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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
Rawlings 5150 makes marked changes in the BBCOR version and looks all but the same in the USA and USSSA world for 2021. The Rawlings 5150 BBCOR changes the barrel profile and updates the end cap for a more balanced swing—up from its ultra-light swinging days. Now, it differentiates itself by a more average swing weight when compared to the VELO which swings ultralight. The USSSA and USA versions are the same balanced single-piece aluminum we have come to expect.
In BBCOR, we think the 5150 is an ideal bat for that hitter who doesn’t care about frills and shills. No one is out there drooling on the 5150, but hitters who know can bang away with it. It’s a single piece stiff bat that our more elite hitters preferred. It’s a basic design, a normal handle and moderately sized barrel are and could work for a hitter in any part of the lineup. Younger USA and USSSA players will likely struggle with the hand sting and lack of barrel profile. But, for them, it serves as a decent entry-level bat that won’t break the bank.
We recommend the 5150 for a hitter anywhere in the lineup that likes a single piece bat’s stiff feel and wants an average weighted bat. As well, don’t expect the 5150 to get major pub on review channels and sites. For whatever reason, the bat doesn’t inspire clicks. But, in terms of a durable workhorse that will hit it as far as any other BBCOR bat when you can square it up, the 5150 is a great find.
We also think differences from the 2020 5150 to the 2021 version are enough to consider them different takes. The end cap, change in barrel profile, and increase in swing weight make for a noticeably different experience.
Single-piece aluminum bats with a balanced swing and moderately sized barrels are plentiful. Every company has at least one and some have two. Marucci has the CAT; Slugger has the Solo and Omaha; Rawlings also has a VELO; DeMarini has The Goods One Piece and the Voodoo One; Easton has the Alpha and the Fuze. There are handfuls of bats that compete in the exact space as the 5150.
It is very difficult to tell many of them apart. They are all generally stiff swinging and balanced bats that perform at or near the BBCOR standard. We feel confident the 5150 is as good as any of them.
The BBCOR version of the 5150 went through considerable upgrades from 2020 to 2021. The barrel profile was changed with the use of variable wall thickness in the barrel. That is, different spots of the aluminum barrel have different wall thicknesses. That allows the barrel to extend its sweet spot and increase its general profile. As well, they added a new end cap. All in all, the 5150 swings heavier than the 2020 version—not as heavy as end loaded bats. But, at least, heavier than the very light swinging Velo.
In USSSA and USA there are virtually no changes. The bats are still single piece alloys for the entry-level youth ball space.
In BBCOR, the Rawlings 5150 uses an ultra-light end cap, variable wall thickness in the barrel, and their traditional 5150 Alloy. In USSSA and USA, the Rawlings 5150 uses the 5150 Alloy.
The bats are no-frills and very straight forward bats.
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.