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2020 Rawlings VELO ACP Review

July 3, 2020 | by Bat Digest Review Team | @BatDigest

2020 Rawlings VELO ACP Review: as iconic as any bat in the non-wood bat space, the 2020 Velo is a light swing, loud sound and newly designed end cap. Our favorite version, after hitting every one, is the uniuqe drop 5 USSSA Velo which swings lighter than many drop 8 bats. It’s a great choice for the little guy forced to use big bats. The BBCOR version will do well with a newly designed end cap (which made no difference in our exit speeds). The USA version in a drop 11 still struggled to impress.

VELO ACP

As has been the case for the last several years, our hitters like the light swing and loud ping of the 2020 Rawlings VELO ACP. The new end cap has driven down the swing weight a bit from previous years (2 to 3%) and it feels great if you can barrel it up. Of course, like always, single piece bats… Jump to the full review.


Quick Review

As has been the case for the last several years, our hitters like the light swing and loud ping of the 2020 Rawlings VELO ACP. The new end cap has driven down the swing weight a bit from previous years (2 to 3%) and it feels great if you can barrel it up. Of course, like always, single piece bats will ring your hands if you miss it. But, the stiff nature of the bat, loud sound and reasonably sized barrel can drill some balls if you square it up.

Get Your Own Advice

Rawlings VELO ACP vs Marucci Cat 9

Situation:

Son likes and swings one-piece alloys a lot better than composite bats. As any other dad looking to get him in the best bat that feels right. Was wondering what is the better bat the Marucci Cat 9 or the Rawlings VELO? Have heard some people favor the VELO and wanted to hear what an expert had to say. My son uses a drop 10 28-29 ounce bat.

Thank you in advance for your time.

~Jose

Advice:

Jose,

Our experience with the VELO in the youth space has not been terribly impressive. We think it’s too light to pack a punch. It does sound loud and some parents seem to like that, but we’ve found no correlation between a loud bat and a long hit.

We like the CAT series of bats better than the VELO ACP series in the youth space. It has a bigger barrel and swings with more gumption. Granted, in exit speed tests both are pretty similar. But, we’ve yet to find a player hitting side by side the VELO and Marucci CAT in USSSA or USA that prefers the Velo. It’s either a tie or advantage: CAT 9.

That is our $0.02. Get a 29/19 in a CAT 9 and get him to work

Jump From Drop 10 To BBCOR?

Situation:

Dear Bat Guy,

Son is 12 years old (average size weight) has played ball since 5. Looking for a good fit in BBCORbat for him (30″,31″ – would prefer 31″ as he will be moving up to Middle School ball and travel). He is a contact hitter, top of lineup, not a lot of power. Not looking to spend over $250. You see so many different bats, could you give us your top 3 in a 1 piece, and top 3 in a composite? Right now he plays with a Demarini USSSA 30″ -10, and an Easton Maxum same size. In South Carolnia you have to play with BBCOR in school and travel.

Thank you so much for your time.

Derrick

Advice:

Derrick,

Alright. Top 3 BBCOR bats that are (1) less than $250, (2) made for a smaller hitter, (3) are the right size for a player moving from a 30/20, and (4) for a contact hitter.

Before we say the bats, note that the differentiation in BBCOR bats is all but nothing. Despite popular opinion, BBCOR bats all perform about the same. The real trick is finding the one with the right feel and swing weight. Our guess, coming from a 30/20 two-piece composite in the CF, he’ll really NOT like a single piece aluminum bat. Try and see if you can’t pick up a light swinging composite in a 30/27. Note, too, many of the most visible composite BBCOR bats (like the Meta) don’t come in a 30″. But, bats like the CF and Easton Ghost do.
As well, in terms of sizing, we think the jump from a 30/20 at 13U to a 31/28 BBCOR is going to be HUGE. If you can convince yourself into a 30/27 that might be better. However, if he’s in a growth spurt this might be a good time for the 31/28.

Here are our picks. Hope they put on your on the right track.

Single Piece Choices
1. Louisville Slugger Solo in any year (2016/17/18/19/20/21).
2. Rawlings VELO in any year.
3. Easton Speed in any year.

Composite Options

1. Used 2016/17/18/19 DeMarini CF in a 30/27. (You’ll need to shop around a bit to find a deal).
2. Used or discounted Axe Avenge Hyperwhip from 2019.
3. Easton Ghost from 2018 in a 30/27.

