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<< All Bests

Best Big Barrel USSSA Bats 2022

Updated August 4, 2022

By Bat Digest

For 2022, we think the best USSSA big barrel bat is DeMarini’s CF in a drop 8. If you want/need a lighter bat then check out Easton’s Maxum Ultra or the CF in a drop 10. Our favorite older bat is Marucci’s 2021 CAT 9 Composite, but we also like the Easton Ghost X you can often pick up on eBay for a song.

We find the best big barrel bats empirically. That is, we track thousands of swings from multiple players. We collect exit speeds, ball flights, and survey data from players and parents alike on the bat’s value, durability, performance, perception, popularity, and more. For 2022, our compiled data put the 2022 USSSA DeMarini CF Drop 8 as the USSSA youth bat of the year.

Updated August 4, 2022

We’ve collected teh vast majority of our data for the 2022 season in USSSA and updated our page to represent the 2022 bats.

1. 2021 Marucci CAT 9 Composite

Player Feedback
Performance
Relevance
Demand
Tech Specs
Specs

Certification: USSSA

Sizes: 28, 29, 30, 31

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Drop: 10

Swing Weight: Light

Serial Number: MSBCCP910

Original Price: $350

Release Month: October 2020

Best USSSA Bat

2021 Marucci CAT 9 Composite USSSA Drop 10
USSSA
2021 Marucci CAT 9 Composite

$350

Original Price

Amazon

2. 2022 DeMarini Zen

Player Feedback
Performance
Relevance
Demand
Tech Specs
Specs

Certification: USSSA

Sizes: 29, 30, 31, 32

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Drop: 8

Swing Weight: Mid

Serial Number: WTDXC8Z-22

Original Price: $350

Release Month: October 2021

Best USSSA Bats 2022

2022 DeMarini Zen USSSA Drop 8
USSSA
2022 DeMarini Zen

$350

Original Price

Amazon

Cliche’? Yes. Predictable? Yes. Wrong? No.

This is the first year we have awarded a NON-drop 10 bat as our favorite USSSA bat. It seems like many are very willing to size their young one into a drop 8, and we think that this is fine as long as they are eager to sacrifice an inch. Never get the wrong-sized bat even if someone, like us, says it’s the ‘best.’ In any case, We love the drop 8 CF. It is predictable, more durable than the drop 10, packs a serious punch, and feels fantastic. No one walks away from hitting the drop 8 USSSA CF without anything but a smile. It tops our list of the “best USSSA bats for 2022.”

11. 2022 DeMarini Zen

Player Feedback
Performance
Relevance
Demand
Tech Specs
Specs

Certification: USSSA

Sizes: 30, 31, 32, 33

Barrel Size: 2 5/8

Drop: 5

Swing Weight: Mid+

Serial Number: WTDXCB5-22

Original Price: $350

Release Month: October 2021

Best Drop 5 USSSA Bat - 2022

2022 DeMarini Zen USSSA Drop 5
USSSA
2022 DeMarini Zen

$350

Original Price

Amazon

Look, this bat is a monster. If you are 13 years old and are allowed to swing this bat, then thank you, lucky stars. Sincerely, it will NEVER get better than this. BBCOR bats are duds compared to this monster. It is, without a doubt, the best-performing legal bat on the market today. Some other drop 5 bats hit it well, too, in USSSA, but swing this bat as a 13-year-old if you can because you’ll one day be able to tell your grandchildren that you were one of the few who got to swing the drop 5 CF as a teenager. Swing hard, run harder.

3. 2022 DeMarini Zoa

Player Feedback
Performance
Relevance
Demand
Tech Specs
Specs

Certification: USSSA

Sizes: 30, 31, 32, 33

Barrel Size: 2 5/8

Drop: 5

Swing Weight: Mid+

Serial Number: WTDXZB5

Original Price: $400

Release Month: October 2021

Best Drop 5 USSSA Bat

2022 DeMarini Zoa USSSA Drop 5
USSSA
2022 DeMarini Zoa

$400

Original Price

Amazon

The ZOA is more different than its CF brother in its connection piece stiffness. That is, the ZOA has a stiffer connection piece than the drop 5 CF. This doesn’t change performance as much as it changes feel–as both bats can hit the seams out of the ball. Overall, the ZOA gets as good of exit speeds as any bat in the drop 5 space, has a massive barrel and that stiff connection pushes the player ratings beyond that of the CF–which has found itself on top of the best drop 5 USSSA bats. There are a lot of good options here, but if we had to choose we’d take the drop 5 DeMarini ZOA as a best drop 5 USSSA bat for 2022.

5. 2020 DeMarini CF

Player Feedback
Performance
Relevance
Demand
Tech Specs
Specs

Certification: USSSA

Sizes: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Drop: 10

Swing Weight: Light+

Serial Number: WTDXCBZ-20

Original Price: $350

Release Month: August 2019

Best USSSA Bat - 2020

2020 DeMarini CF USSSA Drop 10 2020 DeMarini CF USSSA Drop 10
2020 DeMarini CF USSSA Drop 10
USSSA
2020 DeMarini CF

$350

Original Price

Amazon

The 2020 CF is a legend. The bat hasn’t changed much over the last few years after its retooling in the 2017 version (to be made legal). But, it still has a huge barrel, light swing weight, and feels great on hits and mishits. We’ve never seen a kid hit with the CF and think anything other than this bat was legit and one of the best, if not the best, in the bunch.

We like the CF even better in a drop 8, but the drop 10 is where 9 through 11-year-old legends are made.

