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By Bat Digest
Updated November 17, 2022
Easton Bats moved their performance BBCOR line to the MAKO, Hybrid, and Z-Core line of bats in 2016---abandoning previous years' names in the Speed and XL Series. In little league and senior barrel bats (2 1/4 and 2 5/8), however, they kept some old keepsakes with similar designs to years past. Namely, the 2016 Easton S2, 2016 Easton S3, and, as we discuss below, the 2016 Easton XL3.
If you're looking for the most massive hitting stick in the drop 5 game, then we'd point you in the Easton XL3 direction first. We do think the 2015 version, which is generally cheaper these days, is just as good a get as the 2016 version. We'd also shy away from the 2014 version due to its denting and older alloy---unless it were a fantastic deal. We'd also feel pretty good about a youth barrel bat (drop 11 & 2 1/4) needed in the heavy-hitting single-piece space to look closely at the 2015 or 2016 Easton XL3. But if you need more bat speed, appreciate a bigger barrel, would like composite or a hybrid bat, and don't appreciate hand sting very much, then we'd say keep on looking.
The 2016 XL3 is similar in many respects to the 2015 Easton XL3 (remarkably similar to the 2014 Easton XL3). The XL3 is still a one-piece premium aluminum alloy bat with an extra stiff feel and an end load. For an aluminum one piece in the little league, youth, and ample barrel space the barrel length is noteworthy but still lacks compared to other 2016 composite barreled bats. The 2016 XL3 keeps the same "HyperLite" Alloy, which 2015 gained from the 2014 version.
As we stated above, the 2016 Easton XL3 is a stiff one-piece bat with a heavy end load. In 2014 Easton has several complaints of the XL3 denting way too early in its life. The change to a new "Hyperlite" alloy, which is now found on their BBCOR aluminum barreled bats, appears to be a solid move as the 2015 XL3 generally was given rave reviews. The end load on this single-piece bat is it's a real unique feature. In particular, the drop 5 2 5/8 senior league Easton XL3 is as heavy-hitting a bat you can find in the space. Those capable of wielding it could hit a ball to the moon.