Be the First to Ask a Question!
Ask a Question

The idea 2020 Velo ACP hitter, in our mind, is two types of players. First is the newer and younger player looking for as much bat speed as possible whose parents would rather not get a second mortgage to buy a bat. The Velo feels great and can hit the ball as far as any other performance bat on the market at a fraction of the cost. The other type of hitter who will like the Velo is a relatively big hitting high school player that likes a stiff feel and really wants to maximize his reach at the plate with a 33 or 34-inch BBCOR. Those aren’t the only two types of players who will like the Velo ACP for 2020, but those are the exact type of hitters that gravitate towards it.

BBCOR VELO ACP Recommendations
2020 Rawlings VELO ACP Review

As has been the case for several years, the Velo is a good bat for the smaller kid that needs as much help in the bat speed department as possible and doesn’t mind the hand sting. Throw in a budget that isn’t willing to break the bank and you have a solid choice. As well, the 2020 VELO ACP in BBCOR is a fantastic choice for the bigger hitter who really wants to get that 34-inch length in and can swing it hard. Some of the better hitters we see all year, in terms of strength and form, love the Velo for its hot out of the wrapper performance, stiffness through the zone and long reach it provides at a marginal swing weight cost.

Price Check
USA VELO ACP Recommendations
2020 Rawlings VELO ACP Review

The USA market is so new and fluid its hard to pin down the right choice for everyone. Like in USA, the drop 11 USA VELO is outmached by the USA Slugger Solo in a drop 11. The CAT 8 in a drop 10 is a bit more popular than the VELO drop 10. In a drop 5 it gets beat out by the aluminum barreled Axe Elite. However, note, it competes in each of those categories—which makes the Velo such a popular choice. It has so many decent options that it is bound to float to the plate in any game you can find. In any event, we think aluminum barrels are generally the way to go for most USA players this early in the standard. That may change one day, but picking up a drop 11, 10 or 5 Velo for that light swing and top performance from swing one is a legitimate and reasonable approach to 2020 USA bat buying.

Price Check
USSSA VELO ACP Recommendations
2020 Rawlings VELO ACP Review

The USSSA Velo series is an above average bat. For the price point and construction type it does well although it competes with a very popular Slugger Solo and Omaha as well as the more expensive Marucci CAT 8 series of bats—all of which are more popular than the USSSA Velo. But, in terms of a light swing at a reasonable price point its a solid choice. We are big fans of the drop 5 USSSA Velo ACP for the same reason we like bigger, stronger kids in the longer BBCOR versions. If you are in the market for a Slugger Solo and want to make a steal of a deal look for an older model USSSA Velo in the same drop. They swing the same, have the same tech in the end cap and get very similar reviews. It’s possible you’ll save a pretty penny with this approach.

Price Check

2020 vs 2019 VELO ACP

The big change from the 2019 Velo and the 2020 Velo ACP is the end cap which lowers the swing weight, by our calculations, 2 – 3%. This change makes it the lightest swinging BBCOR bat on the market for 2020 and now lower than the Quatro Pro.

The ACP (Accelerated Carbon Performance) shows two full inches of carbon extended into the barrel. Previous versions of the bat had a similar composite end cap, but the ACP takes it up a notch. Although we don’t have all the numbers for every drop and length the theme we noticed for USSSA as well as USA also make the 2020 version a bit lighter swinging than the 2019.

As well, the 2020 Velo has a new barrel profile (made possible by the end cap) as well as a vibration dampening material infused on the inside of the barrel. These changes make a considerably different bat than the 2019 Velo—which really had not changed much since the 2016 version.

2018

Velo

Aside from the color design, there are no considerable differences between the 2018 VELO and the 2017 version, including our opinion that it is a great buy.

Price Check

2017

Bat Review

Velo

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.

Price Check

Comparable Bats

Although the Velo is the first line to use variable wall thickness, at least as far as we’ve been tracking, there are many other bats that use similar tech now. Marucci’s CAT line of bats use a similar process and, likely most popularly, Louisville Slugger’s Solo series does it too. Over the years there have been a few which have come on gone like a few of Rip-Its bats as well as Boombahs series of BBCOR bats. We argue the most similar bat to the Velo is the Solo. But, the 2020 Velo ACP is priced more like the CAT than the Solo. Rawlings did add a new polymer to the handle to help dampen sting on mishits, a feature the Solo does not have, so the jury is still out if that’s worth the extra few bucks.

