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Bat Advice From Folks Who Don’t Sell Bats

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CAT 9 vs Bonesaber Swing Weight Confusion?

Could you help clear up the confusion? Someone else had ask you a question about the Bonesaber and you answered “we measured the BBCOR 33″ Bonesaber as a 9300 MOI. The average 33″ BBCOR bat swings at 9250. It is safe to say the Bonesaber in BBCOR is ju …

Dear Bat Guy,

Could you help clear up the confusion? Someone else had asked you a question about the Bonesaber and you answered “we measured the BBCOR 33″ Bonesaber as a 9300 MOI. The average 33″ BBCOR bat swings at 9250. It is safe to say the Bonesaber in BBCOR is just slightly above average in swing weight. That’s considerably lighter than a bat like the CAT 9 but heavier than a bat-like DeMarini’s CF.” However, on your swing weight chart, the 2020 Bonesaber and the 2021 CAT 9 are almost the exact swing weight. I’m trying to decide between these two bats. Do they have similar swing weights?

~Tyler

Tyler,

Thanks for the clarifying question. The short answer is it appears we messed up in our answer. The Bonesaber is not considerably heavier than the CAT 9. So, it does swing similarly. We’ve edited that answer.

Here’s what we think happened, not that you’re looking for an excuse, is the CAT 8, and CAT 7 always swung on the heavy side. The CAT 9, however, does not. We were answering a question in our minds, thinking the CAT 9 was on the heavy side. In either case, the word considerable wasn’t accurate, but we think that is what happened. FWIW.

In any event, we’re glad to see people are reading what we’re answering and then having questions of their own!

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


Swing Weight Variance in The Goods

On your swing weight chart, why is the 2020 The Goods bat lighter swinging than the 2021 when it is the exact same bat?

Dear Bat Guy,

On your swing weight chart, why is the 2020 The Goods bat lighter swinging than the 2021 when it is the exact same bat?

~Doug

Doug,

Great observation. The reason is that it is actually not the ‘same’ bat. The bat is made the same, but manufacturer tolerance, even for a big company like DeMarini, leaves room for error and variability. We would find the same variability of bats of the same year, too.

We measure our swing weights from actual bats. These were two different bats on different days put under the same test. But, since the manufacturer allows a certain tolerance in their production, it is probable for two bats of the same make and model to have different swing weights.

So, that’s what you see there. A difference of less than 5% is expected within the same brand, model, and size.

Thanks for the question.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


Monsta Fastpitch Bats

Any feedback on the MONSTA FP bats the hype in particular.

Dear Bat Guy,

Any feedback on the MONSTA FP bats the hype in particular?

~David

David,

Sadly, we currently have no feedback on the Monsta Fastpitch bats. We are in the process of getting some to test out, but it might not be for a few weeks. When we hear that people are looking for them it does make us care a bit more, so thanks for the heads up. We’ll push it towards the top of our list.

Here’s there site: https://monstaathletics.com/product-category/bats/

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


Rawlings VELO ACP vs Marucci Cat 9

Son likes and swings one-piece alloys a lot better than composite bats. As any other dad looking to get him in the best bat that feels right. Was wondering what is the better bat the Marucci cat 9 or the Rawlings VELO? Have heard some people favor the …

Dear Bat Guy,

Son likes and swings one-piece alloys a lot better than composite bats. As any other dad looking to get him in the best bat that feels right. Was wondering what is the better bat the Marucci Cat 9 or the Rawlings VELO? Have heard some people favor the VELO and wanted to hear what an expert had to say. My son uses a drop 10 28-29 ounce bat.

Thank you in advance for your time.

~Jose

Jose,

Our experience with the VELO in the youth space has not been terribly impressive. We think it’s too light to pack a punch. It does sound loud and some parents seem to like that, but we’ve found no correlation between a loud bat and a long hit.

We like the CAT series of bats better than the VELO ACP series in the youth space. It has a bigger barrel and swings with more gumption. Granted, in exit speed tests both are pretty similar. But, we’ve yet to find a player hitting side by side the VELO and Marucci CAT in USSSA or USA that prefers the Velo. It’s either a tie or advantage: CAT 9.

That is our $0.02. Get a 29/19 in a CAT 9 and get him to work

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


Switching to USSSA big barrel

My son is currently playing in a league that requires using a USA or USSSA 2-1/4 barrel max. He has really hit well this season with the 2016 29/18 Easton Mako. In the spring he will be allowed use a USSSA 2-3/4 barrel. I was thinking about getting him …

Dear Bat Guy,

My son is currently playing in a league that requires using a USA or USSSA 2-1/4 barrel max. He has really hit well this season with the 2016 29/18 Easton Mako. In the spring he will be allowed use a USSSA 2-3/4 barrel. I was thinking about getting him the 30/20 Easton Maxum. Is there a bat you would recommend instead? Why?

~Karl

Karl,

The Big Barrel USSSA space is dominated by DeMarini’s CF and Marucci’s CAT series of bats. There is a reason for that. They are great in feel, barrel performance and popular demand. Groupthink should never be the only reason to buy a bat. But, there is a law of averages here—and a lot of people give mostly great ratings back to the CF and the CAT in USSSA.

Our guess would be he might not appreciate the single piece feel of the Combat Maxum—although we do love the barrel size on that bat. If he likes the MAKO from 2016 (a legendary bat) then he’ll like the two-piece feel of a bat like the CF and Easton ADV. Hope that helps.

 

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


What if 32-inch BBCOR is Too Heavy?

On the advice of our coach, we purchased a -3 32 in. bat for my 14yo son. He has not fully burst into puberty and although he has grown in height, the thickening of the muscle has not hit yet. The bat length is probably appropriate but the weight is re …

Dear Bat Guy,

On the advice of our coach, we purchased a -3 32 in. bat for my 14yo son. He has not fully burst into puberty and although he has grown in height, the thickening of the muscle has not hit yet. The bat length is probably appropriate but the weight is really causing him to struggle.

Before switching to -3, he was one of the best hitters and since changing batting has been a nightmare. Investigating, it appears I should just eat the cost of the new bat and get a new one. My question is, Will, dropping to a 31 inch make that much of a difference or should I just wait for him to “grow” into the 32 in.?

~Travis

Travis,

We think bat size is the single most important thing to the “best” bat. So, that would be an easy decision for us. Get a shorter bat. Timing is everything in hitting, and if you don’t have good timing, it doesn’t matter if you have a trampoline in your hands. To hit the ball well, you must be on time. Get a smaller bat and go for it.

As well, if you were swinging the META (which is what you mentioned in an email), then that’s the right type of balance. So, a similar swing weight type bat in a 31 will do wonders for him. Don’t be ashamed to go to a 30-inch, even. Not as many options in that size. But, again, timing is everything.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


Bonesaber Swing Weight

Do you happen to have the swing weight calc on the BBCOR Bonesaber? Thinking of picking one up. Also considering the Solo and Vandal so wondering just how much heavier the SW is in comparison to all the others you included in your 2020 SW chart.

Dear Bat Guy,

Do you happen to have the swing weight calc on the BBCOR Bonesaber. Thinking of picking one up. Also considering the Solo and Vandal so wondering just how much heavier the SW is in comparison to all the others you included in your 2020 SW chart.

Matt,

You can see our swing weights on our BBCOR swing weights page. Your note reminded us to add the Bonesaber. To save you a click, the short answer is the Bonesaber swings right in the middle of the road. The industry has yet to decide what we call that bat. Some refer to it as Balanced, but that doesn’t mean Speed or Handloaded. It’s not as light as a bat like the Solo or Vandal, but it’s far from a heavy swinging bat too.

Hope that helps.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


Release Dates 2021 Louisville Slugger Baseball

Is there a release date set for a 2021 Louisville Slugger Prime? (BBCOR and -5 USSSA)

Dear Bat Guy,

Is there a release date set for a 2021 Louisville Slugger Prime? (BBCOR and -5 USSSA)

~Allen

Allen

10.21.2020 is the release date for the 2021 Louisville Slugger Prime series of bats (as well as all the other Slugger stuff too).

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


Jump From Drop 10 To BBCOR?

Son is 12 years old (average size weight) has played ball since 5 . Looking for a good /good fit bbcor bat for him (30″,31″ – would prefer 31″ as he will be moving up to Middle School ball and travel) He is a contact hitter ,top of line up . Not a lot …

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

Son is 12 years old (average size weight) has played ball since 5. Looking for a good fit in BBCORbat for him (30″,31″ – would prefer 31″ as he will be moving up to Middle School ball and travel). He is a contact hitter, top of lineup, not a lot of power. Not looking to spend over $250. You see so many different bats, could you give us your top 3 in a 1 piece, and top 3 in a composite? Right now he plays with a Demarini USSSA 30″ -10, and an Easton Maxum same size. In South Carolnia you have to play with BBCOR in school and travel.

Thank you so much for your time.

Derrick

Derrick,

Alright. Top 3 BBCOR bats that are (1) less than $250, (2) made for a smaller hitter, (3) are the right size for a player moving from a 30/20, and (4) for a contact hitter.

Before we say the bats, note that the differentiation in BBCOR bats is all but nothing. Despite popular opinion, BBCOR bats all perform about the same. The real trick is finding the one with the right feel and swing weight. Our guess, coming from a 30/20 two-piece composite in the CF, he’ll really NOT like a single piece aluminum bat. Try and see if you can’t pick up a light swinging composite in a 30/27. Note, too, many of the most visible composite BBCOR bats (like the Meta) don’t come in a 30″. But, bats like the CF and Easton Ghost do.
As well, in terms of sizing, we think the jump from a 30/20 at 13U to a 31/28 BBCOR is going to be HUGE. If you can convince yourself into a 30/27 that might be better. However, if he’s in a growth spurt this might be a good time for the 31/28.

Here are our picks. Hope they put on your on the right track.

Single Piece Choices
1. Louisville Slugger Solo in any year (2016/17/18/19/20/21).
2. Rawlings VELO in any year.
3. Easton Speed in any year.

Composite Options

1. Used 2016/17/18/19 DeMarini CF in a 30/27. (You’ll need to shop around a bit to find a deal).
2. Used or discounted Axe Avenge Hyperwhip from 2019.
3. Easton Ghost from 2018 in a 30/27.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


Is the 2020 COMBAT B2 the Same as the Easton Maxum?

Have you checked this bat out? I believe it’s only offered at Justbats.com. It seems to be very well-liked. I would like to hear how it compares to the Maxxum 360 BBCOR.

Dear Bat Guy,

Have you checked this bat out? I believe it’s only offered at Justbats.com. It seems to be very well-liked. I would like to hear how it compares to the Maxxum 360 BBCOR.

Thanks,
Anna

Anna,

Yes. We have seen it and hit it. The story is long. But, in short, JustBats bought the rights to the Combat bat name when they went out of business a few years back. They remade the Combat Maxum from year’s past and changed the color and image to a new B2 design after an older Combat design.

The bat colorway is new, but the bat is not. It is the Combat Maxum from year’s past remade by JustBats and sold exclusively on their website.

Easton is owned by the same parent company that went bankrupt and, as a result, closed down the Combat Bat operations. (They kept Easton alive). Much of the intellectual property and assets went to Easton. This year (2020), Easton resurrected the Combat Maxum name in a bat of their own called the Easton Maxum. It is designed after the Combat Maxum of old with a few Easton influences.

All three bats, the Easton Maxum, Combat Maxum, and Just Bats Combat B2, are the same idea: A Big barrel on a single piece composite bat. Each has a lighter swing weight. By our measurements, the Just Bats Combat B2 had the lightest swing weight, but that will depend on the model, length, and league you are looking at specifically.

In any event, we hope that helps. The bat industry is full of reprints and acquisitions. It makes it a jungle out there.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


CF Zen 2021?

I see DeMarini has the 2021 USSSA CF Zen bats available now in custom bats section only. Any information out there on it’s new features or how it compares to the 2020 (black/gold) version?

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

I see DeMarini has the 2021 USSSA CF Zen bats available now in custom bats section only. Any information out there on it’s new features or how it compares to the 2020 (black/gold) version?

Mike

Mike,

Good find. A lot of bat companies are trying to squeeze as much margin as they can these days. One recent trick is to make bats available on their custom site for a premium instead of widely available at retailers. We saw that happen with The Goods in BBCOR and now a lot of the Slugger and DeMarini things. Marucci, too, only sold the CAT 9 on their site for a few weeks until they let the major retailers have it.

DeMarini is doing the same with their CF. Although not released until November, they’ll let those willing to spend the premium directly on their site a chance to give DeMarini the bigger margins than elsewhere. Fair enough, but it is what it is.

We do have a 2021 DeMarini CF review up. Not a ton of information out there as we’re still waiting to get a better feel for how it performs. Not many changes in the 21 CF compared to the 20 as far as we can tell, but more details to follow in that review.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


Easton ADV -11 swing weight

We recently ordered an USA Easton ADV -11 31/20 for our 2 boys. They are both 11 and normally swing a -10, one sometimes swings a -8. We have an ADV -10, but we heard so much about the -11 being so hot that we wanted to give it a try. We were a little …

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

We recently ordered an USA Easton ADV -11 31/20 for our 2 boys. They are both 11 and normally swing a -10, one sometimes swings a -8. We have an ADV -10, but we heard so much about the -11 being so hot that we wanted to give it a try. We were a little concerned about going down in the weight from what they normally swing, so that’s why we decided to go with the 31/20, but it is too heavy for them. I really tried to do my research before buying it because I didn’t want to waste $350 on a bat and I didn’t see anything anywhere saying that it swung heavy. Also, it is supposed to be a balanced bat, but the one we got definitely feels end loaded. The 31” inch is definitely too long for both boys, but we were thinking they could just choke up on the bat…BUT it’s literally been used to hit maybe 10-15 balls in the batting cage and that’s it bc it is too heavy for them.

Even for the one that has been swinging some -8 bats. Since there are so many glowing reviews about the -11, I’m thinking maybe it’s just the size of the bat that is the issue? I could just exchange it for another size, but I’m just not sure what size to get bc I’m not sure if the bat swings heavy in general or what…if so, the 30/19 may also be too heavy for them and the 29/18 would prob be too short.

So, I’m just at a loss as to what to do.

After we got the bat and found out it was too heavy, I saw that the swing weight on your chart for the 31/20 was like 22.4, I think), so it def swings a lot heavier than I expected, but I wasn’t able to find any info on the swing weight of the 30/19 or any of the other sizes. Does the USA Easton ADV -11 swing heavy in general or is the size that we got the issue?

Rachel,

Thanks for the question. You are correct, the drop 11 ADV 360 swings like a middle of the road drop 10. As you are too familiar with now, scale weight and swing weights have very little to do with each other sometimes. It’s a major frustration in the bat world and I see no end in sight. Length changes swing weight much more than supposed stated weight.

Changing an inch down will be a considerable difference. It should change it by about 10%. So, in a perfect world, a person looking for a 29/19 in a drop 10 should really get the 29/18 in the ADV drop 11. Not, as could reasonably but incorrectly suspected, the 30/19. In other words, go with the same length, not the same stated weight.

To answer your question specifically, it would be difficult to answer without just some experimentation. But, for what it is worth, We do think the drop 11 ADV 360 does have a great barrel. Going to the 30/19 might do the trick. But, if they are struggling as much as you say, maybe even the 29/18? Sadly, the best way to know would be to just try it out and see.

Thanks for reaching out.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


CAT 9 Connect vs Rawlings 5150 BBCOR

My barely 14-year son swings a 2019 Rawlings 5150 BBCOR (32in). I am thinking about purchasing a 2021 Cat 9 Connect BBCOR (32in). Are the bat swing characteristics similar? eg swing weight, exit velocity, etc.

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

My barely 14-year son swings a 2019 Rawlings 5150 BBCOR (32in). I am thinking about purchasing a 2021 Cat 9 Connect BBCOR (32in). Are the bat swing characteristics similar? eg swing weight, exit velocity, etc.

~David

David,

Thanks for the question. In terms of swing weight and exit speed, you’ll get a very similar experience between the 5150 and CAT 9 Connect. Both are a bit heavier than average and the BBCOR standard has leveled the playing field insomuch that both have really similar pop.

The biggest difference will be feel. The feel will be so different, in fact, we suspect your son will think they perform differently. It just depends on what he prefers, but most younger hitters will believe that a two-piece bat feels better and, therefore, he hits the CAT 9 Connect better more consistently.

Our general sense is the CAT 9 Connect might be a better fit for your 14-year-old when compared to the 5150 because he will like the feel more. That said, at 14, most hitters like light swinging bats, and the 5150 or CAT 9 Connect don’t fit that bill. We don’t mean to make your question more complicated than it needs to be. But, in the end, we think a light swinging two-piece bat like a Voodoo Balanced (from 2019 or 2020) could be a better fit than either of those. But, if you’ve narrowed it down between the 5150 and the Connect then, without consideration for price, we’d suggest the CAT 9 Connect for a mostly similar experience in swing weight and exit speeds.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: October 21, 2020


Are Great 8U Bats Worth the Money?

My son will be 8 soon and is on a good usssa team. He was swinging a cat 8 26/16 but now 27/17….i have read your reports that the 2020 cf zen (-10) is definitely the best bat to have….so my question is…is the money worth it? It sounds like it is. …

Dear Bat Guy,

My son will be 8 soon and is on a good USSSA team. He was swinging a  CAT 8 26/16 but now 27/17….I have read your reports that the 2020 cf zen (-10) is definitely the best bat to have….so my question is…is the money worth it? It sounds like it is…..also should I wait until the 2021 gets released first to see if its better than 2020?

FYI he’s 4’2 70lbs.

Thanks for all you do.

~JT

JT,

Thanks for reaching out.

