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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
We had an exclusive sneak peak at the Louisville Slugger 518 Omaha. The bat comes with a few upgrades when compared to the 517 Omaha.
The 2018 model is a stiff bat with a big barrel and very little apologizes for hand ring. If you’re up for gripping and ripping, want a smart value buy then we think you’ll like it. It performs right at the BBCOR standard and you can expect to get great performance here. Don’t be fooled by newer bats. BBCOR standards have leveled the playing field for quite some time.
There are several single piece aluminum bats on the market today. In terms of structure, the most similar, or at least one of them, is the DeMarini Voodoo One.
Both of these bats have very similar swing weights, are made for the stiff feel and good power transfer. As well, both come in a number of sizing options. And both are aluminum bats built with the same price point and market in mind.
The most signficant upgrade from the 2017 Omaha to the 2018 Omaha is the change in the end cap. End caps, often overlooked, deliver good perofmrnace through the end of the barrel as well as increase durability. Also, end caps play a significant roll in swing weight. As, without surprise, weight added to the end of a bat effects swing weight more than any other factor.
Slugger’s new 518 6-point end cap enhances the bats balance point and increases durability. It theory, at least, it extends the sweet spot too.
We are not foaming at the mouth convinced this is a true upgrade in terms of performance. But, if both the 517 and 518 were the same price we would prefer the 518 for this reason alone. How much someone should pay for the improved end cap will be a personal decision.
From the 2016 516 to the 2017 517 the alloy on the Omaha went through a considerable upgrade. That alloy allowed for a larger barrel without hurting durability or an increase in swing weight. That same alloy (Slugger calls this the 7U1+ alloy) is found in the 518 Omaha too.
As we mention above, the major difference between the 2017 517 Omaha and the 2018 518 Omaha is the use of a different end cap. the 2018 version uses an newer composite that allows for a better sweet spot towards the end cap and a little more durability.
Ultimately, however, the 517 was a really great single piece aluminum bat. And the idea that an end cap somehow changed the nature of the beast is silliness. The 518 is the very close relative of the 517 and we’d struggle to suggest, with a straight face, the bats are different.
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.