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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
We would not buy the bat if we were looking for an endloaded option, single-piece power, or the needed a very light swing. Another idea that would move us elsewhere: budget. Although this performance price point is better than others, and right in the wheelhouse of a hybrid performance BBCOR, it still isn’t free.
Some hefty competition might keep us from pulling the trigger, too. While there are not much lighter swinging hybrid bats in the BBCOR space, Slugger’s 716 Select (our review) is a worthy option that we might choose over the Easton Z-Core Hybrid. However, the Z-Core’s bigger barrel and focus on the light swing weight might swing us back in Easton’s pocket. The focus on a stiff transition in the 716 Select and its stellar user reviews, on the other hand, might leave us to a coin toss.
We’ve now hit with the Z-Core Hybrid from Easton no less than 300 times. A handful of players, small to big, took it in the cage for hacks. We also exchanged a few emails with folks at Easton about the bat’s data. That information, combined with our 2016 review of the Z-Core Hybrid and our extensive knowledge of bats, went into developing this 2017 Easton Z-Core Hybrid Review.
First of all, we would buy the 2017 Z-Core hybrid for the combination of the hot out of the wrapper performance barrel made of Easton’s HMX alloy, and the smooth smash the two piece feature of the bat provides. We would also buy if we prefer a middle of the road swing weight, and, since the Z-Core hybrid is only in BBCOR, the bat was for high school or collegiate play.
These bats are popular enough, and Easton’s distribution far enough reaching, that many groups are selling this exact bat. Hence, we would price shop. Starting here (Amazon). We would also look for new, in wrapper, warrantied bats from trustworthy vendors in a 2016 model, as there isn’t a significant difference.
We would buy this bat because of the impressive barrel size and tapered knob. And with our very first hot out of the wrapper ping in BP, we would be glad we did.
Like last year’s 2016 Z-Core Hybrid, the 2017 version is a two-piece hybrid bat. This means the bat consists of a composite handle and an aluminum barrel. The composite handle is the exact composite handle found in the 2017 Easton MAKO (our review). The barrel is the exact aluminum barrel found in the Z-Core speed lines. This fusion of composite and aluminum is what makes it a hybrid bat and what drives the name.
As well, the swing weight is right in the middle of Easton’s performance bat line. This bat is not nearly as light as the MAKO, for example, and not nearly as heavy swinging as the Hybrid XL. This feature is also not a change from the 2016 version.
If you’ve been following along, this means, in essence, the 2017 and 2016 BBCOR Z-Core hybrid bats are remarkably similar.
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.