In short, we have yet to find bats that are that much difference between 8-year-olds. If he can ball, then a bat like the CF Glitch, 2020, 2019, etc. will be his best bet. However, although it will feel different to him than the CAT 7/8/9, we’d guess his actual exit speed won’t be any different.

It seems, roughly, not until players are in that 10 to 13-year-old range does the ‘best’ USSSA model matter. Before then, the pitch and swing speeds they see don’t generate enough collision force to engage the barrel. It’s all about making solid contact with the ball—and if they can, they’ll have success with just about any bat. We say focus on the right swing weight at that age over the right model.

That said, if you’ve got some money to spend and want your boy to have what most (including us) consider the best, the CF in a 28/18 is the right choice here.

We have a 9U player. Last year, in 8U, we had him swing the Marucci F5 in a 28/18. This year, for 9U, he’ll be in either the CF or the new Marucci CAT Connect. (I mean, how do you pass up this bat here).

Per the 2021, we can’t imagine the 2021 CF will be that much better than the Glitch or CF of 2020. If you can wait until the end of October to purchase, DeMarini is doing their bat day when they have a pretty substantial discount on bats—we’re hopeful the smaller size USSSA CFs will be in that mix.

If none of that sounds like what you wanted, then you’ll need to wait until November for the 2021 CF to come out. Once it does, we’ll be sure to review it here and have some videos up.

 

~Bat Guy

Answered On: September 15, 2020


Best drop 12 USSSA

My son just finished 8u ball this summer, and we are looking for a new bat. He used the Marucci F5 27/17 after we realized his 28/18 F5 was a little bit too much. He’s a little bit taller than those in his age group but is skinnier than most. We were c …

Dear Bat Guy,

Dera Bat Guy,

My son just finished 8u ball this summer, and we are looking for a new bat. He used the Marucci F5 27/17 after we realized his 28/18 F5 was a little bit too much.

He’s a little bit taller than those in his age group but is skinnier than most. We were considering investing in a drop 12 bat for him and was wondering if which of the USSSA drop 12 would be best?

Looking between Rawlings Quatro, Easton Threat, Easton Maxum 360, and Louisville Prime One.

~Tom

Tom,

Thanks for the question. The Drop 12 USSSA Bat space is a tough one. Very few bats in that realm feel like they hit the ball very well—they are all barrel, no power. And, usually, any amount of pitch speed will ring the hands. It surprises us that there are not many two-piece USSSA bats available—as that seems likes the group that would benefit from it the most. But, we guess, keeping a bat under that weight restriction and adding a connective piece isn’t in the cards.

With that soapbox out of the way, we’d rank those bats you list like this:

  1. Easton Maxum 360/Combat B2/Combat Maxum (older version)
  2. Slugger Prime ONE
  3. Easton Threat/Rawlings Quatro

Also, we once wrote an article, in 2018, on the best drop 12 bats. It needs to be updated badly, but you might be able to gleam something from that too.

Although we never resist the urge to make a list of rankings, the truth is all those bats will likely serve your purpose just fine. There’s also an Easton Hyperlite in a drop 12, which is just fine—like the rest. There’s only very little differentiation between drop 12 bats—all are mostly okay.

If it were our money, we’d buy an older Combat in a drop 12 on eBay like this one here. That bat will perform just as well as the Maxum or B2 and let you put some extra money towards a sweet Nokona glove or bat bag.

We hope that is helpful or at least gets you on the right track.

Thanks for reaching out,

~Bat Guy

Answered On: September 14, 2020


Best Bat for Middle Power Guy

I’m looking all-around time save money, what would be a good bet to save money that could content with bats such as the META, or the Nox, or a one-piece like the BoneSaber.

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

I’m looking all-around and to save money, what would be a good bet to save money that could content with bats such as the META, or the Nox, or a one-piece like the BoneSaber.

Ned

Ned,

If you’re looking for an all-around best bat for the money then we can be sure newer bats that are full price points are not going to be it. We like bats like the Nox, Meta, and Bonesaer. But, BBCOR bat companies have been reaching the BBCOR limit along major lengths of the barrel for several years now.

See our full write up on the best BBCOR bats.

If it were us and we wanted to save a few bucks and get a real knock out kind of bat, we’d get a 32″ Marucci CAT 5-squared. Those bats are bomb makers. The 33 and 34 inch were made illegal back in the day but you can find a few 32-inch CAT 5 Squared on eBay occasionally.

If that doesn’t float your boat, then look for an older 2018 Voodoo Balanced.

If you must have something new (2021), then we’d suggest a bat like the NOX. It swings balanced despite what the marketing folks say and you should really like the hot out of the wrapper feel. As well, at least at the time of this writing, you can find it in stock unlike the META.

Hope that helps get you on the right track.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: September 11, 2020


Rawlings Quatro Pro endload or not?

Is the Fastpitch Quatro pro endloaded -9 similar to the ghost-9? Trying to decide between the regular Quatro or the endloaded model.

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

Is the Fastpitch Quatro pro endloaded -9 similar to the ghost-9? Trying to decide between the regular Quatro or the endloaded model.

Patrick

Patrick,

We have measured the drop 10 models of each bat and found the Ghost is way more endloaded than the Quatro. Unfortunately, we can’t say for sure on the drop 9 models. However, our pretty confident guess is that the drop 9 is more massive in the Ghost and considerably so. We’d even guess the drop 10 Ghost swings heavier than the drop 9 Quatro. That Ghost is a great potent bat, but it endloaded, surprisingly so.

Thanks, and we hope that helps at least a little bit.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: September 11, 2020


Used BBCOR BAt for 13 Year Old

My son is 12 Turns 13 in November. He is playing AAU fall ball on a 14U team. Looking for ideas on a used BBCOR bat to avoid sticker shock. He swung a 32″ drop 10 2019 CF Zen this summer and can still use USSSA next year for 13U spring ball, so don’t w …

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

My son is 12 Turns 13 in November. He is playing AAU fall ball on a 14U team. Looking for ideas on a used BBCOR bat to avoid sticker shock. He swung a 32″ drop 10 2019 CF Zen this summer and can still use USSSA next year for 13U spring ball, so don’t want to break the bank until his true 14U season. He is around 5′ 8 or 9″ tall. Thanks for any input.

~Peter

Peter,

Good question and we’ll give a quick answer. We’d find an older two-piece composite bat in a 30 or 31-inch BBCOR.

As an example, we did a quick 31/28 search on eBay like this and found a 2016 Prime for <$150. We also saw a 31/28 CF from 2018 for not much more than that.

In terms of “pop”, we’ve found that the top echelon of BBCOR bats performs very similarly. As such, don’t be too worried about finding the one with the best performance, they’re all pretty much best. And, considering your son is new to the BBCOR game, a bat like the CF or Prime which feels good, swings light, and has a big barrel will be a great pick.

Hope that helps, thanks for reaching out.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: September 11, 2020


Swing Weight and the Bonesaber

Dear Bat Guy, My son is moving to 10U travel ball. Since starting travel ball he has had issues finding a USSSA bat he likes. His rec ball (USA) bat is the Easton ADV1 30/18. He is 4’11” and 85 lbs. I am trying to get him to hit a 30/20 but it seems a …

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

My son is moving to 10U travel ball. Since starting travel ball he has had issues finding a USSSA bat he likes. His rec ball (USA) bat is the Easton ADV1 30/18. He is 4’11” and 85 lbs. I am trying to get him to hit a 30/20 but it seems a little heavy. He has tried a DSB Swag 30/20 and he seems a little slow with it. I’m thinking the weight issue is actually due to bat balance? He does batting practice with a wood 30-inch bat and swings it with no issues. Actually he hits very well with the wooden bat. I have been trying to do a little research on what “feels” more like his wooden bat and I came across the Warstic Bonesaber. Do you have any thoughts on that particular bat or suggestions on a not end loaded/more balanced bat?

Craig

Craig,

Love it. Thanks.

To answer your last question first: we measured the BBCOR 33″ Bonesaber as a 9300 MOI. The average 33″ BBCOR bat swings at 9250. It is safe to say the Bonesaber in BBCOR is just slightly above average in swing weight. That’s lighter than a bat like the CAT 8/7 (but not lighter than a bat like the CAT 9) and heavier than a bat-like DeMarini’s CF.

See all our USSSA swing weights (sans the Bonesaber).

Now, your question is about the USSSA version of that bat. Unfortunately, we don’t have that exact model’s swing weight in hand at the moment, but it’s fair to guess that it runs a bit heavier than the average. We think it feels more like the DSB Swag than the ADV1—which is a very, very light swing. As much as we love the Bonesaber in bigger, more substantial sizes, we think it is unlikely to be the right pick for a 10U player that’s had success with an ADV1 and thinks the DSB Swag is a bit endloaded.

Our thought: have you looked at the CAT 9 Connect yet? That 30/20 swings light, feels great and has some incredible exit speeds. However, based on what you’ve said, I might lean towards the 29/19 before the 30/20. Swing weight, as we think you’ve correctly surmised, is the crucial leading factor in choosing the right bat.

If you’re not down for the CAT 9 Connect, then, of course, there is always DeMarini’s CF. The CF is far and away from the most popular bat in that niche. It does have a history of breaking, but it fits that light swing, big barrel, and feels great on the hands. Many swear by its performance, too (we included). That bat, however, isn’t cheap.

If it were us, we’d take a real close look at the CAT 9 Connect and see if we couldn’t get it in a 29/19. If that didn’t feel right for whatever reason, a 30/20 (or even 29/19) CF Glitch would be next on our list.

If you want something less expensive, try and find a 30/20 (or 29/19) Slugger Prime used on eBay to tide you over until you can get more chances to see what is the exact right size for him.

We hope that helps, and thanks for reaching out.

 

 

~Bat Guy

Answered On: September 10, 2020


BBCOR for 13 year old

I am looking for the best BBCOR from Demarini or LS for a 13-year-old, on the smaller side who I wouldn’t call a “power hitter”. I currently have a voucher for a warranty replacement. I was considering getting a -5 but with the COVID situation, I don’t …

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

I am looking for the best BBCOR from Demarini or LS for a 13-year-old, on the smaller side who I wouldn’t call a “power hitter”. I currently have a voucher for a warranty replacement. I was considering getting a -5 but with the COVID situation, I don’t know how much use he will be able to get out of it before having to step up so I figure we will just make the jump to BBCOR now. He was swinging a 30″ -8 CF Zen.

Jeff

Jeff,

Most USSSA kids like to transition to BBCOR and gravitate towards the CF because they had so much success with it in USSSA Ball. However, that soft connection, that works well at < 13U, really starts to lose its brilliance when balls start coming faster and swing speeds start increasing.

Although the CF in BBCOR does well in our exit speed tests, most BBCOR hitters don’t prefer it, and it quickly takes a back seat—especially to bats with more stiff connections. Of course, that isn’t everyone—some really like it and do really well with it.

As well, we realize you didn’t ask if you should be getting a CF in BBCOR. But, since you have that voucher, we just thought we’d throw that insight out there before you buy a CF in BBCOR and end up being a bit disappointed.

We believe the best transition bat for a smaller kid who liked their CF in USSSA is going to be a 2019 Rawlings Quatro, Prime, or ADV 360 from Easton. The 2020 and 2019 Meta are fantastic too, but too expensive to justify for such a short window and because the exit speeds aren’t any better (although the feel is terrific).

The ADV 360, Prime, and Quatro have about the same kind of feel like the CF in USSSA. So, if he likes that feeling and wants to keep it, those are the bats he should be aiming for. The trick is finding the bat with the right swing weight (which will be your challenge when jumping from a drop 8) and has the feel the player prefers.

That said, in the spirit of getting you on the trail of something that it’s a real steal, we’d look real close at bat like a 31/28 Easton Ghost from 2018 in BBCOR used on eBay to tide us over until he could grow into a 32 or 33 where we’d be willing to spend Meta type money (and use our voucher) on his Soph/Junior/Senior year bat.

If that voucher is burning a hole in your pocket, then we’d buy the 31″ Prime from Slugger. There is a “Bat Day” that Wilson does every October where they drop the prices of those bats. If I were you, I’d wait until then if you can and then buy it directly from Slugger’s site.

Thanks for the question, and we hope that helps at least get you on track

~Bat Guy

Answered On: September 10, 2020


Best Single Piece USA Alloy Bat for 11U

My 11U (4’10” 80lbs) is currently swinging a Solo 29/18. I’d like to move him to a 30″ in a -10 and looking for a balanced bat. How do the FUZE, Alpha, Voodoo compare against one another? Do you recommend one over the others? Thanks

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy

My 11U (4’10” 80lbs) is currently swinging a Solo 29/18. I’d like to move him to a 30″ in a -10 and looking for a balanced bat. How do the FUZE, Alpha, Voodoo compare against one another?

Do you recommend one over the others?

Thanks,
Anonymous

Hey,

We assume your speaking of the Voodoo One, not the Voodoo Balanced. So, in effect, you’re looking for the better single-piece aluminum alloy bat between the Fuze, Alpha, and Voodoo One.

We’ve hit all of them and seen others hit them too. Our guess is your 11U will prefer the Fuze the most. The rubber knob feels a lot better than the Voodoo, and it swings lighter than the Alpha—which is a bit too endloaded for our tastes. The Fuze uses an extended composite end cap to help bring down the swing weight and make the barrel bigger. The Voodoo has a skinny barrel and swings light. The Alpha has that same rubber knob but swings a bit heavier because it doesn’t have the extended composite end cap.

So, if we had to choose, we’d say the Fuze is the best bet.

If you want to look at something that isn’t those three bats, and if he has liked the SOLO well enough, why not just size up the Solo an inch or two? Maybe a 31/20 Solo? That will swing more massive than a 30/20 almost always, so maybe look at the 30/29 Solo.

We hope that helps. Thanks for reaching out.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: September 10, 2020


Light Swing Power Hitter 13U BBCOR Bat Option

Looking for a BBCOR -3, 32″ for my 5’4″, 140 pound power hitter. He had been using a Slugger Omaha517 and an Old Demarini, he just took a few swings with a Victus Vandal and liked the balance and light feel. Reading online looking at Marucci 9, and Com …

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

Looking for a BBCOR -3, 32″ for my 5’4″, 140-pound power hitter. He had been using a Slugger Omaha 517 and an Old Demarini, he just took a few swings with a Victus Vandal and liked the balance and light feel. Reading online looking at Marucci 9, and Combat B2. Local stores don’t carry the Combat, so not sure how he can try it. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Jacob

Jacob,

Our favorite BBCOR bat in a 32″ right now is an old CAT 5 from Marucci. The 33 and 34-inch versions of that bat were banned and we’ve found, while doing exit speed tests, the 32″ is as hot as anything we’ve picked up. Throw in the fact you can pick one up for <$50 pretty regularly on eBay and we’re all over it. It doesn’t feel the best when you don’t tee one up, but it still hits rockets.

If you want to go with something newer, and you want a light swing then a bat like the Vandal is a good pick up. He appears to like the single-piece bats in the Omaha, CAT 9 and B2 (which is really a JustBats bat, but that’s for another day). Any of those are great choices. If you want to try something out of the box but has a similar sort of feel to those bats then something like the StringKing might do you good too.

In any event, it sounds like you’re on the right track. If the decision is between the CAT 9 and the Vandal in BBCOR then we’d lean Vandal because it does swing lighter than the CAT 9.

As well, although we need to get around to updating it, our best bat for a 13-year-old article might be useful to look over too.

Hope that helps and good luck.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: September 10, 2020


What’s a Good One Year Bat in USSSA for 13U?

I have my 12-year-old (started school young) who is playing with all his classmates on a 13U USSSA team. He is about 4’10 and 125 lbs. He is skilled and has played for several years, so the transition is not a problem but we are stuck on his next bat. …

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

I have my 12-year-old (started school young) who is playing with all his classmates on a 13U USSSA team. He is about 4’10 and 125 lbs. He is skilled and has played for several years, so the transition is not a problem, but we are stuck on his next bat. He currently has a 2020 Demarini Voodoo -10, which he loves but practices with an axe wood 29/25 in the cage. He has had several bats, Axe Avenge, Cat 8, LS Prime 716, but says he prefers a balanced bat, not end loaded as he can control it better.

We have no real brand preference, but with him jumping to 13U, he cannot use his voodoo anymore. The new 2020 rules allow -8 for 13U, and with knowing he is still a bit smaller, I would like not to overload him with too much weight too quickly. Since this is likely a 1-year bat, I don’t want to kill my budget either and keep it under 300.00 ish. We are open to new or used models but don’t know where to go for the -8 move. Any help is appreciated.

~Charlie

Charlie,

We get questions with this sentiment often. That is, what’s an excellent one-year transition type bat. Many people find themselves right at the cusp of growth spurts and league changes. As such, they aren’t that interested in getting out a bank loan to have what many consider the latest and greatest.

We think this type of player, looking for a one-year transition type bat in USSSA, is perfect for the used market. There are several USSSA drop 8 bats in the balanced load arena worth checking out.

We jumped over to eBay while writing this and found a couple. By the time you (or whoever else) read this, they may be gone, but the idea is the same. We suggest not to be afraid to go for older bats. The USSSA standard has been around long enough such that bat companies have reached it for quite some time now. You’re not missing out by buying a 2016 instead of  2021.

On the first page of this eBay search, we would be willing to buy this Easton XL1 31/23 (since he has experience with the Axe) This Axe Avenge 31/23, this CF7, and this Easton Beast X. Our preference here would be the CF7 from that list. But, again, we are confident all of them perform within 1 or 2 mph of each other.

If eBay isn’t your cup of tea, then try SidelineSwap. If neither of those sounds interesting, you can try Facebook groups out there that sell used bats. (Facebook, in our experience, isn’t our favorite place. But, it works for some).

