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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
We were the first independent group to review the Dirty South Bats in 2015. Seeing them grow in their presence on social media and the eyes of individual reviews has been exciting and impressive. They recently worked out a chance to sell some of their USSSA bats on justbats.com. These are significant milestones in the bat space.
Dirty South is a USA-based manufacturer of composite youth baseball bats. They also sell some peripheral baseball items like batting gloves and bat wraps. Our experience with the company has been primarily positive. Although they lack some of the significant features that more established brands produce (like many size options, including a BBCOR line), what they make is legitimate stuff. We have yet to find a kid who did NOT like their Dirty South bat. Nor have we found anyone that has anything but good things to say about the brand and company. They are active in guerilla marketing via social media circles.
As a generally comprehensive industry note, we think the disappearance of Combat left a void that DSB is filling nicely. Dirty South Bats has a small, homegrown company sentiment producing big barreled composite bats against behemoths in the space. Word of mouth, an excellent social media presence, and a massive barrel have taken them a long way. It is reasonable to assume they are on the map to stay.
After several hours with the bat, we have a few things to point out in our 2018 Dirty South Made USA Bat review. The barrel profile on the DSB Made drop 10 is smaller than the Ghost X and Quatro but comparable to the CF Zen. The Made’s feel at contact is at least as good as the Quatro’s, better than the Ghost X USA, but probably behind the USA Zen in terms of overall feel. The Made stands as a legit and well-priced option in the 2018 USA two-piece composite bat race.
As a general rule, we think those looking for 1) an above-average feel, 2) the most reasonable price point of the two-piece composite space, and 3) a two-piece composite bat in the USABat space should buy the DSB Made. There should be no hesitation in trusting your money with this company.
Where the DSB Made beats all the other USA two-piece composite bats, although not by much, is on price. We think this is a significant consideration.
Time will tell, but we are not convinced that composite barrels will be the answer for the favorite USA bats of the public. The standard’s restriction ties engineers’ hands so severely that a more cost-effective and longer-lasting aluminum might be the best solution. However, in year one of the bar, there are many legit options on the market. And, undoubtedly, the DSB Made in a drop 10 is one of them.
After exit speed testing, we think the 2018 USA Dirty South Made barrel performs as well as any other composite barreled bat you can find in the USA space for 2018. Although we are yet to be convinced two-piece composite barrels are the answer for the USA Bat space, we think if you are convinced, then the actual drop ten swing weight, performance, and price point of the 2018 Dirty South Made should put it on your concise list.
There are five, counting the DSB Made, two-piece composite USA bats on the market as of this writing. The other four include the Easton Ghost X, Rawlings Quatro, Mizuno Ghost, and DeMarini CF Zen.
As all of these are first-year models, it is difficult to tell which bat the public will latch onto the most. Easton’s Ghost X, the progeny of the Mako, gets a lot of attention. It also has a very large barrel but has a bit more hand sting than we’d like to see in a kid bat. But, the Ghost X also comes in the most sizes and drops of any bat on this list.
The Quatro, also a very large barrel, is a serious contender for the top prize in the two-piece composite USA space, has a huge barrel, but has more durability claims than we’d like to see. Mizuno’s USA Ghost is a massively barreled bat, the largest of the bunch, but has failed to get the traction of the other bats on this list, we think because it lacks some durability. The 2018 CF Zen USA Bat feels, frankly, perfect on hits and mishits. But, if we could only get a larger barrel profile.
The DSB Made comes in a drop 10 and a drop 12. We note that drop 12 is a different bat than the drop 10 as the drop 12 is a single-piece bat. Single-piece bats feel much other than two-piece bats. We DID NOT HIT with the drop 12. We find naming the two bats the same confusing. But Rawlings does it too with their drop 12 VELO and drop 10 VELO.
Our guess, and this is just a guess, is that drop 12 lacks the power and forgiveness on mishits to be considered seriously. Never in our lives have we been impressed with a single-piece full composite bat in a drop 12 regardless of the company of origin (yes, including Combat). As much respect as we have for Dirty South Bats, we don’t think they somehow cracked some laws of physics. We are doubtful, but in the end, we must admit that we have never swung the drop 12. If we start hearing great things about it, we will find a way to get it in the lab.
The Made, in a drop 10, is a two-piece composite bat. That is, the bat is made from two pieces of composite fused together at a midpoint. The swing weight on the bat is right in line with other light swinging drop 10 bats on the market.
In theory, the major advantage of a two-piece bat is to dampen sting on mishits. Younger players especially can generate more bat speed with the added confidence that their thumbs won’t get knocked off on a poorly hit ball. As well, two pieces of material allow engineers more liberty to construct bat pieces with different functions in mind. Clearly, the handle serves a different purpose than the barrel, and in a two-piece bat, engineers are able to accomplish that with greater ease.
The drop 12 USA DSB Made is a single piece of composite. Single piece composite bats, in theory at least, are meant to produce maximum power to the ball with the added ability to construct an enormous barrel without over-weighting the bat. Dirty South Bats, like Combat before it, has made a living in massively barreled single piece composite bats. The DSB Made, however, is not big barrel like the Swag and Big Texas USSSA DSB counterparts.
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.