4. 2022 Easton Maxum Ultra

Player Feedback
Performance
Relevance
Demand
Tech Specs
Specs

Certification: USSSA

Sizes: 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Drop: 10

Swing Weight: Light+

Serial Number: SL22MX10

Original Price: $300

Release Month: October 2021

Best Single Piece USSSA Bat - 2022

2022 Easton Maxum Ultra USSSA Drop 10
USSSA
2022 Easton Maxum Ultra

$300

Original Price

Amazon

In all our years of awarding bats, we aren’t sure we’ve ever put a single piece as our favorite drop 10 USSSA bat. This category is dominated by the two-piece composites of the world. You may blame this ranking on our fatigue of feeling like a broken record. But, to be perfectly sure, we think the Easton Maxum Ultra is the best 2022 USSSA bat in a drop 10 because its barrel is massive, the sizing options are wide (27 to 32-inch), the barrel is bigger than anyone and the swing weight is light. There really is a size for any hitter. Throw in the fact it is widely available and more than $100 less than two-piece composites and we have ourselves a winner.

6. 2019 DeMarini CF Zen

Player Feedback
Performance
Relevance
Demand
Tech Specs
Specs

Certification: USSSA

Sizes: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Drop: 10

Swing Weight: Light+

Serial Number: WTDXCBZ-19

Original Price: $350

Release Month: August 2018

Best USSSA Bat - 2019

2019 DeMarini CF Zen USSSA Drop 10
USSSA
2019 DeMarini CF Zen

$350

Original Price

Amazon

Aside from its durability (or lack thereof), the 2019 DeMarini CF Zen in a drop 10 is all anyone could ever hope for. The bat has a great sweet spot, feels fantastic on every hit, and was the most popular 2019 USSSA bat for a reason. Despite the problems, the 2017 through 2018 version had with certification (some got banned), people still flock to this bat.

Note, for sure, the bat still suffers from durability issues. If you are going to buy it, we suggest you either get a terrific deal on a used one or find one from a vendor who can make sure you have a warranty.

As a colorway, DeMarini also released a “Black” version of this exact bat. It is not any different than the other 2019 other than the paint job.

10. 2021 Louisville Slugger Meta

Player Feedback
Performance
Relevance
Demand
Tech Specs
Specs

Certification: USSSA

Sizes: 29, 30, 31, 32

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Drop: 8

Swing Weight: Light+

Serial Number: WBL2468010

Original Price: $350

Release Month: September 2020

Best Drop 8 USSSA Bat - 2021

2021 Louisville Slugger Meta USSSA Drop 8
USSSA
2021 Louisville Slugger Meta

$350

Original Price

Amazon

The truth is, we could have chosen the CF, CAT 9 Connect, and CAT 9 in this spot. But, we thought we’d share the brand love (although Slugger, like DeMarini, is also owned by Wilson). It turns out, too, the drop 8 Meta is an absolute win—which is rare for the bat’s first run. The Meta builds on the Prime series of bats from previous years, uses what they learned in the connection piece in the very popular Meta, and puts that in a great feel, big barrel, and top-end performance of the drop 8 2021 Slugger Meta.

If budget is not a concern and you want what many consider the best drop 8 bats on the market (including us), then you can’t go wrong with the 2021 Louisville Slugger Meta.

9. 2019 Easton Beast Speed

Player Feedback
Performance
Relevance
Demand
Tech Specs
Specs

Certification: USSSA

Sizes: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Drop: 10

Swing Weight: Light+

Serial Number: SL19BS10

Original Price: $200

Release Month: August 2018

Best Cheap USSSA Bat

2019 Easton Beast Speed USSSA Drop 10
USSSA
2019 Easton Beast Speed

$200

Original Price

Amazon

At the time of this writing, we could find plenty 2019 Easton Beast Speeds available. The original price of the bat was $199, but we found it in a few places for less than $100. With a sub $100 price point new in wrapper, it makes all other bat buys in the USSSA space feel ridiculous. The Easton Beast Speed gets great ratings, has top-end exit speeds, a light swing, a good grip and a big barrel profile. Aside from the composite sound of the CF and the buttery smooth feel of the other two-piece bats on this list it lacks nothing.

If you want a deal on a legit bat in the USSSA space then we think the best cheap USSSA bat on the market right now is the 2019 Easton East Speed.

 

8. 2018 DeMarini CF Zen

Player Feedback
Performance
Relevance
Demand
Tech Specs
Specs

Certification: USSSA

Sizes: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Drop: 10

Swing Weight: Light+

Serial Number: WTDXCBZ

Original Price: $350

Release Month: August 2017

Best USSSA Bat - 2018

2018 DeMarini CF Zen USSSA Drop 10
USSSA
2018 DeMarini CF Zen

$350

Original Price

Amazon

The 2018 CF Zen is a perfect bat. DeMarini has dialed in the feel and barrel performance better than anyone in the USSSA space. We have dozens of players try our every bat in the market (even the small ones), and the Zen always rises to the top, or right near the top, of everyone’s list. This 2018 version is not much different than the 2017 Retooled version. But, even after the retooled 2017 version was released, we still loved it. See our full 2018 CF Zen review.

