Louisville Slugger

2017 Louisville Slugger Catalyst Review

As a drop 12 bat built of a single piece of composite, the Slugger Catalyst is an easy swinging bat with a big barrel. Hitters looking for as much barrel speed and control as possible combined with the feel and power of a one-piece stick, appreciate the Catalyst the most.

2017 Catalyst Video

2017 Catalyst Models

Models Overview

Over the last 3 years, we hit with Louisville Slugger’s Catalyst numerous times. We also exchanged a handful of emails with Slugger’s design and marketing team, as well as a few major vendors, discussing the bat’s usefulness. That data, along with the new information for the 2017 model, comprises our 2017 Louisville Slugger Catalyst Review.

General Recommendations

Recommended For

  • Players need as much barrel for swing weight as possible
  • Hitters in 2 3/4 or 2 5/8 leagues
  • Parents with a mid to low-range budget wanting something with a good brand name
  • Those who appreciate the direct feedback of a single-piece bat.

Should Hesitate If

  • The player needs BBCOR, Youth, or anything but a drop 12
  • He or she wants an aluminum bat for hot out-of-the-wrapper performance
  • They need or prefer a two-piece bat for a smoother feel on contacts and mishit

Reviews By Model

Comparable Bats

With the death of Combat, a single-piece composite in the drop 12 big barrel space is harder to come by. Although released in 2015, the only comparable option we can summon is the Dirty South bat.

Other bats in the light swinging drop 12 space include the Rawlings VELO and DeMarini CF Zen. But, their construction and feel is entirely different.


The 2017 Louisville Slugger Catalyst only comes in a drop 12 for the 2 3/4 and 2 5/8 space. The 2016 and 2015 versions were also released in a youth barrel, but not the case with the 2017 version. We are guessing the lack of youth barrel in the 2017 version is due to the industry’s move away from 2 1/4 bats for the new USABats standard in 2018.

Notice, as well, the 2 5/8 (top) are designed differently than the 2 3/4 (bottom).

There are no changes between the 2016 and 2017 Slugger Catalyst. That is with the obvious exception of the color change. The bat is still a single-piece C1C composite construction with a good-sized barrel.

Our favorite feature of the Catalyst has always been its tapered knob in a drop 12. For 2017, we are not aware of a single senior barrel or big barrel bat in a drop 12 that also has the tapered lower knob. Some younger players really like that feature, and in some cases, it may be the tipping point in decision making.