If you’re not interested in a used bat, then finding a drop 8 balanced for a deal is usually best done in October. However, this year with Corona, the entire market has been changed up. We expect you could find a new CAT 8 in a 31/23 for a pretty decent deal in the coming weeks or months.

 

~Bat Guy

Answered On: August 31, 2020


Marucci CAT 9 vs DSB Swag

Soon to be 9-year-old son will play 9U in USSSA. He will be going up in size from a Cat 8 27” to a 28”.Trying to decide on the new Cat 9 that’s soon to come out or a DSB SWAG. How do they compare? He likes the balanced feel of his Cat 8. 4’5 “ 70 lbs. …

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

Soon to be 9-year-old son will play 9U in USSSA. He will be going up in size from a Cat 8 27” to a 28”. Trying to decide on the new Cat 9 that’s soon to come out or a DSB SWAG. How do they compare? He likes the balanced feel of his Cat 8. 4’5 “ 70 lbs. Thank you.

~Alex

Alex,

The DSB Swag (our review) and CAT 9 (our review) will perform and swing similarly. It will come down to your preference for price and sound. Our experience, at ages under 10, the bat’s barrel matters almost not at all. Swing speed and pitch speeds just aren’t fast enough to engage the spring in the barrel. You can get the same trampoline effect on just about any USSSA bat at any age under 9U.

That said, at that age, confidence is the king of ball flight. Whatever bat makes him feel more like he’s got the best in his hands, then that’s the one we’d choose. In no small measure, that depends mostly on what he’s told by his coaches and parents when he has the bat. Both the CAT 9 and SWAG do a great job exuding confidence that transfers to players.

If we had to choose, based on what you’ve said above, if he likes his CAT 8 and you want a new bat, then don’t fix what ain’t broke. Go with the CAT 9 (or the CAT 9 Connect) and let him rip.

Thanks, and we hope that helps.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: August 29, 2020


Durable BBCOR Bats

I am looking for a good quality two-piece BBCOR bat for the fall season, but I don’t want to spend 400 dollars on a bat, then it breaks two days later. What bat do you suggest for me to get?

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

So I am looking for a good quality two-piece BBCOR bat for the fall season, but I don’t want to spend 400 dollars on a bat, then it breaks two days later. What bat do you suggest for me to get?

~ Wyatt

Wyatt,

Most BBCOR bats—of any type—are relatively durable. There are, of course, a few exceptions. If you want to avoid them, stay in the aluminum barrel game. In particular, if you want a two-piece bat, but something durable, go for a Hybrid bat.

Some common examples are DeMarini’s Voodooo/The Goods lines, Easton’s Hybrid Fuze, Sluggers Select PWR series, Marucci’s Cat 9 Connect, Axe’s Elite and so on.

Our favorite strategy for durable bats is to find a used on eBay. It sounds counter-intuitive at first, but bats that are used and still working mean they have potentially limitless durability.  Most bats that fail (break) do so within the first several hundred hits. If a bat has made it through a season and performed well, there’s almost no reason it won’t go through another two or three seasons either.

We hope that helps, and good luck this fall.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: August 29, 2020


Is the Marucci CAT 9 The Same as the Victus Vandal?

Hasn’t the new Marucci Cat 9 been out for a while? The description of the Victus Vandal and the Cat 9 are identical. So is the price. They’re owned by the same company. You see where I’m going with this. ~Justin

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

Hasn’t the new Marucci Cat 9 been out for a while?

The description of the Victus Vandal and the Cat 9 are identical. So is the price. They’re owned by the same company. You see where I’m going with this.

Justin,

There are enough similarities between the marquee bats of two sister companies to raise an eyebrow. Both CAT 9 and Vandal are single-piece alloy, use variable wall thickness, and have the same handle and grip feel. They both also swing light, are offered in BBCOR, and multiple drops within USSSA and sound very loud on Impact.

While they are very similar, the knob in the CAT 9 makes it unique. As well, the Vandal uses an extended composite end cap while the CAT 9 uses an alloy to the end.  We think the Vandal is more like the Solo from Slugger or Velo from Rawlings than it is the CAT 9.

But, to your point, both bats are very similar. We did a Victus Vandal vs. CAT 9 USSSA head to head that you might like too.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: August 29, 2020


Buying an (Good Deal) Oversized Bat for Future Use?

My 11-year-old son is on the smaller side and swings around a 29/19 bat (USA & USSSA). I’m more of a budget buyer and have found a good deal on a 2019 Rawlings Quatro Pro 32/22 (and other oversized bats) that he can’t swing yet. What is your opinio …

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

My 11-year-old son is on the smaller side and swings around a 29/19 bat (USA & USSSA). I’m more of a budget buyer and have found a good deal on a 2019 Rawlings Quatro Pro 32/22 (and other oversized bats) that he can’t swing yet. What is your opinion on buying them now to be used in a year or two? Thanks for your time.

~Danny

Danny,

In the realm of buying bats to have for some future date, you are asking the wrong folks! We buy bats we don’t even think we’ll ever need, let alone those we think we will. In particular, if we find a deal on a bat that we are sure should price out much higher than it is—or a price we are sure we can resale for later, we almost always buy. We have deleted the eBay app off our phone because its become, let’s say, a problem.

To your specific issue, it’s a great idea. If it doesn’t work out, you can usually sell that bat back for what you bought it for anyways.

Our only hesitation in buying bigger bats for the future is the fear we might be overpaying. Very few bats in the space have been unfindable—and those that are unfindable (assuming you bought one when they were) are worth selling because they aren’t worth what people are willing to give you.

In other words, if you want a 32/22 Quatro for use in 2 years from now, we’re pretty confident you’ll be able to find that 32/22 in 2 years from now too. And, if you can’t, there will most certainly be a 32/22 of something else.

Hope that helps and thanks for reaching out.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: August 29, 2020


Should I Swing Axe Elite or Elite One?

Bat Guy, I am looking to hit with power and be able to get the bat through the zone with a 33-inch bat. I play in a BBCOR league and I can’t decide between the Axe elite or elite one.

Dear Bat Guy,

Bat Guy,

I am looking to hit with power and be able to get the bat through the zone with a 33-inch bat. I play in a BBCOR league and I can’t decide between the Axe elite or elite one.

~Nathaniel

Nathaniel,

If you’re a power hitter, most would suggest you use the Elite One instead of the two-piece. Some argue, incorrectly, that stiffer bats transfer more power to the ball. However, that isn’t the case. We won’t bore you with too many details here (you can read this study to see why). We’d lean a bit towards the Elite One because it swings a tiny bit heavier—and its less expensive.

But, you don’t need to know how bats and balls interact to understand this: BBCOR bats all perform within 1 or 2 mph of each other. So, the decision between the Axe Elite and Axe Elite One isn’t one of performance; it is one of perception and preference. Concerning the Axe Elite and Elite One, both bats have the same barrel—so you can expect the same performance.

(See our bat vs. bat page and see how close most BBCOR bats perform relative to each other).

Do you like the feel of two-piece bats or one-piece bats? And, is the better feel on the two-piece bat worth the extra money?

Those are questions we can’t answer for you.

We will add, the Elite One is what a lot of big hitters like. So, if that’s you—knowing nothing else about your swing or budget—we’d push you towards the Elite One. But, no doubt, you’d be OK with either one. And, if you want to save a few bucks, why not go with an older model Elite One or Elite?

Good luck this year, and thanks for the question.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: August 29, 2020


Hands Hurt While Hitting? Here’s a Solution.

My boy is 9, will be 10 for the next rec season. He’s 4’9″ 70lbs now and currently uses a 28″ Rawlings 5150 from 2018. This summer though he’s really complaining about stinging in his hands on mishits. Looking to next season, he’s definitely going to n …

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

My boy is 9, will be 10 for the next rec season. He’s 4’9″ 70lbs now and currently uses a 28″ Rawlings 5150 from 2018. This summer though he’s really complaining about stinging in his hands on mishits.

Looking to next season, he’s definitely going to need something bigger and I want to build his confidence by getting something that doesn’t hurt his hands so bad. He’s tall for his age, but not the strongest and has a tendency to be late so I’m hesitant to go much bigger if he’s struggling to get it around fast enough.

~Michael

Michael,

Hand sting is a real common problem for this age group. It is why the vast majority of players in these age categories prefer two-piece composite bats. They do the best to keep sting out of the hands. (Even today, we were hit with older kids who were trying out wood bats. They hated the feel on their hands, and we heard more than a few expletives explaining how they felt about a particular bat).

So, the trick is to find some two-piece composite bats. In terms of feel, the highest-rated ‘feel’ bat for younger players is almost always DeMarini’s CF. That bat has lovers and haters (as you can see here on our review). But, if you want something that, on average at least, exudes the most confidence, we think DeMarini’s CF is usually worth the money.

That said, if you don’t want that one for any reason, we suggest any other two-piece composite. Bats like Slugger’s Prime, Rawlings Quatro, Eastons ADV 360 are all fantastic. If you want to be creative, buy an older Easton Beast or Axe Avenge to save a few bucks.

If you want to stick with a single piece bat, although it doesn’t solve the problem completely, a Pro Hitter (see our review here) to help with handsting.

Hope that helps and thanks for the question.

 

~Bat Guy

Answered On: August 29, 2020


Drop 8

I have an 11-year-old getting ready to start middle school. He will have to go to a drop 8 for middle school ball. He is definitely small for his age so I was wondering if you have any swing weight information for drop 8 bats. We definitely need someth …

Dear Bat Guy,

Dear Bat Guy,

I have an 11-year-old getting ready to start middle school. He will have to go to a drop 8 for middle school ball. He is definitely small for his age so I was wondering if you have any swing weight information for drop 8 bats. We definitely need something with a lighter swing.

~Morgan

Morgan,

The lightest swinging model, year in and year out, for its given drop is the Rawlings VELO. It’s also a pretty good performer, so that makes sits all the more recommendable. Especially for those looking for one of the lighter swings as possible. In fact, we’ve found the drop 5 VELO to swing as light as some of the very end loaded drop 8’s.

If you don’t like the VELO, for whatever reason, take a close look at the Victus Vandal in a drop 8. It swings a bit heavier than the VELO, but nothing like some other drop 8’s that really put the weight on.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: August 29, 2020


Best End Loaded Bats

Both my boys want end loaded bats for spring 2021. One is 11U using a -8 and the other us 16U using a BBCOR. Any advice? Chris, Good question and fun request. It’s a good time when hitters start to realize the types of bats they want and that the real …

Dear Bat Guy,

Both my boys want end loaded bats for spring 2021. One is 11U using a -8 and the other us 16U using a BBCOR.

Any advice?

~Chris

Chris,

Good question and fun request. It’s a good time when hitters start to realize the types of bats they want and that the real difference is in the loads.

The most natural and most obvious way to get an ‘end-load’ for an 11U is to size up. “End Load” is just a simple way of explaining a higher swing weight. And, if you want a higher swing weight, the easiest way is to get a longer or lower drop bat. So, if he was swinging a 31/23 in a drop 8, find a 32/24. If he’s already at the 32/24, there aren’t any options in a 33/25 (except for the T1 True Bats–which could work). So, he’d need to go to a drop 5. For the 16U, assuming he’s not yet swinging a 34/31, he has some room to move.

So, although it’s against conventional wisdom, the best-endloaded bat is actually just the “best bat” in a bigger size. And, as we sure you’ve seen, you can read our opinions on Best BBCOR and Best USSSA or Best USA Bats on those links.

If you want to read way more about this than is necessary, check this article on swing weights.

And we don’t mean to misunderstand or miss-answer your question. Some bats have different swing weights in the same lengths. Here’s a chart for USA and USSSA that you can reference in finding ‘end-loaded’ bats. But, again, if you want a bat that swings heavier, you can accomplish the same thing by sizing up an inch or going down a drop.

Here are our swing weight articles too:



 

~Bat Guy

Answered On: August 3, 2020


COVID Needs and Army of 9

My son is 12 1/2, plays rec and travel ball. He’s 145 pounds 5 foot five. He’s been swinging a Louisville slugger select 718 USA bat for rec for about a year. It’s a 32 in drop 5. We’ve had not as much luck with our USSSA bat. After reading reviews and …

Dear Bat Guy,

My son is 12 1/2, plays rec and travel ball. He’s 145 pounds 5 foot five. He’s been swinging a Louisville slugger select 718 USA bat for rec for about a year. It’s a 32 in drop 5. We’ve had not as much luck with our USSSA bat. After reading reviews and trying things out we bought a 2018 Easton ghost X. He wasn’t crazy about it and he felt it was too enloaded. He has been sharing his friends Army of the nine 31 drop 5 bat this season and loves it, but now with Covid we can’t share bats. So not sure what to get him. He wants the Demarini CF zen or the Louisville Prime – but never having swung them I am unsure.

~Stephanie

Stephanie,

Thanks for the question. The CF in USSSA is plenty of fun and by far the most popular/best-reviewed bat out there. However, it also breaks often and is never found cheap.

The Army of 9 bats is the COMBAT Maxum bat from years passed. Somehow, Dinger Bats got a hold of a huge amount of inventory and then repainted those bats into an Ao9 look. We tested one a few weeks back and it performs exactly the same.

If he likes that big barrelled composite Ao9 bat then we say stick with it. With COVID, and needing a new bat, you’ll likely be able to pick up one of those (like an older Combat Maxum) at a really good deal.  Here’s an Amazon Price for the Combat Maxum new in USSSA.

~Bat Guy

Answered On: August 3, 2020


Junior Big Barrel Bats

Sir, My son will be trying out for an 8U team next year in which they will play in both USA and USSSA tournaments. As of now, my son still swings a 26″ bat, which puts him in the JBB (coach pitch) bat realm. He currently swings a Marucci F5 USA (26/14. …

Dear Bat Guy,

My son will be trying out for an 8U team next year in which they will play in both USA and USSSA tournaments. As of now, my son still swings a 26″ bat, which puts him in the JBB (coach pitch) bat realm. He currently swings a Marucci F5 USA (26/14.5) with no issues. Do you have any suggestions/preferences on bats for JBB? I’ve looked through your “best bats”; however, I couldn’t find anything for the super young players moving into the USSSA side. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

~Paul

Paul,

Thanks for the email. We did a study recently showing the differences between bat usage on an entire team of 8u players. We found, maybe not surprising, that the bat matters almost none at all for those kids. Of most note, we actually couldn’t even generate any significant exit speed changes between JBB type bats in the USSSA or USA space.

That’s good news is in the sense that it might save you a few bucks, but bad news in the sense that we don’t have any specific advice other than it likely doesn’t matter in terms of brand/model.

We think the ONLY thing that matters is getting the right sized bat. For his age class, he’s likely getting into that 28/16 inch range. But, at that age, we’d suggest he find one he has the most ease swinging and go for it. Hope that helps.

Also, here’s a comparison card we did for an 8U player. We tried a handful of different options for about 9 different players and every result turned up something similar: almost no difference (as long as the bat sizing was about the same).

Best JBB Bat for Young Kids

~Bat Guy

Answered On: August 3, 2020


When to go from drop 10 to drop 8

We’re making the jump into travel ball this summer. So we’ll be investing in a USSSA bat most likely the CF. But the questions is drop 10 or 8. Do you have any thoughts on when/ to make the jump? Twins are 11, 4’10, and 85 pounds, swinging between 43-4 …

We’re making the jump into travel ball this summer. So we’ll be investing in a USSSA bat most likely the CF. But the questions is drop 10 or 8. Do you have any thoughts on when/ to make the jump?

Twins are 11, 4’10, and 85 pounds, swinging between 43-48mph.

~Todd

Todd,

Thanks for the question and one we don’t think we’ve addressed just yet. Of course, the scientists in us say give a drop 10 to one twin and a drop 8 to another, and then we can compare notes at the end of the season…

Based on our survey data of bat sizes, we found the average age to switch from the drop 10 to the drop 8 was between 11 and 12 in either USA or USSSA ball.

By that, we’d suggest that if they are 10 and under, then the drop 10 is likely the right bet. But, since they are 11, it might be a ‘doesn’t matter’ kind of decision. Our older boy didn’t switch to a drop 10 until he was 13. The other was there when he was 9. Both, however, played great in high school ball, and by the time they were 15, they were both swinging 32/29 or 33/30 just depending on the bat.

We hope that helps at least give you some confidence when pulling the trigger one way or the other.

Thanks for the question.
Brian

Answered On: June 22, 2020


16 Year Old Fastpitch National Team Bat Recommendations

Dear Bat Guy, She is 5’9, 150, and swings better than most men. 14 over the fence last year alone. Strong in the box! Xeno 2019, 2020, LXT 2019, or 2020. Kevin Kevin, Thanks for the question. Not knowing much other than the fact your daughter can drop …

Dear Bat Guy,

She is 5’9, 150, and swings better than most men. 14 over the fence last year alone. Strong in the box!

Xeno 2019, 2020, LXT 2019, or 2020.

Kevin

Kevin,

Thanks for the question. Not knowing much other than the fact your daughter can drop bombs, we lean towards the Xeno. It is built with a much stiffer connection than the LXT, and she’ll feel a big difference in the amount of power transferred to the ball. Most big hitters at the NCAA level, where she is headed, prefer the stiffer feel of a Xeno type bat. If you watch the NCAA series, you’ll see a ton of old Xeno’s at the plate.

Best Fastpitch Bat

The good news is that the Xeno is much less expensive than the LXT.

2020 vs. 2019 Xeno

Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Louisville Slugger hasn’t changed the Xeno for a few years now. Even a 2017 or 18 would do the trick if you can find one.

We did a quick search on Amazon and found 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. At the time of this writing, the 2018 and 2019 were the least expensive depending on what size you need.