Recommended Video

Best Big Barrel USSSA Bats 2022

1

2021 Marucci CAT 9 Composite

Best USSSA Bat
CAT 9 Composite Ratings
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter

Why We Love the 2021 CAT 9 Composite

Amazon

Specs

Certification: USSSA

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Sizes: 28, 29, 30, 31

Drop: 10

Serial Number: MSBCCP910

Release Month: October 2020

11

2022 DeMarini Zen

Best Drop 5 USSSA Bat - 2022
Zen Ratings
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter

Why We Love the 2022 Zen

Look, this bat is a monster. If you are 13 years old and are allowed to swing this bat, then thank you, lucky stars. Sincerely, it will NEVER get better than this. BBCOR bats are duds compared to this monster. It is, without a doubt, the best-performing legal bat on the market today. Some other drop 5 bats hit it well, too, in USSSA, but swing this bat as a 13-year-old if you can because you’ll one day be able to tell your grandchildren that you were one of the few who got to swing the drop 5 CF as a teenager. Swing hard, run harder.

Amazon

Specs

Certification: USSSA

Barrel Size: 2 5/8

Sizes: 30, 31, 32, 33

Drop: 5

Serial Number: WTDXCB5-22

Release Month: October 2021

2

2022 DeMarini Zen

Best USSSA Bats 2022
Zen Ratings
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter

Why We Love the 2022 Zen

Cliche’? Yes. Predictable? Yes. Wrong? No.

This is the first year we have awarded a NON-drop 10 bat as our favorite USSSA bat. It seems like many are very willing to size their young one into a drop 8, and we think that this is fine as long as they are eager to sacrifice an inch. Never get the wrong-sized bat even if someone, like us, says it’s the ‘best.’ In any case, We love the drop 8 CF. It is predictable, more durable than the drop 10, packs a serious punch, and feels fantastic. No one walks away from hitting the drop 8 USSSA CF without anything but a smile. It tops our list of the “best USSSA bats for 2022.”

Amazon

Specs

Certification: USSSA

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Sizes: 29, 30, 31, 32

Drop: 8

Serial Number: WTDXC8Z-22

Release Month: October 2021

5

2020 DeMarini CF

Best USSSA Bat - 2020
CF Ratings
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter

Why We Love the 2020 CF

The 2020 CF is a legend. The bat hasn’t changed much over the last few years after its retooling in the 2017 version (to be made legal). But, it still has a huge barrel, light swing weight, and feels great on hits and mishits. We’ve never seen a kid hit with the CF and think anything other than this bat was legit and one of the best, if not the best, in the bunch.

We like the CF even better in a drop 8, but the drop 10 is where 9 through 11-year-old legends are made.

Amazon

Specs

Certification: USSSA

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Sizes: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Drop: 10

Serial Number: WTDXCBZ-20

Release Month: August 2019

3

2022 DeMarini Zoa

Best Drop 5 USSSA Bat
Zoa Ratings
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter

Why We Love the 2022 Zoa

The ZOA is more different than its CF brother in its connection piece stiffness. That is, the ZOA has a stiffer connection piece than the drop 5 CF. This doesn’t change performance as much as it changes feel–as both bats can hit the seams out of the ball. Overall, the ZOA gets as good of exit speeds as any bat in the drop 5 space, has a massive barrel and that stiff connection pushes the player ratings beyond that of the CF–which has found itself on top of the best drop 5 USSSA bats. There are a lot of good options here, but if we had to choose we’d take the drop 5 DeMarini ZOA as a best drop 5 USSSA bat for 2022.

Amazon

Specs

Certification: USSSA

Barrel Size: 2 5/8

Sizes: 30, 31, 32, 33

Drop: 5

Serial Number: WTDXZB5

Release Month: October 2021

6

2019 DeMarini CF Zen

Best USSSA Bat - 2019
CF Zen Ratings
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter

Why We Love the 2019 CF Zen

Aside from its durability (or lack thereof), the 2019 DeMarini CF Zen in a drop 10 is all anyone could ever hope for. The bat has a great sweet spot, feels fantastic on every hit, and was the most popular 2019 USSSA bat for a reason. Despite the problems, the 2017 through 2018 version had with certification (some got banned), people still flock to this bat.

Note, for sure, the bat still suffers from durability issues. If you are going to buy it, we suggest you either get a terrific deal on a used one or find one from a vendor who can make sure you have a warranty.

As a colorway, DeMarini also released a “Black” version of this exact bat. It is not any different than the other 2019 other than the paint job.

Amazon

Specs

Certification: USSSA

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Sizes: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Drop: 10

Serial Number: WTDXCBZ-19

Release Month: August 2018

4

2022 Easton Maxum Ultra

Best Single Piece USSSA Bat - 2022
Maxum Ultra Ratings
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter

Why We Love the 2022 Maxum Ultra

In all our years of awarding bats, we aren’t sure we’ve ever put a single piece as our favorite drop 10 USSSA bat. This category is dominated by the two-piece composites of the world. You may blame this ranking on our fatigue of feeling like a broken record. But, to be perfectly sure, we think the Easton Maxum Ultra is the best 2022 USSSA bat in a drop 10 because its barrel is massive, the sizing options are wide (27 to 32-inch), the barrel is bigger than anyone and the swing weight is light. There really is a size for any hitter. Throw in the fact it is widely available and more than $100 less than two-piece composites and we have ourselves a winner.

Amazon

Specs

Certification: USSSA

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Sizes: 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Drop: 10

Serial Number: SL22MX10

Release Month: October 2021

10

2021 Louisville Slugger Meta

Best Drop 8 USSSA Bat - 2021
Meta Ratings
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter

Why We Love the 2021 Meta

The truth is, we could have chosen the CF, CAT 9 Connect, and CAT 9 in this spot. But, we thought we’d share the brand love (although Slugger, like DeMarini, is also owned by Wilson). It turns out, too, the drop 8 Meta is an absolute win—which is rare for the bat’s first run. The Meta builds on the Prime series of bats from previous years, uses what they learned in the connection piece in the very popular Meta, and puts that in a great feel, big barrel, and top-end performance of the drop 8 2021 Slugger Meta.