2020 Fuze 360
See the Fuze 360 Review

2020 Easton Fuze Review: We like the Easton Fuze as an entry level single piece aluminum USA bat and a new Hybrid BBCOR version (there is also a DSG exclusive hybrid USA version we review here). In the USA space the Fuze still trails the Solo drop 11, we think. But it isn’t far off—and the unique Power Boost knob might be just enough to convince several to try it out. The Fuze (like the Solo, Velo and Vandal) uses an extended composite end cap to help drive down the swing weight and increase the barrel size. Our smaller hitters who need bat speed liked it the most.

Price Check
2020 Solo
See the Solo Review

2020 Louisville Slugger Solo Review: Light, Value, Good Performance. After hitting each 2020 Solo with several different hitters, it rates out as well as the 2019 version did. That is, a very durable bat that perfectly serves the need of a budget conscience buyer who needs a light swing. The BBCOR Solo has many fans and the 29-inch is a hit for those who needs it ultra-light. The USA is our favorite Solo. The drop 11 creates as good as exit speeds as any. USSSA Solo’s aren’t as popular as composite barrels do better there. Our Score 9/10 (BBCOR); 9.8/10 (USA); 8.5/10 (USSSA).

Price Check
2021 CAT 9
See the CAT 9 Review

The long-awaited Marucci CAT 9 was made widely available on 8.31.2020. (Check here to buy it). For 2021, expect the same great barrel with a new alloy and the same AV2 knob found in the CAT 8. The 2021 Marucci CAT 9 comes in BBCOR, USSSA and USA. It’s big barrel and light swing in USSSA will attract a lot of hitters, again. The not too end-loaded BBCOR performs as well as any BBCOR bat on the market, has a loud ping and a great look.

Price Check

2020 Rawlings VELO ACP Review

Is the Rawlings VELO a Hybrid Bat?

We get this question a lot. In the traditional sense the answer is no. Hybrid bats in the industry are referred to as those who have a composite handle and an aluminum barrel. The Velo has a mostly aluminum bat with a composite end cap that extends two inches into the barrel. Most aluminum bats on the market have a ‘composite’ end cap. That is, plastic. We don’t refer to those as hybrid bats. For example, the Slugger Omaha, a very popular bat, has a composite end cap. It is referred to as a single piece aluminum although it has multiple ‘pieces’ that make it up included the end cap and grip.

That said, the extension of the end cap into the barrel is unique enough to think of differently than a traditional single piece aluminum. The industry would do well to think of another name for this type of bat as Slugger has one too in the Solo. Calling it a Hybrid in marketing literature is at best confusing. But it does draw attention to the fact that is different than your traditional single piece aluminum bat.

2020 VELO ACP Construction

The 2020 Rawlings VELO ACP is a single piece bat with an extended composite end cap. Meaning, and you can see this quite clear on the barrel, the last two inches are made of a different material. That material is a light plastic type material which helps bring down the swing weight of the bat. This allows for more construction girth to sit in the handle and barrel which helps extend its sweet spot.

In addition to the end cap, its most unique feature, the Velo uses a strong and proven alloy in the barrel (they call this the Ai909). On the inside of the bat, this Alloy has different levels of thickness to help it stay within the league standard but also extend its performance away from its middle. This is a proven tech which at least a couple aluminum bats use in the baseball space.

New to the 2020 Velo is the use of a “urethane infused” within the handle to help sting. It’s possible this works, but we can’t find any reliable way to measure it other than hearing from the thousands of readers and direct feedback we will get over the year.

Bat Sizing Options

The Velo ACP for 2020 has a huge offering. It comes in BBCOR, USSSA Drop 10, 8 and 5 and a USA drop 10 and 5. Here are the catalog images of the bats.

  • BBCOR | Drop 3 | 31, 32, 33, 34-inch

2020 Rawlings Velo ACP Review

  • USSSA | Drop 10 | 27, 28, 29, 30, 31-inch
  • USSSA | Drop 8 | 29, 30, 31-inch
  • USSSA | Drop 5 | 30, 31, 32-inch

2020 Rawlings Velo ACP USSSA Review

  • USA | Drop 10 | 28, 29, 30 31, 32-inch
  • USA | Drop 5 | 30, 31, 32-inch

2020 Rawlings Velo ACP USA Review

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