 

Answered On: June 4, 2020


Marucci CAT 6 Replacement Options

Dear Bat Guy, My son’s first big barrel bat was the cat 5. 31/26. HS came along in 2015 and boom the CAT 6 was the best balanced light feeling bat ever. 1. Do you agree? New NCAA rule. No more cat6 WHITE. We just don’t want the red or black new ones. W …

Dear Bat Guy, My son’s first big barrel bat was the cat 5. 31/26. HS came along in 2015 and boom the CAT 6 was the best balanced light feeling bat ever.

1. Do you agree?

New NCAA rule. No more cat6 WHITE. We just don’t want the red or black new ones.
We are looking for a bat the swings exactly like the 2014/2016 Marucci Cat6. EXACTLY OR CLOSE ENOUGH.
What would that bat be 33/30

BTW. The wood we go Victus 271 (32.5/29.5)

Edward

Edward,

Fun question. Not sure we’ve ever answered one like this before.

  1. Do We Agree that Cat 6 is the best balanced light feeling bat ever?

In our minds, we think light and balanced mean different things. It goes light, balanced, and then end-loaded.

But, not to nitpick, the short answer is probably not. We do like the CAT 6, but we thought the CAT 7 was the better bat. We’re not sure the CAT 8 is any better than the CAT 7.

In terms of light to balanced swinging BBCOR bats, we think the Voodoo Balanced circa 2018/19 is probably our favorite all time.

That said, CAT 6 is a worthy and reasonable choice, and we wouldn’t disagree with someone who said they thought so.

In terms of a replacement due to the no white bat rule, we have a couple of things to note.

  1. In case others are reading, note that Edward said NCAA. The no white bat rule is an NCAA rule only. It only applies to college players, not High School players.
  2. I know you say you don’t want the red or black one, but the best bat that swings like the 14/16 Cat 6 is the Red Cat 6, which you can still buy from JustBats.com.

Marucci CAT 6 Review

It is, in fact, the same bat despite it saying GEN 2 on it. JustBats.com bought the rights to the Marucci CAT 6. They own it for the foreseeable future, and that red one is just a color-up of the original.

If you don’t want the CAT 6, then go with the CAT 7. If you don’t like either of those, check out a 2018 or 19 DeMarini Voodoo. That constantly ranks as one of our favorite BBCOR bats each year.

In any event, we hope that helps. Thanks for the question, and good luck!

Answered On: June 4, 2020


Best 27-inch USA Bat for 2020

Dear Bat Guy, My 10u son plays LL, so he has to use a USA bat. He is currently using a 2019 Rawlings Threat. He swings the bat very quickly. Two years ago, he used another Rawlings bat, which he was able to swing, but it was very end-loaded. He prefers …

Dear Bat Guy,

My 10u son plays LL, so he has to use a USA bat. He is currently using a 2019 Rawlings Threat. He swings the bat very quickly. Two years ago, he used another Rawlings bat, which he was able to swing, but it was very end-loaded. He prefers the balanced bats, but I noticed he swings the truly weighted 17oz very well. I know that most bats have an over and under ratio for the weight.

I am looking for a better performing balanced bat for a kid with gap power. He currently swings a 27inch 17oz (listed as 15oz).

~Franco

Franco,

Thanks for the question. We get a lot of questions here about bat weighting. Unfortunately, as we’ve explained elsewhere, total bat weight doesn’t mean much when it comes to how hard a bat is to swing. What matters is the distribution of the load along the length of the barrel.

Imagine, for example, a sledgehammer. If you hold it by the head, the handle is pretty comfortable to swing. If you hold it by the handle, then the head is pretty challenging to wield. The sledge doesn’t change weight but, instead, it changes its weight distribution.

So, a 15 ounce or 17 ounces or 23-ounce bat means relatively little when it comes to choosing the right bat for your son. Our dependence on total weight is what has caused your problem.

USA Bat Swing Weights

Swing Weights for 2020 USA Bat

If you are looking for a balanced 27-inch bat, we suggest anything below the Voodoo One in the chart above. However, not all those bats come in a 27-inch. But, lucky for you, the drop 11 ADV 360 does.

Unfortunately, that is also the most expensive bat up there. But, we think it the best USA bat in terms of performance and feel. If were our money and we were in your situation, we’d buy the 27/16 ADV 360 Drop 11 USA Bat from Easton here.

If you do not want to spend that much money, check out the Axe Avenge. This bat is a drop ten but swings ever so LIGHTER than the drop 11 ADV 360. Because, to the point above, the distribution of the weight in the bats are different.

If we could make one more suggestion, we think a 27-inch bat for a 10U is pretty small. The average 10U is swinging a 30/20. We don’t know the size or skill level of your son, but if you can get him up to a 29-inch bat, we’d recommend it (in the same models).

In any event, good luck this year and glad to see we can get back to playing baseball.

Answered On: June 4, 2020


BBCOR

Dear Bat Guy, I’m 17 years old 5’9″ 155 lbs I have been debating to get a 32″ or 33″ bat but I don’t know what bbcor bat to get, I like 2 piece or 3 piece bats I just don’t know what would fit for me that is more contact hitter but still a little bit o …

Dear Bat Guy,

I’m 17 years old 5’9″ 155 lbs I have been debating to get a 32″ or 33″ bat but I don’t know what bbcor bat to get, I like 2 piece or 3 piece bats I just don’t know what would fit for me that is more contact hitter but still a little bit of power hitter but with speed.

Destry

Destry,

Most players in your position like a 33-inch bat. But, you likely can’t go wrong with a 32-inch either. When in doubt, we’d go with a lighter swinging longer bat. That includes some two-piece composites like the ADV or META.

Most categorize bats as either a single piece or two-piece. Some bats, for marketing purposes, have said their bats are three or even four-piece bats. But, those are just fancy names. We generally don’t count the end cap or any mechanism inside the bat either.

BBCOR bat for 17 year old

So, in terms of a contact hitter’s bat in the two-piece realm, we’d stick, still, with the ADV or Meta.

Thanks and good luck!

Bat Guy

 

 

Answered On: May 7, 2020


Light, Balanced, Cheap BBCOR Bat for 13 Year Old

Dear Bat Guy,I’m 12 years old, almost turning 13 and 5,2 in height. I’m just getting into middle school baseball. My school team requires a -3 bat, which is mainly BBCOR. But all the bats are really expensive. Which bats do you recommend? I don’t know …

Dear Bat Guy,I’m 12 years old, almost turning 13 and 5,2 in height. I’m just getting into middle school baseball. My school team requires a -3 bat, which is mainly BBCOR. But all the bats are really expensive. Which bats do you recommend? I don’t know if a 29-inch, 30, or even a 31-inch is good? I like balanced bats and lighter bats so what BBCOR bats do you suggest for me that are light or balanced and cheap? What size should I get it in?

Chase

Chase,

Fun times ahead for you. A 13-year-old in a BBCOR bat is always a tough one. That jump to a 27-ounce bat or so is a real one.

You have two options.

  1. You can go with a very short BBCOR bat. A few brands make a 29-inch BBCOR bat, including Slugger’s Solo and Easont’s Speed Series.
  2. You can just buck up and get a 31-inch.

Crazy enough, if you survey all the 13-year-olds who play BBCOR bats (which we did), you’ll find the most popular bat size is a 31/28. Although it feels heavy at first for most of them, it ends up working out pretty well as their strength and timing get better.

So, we’d suggest you go with a 31/28—despite it feeling heavy—in an inexpensive but good BBCOR bat like the Omaha series. Or, if you’re feeling crazy, try to find an older two-piece composite BBCOR bat on Sideline Swap or eBay.

In terms of light and balanced (which sort of mean the same thing to us) we’d go for a two piece composite. Consider a bat line like the CF, Quatro, 919 or ADV/Ghost series.

One quick search as we wrote this out was a 2018 CF Zen for the mid $100s.

Otherwise, look at our older best BBCOR bat options and see if you can’t find one on a used market site.

Answered On: May 7, 2020


Where to go up from a 27/17 Omaha?

Dear Bat Guy,My 7-year-old son plays in PONY, so USA bat standard. He swings the Slugger Omaha 27/17 really well. Drives the ball to center field for doubles more times than not. The heavy swing weight probably helps him with that. Where do we go from …

Dear Bat Guy,My 7-year-old son plays in PONY, so USA bat standard. He swings the Slugger Omaha 27/17 really well. Drives the ball to center field for doubles more times than not. The heavy swing weight probably helps him with that.

Where do we go from there? Omaha in 28 or do you recommend a “better bat” with the same swing weight?

I don’t mind spending a little more for a bat, I just don’t want to “mess with his swing” if it ain’t broke.

Steve

Steve,

We agree with the if it ain’t broke don’t fix it mentality. So much so that we even suggest he stick with the 27/17. On our bat size chart, most 7 and 8-year-olds are plenty happy with a bat that weighs 17 ounces.

At some point, pitch speeds increase enough that a single piece bat will not be what he wants (or needs). That usually happens around the 9/10-year-old mark depending on his competition. Until then, we say save your money (because you’re going to need it to buy that two-piece composite when he’s 10) and have fun with the Omaha in a 27/17 while you still can.

Answered On: May 7, 2020


Drop 5 USA vs BBCOR Bat

Dear Bat Guy, Love your page. Question. My son is a 12-year-old and playing up in the 13-14 division. He is swinging a 31/23 but uses a 31/28 for wood in the cage. Should I get him a 31/26 USA bat or a Solo Bbcor (light swinging) as his next bat? Would …

Dear Bat Guy, Love your page. Question. My son is a 12-year-old and playing up in the 13-14 division. He is swinging a 31/23 but uses a 31/28 for wood in the cage. Should I get him a 31/26 USA bat or a Solo Bbcor (light swinging) as his next bat? Would the lightest swinging BBCOR be better than a -5 USA bat?

John

John,

In theory, the trampoline effect on a USA Bat is a bit greater than BBCOR. But, it’s so marginal that it won’t make much of a difference.

Bat speed is what matters in your case. You’ll need to find the bat he can control the best while still reaching max swing speed.

In other words, very hard to answer your question without seeing him swing. Our guess would be a bigger and longer drop 5 USA bat is the better choice. But, again, it will just depend on which one he can swing faster. In terms of the best USA drop five bats we’ll direct you to that page.

If you do go the BBCOR route, make sure to check out our Best BBCOR Bats recommendations page.

I hope that helps!

Bat Guy

Answered On: May 7, 2020


2020 33 Meta Prime Replacement

Dear Bat Guy, I received our refund from Wilson and looking at getting a replacement for the banned Meta Prime. We are limited to Wilson products. My son has swung the Demarini Voodoo and prefers something balanced. I’m just not sure that’s the right o …

Dear Bat Guy,

I received our refund from Wilson and looking at getting a replacement for the banned Meta Prime. We are limited to Wilson products. My son has swung the Demarini Voodoo and prefers something balanced. I’m just not sure that’s the right one for him. We have $550 to spend and want to get the best Wilson bat we can find.

Thoughts?

Thanks for the note, and that’s a great question.

(See our review on the 2021 Meta for release dates).

Considering all that is going on in the world, we suggest you hold on to that voucher and go for the 2021 Meta. Slugger plans to release that in July-ish. So, if it were us, we’d hold off on buying anything just yet and then take a serious look at 2021 Meta. We’ll be sure to test it right when it comes out.

Worst case scenario, you hold on to the voucher and end up getting a Goods or Prime for 2021 and then maybe a good deposit towards an A2000. We think The Goods is reasonable to upgrade from the Voodoo (although we love the Voodoo too).

But, we’re hopeful 2021 is worth our money once again (and a 33-inch to boot).

Good look and stay safe!
Bat Guy

Answered On: April 2, 2020


USA Bat for 6 and 8 year old.

Dear Bat Guy, Thanks in advance for your help! I have two boys, 8 and 6 playing little league ball, so need USA bats. last year struggled to find good bat so ended up swinging the Quatro tee ball bat from 2018. awesome pop, but destroyed after season. …

Dear Bat Guy,

Thanks in advance for your help! I have two boys, 8 and 6 playing little league ball, so need USA bats. last year struggled to find good bat so ended up swinging the Quatro tee ball bat from 2018. awesome pop, but destroyed after season. The bat was 27/15. the 8-year-old is avg size and the 6-year-old is above avg. both great little players. in your bat size chart looks like you push towards a drop 12 but most of the top-ranked bats are drop 11. If you have to pick a bat for each what direction would you point me? last question…what am I getting bt to say the Easton ADV and the solo? I’m not sure I can pay 349 for a bat for this age. Thanks again for the help!

~Tanner

Tanner,

We also think $349 for an 8-year old’s bat is over the top. We wouldn’t worry about chasing the ‘best USA bats‘ bats until 10U. We’d even push that to 9u if you played a lot of games. For the eight and 6-year-old range in the USA space, assuming your down for spending a bit, we’d look closely at the Rawlings Threat. That’s a drop 12 that swings ultralight.

Best 8u USA Bat

We took our 8u in the cage to test a few of those bats, and he ended up choosing the Rawlings Threat only because it felt lighter. In terms of exit speeds, they were identical. But, again, very few 8-year-olds are going to have the bat speed capable of making it even matter.

If you’re not down with the Rawlings, then the drop 13 Speed Comp from Easton will do you beautiful too.

If we had to choose for you, we’d go with the 28/16 in the Threat for your 8u. The 27/14 in the speed comp might feel too big for your 6-year-old, so we say stay with a tee-ball bat in the 25/15 or so range—and bat performance differences at that age and swing speed are non-existent. (We didn’t collect a lot of data on our bat size chart for 6-year-olds, but here’s our best bet on what should work for him).

We aren’t sure what you mean by “…what am I getting bt to say the Easton ADV and the solo?​” But, either way, our recommendations above stand. At 8 and 6 years old, it is tough to go wrong unless you buy a bat that is too heavy.

Answered On: February 11, 2020


13 Year Old BBCOR Bat Size: First BBCOR Bat

Dear Bat Guy, I’m looking for a good first BBCOR for a 5’ 10’ 155 lb 8th grader. Because of cold weather in Ohio, He has swung mainly hybrids in the past and a few one-piece aluminum. He swung a 31/26 USA last year. He tends not to like the one-pieces …

Dear Bat Guy,

I’m looking for a good first BBCOR for a 5’ 10’ 155 lb 8th grader. Because of cold weather in Ohio, He has swung mainly hybrids in the past and a few one-piece aluminum. He swung a 31/26 USA last year. He tends not to like the one-pieces because of vibration. The bat guide says to get him a 32 inch in BBCOR, but I didn’t know if it would be too heavy? Any suggestions for what bat to buy and the length? Thanks for your time.

Melissa

Melissa,

In short, yes. We think the 32/29 will be the right size bat for most 13-year-old BBCOR players—even though it is a considerable jump from last year. Note, we suggest you focus on a lighter swing weight bat—but keep it in the 32-inch range. (You can see the full write up on swing weights at our best BBCOR bats page for 2020.) If you want a specific recommendation, then we say check out the Quatro Pro or DeMarini CF in a 32/29 for a type of swing weight he can handle.

BBCOR Bat for 13 Year Old

That said, going with a 31/28 would be fine too.

Read on for more details about why.

Although we won’t draw a hard line, we think any bat as light as the Voodoo One and less will feel right at home for most first time 13-year-old BBCOR bat players. Of the five we see in that list below, assuming he doesn’t like the feel of a one-piece, we’d suggest the Quatro Pro or CF.

Hybrid BBCORs for 13-Year-Olds

For whatever reason, most hybrid BBCOR bats have a higher swing weight. Bats like the Select and The Goods are hybrids but will swing heavier than what your boy probably appreciates.

If you are out searching for this question, you’ve likely run across every suggestion on the planet. On our bat size chart, we show this line from the bat size charts we found on the internet for 13-year-old BBCOR players.

AgeHeight (in)FeetInWeightBat DigestBat Size Chart.comJust BatsMarucciDicks Sporting GoodsAnthem & Co.Arizona University
*13615112532/2930/2728 – 30″32-Inch32-Inch27-Ounce

In other words, the range of suggestions is from a 28″ to a 33″. Marucci’s 28″ makes no sense at all as there are no BBCOR bats made in a 28″.

Still, though, 29 though 32 is plenty big.

Our 32/29 data comes from the survey we did of 13-year-old BBCOR players. We found that the 32/29 was the most common size, and those players indicated it was the right size bat for them. (That is what the green circle, instead of the yellow or red, means). Every 13 year old though their BBCOR bat was the right weight except for those who went extra small in a 29/16.

Bat sizing is a tough one and the jump to BBCOR is hard. We’ve coached a few through the process and found, although it takes a bit of getting used to, the light swinging 32/29 BBCOR bat for an averaged size 13-year-old will do the trick. If you’re still not convinced, then go with a 31/28.

Good luck!
Bat Guy

Answered On: February 11, 2020


USSSA CF vs. Quatro Pro

Dear Bat Guy, Looking to buy one bat only, broke it down between usssa cf (black and gold) and the Rawlings Quatro Pro (cherry bomb) recommend one to me please so I can stop trying to find videos of them against each other. Joey Joey, Ha. We feel your …

Dear Bat Guy,

Looking to buy one bat only, broke it down between usssa cf (black and gold) and the Rawlings Quatro Pro (cherry bomb) recommend one to me please so I can stop trying to find videos of them against each other.

Joey

Joey,

Ha. We feel your pain. The research is never-ending.

Let us put you out of your misery: Buy the CF with a warranty and never look back. We think that bat outperforms all the rest by a measurable margin.

CF vs Quatro Pro USSSA

Amazon Price

The CF has the perfect blend of feel and power. We’ve yet to speak to any player that has a CF who thinks it is anything but remarkable.

2020 DeMarini CF Review

2020 Rawlings Quatro Pro Review

Does the CF Break?

Yes. Yes. It can break. But, we feel confident, the Black and Gold version you are considering breaks no more than any other high-end USSSA bat—including the Quatro.