If budget is not a concern and you want what many consider the best drop 8 bats on the market (including us), then you can’t go wrong with the 2021 Louisville Slugger Meta.

Amazon

Specs

Certification: USSSA

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Sizes: 29, 30, 31, 32

Drop: 8

Serial Number: WBL2468010

Release Month: September 2020

9

2019 Easton Beast Speed

Best Cheap USSSA Bat
Beast Speed Ratings
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter

Why We Love the 2019 Beast Speed

At the time of this writing, we could find plenty 2019 Easton Beast Speeds available. The original price of the bat was $199, but we found it in a few places for less than $100. With a sub $100 price point new in wrapper, it makes all other bat buys in the USSSA space feel ridiculous. The Easton Beast Speed gets great ratings, has top-end exit speeds, a light swing, a good grip and a big barrel profile. Aside from the composite sound of the CF and the buttery smooth feel of the other two-piece bats on this list it lacks nothing.

If you want a deal on a legit bat in the USSSA space then we think the best cheap USSSA bat on the market right now is the 2019 Easton East Speed.

 

Amazon

Specs

Certification: USSSA

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Sizes: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Drop: 10

Serial Number: SL19BS10

Release Month: August 2018

8

2018 DeMarini CF Zen

Best USSSA Bat - 2018
CF Zen Ratings
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter

Why We Love the 2018 CF Zen

The 2018 CF Zen is a perfect bat. DeMarini has dialed in the feel and barrel performance better than anyone in the USSSA space. We have dozens of players try our every bat in the market (even the small ones), and the Zen always rises to the top, or right near the top, of everyone’s list. This 2018 version is not much different than the 2017 Retooled version. But, even after the retooled 2017 version was released, we still loved it. See our full 2018 CF Zen review.

Amazon

Specs

Certification: USSSA

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Sizes: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Drop: 10

Serial Number: WTDXCBZ

Release Month: August 2017

7

2021 Marucci CAT 9 Connect

Best Hybrid USSSA Bat - 2021
CAT 9 Connect Ratings
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter
swing weight meter

Why We Love the 2021 CAT 9 Connect

For as long as we’ve been reviewing bats (2014) we’ve never chosen a best USSSA bat that was anything but the CF. But, the CAT 9 Connect just blew us away. We love the bat’s feel, barrel size, durability, price point, and performance. Player feedback is also top-shelf stuff. We have nothing bad to say about this bat and feel like it matches the CF stride for stride in performance and feel and then passes it up in durability and price.

Amazon

Specs

Certification: USSSA

Barrel Size: 2 3/4

Sizes: 28, 29, 30, 31

Drop: 10

Serial Number: MSBCC910

Release Month: October 2020

The Research

How We Rank Bats

Best USSSA Bats 2020

Diamond Level Bats

Our platinum-level bats meet the best of the best for almost every player. They rank out well in pure performance, availability, relevance, and player feedback. Often, they rank out well in each one of those categories. The CF and CAT 8 are clear winners in the USSSA space. Their drop 10, 8, and 5 options are destructive. Our survey data (you can see below) shows the two bats make up almost 80% of the entire competitive USSSA market. The CF is about 50% more popular than the CAT 8.

Platinum Level Bats

Platinum level bats are highly recommendable. They usually miss the top Diamond level because they fall short in popularity or availability. Meaning, usually, they lack specific sizes or drops. Sometimes, too, they don’t quite get the same stellar ratings on player feedback, although they do perform in our exit speed tests, as well as anything else we measure for the given year. Generally, platinum level bats are great picks, and for the right hitter, they are easily considered the best bat for them.

  • Combat B2
  • DeMarini Voodoo Balanced
  • Easton ADV 360
  • Easton Maxum
  • Louisville Slugger Prime
  • Louisville Slugger Solo
  • Rawlings VELO ACP
  • Rawlings Quatro Pro (See Rating)

Gold Level Bats

Gold level bats are also recommendable—although maybe not to as big a range of players. Gold level bats often see unique designs with good to excellent player feedback and well above average performance ratings. If you are in the market for something unique and can find the right size, then Gold level bats are almost always good choices.

  • Axe Elite One
  • Axe Avenge
  • DeMarini Voodoo One
  • Easton Alpha
  • Easton Fuze
  • Louisville Slugger Prime One
  • Louisville Slugger Omaha
  • Marucci F5
  • Rawlings 5150
 

Our testers hit every 2019 USSSA Baseball Bat. We tracked the exit speeds of those hits, measured barrel sizes and swing weights as well as detailed our testers’ feedback. We graded out each bat and found the best USSSA Baseball Bat for 2019, regardless of price or drop, is DeMarini’s CF Zen in a drop 5.

Best USSSA Bats 2019 Video

Bat League Satisfaction

 

Of some note, USSSA buyers and players are generally pretty happy with their bat. They rank out close to BBCOR players and just like Fastpitch (which are 79/100. USSSA bat buyers and users are a reasonable amount happier with their bat choices than the average USA Bat owner.

Best USA Bats Rating Chart

What Users Think is the Best USSSA Bat

The inner ring of the chart below is league, and the 2nd ring shows what proportion of players in that league use a particular brand of a bat. The third ring shows which bat the brand owners of the 2nd ring think is the best bat.

