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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
Our 2016 Axe Elite Review would run amiss if it didn’t point out that the Axe handled bat has been admitted to the hall of fame since our last review of the asymmetric handle technology. We knew our blog had far-reaching effects but weren’t quite sure Cooperstown was listening! (Look at us, being a little cheeky). We also note how the quote from the Hall of Fame plaque—which sits next to the Hall of Fame Axe Bat used by Dustin Pedroia—paraphrases what we said over a year ago in defining the benefits of the ax-shaped handle. It reads, “The innovative design helps keep the batter’s hands in a strong yet comfortable position.” True, True.
We are fans of the ax-shaped handle and fully expect it acceptance along all levels of baseball to increase year over year. The technology simply makes too much sense and the swing simply feels too good to be left in the dust. We probably sound like a broken record in our review of Axe Bats, but it’s simply the truth: These bats don’t see nearly as much plate time as they should.
We are not sure the lack of barrel size on the Axe Elite is compelling enough to shout this bat from the housetops. The balanced hybrid bat space, if that is your priority, does have slightly lighter swing weights and bigger barrels than the Axe Elite. But none of them have an ax-shaped handle. So, if an ax handle and a hybrid bat are your must-haves then the Elite is your bat. If you were in the BBCOR market we’d definitely suggest you take a look at the 2016 Element Hyperwhip from Axe too.
We’ve now spent at least 40+ hours, and thousands of hacks, hitting with and watching players hit with a handle that has an ax-shaped handle. We are perfectly comfortable with the idea and find it no surprise that folks like Dustin Pedroia, among others, who, at the top level of the sport, are finding success with the bat. As a comparison, we never expect a pro to use a bat with a spinning handle. But one shaped like an ax? Check.
The 2016 Axe Elite in particular is the bat for hitters who prefer a hybrid design (aluminum barrel and composite handle) but also would like an ax-shaped handle. In our experience, it’s hard to even recreate a hand ringer with the two-piece design so Axe leaving off their 2016 Endogrid technology in this bat makes some sense.
By way of performance, when hit on the right spot, the bat feels hot right out of the wrapper. We do wish the barrel was a bit longer—as we’ve grown accustomed to the monster barrels offered on composite bats (especially in the Senior League or Big Barrel Space). Compared to other hybrid bats in its class, the barrel is just slightly below average size. It should be considered a balanced bat but does swing heavier than some of the lightest ones.
If it’s an ax-shaped handle on a hybrid bat with a balanced swing weight you want, then the 2016 Axe Elite is the bat for you.
The overall rating uses seven different weighted metrics to determine our overall score. Half of total rating comes from the player and our exit speed tests (Player Rating: 25%, Performance: 25%).The other categories are Relevance (20%), Demand (10%), Durability (10%), Resell Score (5%), and Tech Specs (5%).
*: When a bat is denoted by a star (*) it is a preliminary rating. Expect it to be updated as we learn more about the bat and gather more data.
(PlaRa) Player Rating: We measure player rating from user reviews. Those users include our own hitters that we test at the lab as well as reviews we find online.
(ExVe) Performance: Performance measures the exit speeds and distances we capture in our hitting lab with HitTrax using these bats.
(Relv) Relevance: We measure the number of sizes and the MOI of the bat. Bats with a wider range of options get a better score.
(Dmnd) Demand: Demand is measured by consumer sentiment and the buzz around the bat.
(Drb) Durability: A bat’s durability is measured by user reviews as well as feedback from manufacturers.
(ReSl) Resell Score: Based on the price the bats go for used. Higher prices mean greater user demand which means, generally, a better bat. A resell value closer to its original price means a higher score.
(Tech) Tech Specs: We rate the bat on its technological advancements from previous years and compared to the industry at large. This is our chance to reward companies who are trying to innovate.
MOI or Mass Moment of Inertia is a measurement of bat swing weight. This quantifies how difficult it is to swing a bat. The industry often refers to this as things like End Load or Balanced but those words have been overused to the point of meaninglessness. We measure the actual swing weights of each bat we test using the industry-standard pendulum period, balance point, and scale weight. You can read more about that here.
The price is the original MSRP price of the bat.
The types of bats are single-piece alloy (SPA), two-piece composite (TPC), single-piece composite (SPC), hybrid (Hyb.), and wood (Wood). Hybrid bats are made of composite handles and alloy barrles.
The estimated date the bat began distribution.