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2017 Louisville Slugger Catalyst Review

By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022

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.

Price Check

2017 Catalyst Video

2017 Catalyst Video

2017 Catalyst Models

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 Recomendations

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

Model Recommendations


USSSA Drop 12 Review

Catalyst USSSA Drop 12 Ratings (key)
2 4 2 4 4 2 3 3 4 3
MOI Tech Drb Flx Prof ReSl PlaRa ExVe Relv Dmnd

Sizing: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32-inch
Release Date: October 1, 2016
Serial: WTLSLCT17X
Bat Type: Single Piece Composite
Barrel Size: 2 3/4

USSSA Drop 12 Review

Catalyst USSSA Drop 12 Ratings (key)
2 4 2 4 4 2 3 3 4 3
MOI Tech Drb Flx Prof ReSl PlaRa ExVe Relv Dmnd

Sizing: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32-inch
Release Date: October 1, 2016
Serial: WTLSLCT172
Bat Type: Single Piece Composite
Barrel Size: 2 5/8

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.

Overall Ratings

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.

Download our data.