For example, DeMarini and Marucci are the most popular USSSA bats. But, a more significant proportion of Marucci owners think DeMarini is best when compared to the portion of DeMarini owners that think Marucci is best. You can see that by the size of the red DeMarini on the outer ring of the USSSA Marucci section when compared to the orange Marucci found on the outer ring of the DeMarini USSSA section.

In any event, there is plenty to learn from the chart, and we won’t bore you by writing it all out here.

What is the difference between a Senior League bat and a Big Barrel Bat?

There is significant confusion in the industry surrounding the terms’ big barrel’ and ‘senior league.’ Each vendor often uses them interchangeably. Technically, a 2 5/8 bat that is NOT a drop 3 is considered a Senior Barrel bat. Big Barrel bats are 2 3/4 sized bats. But, don’t expect the vast majority of vendors and manufacturers to make the distinction.

What is a Junior Big Barrel Bat?

Junior Big Barrel bats are 2 3/4 inch baseball bats meant for smaller players. They often come in a max size of 26 or 27 inches and have considerable drop weights. These bats are usually not rated for pitch speeds over 45 miles per hour.

What is the best Big Barrel Bat for a 10-year-old?

We cover the 10-year-old question exclusively in the best bat for a 10-year-old article.

Can you use a Big Barrel Bat in Little League?

If you are talking about the official Little League, then the answer is no. They use USA Bats now, and you can read all about that stuff here.

Are all bats the same?

It is probably safe to say that a top-shelf bat from any number of companies performs at peak powers. If it says Slugger, Easton, DeMarini, Rawlings, Axe, Anderson, Marucci, or Combat (and maybe one or two others), then you can bet the bat is legit.

Are better bats always more expensive?

Are better bats always more expensive?

Bats that have higher price points tend to have larger barrels, more specific swing weights, and technological innovations that dampen hand sting.

Are Swing Weight and Bat Load the Same?

To the contrary of what many vendors often erroneously claim, a bat with an end load does not also have a high swing weight or MOI (mass moment of inertia). Instead of where the load is found in a bat is only one of many factors that determine swing weight—the most important of which is arguably the total length of a bat. Just because a bat has a handle or end load does not also mean it has a low or high swing weight. You can prefer an end-loaded bat but get a low swing weight by only getting a shorter size. See our swing weight charts.

What is the Right Bat Size

We think the right size bat is way more important than the right model bat. Never buy the wrong size in the model you or your player might believe is hottest. Our data shows that the most significant piece to determine exit speeds is the swing weight of a bat. It follows that fitting the right size to the right player is single most important piece of data to get right. You can see more on our bat size chart.

Bat Rumors

We don’t see any major changes to the USSSA line in the short run. However, some rumors suggest we’ll see a few new USSSA bats in May of 2022.

Comments

Ronal Owens says:

Thank you for writing this, I’m looking for a bat for my son’s birthday present. Your reviews will help me a lot.

Arth says:

Is Axe avenge Pro really comparable to other top of the lines like CAT 9 composite in terms of performance? Or is it all about the handle? Thanks.

Brian says:

Hey Arth,

Fair question. It really is in terms of exit speeds. Some people who like the Avenge Pro and can square up a ball do just as well with it. It really is comparable.

That said, most people who hit with the avenge PRO in USSSA aren’t in love with it like they are other USSSA bats like the ones you mention (CF, CAT 9 Composite, etc).

Matthew says:

Hello. I have a 9 year old that is currently swinging a 30/20 LS Prime. He seems to be early on everything. I’ve let him swing his older brother’s 31/23 CF and he seems to handle it well. Do you feel like a 30/22 for a 9 year old is crazy? If not, what do you recommend?

Brian says:

Hey Matthew,

We do not. Our middle son who has the best swing of our boys was in a drop 5 30/25 at 9. He wasn’t that big either. Just real good mechanics. If he can swing that drop 8 well then I say go for it. No shame in that. I think our bat size chart shows some 9-year-olds using a drop 8.

Oscar says:

I have a 9 year old 4’ 5” 85 lbs not power hitter playing usssa play what size drop and model do you recommend

Brian says:

Hey Oscar. Most 9-year-olds at his size like the 28/18.

You can see more of that here: https://www.batdigest.com/bat-size-chart/

Thanks for reading.

Cory says:

Need a USSSA bat for my 11 year old son. He is approx 5ft and 115 lbs. I am curious as to what size (especially drop) he should be using. He is currently swinging the Easton ADV 360 30 drop 10. Any suggestions would be appreciated

Brian says:

Cory,

11 is always a tough age. If he’s a good hitter, we think the 30/22 or 31/22 drop 8 range makes a lot of sense at this age. The change in swing weight isn’t that crazy, and if he can wield it, he’ll get a lot more power behind his hits. So, knowing nothing other than his size, we’d go with a 30/22 in the ADV (or something like the CAT 9 Connect) and get to work.

I hope that helps, and thanks for reaching out.
Brian

Cory says:

Thank you so much

Josh says:

Hi, I have a soon-to-be 9 year old that’s on the larger side (56″, probably about 90 lbs now). He’s swinging the Cat 9 28/18 pretty well, but as with most young players, he’s got a little bit of elbow drag. I was thinking about getting him a 2021 Axe Avenge Pro to give him a little help with his hands (we bought a used 2019, and he does well with it) once he’s ready to move up to 29/19. But the exit speed data doesn’t seem encouraging for that bat. Is the reworked handle for 2021 the issue, or is this just a mediocre bat?

