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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
As one of the very first to swing the original 515 and 516 Omaha from Louisville Slugger, we have hit regularly with each of those bats over the course of the last two years.
We recently spent considerable time in the cage with the new 2017 Louisville Slugger 517 Omaha. That direct analysis, combined with well over a thousand hours of writing, reviewing and researching performance single piece aluminum bats, goes into our 2017 Louisville Slugger 517 Omaha Review.
The vast majority of big box store mass production bats are single piece alloy designs. However, few of them are designed to reach peak performance in terms of BBCOR and BPF standards. Within those few stands the 517 from Slugger. Two others come to mind: the 2017 Rawlings 5150 and the 2017 Easton HMX Speed.
The major upgrade from the 2016 516 are an improved alloy for a lighter swing speed. We can confirm that. Additionally, while the physical barrel hasn’t increased much (if at all), Slugger claims the usable barrel, due to an upgraded alloy, has also increased. This, in theory at-least, creates a larger sweet spot. There really is no way for us to confirm this. Another change from previous years is a custom Lizard Skin grip.
The 517 from Slugger is a single piece aluminum bat. It is a straight forward bat that doesn’t boast any new tech. It, after all, a bat. And they make no bones about it.
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.