It doesn’t help its reputation of breaking that the CF is the most popular USSSA bat by a considerable margin. Therefore it does have the most incidence of breaking. We don’t have the exact numbers but would guess there are ten times more CFs on the market than Quatros in the USSSA market. So, it follows, it likely has ten times more people complaining about it breaking.

Is the Quatro in USSSA Bad?

Amazon Price

The Quatro is not a terrible bat by any means. We like it in BBCOR and think the USA version is a real contender. But, in USSSA, we believe it is beatable. We believe the CAT 8, CF, and Prime are better in terms of overall performance and value. But, if Rawlings is your choice and someone is enamored with the idea of the cherry bomb than fair enough.

(On a complete side note and as a bit of a rant, we think the Cherry Bomb name is lame. We liked the Glow Stick. But Cherry Bomb? Meh.)

To be real to the point, we can’t think of a time we would recommend the Quatro Pro in USSSA over the CF. So, stop watching videos and get to it. 🙂

(Recommending bats always seems so easy when it’s not our money.)

Good luck!
Bat Gut

Answered On: February 4, 2020


USA Baseball Bat Weight Help

Dear Bat Guy, My son, age 9, is currently swinging the 2019 Slugger Prime -10 (*28/18). He is roughly 50″ tall and only weighs 52 lbs. At times, the bat seems too heavy for him, so would you recommend a drop 11 bat in 28″. I was looking at the Easton A …

Dear Bat Guy,

My son, age 9, is currently swinging the 2019 Slugger Prime -10 (*28/18). He is roughly 50″ tall and only weighs 52 lbs. At times, the bat seems too heavy for him, so would you recommend a drop 11 bat in 28″. I was looking at the Easton ADV 360 drop 11 USA, which has glowing reviews but want to make sure it is going to swing lighter than the Prime.

Aaron

Aaron,

The ADV Drop 11 360 does swing lighter, but not by much when compared to the Prime. He might be able to tell the difference, but it will be, if anything, slight. That said, as he’s growing this year, the drop 11 ADV in a 28/17 might sense as, if anything, it won’t be any more substantial.  We also think it will outperform the Prime.

Best USA Bat 2020

Thanks for the question, we get it a lot. Here are the swing weights for the USA Bats for 2020.

Swing Weights for 2020 USA Bat

As you can see, the Drop 11 USA ADV 360 from Easton swings as massive as several other drop ten bats.

Drops are Almost Pointless

We’ve measured swing weights for some time and found the drops on bats to be, at best, suggestions. Many drop 10’s swing like drop 8’s, and any given drop-ten-bat could be a good 10 to 15% heavier or lighter than another drop 10.

Drop weights—although an industry standard to categorize bats–feel pointless. Even still, bat companies continue to publish drops, and certification bodies continue to require bats fit in a particular category.

Caveat: USA Bat Swing Weight Translations

We have access to and measured the swing weights of the 31-inch USA Bats. In theory, those relationships translate to the 28-inch version as well. That is, we expect the 28/18 Prime to swing a tiny bit heavier than the 28/17 ADV 360.

However, we should note, companies are not required to follow a specific progression in swing weight as they change their bat’s length. In other words, we can’t know for sure that the 28/18 Prime swings a bit heavier than the 28/17 without actually getting the bat and measuring it.

As you might imagine, doing every bat is quite cost-prohibitive for us. Still, we are confident the 31-inch USA bat swing weights above are good indicators of how the 28’s swing too.

 

Answered On: February 4, 2020


How To Break Your Bat

Dear Bat Guy, I have a 14-year-old daughter that has been swinging the Louisville Xeno 2019. She broke a wall in it right at a year old! We were disappointed, and her JH coach told her to get a 33-inch bat by high school. We are looking for a bat that …

Dear Bat Guy,

I have a 14-year-old daughter that has been swinging the Louisville Xeno 2019. She broke a wall in it right at a year old! We were disappointed, and her JH coach told her to get a 33-inch bat by high school. We are looking for a bat that will last longer than a year when we spend that type of money, and that will help her perform well. She is an average player, she pitches and usually hit 7th in the line-up.

Amanda

Amanda,

First, the bad news.

2020 Xeno Fastpitch Bat Review

Durability and high performing bats feel like opposites somedays. The science behind a composite bat bending to create maximum exit speed in a softball while simultaneously keeping its integrity is a difficult one to master. Frankly, and unfortunately, no one has. The bat models that last forever don’t tend to perform well, and those that perform great seem to break.

In other words, we only have bad news, finding a high performing bat like the Xeno, LXT, Prims, RXT, and CF that is always ‘durable’ isn’t possible.

Now for the good news.

Still, though, as consumers, we should have some expectation of a reasonably durable bat. The Xeno is one of those high performing bats that are often very durable—getting good durability marks across most review sites (including this one). But, still, it has a few duds that don’t last as long as they should. It sounds like, by the pure luck of the draw, you got dealt a bad hand. Although this doesn’t put money back in your pocket, the Xeno was as good a bet as you could have made in the fastpitch two-piece composite space.

Fastpitch Swing Weights

That said, we do have some advice for the next one you buy:

Louisville Slugger Bats

1. If she liked the Xeno before it broke, we’d look for a 2018 or 2017 Xeno on the used market. I know, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. But, most composite bats that do break do so early in their life span. That is, one that lasts 18 months also lasts a very long time. If you can find a 2017 Xeno at a significant discount (like here or here), then go for it. We know it doesn’t sound intuitive, but a 2017 that has lasted that long will last a very long time.

2. It’s possible your Xeno would have broken before a year if it were worked in earlier. We aren’t sure from your question, but we’d venture a bet that she likely took excellent care of the bat. Using it only in games, using a different bat during practice, and not using it when she took tee work. But, almost counterintuitively, you want to hit composite bats a lot. Because, as you’ve found out the hard way, some composite bats break. (Not model specific, just the general curse of composite fastpitch bats). The earlier you can get to and passed that point where defunct composite bats break then the better.

3. If you want a high-end bat at a discount that comes with a year-long warranty, then we would look to the older models. Closeoutbats seems to do the best in this regard. The D-Lab CF XD at under $200 (at the time of this writing) is a legit deal.

Best Cold Weather Bats

4. If you want a genuinely durable bat, then go with an aluminum barrel. The best aluminum barrel bat in the fastpitch space is the Anderson Rockettech.

Sorry about your bad luck with the Xeno. That’s super lame after committing so much into a bat. But, if the odds are on your side, the next one you get will be a rock star for a couple of seasons.

Answered On: January 28, 2020


Bat Fitting

Dear Bat Guy, I am a professional coach and looking to bat fitting with some players. How can I go about this and what does the MOI have to do with it? Scott Scott, MOI stands the mass moment of inertia. In baseball and softball bats, Mass moment of in …

Dear Bat Guy,

I am a professional coach and looking to bat fitting with some players. How can I go about this and what does the MOI have to do with it?

Scott

Scott,

MOI stands the mass moment of inertia. In baseball and softball bats, Mass moment of inertia is the force required to swing a bat. It’s known more often by its name swing weight. The heavier the swing weight, the more ‘end-loaded’ it feels, and the higher the MOI.

We have an entire article on the ideas of MOI, swing weight and scale weight. Based on your question, you will likely find it helpful.

Scale Weight vs Swing Weight

In terms of bat sizing, we think our bat size chart would answer most of your questions for bat sizes by age.

How can you use MOI to help fit bats to players? We aren’t hitting coaches, so not sure we can answer that entirely. But, it seems natural that you can use the MOI of one bat to see where it falls compared to others. If a hitting coach thinks a lighter or heavier bat might be useful then they could recommend based on the rankings of that list?

At least that is one idea.
Thanks,
Brian

Answered On: January 28, 2020


2018 Demarini CF Zen vs. 2017 CF Zen

Dear Bat Guy, I have a 2017 DeMarini cf zen 2 5/8″ (green&white). I was looking at purchasing a used 2 3/4′” 2018 model. A good friend of mine, his son plays on my son’s travel team, has the blue & white 2017 Zen retooled version. He said, save …

Dear Bat Guy,

I have a 2017 DeMarini cf zen 2 5/8″ (green&white). I was looking at purchasing a used 2 3/4′” 2018 model. A good friend of mine, his son plays on my son’s travel team, has the blue & white 2017 Zen retooled version. He said, save your money. Your son is welcome to use the bat anytime during the season. My question is, is the 2018 Demarini just a repainted version of the 2017 retooled Zens? Are there any differences between the two?

Thanks in advance!
Shannon

Shannon,

Good question, we get it a lot.

We wrote an article about it here.

We also made a video about the differences.

The short answer is yes. The retooled 2017 (blue and white with the orange end cap) is the same as the red and white 2018 Zen. As you might imagine, companies don’t make it clear if the bat is the same as last year. But, the inner ring is still inside the barrels on the drop 10s.

Best Baseball Bat

That said, we do think the drop 5 version is different than the 2017 version, but that’s just our guess. The 2017 Drop 5 Zen is a monster. But, we think you’re talking about drop 10 as that is the 2 3/4″.

In short, no differences between the two.

Good luck!
Bat Guy

Answered On: January 28, 2020


Best USA bat for 12 Year Old Power Hitter

Dear Bat Guy, My son is 12. 5’10” at 165 lbs. He’s playing some 14u Dixie youth league this spring. Has never hit a USA BAT. He has always hit one piece USSSA metal bats but has never had a two-piece bat. I’m looking for the best -8 USA bat for a power …

Dear Bat Guy,

My son is 12. 5’10” at 165 lbs. He’s playing some 14u Dixie youth league this spring. Has never hit a USA BAT. He has always hit one piece USSSA metal bats but has never had a two-piece bat. I’m looking for the best -8 USA bat for a power hitter. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Joe

Joe,

We think the best bat for a power hitter in the USA space is, wait for it, the Axe Element.

Best USA Bat for Power Hitter

That is, when we consider the overall value of the purchase, user reviews, our experience, and player feedback, we think the 2018 Element drop 8 USA is the best bat for a power-hitting (drop 8) USA hitter. Throw in your son’s love for aluminum barrelled one-piece bats and the Axe Element is likely a great fit.

At the time of this writing, Closeoutbats and Amazon had the best price.

Now, for the record, we think a bigger 13-year-old might appreciate a drop 5 bat. In that case, look at something like the Louisville Slugger Select or, even, the Axe Elite (the two-piece version of the Element). But, if your son likes a single piece and/or aluminum barrel and wants as much power out of the bat he can generate—we think he will be surprised by the Axe Element—a bat most fail to consider.

We continue a bit of this discussion in our best USA Bat conversations.

If the dollar amount is not a concern, and you want a 2020 bat, then we’d likely purchase the ADV 360 from Easton in a drop 8. You won’t find a lot of difference in the composite barrels via USA bats as you do in the USSSA space. But, they tend to a bigger barrel and better feel when compared to the aluminum bats in the market.

In any event, we think the drop 8 Element from Axe is a bomb maker. It gets excellent reviews, has a lovely price point. In terms of straight ball flight, it really can’t be beaten in the drop 8 space. But, if you want something that feels better on contact, has a bigger barrel and feels fresher than we think the ADV 360 for 2020 (or the Slugger Select from 2019) would be the ticket.

I hope that helps and good luck this year!

Bat Guy

Answered On: January 24, 2020


12 Year Old BBCOR Bat Size Recommendations

Dear Bat Guy Hi. My son is currently 12 and will be moving up to modified as such this spring. He’s 5’4″, tall and lanky for his age, and is accustomed to swinging a lighter bat. I need to get him a BBCOR. Should I stay with a smaller bat (31 inch) lik …

Dear Bat Guy

Hi. My son is currently 12 and will be moving up to modified as such this spring. He’s 5’4″, tall and lanky for his age, and is accustomed to swinging a lighter bat. I need to get him a BBCOR. Should I stay with a smaller bat (31 inch) like last year or go for the (32 inch) as his coach is recommending due to his height? I want him to be able to get around on the ball.

Tina

Tina,

It’s hard to disagree with the coach. We’ll let you manage that dynamic. But, as your gut is telling you, the idea that taller kids should use a longer bat is a common misconception.

Consider this: we measured the bat size and the related happiness of around 2,000 players. Of those 2,000, more than 200 of them were 12-year-olds. Somewhat surprisingly, taller kids, relative to their age, are happier with shorter bats.

That might seem counterintuitive at first blush. But, the more we’ve thought about it, the player’s long arms don’t mean they also need a long bat but, instead, they can be just as happy with a shorter bat. Tall kids with a short bat can get as much plate coverage as a short kid with a long bat.

At least that is our working theory.

All we have is the data that shows tall 12-year-olds are happier with shorter bats.

12 Year Old Bat Size Chart

The most common size that 12-year-old players are happy with is a 31/21 or 31/20. You might also notice from the chart that skill, strength, weight, and height don’t correlate well with the right size bat. The best indicator for the right size bat is the age.

Bat Size for 12-Year-Old BBCOR

It’s too bad that whatever league you are playing in requires a 12-year-olds to swing BBCOR bats. We’ll agree with your understanding of the rules for this answer, but we do suggest you make sure the league doesn’t also allow a USA Bat.

A 31-inch and 28-ounce bat for a lanky 12-year-old is going to feel like a lead balloon. If BBCOR is the box you are forced into we’d suggest you even consider a 30 or a 29-inch BBCOR. There are a few bats that come in a 29-inch BBCOR including the Solo, Omaha and Easton Alpha.

In the event you mistyped the BBCOR, or find out your son can swing a USA or a USSSA bat, then we suggest you disregard the idea that height should determine bat length and go with a 31-inch in either a 20, 21 or 23 ounce depending on his skill level.

I hope that helps and good luck this year!

Happy Hitting
Bat Guy

Answered On: January 14, 2020


Best BBCOR Bat for Less than $250

Dear Bat Guy, Hi, I am a 5’8 120 freshman playing high school ball this year. I played travel last year using other kids’ BBCOR bats. Now that I am in high school, I want to have my own, but I don’t want to spend more than $250. What BBCOR bat should I …

Dear Bat Guy,

Hi, I am a 5’8 120 freshman playing high school ball this year. I played travel last year using other kids’ BBCOR bats. Now that I am in high school, I want to have my own, but I don’t want to spend more than $250. What BBCOR bat should I get? Thanks for your time.

Lane

Lane,

You’re asking a lot of peoples questions.

What’s the best BBCOR bat under $250?

We have a much longer answer talking about our favorite BBCOR bats. We don’t answer your exact question but we do think the best value bat for 2020 is the the Omaha from Slugger.

If you need a 2020 BBCOR bat brand new with no discounts and can only spend $250, then DeMarini’s The Goods or Slugger’s Omaha are the answer. Other comparable bats are like the 5150, but we’d steer clear of that one as we’ve never had any success with that guy.

2020 DeMarini The Goods Review

Both the Omaha and The Goods swing great, have big barrels, and hit the ball a country mile. In the NCAA world series, a ton of guys loved these bats, so you are in good company.

If you’re okay with older bats or ones that are no longer at full retail pricing, then, at the time of this writing, we would buy the CAT 7 from Marucci. The great news is you’d save $50 on your $250 budget to put towards some new cleats or a glove.

Marucci CAT 7 Limited

Or, if you wanted to be exciting, then check out the B2 Combat from JustBats (which is just a reprinted Maxum from 2019).

 

Combat B2 Image Long Review

We don’t go into much reasoning above. Of course, it always depends on what type of bat you like to swing. But, with armed with a $250 budget we think any of the above BBCOR bats will do you just fine. We’d bet others on your team would start borrowing from you.

Happy Hitting!
Bat Guy

 

Answered On: January 14, 2020


T1 True Diamdond Bat Reviews

Dear Bat Guy,My son is 12. 95 pounds, 5-feet tall and an average USSSA player. He is currently using a posey 28. He doesn’t like the vibration. He has used a composite in the past. We live in the midwest. Can be cold In those early spring tournaments. …

Dear Bat Guy,My son is 12. 95 pounds, 5-feet tall and an average USSSA player.

He is currently using a posey 28. He doesn’t like the vibration. He has used a composite in the past. We live in the midwest. Can be cold In those early spring tournaments. Wanting a -8, 31′ bat. Thinking of the CF Zen. Hear a lot about the bat breaking. Same with the Easton Ghost. I like the TRUE T1 bat. But nervous about that one. The only opinion I can find is your youtube posts. What advice can you give? Not a lot of bat demos around here this winter.

Brandon

Brandon,

Thanks for the question. True Bats has come on strong in the last few months. As a bit of an inside scoop, they are run by a few guys that spent a lot of time with Easton so they know the market well. We fully expect them to be a serious player in the coming months and years. They’ve already made good inroads at major vendors too.

We’re glad you found our YouTube video at least a little bit helpful.

To answer your specific concern, we don’t think comparing the CF and Ghost to the True 1 is fair—especially if your concern is durability. So few have used the True bats over the last few months that understanding their durability is impossible.

For what its worth, we think the commentary on the CF and Ghost breaking is overdone. We don’t think those bats break any more than others. But, considering they are the most popular by far it is much easier to find people complaining online that they did break. As well, if you buy it from legit vendors then you can get a receipt and a warranty easy enough.

In other words, if you’re in the market for the best USSSA bat for a 5-foot tall 12-year old then the answer is the CF Zen in a 32 drop 10 or 31 drop 8. Our preference for that age would be the drop 8 as heavier swinging bats are coming soon as they reach BBCOR age here shortly.

That said, we do think the True bats are worth a try. The reasons might be you don’t like how the CF Feels, don’t want to spend the money required to buy a CF, want to try something different and/or really like the 1/2 inch sizes of the True T1 and T2 designs. The durability of the CF, on the other hand, is not a good reason—at least as far as we see it.