Brian says:

Hey Josh,

As I’m sure you know, If the “elbow drag” is a function of his mechanics, then a different bat with the same swing weight isn’t going to fix much of that. If it’s a function of the bat being too heavy for him, then you might want to get a lighter swinging bat. Maybe, something like the Victus Vandal?

In terms of the Avenge Pro for 2021, it doesn’t swing as light as it did in previous models. So, going from the 2019 to the 2021 might make his problem worse—if, in fact, it is because of too heavy a bat.

To your point, the axe avenge data wasn’t terribly impressive. Our hitters couldn’t find the barrel on that thing, although it is bigger and feels better than previous versions. We’ve always loved the Axe Handle but always struggled to find the barrel. Maybe some can?

Those exit speeds might be more a function of the bat’s swing weight and length (it was a 30/20).

We really like the CAT 9 Connect in USSSA. If it were our money and we were looking for a new bat for this coming year, then our money would be on one of those.

Thanks, and I hope that helps.

Josh says:

Thanks, Brian. I think the drag is mostly just not getting his hands
out in front. He was whiffing on the insider bat off a tee up until we
really started working on it the past couple of weeks. Now he can line
them up pretty reliably, but when he transitions back to a regular bat
he still lets his hands follow the top hand elbow. I’m not looking to
fix it with a swing weight change but rather hoping the axe handle
would encourage him to take his hands to the ball earlier, because he
has more leverage to whip the barrel later in the swing.

Do you like the CAT 9 Connect over the CF Zen? Thanks

Brian says:

That makes sense. And, for sure, the Axe handle does help get the hand to the ball. Personally, I love the handle. For some reason, I haven’t convinced the hitters that come into the facility to do so—but I personally love it.

FWIW, you might also want to look into the SwingRail. It might help some. I had a younger boy who really benefited from it. But, as well, I realize you didn’t come here for hitting advice.

We don’t like the Connect better than the CF, unfortunately. And we say unfortunately because we feel like we’ve been preaching CF from the beginning of time. However, the Connect is as good as you’ll get out there that isn’t called the CF. It’s also cheaper and more durable, which is enough reason, in our mind, to get the Connect instead. But, both choices are great ones.

In January, Marucci is releasing a bat called the CF Composite. We love it. Still, again, not the CF. But, it’s as close as any two-piece composite bat has yet to be. If it can be more durable than the CF, we’ll think it is the best there is.

Kirk says:

Looking for some guidance on a bat for my 12 year old son. He is 5 feet and 90 pounds. This will be his first year using a USSSA bat. Previously, he was using a USA bat. He likes the lighter bats, his USA bat is 29” drop 11. Wondering about alloy vs. composite and any other recommendations. I would prefer to stay under $200 if at all possible.

Brian says:

Hey Kirk,

If you want to stay under $200 new for a USSSA bat, then you don’t have too many 2021 options. Especially now, December is a terrible time to find a deal on new bats. Retailers know people are opening up their wallets, and deals are very hard to come by. We did a quick search at Dicks Sporting Goods and found the CAT 8 for $229. Based on your description, and assuming we had to buy new on DSG’s website (all of which is not true, but that helps us narrow some things down), then we’d buy a 30/20 Marucci CAT 8 in USSSA (https://dicks-sporting-goods.ryvx.net/AM07N).

We also found, on JustBats, a Slugger Solo in a 30/20 for under $150. (https://www.justbats.com/product/2020-louisville-slugger-solo–10-usssa-baseball-bat–wtlsls6x1020/31775/). If under $200 is a hard stop, then the Solo is a very, very good choice (and an excellent deal, surprisingly).

Going from USA to USSSA should be a real treat for your son. He’ll likely feel like any USSSA bat he has is clobbering the ball compared to the USA counterpart.

All that said, and to answer a question you didn’t ask, we’d probably use our $200 to buy an A2000 like this (https://www.justballgloves.com/product/wilson-a2000-superskin-11-75–baseball-glove–wta20rb191787ss/30483/), and then, come January, we’d look on eBay or Sidelineswap for a used CAT 8 in a 30/20 for <$100. Hopefully, you can find something useful in there. Thanks for reading.

Adam says:

Hey guys, I really respect your evaluation processes. So, I am considering moving my son up to a drop 8 USSSA bat. He is short, but has a good swing. I have noticed in slow-mo video that his bat slows on contact with the ball. He hasn’t had trouble catching up to faster pitchers so I wanted to get a bigger bat. My main question is what your thoughts were on weight versus length. Again, he’s small for his age, 11. I don’t want to sacrifice bat control, so I’m thinking of keeping the same 28″ length but moving to a 20 ounce bat…limiting me to either Marucci or Victus…same company anyway. Am I wrong in assuming that moving up to a 29″ drop 10 would have less effect on “stopping the bat” at contact…and more negative effect of bat control that keeping the 28″ but moving to a drop 8?

Brian says:

Thanks Adam,

Good question. The reason his bat is stopping, as we’re sure you realize, is there isn’t enough force on the ball at contact.

In terms of his bat, he can increase force one of two ways. The first is to increase his swing speed, the second is to increase the bat’s weight. Swing speed only increases if the bat get’s lighter, the bat’s weight only increases if the bat gets heavier.

In theory at least, it’s hard to say that an increase in bat swing weight won’t slow down his swing and take away any effect the increase in weight might have had. If he’s catching up to the ball just fine, then he might be able to handle more weight. How you get that more weight doesn’t really matter—going down a drop or up an inch.

