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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
In the last two weeks, we’ve spent at least 2 hours reading player reviews, company literature and vendor takes on the new 2017 Rawlings VELO.
We’ve watched every VELO video we could find and spent a good hour, with several different hitters, in the cage with the Rawlings VELO. That data set, combined with our knowledge on performance baseball bats, prepped us to write this 2017 Rawlings VELO review.
The 2016 Velo is the same as expected. It’s a single piece bat with a stiff feel and light swing. It hasn’t changed much before or since. The bat is a pretty basic stick built for the hitter who believes the best hitters don’t need the latest and greatest. It’s a durable bat with a light swing and a good-sized barrel. Not the most exciting bat you could but, but a great one nonetheless.
In the 2017 class, there is yet to be a truly similar constructed bat. There are single piece aluminum bats, but none with a composite end cap.
The most similar bat to the 2017 VELO is, without surprise, the 2016 VELO. Neither the standard VELO or the VELO composite are any significant amount different. The 2016 and 2017, we should note, are noticably different than the 2015 as the 2015 doesn’t have the extended composite end cap or the groove on the inner barrel as we discuss above.
In previous years, Boombah’s Cannon bat is an attempted replica of the Rawlings VELO. It uses an extended composite end cap to lighten the swing of a mostly aluminum barreled bat.
Last year Rawlings labeled this particular bat the VELO Composite. We’ve yet to see that differentiation from vendors for the 2017 model. The only way to tell, aside from the serial number, is by looking closely at the picture. The two piece composite looks like, well, a two piece bat.
Save the two piece VELO Composite, the VELO is built with a full aluminum alloy body with an extended composite end cap. This cap, you’ll notice if you look closely, comes 2 to 3 inches into the barrel. An extended composite end cap drives the balance point toward the hands and gives the bat a lighter swing (lower MOI).
The other feature in the VELO is on the inside of the barrel. If you were to cut it open, you’d find a groove within the barrel. Rawlings refers to this as pOp 2.0. The groove isn’t big enough to hurt durability, but it is, in large measure, how the VELO maintains its low swing weight despite being a mostly aluminum bat.
These construction details, we should note, are the same as the 2016 VELO.
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.