Disclaimer: This site uses affiliate links. Learn More.
By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
For almost a year, the Lock & Load from Easton has been the subject of rumor. Now, in May of 2017, we are stoked to see it go live. We now have experience with this BBCOR only bat that comes with the unique feature of swing weight adjustment.
Change in swing weight is made possible by adding weighted discs to the end of the bat with a simple screw attachment system. The bat, along with its discs, are approved for play in the NFHS (High School). The bat without the discs is approved for play in the NCAA.
We have spent several months drooling over the specs and possibilities of the Easton Lock and Load. Our biggest reservation has been the complexity of the process for changing the bat’s swing weight. After some use, and a number of conversations with serious players about the bat’s effectiveness, we address that and other concerns below.
Leaving aside the adjustable swing weights for a moment, the Lock and Load is a single piece Z-Core bat. Although a slightly different and smaller barrel profile, the bat is made exactly like the Easton Z-Core Speed and XL Series of bats (that we review here). That is, the bat’s base is a single piece aluminum with a large sweet spot and a considerable, hot out of the wrapper, barrel.
Although it likely goes without saying, no bat in the baseball space has the ability to adjust its swing weight. The Z-Core Lock & Load is built on the chassis of the Z-Core bat line from Easton. If we were therefore forced to find a similar bat, we would go that route.
Outside of the Easton brand, there are several single piece aluminum bats built with a big barrel. None of them, obviously, possess the ability to adjust their swing weight. As one example, we like the Marucci CAT 7 in the single piece aluminum space.
In once sentence, the Z-Core Lock & Load is a single piece aluminum bat with a large barrel and the ability to increase the swing weight from an industry low, a middle ground and an industry high swing weight.
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.