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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
On October 20th, the 2017 Louisville Slugger 617 Solo was released. We spent time on the phone with major vendors discussing expectations for the bat as well as testing the bat over the course of a season. Here is our review.
As we are yet to hit with the bat, or get its swing weight and barrel measurements, it is difficult to give full blown recommendations. When more details are gathered we will give stronger recommendations.
The advancement of single piece hybrid bats have been the most robust in the entire industry. The 617 is Slugger’s response to the demand of players looking for a single piece feel without losing the swing weight and barrel size of a two piece composite.
Other companies have tried similar ideas. The VELO from Rawlings, it could be argued, pioneered the space of single piece bats with composite end cap. Axe Bats also produces a single piece aluminum bat with a composite end cap. Those two stand out, at least on paper, as similar constructions to the 617 Solo from Slugger. Time will tell us much more in terms of durability, performance and player uptake.
There was no last year’s version of the 617 Solo. It is the first of the single piece hybrid bats Slugger has made.
The 2017 Louisville Slugger 617 Solo is a single piece hybrid bat. We are not sure if we made up that categorization of bats in general, but we think it fitting for the 617. The bat is a single piece aluminum through the entire barrel, but has a composite end cap. This composite end cap can influence two significant things:
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.