We think a 28/20 doesn’t make much sense—and neither do most bat manufacturers, hence the reason only Victus and Marucci make such a size. We’d much rather see someone in the 30-inch range bat before they get to a drop 8. Our sense he’s swinging too short a bat and we’d suggest a 29/19 or 30/20. The average 11-year-old is swinging a 30/20. It might be nice to have him borrow or try out a bat in that size to see how he does with it. But, in short, if the start point is 28-inches, we’d go with a longer bat before we’d go with the lower drop. When he gets through the 30/20, then look at a 30/22 or 31/23.

Thanks and hope that helps.

Harrison says:

Would you recommend the Easton adv 360 for a 12 year old that plays high level u trip ball. He bats lead off but isn’t really your typical lead off hitter, he punches balls in gaps and occasionally puts balls over the wall. He is 5’6 108 lbs. we are leaning toward the adv 360 but what would you recommend for him. Anything but the cf, we think he would probably break a cf considering we live in Arkansas and the temperatures get unpredictable during baseball season. Thanks

Brian says:

Harrison,

We like the ADV 360. It’s got a big barrel, swings light, and probably has better durability than the CF. It is, for all intents and purposes, Easton’s version of the CF. Another idea, although hard to find right now, you might also like the new CAT 9 Connect in USSSA. At 12U, he might really like the drop 8 or 5 if he can swing it. The newer drop 5 CAT 9 Connect is a great bat, but they’ve been super hard to find this year. We’re hoping some will pop up before the holidays. I hope that helps, and, to be frank, it sounds like this guy will do pretty good with any bat. Keep up the good work.

Harrison says:

Thank you sir, We also watch your youtube videos and are subscibed to your channel, Hope you and your family have a merry christmas. And thanks for the support!

Dave says:

I am looking for a USSSA hybrid drop 8 for my son. He has liked the hybrid feel of his beast speed hybrid but that only comes in a drop 10.

Brian says:

These are our favorite types of questions because it narrows down the options so dramatically.

(As a side note, it blows our minds that bat companies will produce two-piece composite bats in drop 10 droves and single-piece bats in every iteration imaginable, but when you want something like a hybrid USSSA drop 8, they are nowhere to be found. Weird.)

To your question, your only option is the T1 from True bats. And, turns out, it’s a legit option. We’ve hit with them and think they do a great job of meeting performance standards. If you don’t know much, this company is a golf company that hired a bunch of former Easton folks who are now trying to design a bat line. If you’re looking for a drop 8 in a USSSA bat, then that is your option.

If you don’t like that idea for whatever reason, then the only other idea would be to size up in the Beast Speed Hybrid that you do like. Of course, if you’re already swinging the 32, then that won’t work. But, if you happen to be in a 31 or 30-inch, then moving up an inch is about the equivalent of dropping to the 8 from the 10.

Eric says:

My son is playing 8U USSSA this season. He has a 2016 -11 Easton Mako and a 2019 Cat 8 Composite. Both bats claim to be 18-ounce bats. Mako 29/18 and Cat 8 Comp 28/18, my son is not a big 8-year-old he’s a little over 4 feet tall and weighs in the 60-65 pound range. Which of the bats would have a lighter swing weight? Or should I be seeking out a different bat for him? 

Brian says:

Hey Eric,

The average 8 years old swings a drop 12 28/16. So, you might do better by sizing down an inch to the 28/17 instead of the 29. As you know, increases in length change the swing weight more than increases in scale weight. So, a 28/17 (or drop 12 28/16) will likely feel right at home.

Our experience with 8U bats is that the brand and model rarely matter. Both the Mako and Cat Composite do just fine. Players at that age usually cannot generate the bat and pitch speed which really compresses the barrel and pushes towards that limit. That said, if we had to choose, we really like that 2016 Easton MAKO. Fun bat, good look and you can probably get it for a song these days. Better yet, it is two-piece so will likely feel better on stingy hits.

Lesley says:

My 9-year-old made a travel team this spring and needs a USSSA bat. He has been using a Demarini Voodoo One 29/19 USA bat, which seems to be the right size. He is a skinny kid and could work on his strength, so I would say not a power hitter, but sometimes he wows us. The new league has a barrel restriction of no larger than 2 5/8. I thought I had narrowed it down to the 2017 Marucci CAT 7 but then noticed it is a drop 8. Does that 2 ounces make a huge difference? My husband says yes. But it gets such good reviews, and they don’t make 2 5/8 anymore. Also looking at the 2019 Easton Beast Speed & Beast Speed Hybrid (but a little afraid of a 2 pc as I am unfamiliar with these). We live in the cold Northeast, and now I am reading it isn’t good to use some bats in the cold. Am I on the right track? Any other ones I should look at? I am ok with older models as there are more reviews but will pay for the right bat. I cheaped out in the past with bats and now can see the difference in spending more for a quality bat. 

Brian says:

The difference between a drop 8 and drop 10, all other things being equal, is from 15 to 25% heavier swing depending on the model. That’s considerable. That said, sizing down an inch gets you half that back. So, in theory, at least, a kid swinging a 32/22 drop 10 might feel like a 30/22 drop 8 is about the same swing weight. Of course, this is all highly model-specific, but those are good enough rules to guess by. Since your boy is swinging a 29, there really isn’t the option to drop to the 8 and size down two inches (they don’t make a 27/19).

In terms of those particular bats, we think that the 9u age group generally prefers two-piece bats, and the Beast Speed Hybrid would be a decent choice in a 29/19. As always, our list above might help if you’re still looking. We try and update it often with the “latest and greatest.”