We hope that helps. Good luck!
Bat Guy

Answered On: January 14, 2020


919 Prime vs. 2019 Quatro Pro

Dear Bat Guy, Hello, so I am in the market for a new bat, and I have narrowed it down to the 919 Prime and the 2019 Quatro pro and am honestly looking for just an honest opinion from someone who has used both bats and has seen the results of both bats. …

Dear Bat Guy,

Hello, so I am in the market for a new bat, and I have narrowed it down to the 919 Prime and the 2019 Quatro pro and am honestly looking for just an honest opinion from someone who has used both bats and has seen the results of both bats. Right now, I am more leaning toward buying the Quatro, but I am worried about the durability of it. I don’t have a lot of money to be breaking a $300 bat and then having to buy another one. So please let me know your honest opinion on this to help me make the best decision.

Kevin

Kevin,

In short, we don’t think either bat is the ‘best’ choice. Both do a decent job on hand sting, have a big barrel, and have received good player reviews.

As you point out, we have hit with both bats extensively and think the 2019 Quatro a better bat. Is the Prime a terrible choice? Of course not. But, if you want performance and barrel size, then we’d vote for the 2019 Quatro.

Here’s the Amazon price on the 919 BBCOR Prime.

Does Quatro Pro from 2019 in BBCOR have durability issues?

We don’t have access to the return/break rates. But, based on online reviews, it seems like the Quatro has a few more durability issues than other bats. That said, our 2019 Quatro has lasted well over a year and had, without exaggeration, 2500 hits. It just recently broke but was well worth it.

More importantly, buy it from a verified outlet (Amazon), and you’ll get a one year warranty even if the 2020 is released. As long as the Quatro Pro is new in the wrapper from a certified vendor, make sure you get a receipt. Here are Rawlings’ warranty policies if you have specific questions. Keep your receipt, and you’ll be fine.

2018 Rawlings Quatro Review

In the end, do we think you’ll be okay with either bat? Sure, but if you want the one with better performance, than we’d jump on the Quatro Pro from 2019. Better yet, go for the 2018 version, which is a rocket launcher. Here is a certified vendor that will get you a legitimate receipt.

We’d feel confident in the 2019 Quatro Pro as the ‘better’ choice. But, as we said above, both bats are reasonable, and you can expect to be happy with either.

Answered On: January 8, 2020


Son still using the 2018 Easton Beast X Hybrid

Dear Bat Guy, My 9-year-old son still loves the 2018 Beast X Hybrid and hits well with it. Right now, he is swinging a 28, and I still have a 29-inch brand new I got cheap a few months ago. He doesn’t like swinging a one-piece bat after using a two-pie …

Dear Bat Guy,

My 9-year-old son still loves the 2018 Beast X Hybrid and hits well with it. Right now, he is swinging a 28, and I still have a 29-inch brand new I got cheap a few months ago. He doesn’t like swinging a one-piece bat after using a two-piece and doesn’t like the feel of the composite bats so far. Are there any better 2020 two-piece bats I might want to look at this year for him? He is a big kid for just turning nine and likes a -10 bat over a -11 one. I have gone through all your exit speed data so far and wasn’t sure if anything was better.

Carl

Carl,

2018 Easton Beast X hybrid USA Image Long

Let’s start by saying we think your son knows what he is talking about! As I’m sure, as you may have seen, that 2018 Bat won our best USA bat of its inaugural year.

If he can swing that 2018 Easton Beast X Hybrid, then we say don’t fix what isn’t broken. In terms of exit speeds, we think other bats have caught up to it. But, we don’t believe other bats are any better than it. Especially in the end-loaded two-piece realm of USA bats.

Add to that you have a 29-inch ready to rock, and we say roll with it.

Crazy enough, there are still a number of those Beast X Hybrids for sale on Amazon. The haters on those reviews and I’m sure you’ll agree, are up in the night. We love that Beast X hybrid. But, we do realize it swings more like a drop 8 instead of a drop 10, which it is advertised by. That mislabelling (although Easton would never call it that) is what gives folks the lousy rating.

In other words, at that price, maybe use the 29-inch you already have and stock up on a 30 and 31-inch for next year too!

(You might like our answer to the person who asked about 2020 and 2019 USA Bat comparisons also)

That said, and as much as we hate to say it, we did find the drop 11 USA ADV 360 in Easton’s 2020 line to be good enough upgrade to consider it. Still, considering he likes the Hybrid Beast, you have one, and the ADV is well over $300 we say keep your money, save for next year’s bat or put it towards a custom glove.

I hope that helps and good luck this year!

Bat Guy

Answered On: January 8, 2020


CAT USA vs Easton ADV 360

Dear Bat Guy, I’m a big fan of your videos. My son is turning 11 in February. He swings a -10 Posey Marucci USSSA bat in club ball. He’s starting little league in a month and have no clue what USA bat to get. What’s the best one for him? He’s about 5ft …

Dear Bat Guy,

I’m a big fan of your videos. My son is turning 11 in February. He swings a -10 Posey Marucci USSSA bat in club ball. He’s starting little league in a month and have no clue what USA bat to get. What’s the best one for him? He’s about 5ft and very thin. He has a very fundamental balanced baseball swing. What do you think?

~John

John,

USA bats are a different beast for sure. Pure performance is the Easton ADV drop 11. Swings like a drop 10. Make sure it’s the drop 11. If you want something that “feels” the most like the Posey28 we’d say the Solo in USA.

https://batdigest.com/best-baseball-bats

That article has some more insight too. Hope that helps and Happy Thanksgiving.

Bat Guy

Dear Bat Guy,

One more question.  Doesn’t his swing speed dictate the bat for him?  So confused.   Just tell me what you think the best bat for him is.  Going to buy a few to try.

~John

John,

2020 Little League World Series Bats

Some of the “12u” kids at the LLWS swing the ADV 360 Drop 11. Just go for the 32/21.

If you want something heavier the Slugger Select works too.

You’ll find the separation between USA bats is not as big as USSSA bats. Meaning, it just doesn’t matter as much as it does in USSSA.

We’d tell you to buy in this order:

  1. 31/20 USA ADV 360
  2. 31/21 Voodoo Balanced
  3. 31/20 Solo

Bat Guy

Dear Bat Guy,

He swings a drop 10. He’s only 10 turning 11 in February. Currently using a 29/19 Posey in USSSA. However, little league is starting and want the best bat out there for him. What do you think? Is it bad going from drop 10 to drop 11? I thought he has to swing a drop 3 by high school?

I bought him the DeMarini Cat 29/19 and the Marucci USA to try. How come you picked a 31 when he currently swings a 29? Is it better for the bat to be longer? Sorry for the questions just want to make the right decision. When I measured him it looks like the 29 is perfect right now and the 30 is a little big. How do I test for correct size?

Is Easton the best USA bat?

John,

Here’s the references:

Bat size for 11u: 31/21 or 30/20

Best USA Bats: Easton ADV 360.

Thanks
Bat Guy

Bat Guy,

Thanks so much. I’m going to try Marucci, Demarini cat, solo, and Easton USA. Leaning toward Easton for him. What are your thoughts on a drop 11 at almost 11 years old? Shouldn’t he start swinging a heavier bat then a drop 11?

John,

A 31/20 swings heavier than a 30/20. It’s not so much the drop as it is the swing weight. Swing weight is affected by balance point and a longer bat usually swings heavier.

He does want to start swinging heavier and a 31/20 will be heavier than a 30/20.

Bat Guy,
He seems to love the USA Marucci drop 10. What do you think of that bat this year? Also, do you think it matters swinging a barrel that’s 2 1/2 vs 2 5/8? The two piece Easton seems like he has trouble with them or they are to end loaded.

John,

Check our the site sometime:

CAT USA Review
Swing Weights
ADV 360 Review
Best 2020 USA Bats
Our YouTube Channel

In short: The CAT USA dented in the first 25 minutes. Hated the smaller barrel. The ADV is light swinging. Got the best exit speeds. It’s our favorite USA bat. I’m not sure how else we can possibly tell you that again. The drop 11 USA bat ADV 360 is the bat we recommend.

Thanks,

Bat Guy

I purchased your data on all the bats and you had the Marucci rated number 5 against all the other USA bats. That’s why I’m confused.

Thanks for the support John,

Exit speed rankings are definitely one factor we use to help us determine the best bat. The CAT had an average exit speed ranking of the 5th best. But, to be honest, we aren’t sure the rankings of the averages is that useful a metric. You’ll notice the CAT, on the data sheet, ranks in the top 5 for only 1 hitter. It ranks 6th for another and in the bottom half for the other two. We consider that a ranking, not so much our rating. Its why we write this right next to that data column:

As we state everywhere, we think it a mistake to decide on your best bat by just looking at Exit Speed ranks of other players. Lots of factors, like feel, price, durability, etc should be serious considerations. That said, the chart to the left of this text box shows the Average Rank of every 2020 USA bat we tested.

How We Rate Bats

On our best baseball bat rankings page you can see how we rate our bats. In short, here is the breakdown:

  • 30% Exit Speed Performance (That Data coming from the Sheet you Reference).
  • 30% from Player Feel. (A survey our hitters take after hitting with each bat).
  • 20% Popularity (We aren’t buying into marketing hype, but the general populations wallets tend to follow the better bats).
  • 15% Relevance. (Meaning, how broad is the offering and how applicable is the bat to the general public).
  • 5% Technology. (Tech doesn’t make a bat, but we do give credit for bats that are trying to push the envelope and be creative).

I feel your pain. You are living the Dad dream/nightmare that wants to make sure we have the right equipment for their son but realizes the bat world rarely has useful information. Some days it feels like everything works and nothing works.

Buy Confidence, Not the Bat

We also find that branding and experience gets in the way a lot. People who love Marucci or DeMarini or Easton often swear by it until the end of time regardless of any facts we could point out. That isn’t a bad thing, it is what it is. We’ve had people come hit with us that swear by how hot a bat is and how well it hits even as we show them on a speed gun that it just doesn’t match up.

I’m not saying that’s what is happening here. I’m saying that brand affiliation and attraction is a very real thing in baseball—its why these companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on marketing because it really does work. On us, on our children and on our decisions—there is no way around it.

Your son had such a good experience with the Posey 28 Marucci we don’t find it surprising he’s tending Marucci’s USA Bat. Does that bat match up to the ADV drop 11 or a number of other bats? We don’t think so and we think we have data to support it. But, that isn’t the same as saying the CAT isn’t the right bat for your son or any one else. If your son thinks its the best than what’s the point of trying to convince him otherwise? Confidence at the plate should be valued at almost all other costs. And a mile an hour or so of exit speed, a better feel or bigger barrel almost never makes up believing you have the best and can be the best.

Anyways, hope that helps and doesn’t make it more confusing. Keep up the good fight.

Answered On: November 29, 2019


Marucci CAT 7 vs CAT 8

Dear Bat Guy, What BBCOR bat do you believe is better, the Cat 7 or 8? Thanks, Cody Cody, Good question and one we get often. In short, we don’t think either one is “better” when compared to the other. The CAT 8 has a bit larger barrel and, in theory a …

Dear Bat Guy,

What BBCOR bat do you believe is better, the Cat 7 or 8?

Thanks,
Cody

Cody,

Good question and one we get often. In short, we don’t think either one is “better” when compared to the other. The CAT 8 has a bit larger barrel and, in theory at least, a longer sweet spot. But, user ratings, swing weight and exit speeds all rate out very equally for us. The fact it usually runs cheaper (at least the time of this writing) means we’d tend towards the CAT 7. CAT 7 user ratings, aggregated through multiple sites (here, here and here) rate the two bats out identically.

Marucci CAT 7 vs CAT 8

Marucci CAT 8 vs CAT 7

The Marucci CAT 8 and Marucci CAT 7 have more in common than they do in contrast. They are, ultimately, both single piece aluminum bats with variable wall barrel thickness and unique technology in the knob to help dampen sting. They both also use variable wall thickness in the barrel which helps extend the lowest compression possible in a long stretch. That applies to BBCOR and USSSA.

They stand apart from most single piece alloys because of their barrel’s change in wall thickness (although that feature isn’t entirely unique). They stand apart from every bat in the market in that they use a sting dampening device inside the knob to help absorb vibrations on mishits.

See our full Marucci CAT 7 Review

See our full Marucci CAT 8 Review

Marucci takes a stab at the differences between the CAT 8 and CAT 7.

Wall Thickness

2017 Marucci CAT 7 Review

The CAT 8 in both BBCOR and USSSA use more levels of wall thickness (made possible by an upgraded alloy) than the CAT 7. The CAT 7 uses 7 levels and, you might have guessed, the CAT 8 uses 8. That isn’t the reason they have those names, but does make it easy to remember. These additional levels found in the CAT 8, in theory at least, help extend the length of the sweet spot. User reviews don’t necessarily bear out the fact the CAT 8 has a longer sweet spot in practice—as both the CAT 8 and CAT 7 in BBCOR have near impeccable performance ratings.

Same Price

If the price were exactly the same we’d likely choose the CAT 8 for these reasons:

  • The CAT 8 will hold it’s price longer in the event we ever want to sell it.
  • The CAT 8 Barrel is a big longer compared to the CAT 7, but not by much.
  • The CAT 8 is more readily available (has the right sizing available).

Different Price for CAT 7

Marucci CAT 7 vs CAT 8

At the time of this writing we could find the CAT 7 for $100 cheaper. ($199 vs $299). If that is still the case by the time you are reading this then our suggestion is the Marucci CAT 7 over the CAT 8.

It’s hard to put an exact number on our breaking point. But, if we could find the BBCOR CAT 7 for at least than $50 cheaper than a CAT 8 we’d go with the CAT 7. The bat hits the ball just as well, has the same swing weight, and comes with the same anti-vibration knob technology which has made the CAT series a real winner.

USSSA: CAT 7 vs CAT 8

USSSA Vs USA BAts

The CAT 7 and CAT 8 both come in a USSSA Drop 10, 8 and 5. But, for the CAT 8 the barrel sized changed (in the drop 8 and 5) to a 2 3/4 from the 2 5/8 it is in CAT 7.

Otherwise, the changes from the CAT 7 to CAT 8 in USSSA stand the same as the changes in BBCOR. That is, an upgraded allow to make more wall thicknesses in the barrel.

Marucci CAT 7 Connect vs Cat 8 Connect

Best Bat for Hitting Home Runs

From the CAT 7 to the CAT 8 Marucci also upgraded the connection piece in the Connect version of the bat. The Connect is a lesser known option meant as a heavy swing and a two piece hybrid bat. That is, expect a composite handle and the same aluminum barrel found in the CAT 7 and CAT 8 respectively.

Answered On: November 7, 2019


2020 Easton Fuze Hybrid USA

Dear Bat Guy, On the Dick’s website there is an Easton fuze hybrid. I have not seen it anywhere else though. Is it exclusive to Dick’s? Do you have any information on swing weight or how it would match up to other hybrids? ~Liz Liz, Thanks for the ques …

Dear Bat Guy,

On the Dick’s website there is an Easton fuze hybrid. I have not seen it anywhere else though. Is it exclusive to Dick’s? Do you have any information on swing weight or how it would match up to other hybrids?

~Liz

Liz,

Thanks for the question. You’re the second person in as many days to ask about an Easton Hybrid Fuze USA bat that can be seen on the Dicks Sporting Goods Website. The image on that listing, though, is the exact same as the 2020 Easton Fuze–not Hybrid.

We reached out to a couple of people we know in the industry and found they didn’t know either. We have the 2019/2020 Easton catalog and do not see the an Easton Hybrid Fuze USA in it. We do see, of course, the single piece alloy Fuze. But that is clearly a different bat with a different price point.

We even spoke to an Easton rep through a contact of ours and they weren’t sure either.

Dicks Sporting Goods Exclusive?

Long story short, after a lot of digging around, we are pretty sure the 2020 Easton Fuze Hybrid will be a SKU unique only to Dicks Sporting Goods only. We don’t have  date for when it will be on sale. But, from we are guessing, DSG will release the Fuze Hybrid for the 2020 season. Before or after the holiday push we don’t know, but we’d guess they’d like it to be before.

We did find a picture of it on the approved USA bats website. But, it didn’t have a release date or a place where you could buy it yet. Meaning it wasn’t for sale anywhere yet.

2020 Easton Fuze Hybrid USA Bat REview

We’ve also looked on our favorite big time bat sites like JustBats, CloseoutBats and Baseball Express. We can’t find it there. So, again, our theory about a DSG exclusive a lot like they did with the Easton SC500 in USA for 2018 (one of our favorites from that year).

2020 Easton USA Fuze Hybrid Review

We don’t know much about the bat in USA, but we do a lot about it in BBCOR. It is, as expected, a two piece bat built with a composite handle and an aluminum barrel. It uses the same handle as you can find in a bat like the ADV 360 and the same barrel that is in the non-hybrid Fuze (which comes in a BBCOR, USSSA and USA).

2020 Easton Fuze 360 Hybrid Review

The 2020 Easton Hybrid Fuze in USA replaces the Beast Speed Hybrid from 2019 in USA and, for all intents and purposes, we expect it to feel and perform pretty similarly.

Wait for It?

2020 Easton Fuze USA 360 Hybrid Review

At the time of this writing we could find the Easton Beast Hybrid Speed for under $120. Considering the Fuze is going to start at nearly $300 and stay at that price for several months we think the Beast Hybrid Speed is a great deal. Although we’ve yet to hit with it, we can’t imagine the Hyrid USA Fuze is going to be worth the price difference even when it does come out. But, time will tell and we’ll be sure to hit it once it releases.

