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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
We hit with the 2017 DeMarini Voodoo Balanced in both BBCOR and big barrel sizing and gathered feedback from several different hitters. We also spent considerable time reviewing previous versions of the Voodoo and NVS Vexxum, which are, we argue, predecessors to the DeMarini Voodoo Balanced. Added to our extensive knowledge of performance baseball bats and the several hundred reviews we’ve written on this site collectively, this 2017 Voodoo DeMarini Voodoo Balanced review comes on the heels of thousands of hours of research and testing.
Our hitters love the big barrel and hot out of the wrapper performance of the Voodoo Balanced for 2017. Although many have come before and since we think the 2017 version holds up to anything you can find on the market today for 3 or 4x times the price.
Instead, we like to think of the Voodoo Balance as the next generation of the 2016 DeMarini NVS Vexxum. The Vexxum is a two-piece hybrid with a more balanced swing than the Voodoo Raw. The Vexxum, however, was always a step or two behind the Voodoo technology in terms of barrel size, alloy and handle composition. As such, the Balance has considerable upgrades to the handle and alloy barrel if compared directly to the 2016 Vexxum. Both upgraded features contribute to a much longer and more usable barrel.
A light swinging two piece hybrid bat in the performance space is a small category of bats. However, there is some legit competition if you find yourself in this exact market. Easton would claim, and so would we, the 2017 Z-Core Hybrid is a comparable bat in terms of barrel size, swing weight and composition. The Z-Core’s barrel is a bit larger than the Voodoo Balance. On the other hand, you simply can’t overlook the successful pedigree of the Voodoo line.
Another comparable bat is the 2016 Louisville Slugger 716 Select. This two piece hybrid is also a light swinging bat with a well performing barrel used at all levels of the sport. Those who like hot out of the wrapper performance in the collegiate ranks gravitate to this bat. From what we have gathered, the 716 will not be produced in a 2017 model. We can only guess, but the acquisition of Slugger by Wilson, who also owns DeMarini, might have something to do with a Voodoo Balance release and the lack of a 2017 717 from Louisville Slugger.
There is a considerable difference between the 2017 Voodoo Balance and the 2016 Voodoo Raw. Namely, the swing weight on the balance is much lower (nearly 15% by our measurements) than the Voodoo Raw of 2016. This is different enough to put the Voodoo Balance in a different category than the Voodoo Raw.
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.