are also some of the best available on the market right, including the likes of the 2017 Louisville Slugger Prime, the Omaha and the Catalyst, which cater to a broad range of users.
Marucci was started by former Louisiana State University athletic director Jack Marucci in 2002, and is known for high quality wood bats which have become quite popular not just among youth players but some high profile players from the major leagues as well. In an era where composite two-piece designs are all the rage, the Marucci wood bats have held their own quite well.
Jack Marucci started making bats after failing to find a good wood bat for his son, but the company now also makes alloy bats as well. Marucci bats have been used by MLB stars like David Ortiz, Jose Bautista, Albert Pujols, etc, which is quite a testimony to the capability of the Marucci bats when it comes to sheer power hitting.
The 2017 additions to Marucci’s impressive collection is the Hex Alloy and the Hex Connect and also the immensely popular CAT 7 line, which has already been reviewed above. The Cat 7 is the successor to other popular previous editions, the Cat 5 and 6, and is certainly one of the best single-piece alloy bats available currently as well.
Mizuno is a Japan based sports equipment company which is also one of the oldest in the world, having set up shop in the early 1900s. Although they initially only sold western-made sporting equipment, they begin to manufacture their own sporting equipment after a few years, including baseball gloves and balls. Today, Mizuno have a presence in some of the biggest sports in the world, including golf, tennis, soccer, athletics, etc.
Mizuno have made some of the best wood and hybrid bats in the market over the years, especially maple wood bats and other wood hybrids. They have since gone on to produce alloy and composite bats as well, which have become quite popular around the leagues.
The 2017 collection of the Mizuno features two lines, the Mizuno Covert and the Mizuno Generation. The Covert is a big barrel two-piece hybrid design with an alloy barrel and a composite handle while the Generation features a single-piece all-alloy design.
Rawlings is also one of the oldest sports equipment manufacturing companies in the USA, having been founded in the late 1880s by two brothers. They were taken over by Spalding in the mid 1950s and then sold again over a decade later.
The company has a rich and varied involvement in American sporting culture, having come up with several important innovations that are still being used today, like football shoulder pads and all-weather balls. When it comes to baseball, they are as popular for their excellent gloves as they are for their bats.
Rawlings bats have been immensely popular over the years, including being used by NCAA title winners Virginia Cavaliers in 2015. The company has focused on wood and alloy barrel bats over the years, and only came up with a composite barrel version for the first time in their entire history for the 2017 season, the VELO composite, which is a real impressive piece of work.
Rawlings has released several new models for 2017, including the VELO alloy, the 5150, the Prodigy and the Quatro. The VELO alloy is a one-piece construction. The 5150 and the Prodigy are also both single piece alloy bats but on a seemingly lower end as compared to the VELO. The Quatro, on the other hand, is a top of the line two-piece carbon fiber composite bat.