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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
After being named the best 2017 BBCOR baseball bat, the 618 SOLO from Louisville Slugger is BACK!
If the bat is anything like last year, and it is, then you can expect a sweet swinging single piece with an extended composite end cap.
It is the most balanced bat Slugger makes and by balanced we mean the lightest swinging. It will also come in a 29-inch which we absolutely love. Count the following as our 2018 Louisville Slugger 618 Solo Review. An absolute must read before you pull the trigger.
Fun Fact: The 29-inch 2018 618 Solo is the lightest swinging BBCOR bat on the planet. We know this because we measured the swing weight of every one of them. It also did quite well on our exit speed tests.
As we have only seen this bat hit on TV (during the CWS and Regionals) it is impossible to make any firm determinations as to recommendations. If the bat is anything like the 2016 Slugger 716 Select then you can expect a somewhat balanced swing weight and a nice smooth smash. As we gather more data we will update that information here.
The only truly comparable bat tot he 618 SOLO on the market, aside from the 617 SOLO from 2017, is the Rawlings VELO in BBCOR. Both the Rawlings VELO and the 618 SOLO have prided themsevles on producing a light swinging single piece with an extended end cap.
What the 618 SOLO has that the VELO does not is a broad range of lengths. That reality is the driving feature in our preference for the SOLO over the VELO. Although, as many like to point out, the VELO has a much longer pedigree than the two year old SOLO line.
Slugger changed two things on the 2018 version of the SOLO. The first is a different composite structure on the end cap. The 2017 version had a composite end cap for sure, but the 2018 SOLO uses a new composite that is even lighter. It is, in part at least, some of the reason the 618 SOLO is the ligthest swinging bat in the 2018 Slugger lineup.
As was the 617 Solo built, so goes the 618. It includes a single piece aluminum barrel with an extended composite end cap and a Lizard Skin grip. It is a rather straight forward bat with a stiff feel, okay sized barrel and remarkably lights wing weight.
Granted, in 2017 USABats were not invented yet so looking at an old model is impossible. But, in terms of construction, the 618 Solo is built just like the 617 version in the BBCOR space.
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.