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We have spent considerable time with every Louisville Slugger bat on the market today. We also hit with a 33 inch Ash AJ10 with a black matte finish and the Silver LS Logo.
The bat comes in many different sizes and shapes and color options.
Other Inline Variations Available:
Maple AJ10 – Distressed Black with White LS logo / Red Lettering
Maple AJ10 – Flame Tempered with Orange LS logo / Orange Lettering
The AJ10 is the custom Louisville Slugger Prime model for Adam Jones, star outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles and recent hero of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. While you may see him swinging different color variations, the one we’ll be taking a look at is matte black.
Ash – White Ash (Fraxinus Americana) is a ring porous species that was the original wood choice of big leaguers for decades before maple and birch started gaining momentum. The porous grain structure results in more flexibility than maple and birch. Ash tends to be lighter and more forgiving overall which results in a longer sweet spot. Impact needs to be made on the edge grain or the side to the right/left of the label (this is why you’re told to hit with the label up).
Hitting the ball on the edge grain will help prevent the ash rings from “flaking” or separating from each other. Ash tends to be a good choice for hitters that aren’t as experienced with hitting wood . Ideally you would like to pick up an ash bat with roughly 6-10 grains or less per inch, any number higher than that starts to equal weaker wood.
With so many high gloss finishes around the league, any matte color tends to stick out a little bit from the crowd. The black and silver logo / lettering combo is a classic look that plays well with any personality. While the matte color finish is what everyone sees, the real story is hidden behind it.
Louisville Slugger’s latest innovation, Exo Armor, is a clear finish that is sprayed on in 3 coats making the wood “two times harder than ever before” according to the video below. I’m not 100% sure what they are comparing that to or what method is being used to quantify hardness (shore hardness scale possibly), but I will say that it is definitely a nice piece of wood. I would feel 100% confident bringing it to the dish.
Another feature on the bat is bone rubbing. This ritual like process has been debated among bat manufacturers, but has also stood the test of time as it was done by some of the greatest hitters that ever played the game. The idea is to rub the bone (or different tool) along the length of the barrel to compress the wood fibers.
The more compressed the wood is, the harder bat you end up with. When you rub your fingers across the barrel of a bone rubbed bat, you can feel the different subtle angles that have been made around it. The bone rubbing process tends to be done on the highest quality of wood.
If you’ve read some of my other reviews, you’ll know that the knob of a bat is a big deal to me. The knob or lack of one truly defined, is one of my favorite parts about this turning model. The knob taper is flared out and flows right into the standard size handle, which really feels great in your bottom hand, especially towards the end of your swing. If you’re a hitter who prefers a clearly defined knob to butt your hand up against, this may not fit your style.
The AJ10 has a pretty large (circumference) and lengthy barrel. Even though it’s made out of ash, which tends to be a little lighter than maple, the large barrel gives the AJ10 an end loaded feel.
The barrel does most of the work when you get to impact, but the challenge for many hitters will be getting it to that point without sacrificing bat speed and bat control. While it doesn’t have the highest MOI or heaviest swing weight, it will probably take a little bit of a stronger hitter to remain successful with it. Anyone looking to drop Adam-Jones-World-Baseball-Classicesque bombs should give it a rip.