 

Answered On: November 5, 2019


Easton Fuze vs Voodoo One vs Solo

Dear Bat Guy, Hi my son will be 10 Years old in the spring. He likes single piece alloy bats. This past season he used a 28″ Demarini Voodoo one. He wants the same bat next season. How would you compare it to the 2020 Easton Fuze 360 USA? Do you recomm …

Dear Bat Guy,

Hi my son will be 10 Years old in the spring. He likes single piece alloy bats. This past season he used a 28″ Demarini Voodoo one. He wants the same bat next season. How would you compare it to the 2020 Easton Fuze 360 USA? Do you recommend one over the other? Is there another bat in the same class that you would suggest over both of them? – Thank You

~Karl

Karl,

Thanks for the question. In USA we’d rank the Fuze above that of the Voodoo One, but not by much. If your son likes the Voodoo One then we’d say stick with what isn’t broken.

The Fuze has not been out long so our rankings might change. But, we really like the Power Boost knob. Not because we think it gives you better bat speed, but just because it actually feels better. Our performance tests showed both bats were all but identical. We also liked the look and barrel size better of the Fuze—but, again, those had no measurable change in actual bat to ball performance.

See our 2020 Fuze Review

For what it’s worth, our lower swing speed player (like 50 to 60 mph swing speed) did like the Voodoo better.

Fuze vs Voodoo One vs Solo

In that class, we think the Fuze, Solo and Voodoo One are the best lot of single piece aluminum bats. If we had to choose one we’d go with the 2020 or 2019 Solo. But, we realize, that solo is a drop 11–unlike the drop 10 Fuze and Voodoo One. Even at a drop 11 we think the exit speeds, feel and barrel size of the Solo are the best in class. (Assuming you think a drop 11 and drop 10 are in the same class).

See our 2020 Solo Review

If we had to make a decision right now, as of this writing on November 3rd 2019, we’d buy the Demo House USA Voodoo One on JustBats here. Simply because it’s a price you won’t see for long—inventory on these guys is usually pretty low and, at least by our sorting, it is the most popular bat on JustBats USA section right because of the price. But, your son might be disappointed in the same exact bat and year just an inch or two bigger.

The bigger question for you might be a 29/19 or 30/20? See our 10 year old size suggestions here: 29/19 or 30/20?.

See Our 2020 Voodoo One Review

In other words, we don’t think you’ll go wrong with any of those three choices above. If he loves the Voodoo then we think the 2020 Voodoo One has way better graphics than the 2019 and he’ll be stoked to open that bad boy up. If he’s down for trying something that ‘feels’ better than the Fuze is a great bet. If he wants to go for something that rates out with the best exit speeds and has the best average reviews than the Solo it is (although its a drop 11).

There are other options too.

Our Single piece aluminum USA Bat ranking would look like this:

  1. Slugger Solo
  2. Easton Fuze
  3. Voodoo One
  4. Mizuno Hot Metal
  5. Rawlings 5150
  6. Anderson Arsenal

In any event, we hope that helps a bit. You’re in a good spot and definitely looking at the right bats.

Good luck!
Bat Guy

Answered On: November 3, 2019


USA Bat vs BBCOR

Dear Bat Guy, Our summer league gives the option of USA Bat or BBCOR. If weight is not the deciding factor. Is there a difference in ball speed between the two in general? ~Tim This is a fun question so thanks for that. We’re going to break your questi …

This is a fun question so thanks for that.

We’re going to break your question a bit but then we’ll try and put it back together again. The answer is BBCOR not because they have better trampoline effect (they are in fact the same). But, BBCOR bats have much greater mass as they are required to be drop 3 while USA bats are not that heavy. Bat’s with a higher swing weight (as almost all BBCOR bats do compared to USA bats) will hit the ball father.

You can find BBCOR bats that swing lighter than USA Bats. For example, Slugger’s Solo comes in a 29/26. That bat’s swing weight is considerably less than an end loaded drop 5 USA bat like the Axe Elite in a 32/27.

Assuming we could find two bats of the same swing weight….

USA and BBCOR bats are both meant to replicate wood bat performance. So, in that sense, the bats won’t perform differently. However…

The question that gets thrown around on bat forums often is what BBCOR score would a USA bat get. It’s helpful to understand how BBCOR is calculated which we discuss in depth in our BESR bat article. In short, BBCOR is a measurement of how flexible the barrel of a bat is in relation to the ball at impact. During collision both the bat and the ball change shape as they compress together. The more the bat compresses, and hence less the ball will, the higher the exit speed. The BBCOR standard requires the bat compress no more than that of the ball. When they compress equally than the BBCOR rating is .500.

USA uses a similar test but deals more with exit speeds that replicate wood bat performance than the actual compression of a baseball. There’s likely some internal company data used to measure a USA bat during the BBCOR test but no one has yet to make it public. Our educated guess it the BBCOR test results on a USA bat would be so close to .500 that it wouldn’t make an inch of difference. (Okay, maybe an inch, but no more than 6 in one way or the other on a perfectly hit ball).

In any event, thanks for the question and we hope that helps settle the dispute as to which one works better. The answer: the one with the higher swing weight (assuming they can swing it as fast).

Bat Guy

Answered On: October 31, 2019


Are 2020 USA Bats Better than 2019 USA Bats?

Dear Bat Guy, Having a difficult time deciding whether to purchase a new 2020 USA Bat or stick with the 2019 Solo we already have. Player is 10, 4’5” 65 lbs. Have been looking at a two piece composite for this year, have hit Easton, Prime, Quatro. Don’ …

David,

We hear you on spending money on the wrong bat. It’s crazy its this hard sometimes.

We think some 2020 USA bats are better than others while some got worse. For example, we think Easton’s ADV 360 is better than the Ghost Evo and we think Rawlings VELO ACP is better than the 2019 Rawlings VELO. However, we think the Quatro Drop 10 took a step backwards.

In any event, for 2020 USA bats we really like the DeMarini Voodoo Balanced. If he’s 10 then he should be able to get the 29/19 around easy enough. The bat rates out great, tops our best USA bat lists again this year and doesn’t break the bank like some of those other bats you were swinging.

2019 DeMarini Voodoo Review

For bat sizing on a 10 year old, we don’t worry too much about height and weight. We know that sounds non-intuitive. But, all our data shows that 10 year olds bat happiness is not connected how well their height/weight match up with their bat size. Short and Weak kids swing the same kinds of bats as tall and strong kids with the same amount of happiness at 10 year’s old.

Good luck and thanks for the note!

Bat Guy

Answered On: October 31, 2019


Fastpitch 14U Travel Team Bat Options

Dear Bat Guy, What is your review on the 2019 DeMarini Prism? I have a 2010 DeMarini currently and I am in the market for a new bat and was looking at the prism. I would be open to any brand of bat but have had a really good experience with the DeMarin …

Sara,

Thanks for the note. We do have a review on the 2019 (and 2020) DeMarini Prism right here. In short, it does well on our exit speeds and has a ton of give on the hit (meaning the barrel and handle really bend to give a cushion feel). That said, it isn’t the best performing bat out there in terms of exit speeds. If you are a power hitter than we say go with something more stiff. That would include a bat like Louisville Slugger’s Xeno or, if you want some 2020 stuff, maybe a 2020 DeMarini FNX.

2019 DeMarini Prism Reviews

Good luck with the season and thanks for the note!

Bat Guy

Answered On: October 31, 2019


Easton Hyperlite Upgrades

Dear Bat Guy, Which 2020 USA bat do you recommend for 8u in 28”? We had the solo last year and did not like it. The ghost hyperlite -11 is what he currently has and has out performed the solo. We were looking for alloy or maybe hybrid? Something close …

Malcom,

Thanks for the email. You give us a lot to talk about so bear with us for a minute.

(We do have a best bat for 8 year old article you might like).

We’ll start at the end of you question and address the ‘close to stated weight’ issue first.

Actual Weight vs Stated Weight In Youth Baseball Bats

Turns out, if you don’t mind us being frank, neither one of them really matters.

Bats that weigh more than other bats can very well swing lighter. That is actually the rule more than the exception. Consider this we try and illustrate in the chart.

Swing Weight 8 Year Old

  • Notice the CAT Composite feels lighter when swinging it (that’s what swing weight is) than the 619 Solo but, it weighs almost 2 ounces more.
  • In 2019 we measured the swing weight of 29 different 30-inch drop 10 bats. Of those, 82.7% (24) of the bats had at least one other bat whose scale weight was less but was more difficult to swing.
  • If wanted our bat to be no greater than 0.5 ounces heavier than it’s stated weight in 2019 (in the 31/21) than only 7 out of 29 qualified.
  • If we went with the 21.5 ounces Dirty South Demon (considerably close to the stated weight relativity speaking and almost 2 ounces lighter than other 31/21s) we could have bought 17 other bats that swung lighter but weighed heavier.
  • The only bat to weigh exactly 21 ounces (like the stated weight) had 4 bats that swung lighter than it.
  • Statistically speaking, the R2 of scale weight and swing weight in this chart is 0.28. Meaning, simply, the correlation between swing weight and scale weight is considered very weak at best.

In other words, we entirely get the sentiment of getting a bat that is close to the stated weight because we don’t want something our kid can’t swing. And when we say we want an 18-ounce bat we feel cheated when we get one that weighs 19.9. But, in truth, the stated weight of the bat is no more useful to us than the graphics. They are virtually pointless when it comes to a bats feel and performance.

Although groups like Slugger are getting closer, bat companies continue to produce stated weight bats when they know the number is pointless. Much to the shagrin of parents trying to spend their money wisely and untold amounts of ink wasted on internet forums. (We learned much of the stuff above from talking with bat engineers at companies that every baseball player knows).

In other words, we would not worry a single lick about the bat being close to its stated weight.

8U Bat Options

From the sounds of it your 8U boy takes baseball serious. The fact you’ve used two different bats that each cost over $100 on a 7 year old means you’re not fooling around here. (As if someone on our site looking for information was anything but, am I right?).

If he liked the Hyperlite in a drop 11 (must be a USA player because we don’t think they made the drop 11 in USSSA) and is considering a 28/18 in a, possibly, hybird bat, then we’d look close at the USA 2019 Easton Beast Speed Hybrid. (JustBats Price, Dicks Sporting Goods Price, CloseoutBats Price). The handle is a lot like the hyperlite he liked but it adds the aluminum barrel you might have been looking for.

Hybrid Choice

(For 2020 Easton really doesn’t have a hybrid USA bat. The Fuze is only a single piece aluminum although they do some inner things on the barrel with composite.)

Funny enough, after all our humming and hawing over swing weight/scale weight, the Easton Beast Hybrid stays real close to the stated weight line. In the chart above its the dot just to the right of the 5800 MOI and a scale weight of about 21.25. Consider the Easton Beast Speed Hybrid just a hair lighter than the average in its class.

Hybrid Durability

Note, the Beast Speed Hybrid from 2019 gets really good ratings for that kid wanting a lighter swing and a good feel. That is, good ratings except for the people that it breaks on. It might not break more than any other performance bat out there these days, but the negative ratings you see on sites aggregating buyer reviews are almost exclusively from instances where it broke. In cases where it didn’t break folks love the bat.

Aluminum

If you want an aluminum single piece in the USA space than, to be honest, nothing is better than the Solo. We don’t think it changed enough from 2019 to 2020 for you to all the sudden start liking it.

So, if that’s off the table due to prior experience your only other single piece aluminum option, really, is the Velo in a drop 11 aluminum. (You could do the 5150 but we think you’ll be disappointed). The 2019 version didn’t get good ratings (and we didn’t like it). The 2020 is a bit better and should be better received. It’s still an ultra light swinging single piece that competes with a bat like the Solo.

But, a single piece aluminum USA bat for $249 for an 8 year old? We’d rather use that Hyperlite from last year and wait until he can get the 29″ DeMarini Voodooo USA (which we think is the best USA around for the price and value—but no 28/18’s or we’d be all over it for you).

Really, the Beast Hybrid Speed?

We try to get a bat in someone’s wheel house. For starters, you had a good experience with the Easton. That’s a start. Second, the Beast Speed has virtually the same barrel but sizes up for the 8u guy nicely. Third, it’s priced in the range of the other bat’s you’ve bought. Fourth, we like the Solo in the light swinging USA class but from what it sounds like that didn’t hit the sweet spot, so to speak.

That leaves us with a boring class of USA bats (not that the Solo made it any better). But, that’s the name of the USA bat game—boring, predictable and rather okay. So, here’s our other choices in the event we didn’t understand the question.

In any event, we wrote way more than is necessary to answer your pretty straight forward question. We’re hopeful you can find at least something in there that’s useful.

Thanks for the question and good luck!
Bat Guy

Answered On: October 31, 2019


Hand Sting & Performance with a 7 Year Old’s Bat

Dear Bat Guy,I am looking for a bat for my 7 year old. He has a good swing and generates decent power. I’m looking for one with good pop and balanced in the weight. Also looking for something that doesn’t sting if missed as much. ~Justin Hey Justin, We …

Hey Justin,

We’ll give you some bat ideas for your 7-year old in a second, but let us indulge for a moment.

(We also have this article about the best bat for a 7 year old that you might like too).

We don’t buy the idea that 7-year olds should use a bat based on their weight and height. It turns out, most height and weight aren’t good indicators as to how much a 7 year old likes his bat. Tall, strong or skilled 7-year olds have just as much bat satisfaction with a 27/17 than do short, weak and novice players.

As such, if we’re off to recommend a bat for your son and know nothing else but he’s 7, wants good pop and would rather get less sting then we need to find a 27/17 in a performance rated bat that has some sort of sting dampening ability.

Our Pick For Your Son

Once to that point, the options are narrowed down easy. In terms of overall user happiness the answer is the CAT 8 in a JBB 27/17. It has some sting dampening ability built into the knob and has as much pop as you’d hope to get in a 27/17.

2019 Marucci CAT 8 JBB Review

At the time we wrote this we found the bat for the least amount at Amazon here or JustBats.com here. Dick’s Sporting Good’s Price wasn’t as good but they did have it in stock.

You can find a bit more sting dampening in a two piece bat like a 2019 Ghost Evo which also comes in a 27/17. Although the ‘pop’ might not be as good as the CAT 8 it will feel great on the hands and rarely if ever ring his hands.

Do You Need to Spend That Much?

No.

Also, we should add, we think the best bat for a 7-year old is a less expensive big barrel bat like Slugger’s JBB Omaha. This doesn’t necessarily meet your criteria in the sense of a lot of pop and some sting dampening ability. But, we think the vast majority of 7-year olds rarely see pitch speeds fast enough to justify any sting dampening tech and we think bat performance at that age is overrated.

519 Omaha JBB

Few 7-year olds swing hard enough to see the benefit of a bat with a lot of pop. Your’s might be the exception so fair enough. For most we’d bet on our best bat for 7 year old to do the trick. As long as, of course, its a 27/17.

USA or USSSA?

(By the way, we just assumed you were talking USSSA bats. If you need a USA bat for a 7 year old then check here).

Good luck and hope that at least gets you on the right path.

Let us know how it goes.
Bat Guy

Answered On: October 30, 2019


Cat 8 vs 2020 CF in USSSA

Dear Bat Guy, Hey guys; first of all, I’m a longtime reader of your website. Thank you for all you guys do to help dads, coaches, players in the world of youth baseball. You guys are usually my go-to source before I buy a bat for my son. I’m an adult b …

Bill,

Thanks for reaching out. Always love to hear from real folks.

Is it this you’re looking for?
In terms of our overall ratings for USSSA we are working on it now for 2020. But, as a sneak peak and since you asked, our preliminary order looks like this:
1. CF Drop 5
2. CF Drop 10
3. CAT 8 Drop 8 (or the Posey28 if you want this year’s version).
4. CF Drop 8
5. Slugger Prime Drop 10.
6. Omaha Drop 5/8/10.
If he can swing a drop 8 then the CAT 8’s a great choice. Drop 10 the CF is still the winner if, of course, you’re okay with the thing possibly breaking and waiting for a warranty.
That’s all based on exit speeds and player feedback collected within the last 30 days.
Talk soon,
Bat Guy

Answered On: October 29, 2019


Drop 8 or Drop 5

Dear Bat Guy, Hi this would be for USSSA 12U Majors. He is 57 inches tall and weighs 135lbs, muscular build. My son currently is swinging a 31-8 Easton Beast X or Ghost X but also has been swinging a Phoenix Bats DR271 -5 wood bat in the offseason. Con …

Justin,

Couple things come to mind as we read through your situation.

Bat Sensor Accuracy

For starters, we agree with you on the Blast Motion (or any swing sensor for that matter). We feel like anyone we’ve tried is marginally repeatable. This is somewhat helpful for practice and progress but we find it hard to be useful in terms of bat fitting. (We also really like the Garmin Impact in terms of accuracy—but they all struggle).

In other words, we hesitate making bat recommendations based on swing sensors—although they are fun.

Drop 8 or Drop 5

As well, a general bat size chart suggests his optimal swing weighted bat is a 23.5 ounce stick. However, these bat size charts (like all bat size charts) tend to forget about the fact bats swing differently based on their load out.

Although I’ve yet to see your son swing, I’d be more likely to put him in a 32/24 with an end load before I’d drop him to the drop 31/26 or 30/25. It is temping at 12u to go heavy especially if he’s been swing a drop 5 woody all winter. But, the pitch speeds they see at 12 at short distances really rocks the house. I’d be more interested in him gaining the length of a 32 then the girth of a drop 5.

If he really likes stiff bats and wants to try something a bit off the beaten path then check out the drop 8 DSB KAMO. It has a little bit of an endload, swings pretty stiff, but still gives a nice smooth smash with a huge composite barrel. That bad boy at a 32/24 in the right hitter’s hand will make holes in the clouds.

If you go with a drop 5 then there are few we really like.

Good luck and thanks for the note!

Bat Guy

Answered On: February 11, 2019


Best bat for my 10-year old

Dear Bat Guy, My son is 10 years old, 4’8”, and under 70 pounds. He is a great contact hitter, but does not generate a lot of power. What that would you recommend for him length, and drop weight for his travel team approved for USSSA bats? ~Christian H …

Hey Christian,

At 4’8″ and 70 pounds we tend to suggest a drop 11 in a 30 inch range. (We like the sentiment on our bat size chart or here). In the USSSA space that limits your options—as drop 11’s don’t come in every model. But that’s not a bad thing. Narrowing down the options is part of the process.

You might also like our best bat for 10 year old article.

Elite Level Options

Bat Sizing 10 Year Old

If he’s an elite level player–or real close to it–you’re likely fine sizing up to a drop 10 for a 30/20 (or maybe even 29/19). If that is the case, we’d look closely at our best USSSA bat article which really likes the CF Zen. But, that 2019 Zen (or almost anyone from the last couple years) has some bad ratings by some because it breaks. We aren’t bothered much by the breaking because it means the bat is hot. But, if the idea of dealing with a warranty isn’t your cup of tea we’d look elsewhere.

Bat Sizing 10 Year Old

If spending that kind of money wasn’t on the docket then take a close look at the retooled 2017 CF Zen in the blue barrel in a 29/19 or 30/20. Again, you won’t find great aggregated ratings on line because more than a few people are mad about the bat’s durability. But, in terms of pure performance and barrel size you really won’t beat the retooled 2017 CF Zen—which can sometimes be found for a song.

Getting Your Feet Wet Option

Bat Sizing 10 Year Old

If you’re boy is decent but likely needs more help find the ball, and he is a new player, we’d suggest the 2019 Easton Speed. This bat won’t get any oohs and awes from the dugout, but it is legit, swings light and comes at a price point that works for just about any budget.

We hope that helps and, again, thanks for the note.

Answered On: February 11, 2019


Help with next bat

I currently have a 32 inch cat 7 one piece bat and playing 90+ games last year. I believe I killed the bat and I think it is dead. I hit in the 4 or 5 hole and I need a BBCOR bat under $250. What do you suggest? Also, I don’t like the feel of Easton ba …

I currently have a 32 inch cat 7 one piece bat and playing 90+ games last year. I believe I killed the bat and I think it is dead. I hit in the 4 or 5 hole and I need a BBCOR bat under $250. What do you suggest? Also, I don’t like the feel of Easton bats but will swing anything else and older models don’t bother me.

~Nathan

Hey Nathan,

Thanks for the question. It’s common to think our bats are “dying”. There really are not too many ways to objectively tell if it has lost some pop. Really, it will come down to how you feel about it. It is possible that aluminum bats lose their force over time—they don’t crack like a composite would.

(You might also like our conversation on the best BBCOR bats. We do have a ‘value’ section which would fit the bill you’re looking for)>

In other words, I’d suggest your bat likely has lost something—especially with you playing that many games and, we are assuming here, using it for practice as well.

CAT 7 & CAT 6 Options

Why not stick with what you know?

Marucci CAT 8 Review

I know a latest and greatest bat sounds exciting, but if you really liked the CAT 7 why not rock and roll with another one? Maybe that’s too boring to back to what you had, but its not crazy. Especially if you liked it—and no one is going to knock for swinging the Cat 7. It’s a great bat.

Marucci CAT 6 Review

If you want a change of pace, we just finished a review on the Cat 6 Generation 2. This is a sub $250 bat that rings and rakes a lot like the CAT 7 did. With some updated colors directly from Just Bats you can get it and have $100 left over.

Marucci CAT 7 Limited

And while we’re at it, why not check out the CAT 7 limited—if you want to feel like you’ve upgraded something but still stick with what you know. You can still find a few of these in BBCOR at reasonable prices and definitley under $250.

Something Else

If you want to try something else (ie not a CAT 7/6) and want to stay under $250 for a new 2019 that is NOT Easton then try the Axe Elite One in BBCOR.

BBCOR bat under 250

Don’t get all out of sorts for the handle. It really does feel good—just give it a day or two at BP and you’ll ever wonder why it thought weird in the first place. But, if you really want to replace your CAT 7 with a single piece bat in the sub $250 range we think you’ll find the Axe Origin as an absolute winner. It’s stiff, swings light and hits the ball as hard as any other aluminum BBCOR bat we’ve tried.

In any event, we hope that helps and gets you on the wright track. Happy hitting!

Answered On: February 11, 2019


USA & USSSA Bat Suggestions for 8 Year Old

My [son] plays USA ball in the spring and USSSA in the fall. He is 8 years old, 4′-4″ and 60 pounds. He has played every year since 4, started taking hitting lessons 1 year ago and is a solid contact hitter put with good pop, hits to the fence…in the …

My [son] plays USA ball in the spring and USSSA in the fall. He is 8 years old, 4′-4″ and 60 pounds. He has played every year since 4, started taking hitting lessons 1 year ago and is a solid contact hitter put with good pop, hits to the fence…in the park hrs every season.

He used a Rawlings 5150 -11 last year as a 7 year old. Price isn’t an issue. More interested in the best bats. Thank you.

~Chet

Related Articles

Chet,

Here are some related articles you might find helpful.

If you want the best for a USA and USSSA league then we suggest you buy two bats. That might sound ridiculous to some, but maximizing performance in each league will require a bat fit for the specific requirements.

As well, timing does matter here. If your boy is not playing in a USSSA league until fall we would wait until then to buy the bat. More durability data will be out by then and you’ll likely find a better price in the late summer on bats that aren’t at full retail price in the early spring. As well, a full season will change a lot.

In other words, buy a USA Bat now and a USSSA bat in late summer.

Sizing

At 60 pounds and a good to great player with good experience we’d go for a 31/21. The drop 10 range is where the best youth bats are made and a 21 ounce bat should give him plenty of bat dexterity at 60 pounds.

A slightly crazy, but not that crazy idea, would be a 29 inch drop 8 (29/21) bat. A 29/21 generally swings lighter than a 31/21 because its center of mass is more towards the hands.

On second thought, the drop 8 option is tempting, we really think he’ll like the 31 inch better and a more safe choice. And at 8u a drop 10 is much more common. (Although, again, we’d love to hear feedback from him swinging a drop 8 like the Marucci CAT 8.)

USA Option

Bat Options

Price Check: Amazon

For this spring we’d take a real close look at the new Ghost X Evolution. We know the Ghost X from 2018 was a dog. It’d drop 10 felt weird on even good hits. But, this year, we really think they dialed something in. If price is not a concern, you might also take a close look at the Rawlings Quatro. Both of those bats we’d suggest in a 31/21.

Voodoo USA

Price Check: Amazon

Our favorite bat for USA in 2019 is DeMarini’s Voodoo. But, we like that bat in part for its many sizing options (like a drop 5) and the more reasonable price point. If you only need one for a smaller hitter in the drop 10 space then go with the Ghost X Evolution for 2019. Here, too, use a 31/21.

USSSA Option

In terms of overall performance in the USSSA Space we used go with the CF Zen. (You can see it featured on our best bat for 8 year olds page as well as our best USSSA Bat).

Advice Column

Price Check: Amazon

More than a few have complained about the CF Zen USSSA’s durability. It does, indeed, have an incidence of cracking. But, the payoff between performance and breaking is sometimes razor thin. DeMarini, apparently, has taken the stance they’d rather have a bat that was for sure hot and might break than that of one that might be hot but probably won’t break. If pricing isn’t an issue then the latter approach makes more sense. Like the above bats, the 31/21 is the place to be with this one.

Thanks and good luck!

Answered On: January 7, 2019


Are Dimple Balls Bad For Composite Bats?

We bought a new -3 (drop 3 BBCOR) two piece bat. Will it hurt the bat using it in a batting cage with rubber balls? ~JR We avoid hitting dimple balls with high end composite bats. Rubber balls don’t compress the same as baseballs (nor do they weight th …

We bought a new -3 (drop 3 BBCOR) two piece bat. Will it hurt the bat using it in a batting cage with rubber balls?

~JR

We avoid hitting dimple balls with high end composite bats. Rubber balls don’t compress the same as baseballs (nor do they weight the same). As such, the odds of cracking the barrel increase with dimple balls. A cracked composite barrel is as good as done. We are more comfortable with an aluminum barrel because their response to a dimple ball is denting. And a dented bat, at least at some level, is still usable.

But your question was this: Will it hurt the bat?

In most cases we’d guess probably not. BBCOR bats are usually built with a ton of durability. If the pitch speed is reasonably slower than average (say 50mph or lower) and the hitter doesn’t have ridiculous bat speed (say under 80mph) then we’d guess you’ll be just fine. But, to be clear, that is just a general hunch based on our experience with dimple balls in the cage.

A few composite USSSA bats (not -3) are built so close to the limit and so delicate we likely would never hit a rubber or dimple ball with those (even off a tee). Same goes with composite USA Bats.

Best Dimple Ball Bat

Best Bat for Dimple Balls

Price Check: Ebay.

In any event, we avoid our game bat in the cage with dimple balls entirely. Even if its a composite or an aluminum. If we are in a situation where we are using dimple balls then we’ll find an old aluminum or wood bat. If that new BBCOR bat of yours is also the game bat then we suggest you find another one to take into the rubber/dimple ball cage.

If you don’t have one of those, we’d suggest you do a search for an older 2015 BBCOR single piece aluminum bat on eBay. At the time of this writing we found a good bat NVS Vexxum in a 33/30 BBCOR for under $45.

As well, we should note, most manufactures have a warranty caveat if a bat has been hit with dimple balls. Meaning they have the right to deny the warranty if its been hit by dimple balls.

In practice, however, most vendors and manufactures are pretty good about honoring warranties unless the buyer is a serial offender or the break on the bat shows some pretty obvious tampering.

Answered On: January 2, 2019


9U Travel – USA or USSSA for the win?

My son will be playing for the local 9U travel team (Stow, Ohio). He is 4’6” and approximately 85 lbs. He has been playing baseball for three years and is a solid hitter, not power, but lots of doubles, few singles and one triple in the kid pitch leagu …

My son will be playing for the local 9U travel team (Stow, Ohio). He is 4’6” and approximately 85 lbs. He has been playing baseball for three years and is a solid hitter, not power, but lots of doubles, few singles and one triple in the kid pitch league last year. I bought him a Solo USA 30,-11….the bat was ok but was hoping for more. Would you recommend a USSSA bat, or perhaps another USA bat? I have considered the USSSA Marucci Cat 8, 30,-10. Can you offer some advice?

~Oscar

We answer the USA vs USSSA answer first. Below that we talk about the CAT 8 Drop 10 and some other options in the USSSA for 9 year olds.

USA vs USSSA

In short, any decent USSSA bat will outperform a USA Bat by a considerable margin. While it depends on a number of factors you should expect a legitimate 5 to 10% improvement in total distance and exit speeds. (That is, a 200 foot shot is now a 210 to 220 foot shot).

The average of all our exit speeds we gathered for performance bats in the category show this:

  • 2019 USSSA vs 2019 USA give a 5% improvement for USSSA.
  • 2018 USSSA vs 2018 USA give an 8% improvement to USSSA.

Testing USSSA and USA Comparisons

Comparing bats is no easy task. Too many psuedo-scientists in the blog sphere put together some type of exit speed test and think they’ve cracked the code. But comparing one bat to another is anything but an apples to apples comparison even if you can control for things like swing speed, hitter confidence and ball type.

Swing weight, something you can’t easily control for (because swing weights are hard to find) dramatically changes results. To say nothing of the fact that you can’t find a single bat that is representative of the whole. Whose to say, for example, that Easton’s Ghost in USSSA is the same level of bat as the USA Version. Taking two bats to the field, as we do in the video, and then making sweeping statements about USA vs USSSA bats is unfair at best.

Measurements

In other words, we can’t quite measure the exact difference between the USA and USSSA bat because there is no way to change a bat from one to the other and do a test.

That said, our collective exit speed tests, as we point out above, show a 3 to 8% improvement between USA and USSSA Bats. Further evidence can be found in our conversation about the lack of home runs in the 2018 LLWS.

Best Bat for 9 Year Old

USSSA Vs USA BAts

Price Check: Amazon, JustBats and Marucci

Now that we’ve convinced ourself that we’ve convinced you to go with a USSSA bat when you have the option, let’s discuss the best bat for your 9 year old.

Based on your son’s height and age we use our scientific bat size chart to show he would do best with a 31 ounce bat.

The CAT 8 drop 10 is a good option. We like the sound on that bat and have hit with it extensively. We really like the CAT 8 in a drop 8 and drop 5. We feel like the CAT 8 loses too much heft in the drop 10 and ends up hurting the hands more than we’d like to see. But, in truth, it’s a good choice. If you’re set on the Cat 8 and can find a  good deal then go for it.

USSSA Vs USA bat

Price Check: Amazon

For our 9 year olds we prefer two piece composite bats. Although they run more expensive than the CAT 8 you can usually find last year’s models on a discount. The smoother smash and bigger barrel tend to be worth it for most younger players.

If it were our player we’d go with a 31/21 retooled 2017 DeMarini CF Zen. At the time of this writing the bat was less expensive than the CAT 8 and Amazon had a 31/21. (This is because the bat is older and they are trying to unload old inventory). Some give it bad ratings because their bat broke. But buy it from a place Amazon and keep the receipt. We are willing to say your boy will love it.

References in this Article

 

 

 

Answered On: December 31, 2018


Transition to Middle School Ball

My sons last year of little league was last year and he’s moving to a junior high league that requires USA bats. He swung a 31 inch drop 10 Easton beast hybrid and 31 inch drop 8 Rawlings machine last year. He has been playing for 4 years making the al …

My sons last year of little league was last year and he’s moving to a junior high league that requires USA bats. He swung a 31 inch drop 10 Easton beast hybrid and 31 inch drop 8 Rawlings machine last year. He has been playing for 4 years making the all star team each year. He has used both composites and hybrid bats but we live in ohio so cold weather is an issue. He’s 5ft 6’ about 130. Should I go ahead and move him to a 32 inch drop 5 or stay with a 31 inch drop 5? Also bat suggestions for under 250? Thanks for your time.

~Kelam

(Get your own advice?)

Dear Kelam,

Thanks for the question. Here’s what we have.

We don’t know if your son is 12, but just guessing based on the fact he’s been playing for 4 years and probably started around 8 years old. If he’s 13 or 11 we don’t think our answer would change much. If he is 14 and in the BBCOR or a league that requires at least a drop 5 then read Option 2 below.

Option 1

Assumptions (11 – 13 y.o | 130 pounds | Skill Level: Good – Great | Concerns: Cold Weather Bat, Under $250 | Previous Bats: Hybrids, Single Piece Aluminum)

We looked at our bat size chart for a 130 pound kid about 12 years old and found a 23 ounce bat would likely maximize his swing speed and force at impact. (These data points were gathered a scientific study done in a lab to produce the highest force at impact.)

Generally, our data tests show that bat speed, at a younger age, is more important than bat heft. Although, we realize, they are going to drop 3 BBCOR bats soon so building up to that is a smart play too. But, in terms of pure performance, staying lighter for longer tends to send the ball further.

If he’s allowed to do something besides a drop 5 then we suggest you look for a drop 8 32-inch. The Hybrids and single piece aluminum bats in the space tend to run a bit heavy so he’ll feel like its a bigger stick than last year. Our guess is he’ll really like the longer bat too.

2019 Easton Beast Pro Drop 8

Bat Advice

Price Check: Amazon | JustBats

If you want to stay under $250 for a new 2019 bat then take a close look at the 2019 Easton Beast Pro Drop 8. This is a solid, no frills bat. It’s a single piece so will be durable for cold weather although it will ring the hands on mishits. It will feel more like the Rawlings Machine, but better.

The 2019 Easton Beast Pro in a drop 8 (and drop 5) was also the choice of the many of elite hitters in the 2019 LLWS. (LLWS bat commentary).

2018 Axe Element USA

2018 Axe Element Review

Price Check: Amazon

(We had a hard time finding 32 inches in stock. But, at the time of this writing, Amazon had some).

Another solid drop 8 in the USA space and a real under the radar pick is the Axe Element.

You’ll need to get over the fact the bat has a handle he might not be used to (and its green!). But, our players really like them. The Easton Beast Pro it will ring your hands on mishits like the Rawlings machine he used last year.

Option 2

Assumptions (13+ y.o | 130 pounds | Skill Level: Good – Great | Concerns: Cold Weather Bat, Under $250, Needs at least a drop 5 | Previous Bats: Hybrids, Single Piece Aluminum)

If he is required to swing a drop 5 in the USA space then the ‘scientist’ would say to get as close to 23 ounces as possible. So, the 31/26.

But, if he can’t get the optimal size we think it more a function of how much he’s grown in the last year. If a lot, then go for the 32/27. If not so much then stick with the 31/26. Both will feel like an upgrade. And, when in doubt, we’d opt for the longer bat in a 32/27. Each upgrade in inch adds about 7 or 8% in swing weight.

2018 Slugger 718 USA Drop 5

Bat ADvice

Price Check: Amazon | JustBats

The decision here is easy.

Especially while vendors are trying to blow out last year’s inventory.

The 2018 Slugger 718 Select in a drop 5 won’t be beat. Your boy will really like how smooth of a smash it is, the Lizard Skin Grip, and the good sized barrel. This is an elite level bat. At the time of this writing the 32/27 on Amazon was a better price.

The hybrid will feel more like the Easton Beast Hybrid he swing last year, but the 718 feels just like it should. Swings like a boss and one of our favorite USA bats from 2018.

In any event, we hope that information is helpful and we at least put you on the right path to get answers and make the right decision for you.

Good luck this year! Let us know what you decided and how it worked out. If you liked our advice feel free to use the links above to make your purchases. We might get a small commission from those vendors if you follow to their site from ours.

Thanks!

Bat Digest

Want some advice? Go Here.

 

Answered On: December 24, 2018