Taylor says:

I’m a 5 hole hitter and I dont know what to buy between a cf zen black and Cat 8. I’m not really a home run hitter, I’m more of a double and single hitter. I dont really have much of a budget either since I’m using my birthday money. Hope u can help.

Brian says:

If you’re talking USSSA, nothing really beats the Zen—although the CAT is a close second. The problem with the Zen has always been durability. So, if you’re down for overpaying for a fantastic bat that might break then go Zen. If you want a really good bat that you can count on, CAT 8/9 all day. At least, that’s what we think.

Clifton says:

My son is a 12-year-old and playing up in the 13-14 division. He is swinging a 31/23 but uses a 31/28 for wood in the cage… Should I get him a 31/26 USA bat or a Solo Bbcor (light swinging) as his next bat… Would the lightest swinging BBCOR be better than a -5 USA bat?

Brian says:

There is virtually no difference between the allowable limit of a BBCOR bat when compared to a USA bat in terms of barrel performance. So, if all other things are equal, the bats will perform the same.

However, Considering BBCOR bats have been around for quite a while, and many companies have created barrels that perform at peak velocities along their length, we’d bet one would have better success with a good BBCOR bat over a good drop 5 USA Bat.

What it will really come down to is swing weight. In your example above, a heavier swinging BBCOR bat will naturally hit harder than a lighter swinging USA bat because of some simple laws of physics. That assumes he can swing both bats at the same speed. That there is our solution, too. It depends on how much dexterity he has with the BBCOR bat. Considering he hits with a 31/28 woodie often enough, we’d guess he’d do better at the plate on average with a 31/28 BBCOR bat. The Solo is a good pick. But, at a 31-inch, you could even go with the Quatro, CF, or META. We would stay away from heavier swinging BBCOR bats like The Goods or CAT 9. But, if we had to pick, we’d go with a 31/28 in his favorite non-end-loaded BBCOR bat.

I hope that helps!

Clifton C. Silva says:

?thank you very much for the detailed response. That helps me a lot with the decision.. Looks like I’m hoping for some Black Friday deals.. Take care, God bless and stay safe!!!

Brian says:

Sounds good! We got that too. It’s our favorite day of the year:

https://www.batdigest.com/blog/black-friday-baseball-deals/

Dustin says:

My 8 yr old son has a few bats I got used. Louisville slugger catalysts, combat pg4 and a Louisville slugger attach (2013 Model). As it is a bit chillier in northern Illinois this spring, he get hand sting when he swings hard and I notice him letting off with all but the attack. He says that is the only one that doesn’t hurt his hands. I am guessing it’s because the old attack is a 2 piece bat. I know there are a lot better bats out there, but the bat with the most pop in the world will not make up for a reduced swing. I am looking for the best new bat that: #1 has low hand sting and #2 has good pop. What do you suggest? 

Brian says:

Dustin,

Thanks. And, to your point, we think hand sting is a huge factor in kids doing well with bats. It’s why, as far as we can guess, most young kids prefer two-piece bats even if they don’t know it.

For USSSA, we really like the CF series of bats. No bat feels better and less stingy than the CF. However, those bats are notorious for their durability. But, until they break, they do have the best pop and the least sting.

If you want to go for something less expensive and cliche’, then there are many two-piece bats out there. Today’s iteration of the Attack is called the Slugger Prime. They even made a Meta version of that bat this year, which feels fantastic. You can find that in all types of sizes and shapes. Marucci has a new USSSA bat called the CAT 9 Connect. They have been hard to find in stock so far but are worth a look if you can. Easton’s has a group of bats called the ADV 360. Those are also great feeling bats with outstanding performance.

So, in the spirit of giving you a bat, not a list, we’d say this: Get a CF. If you don’t want that, then a solid second place could be the 2021 Meta from Slugger. If you want to spend less, find a 2018/19 Easton Ghost in USSSA on eBay/sidelineswap.

I hope that helps!

Justin says:

Have a soon to be 13 y.o., 5’5” / 125 lbs. Really athletic and pretty strong kid. Has a few 260/270 bombs but more of a line drive hitter. Goes the other way really well. Spent the fall transitioning to -5, now ready to make a purchase for his bday. Likes the Bonesaber (hasn’t hit yet), Rawlings Velo ACP, and Cat9 (loves hitting a -8 Cat7 this Summer). Any thoughts?

Brian says:

The reason he might like the USSSA Bonesaber is due to it’s handle—the barrel is decent although arguably a bit undersized. But, we do love that handle—especially in the bigger BBCOR and for the right kind of USSSA kid. Of the bats you mentioned, we thik the CAT 9 drop 5 will be the favorite. The VELO drop 5 swings very, very light—drop 10 light so its almost weird. But, we still like two piece composites like the CF or Easton Ghost in the drop 5 for that age group–they seem to really get a hold of them.

So, if we had to choose, maybe an older drop 5 Easton Ghost? If you want to pay an arm and a leg, then no one has ever gone wrong with the drop CF.

Dave says:

My son has been using a USSSA Easton Beast Speed Hybrid for the last couple years in a 30 and 31 lengths. I am looking for something similar in a drop 8 for next year. Outside of the CAT 9 Connect that is impossible to find in stock, is there anything else I should be looking at?

Brian says:

Dave,

The most comparable bat in a USSSA would be something like the CAT 9/8/7 etc. (not connect). It’s also a single piece and has that sort of balanced swing and big barrel. That’d be our bet.

Also in USSSA, you have bats like the new T1 from True. That’d be our second choice behind the CAT in terms of things that are similar to the USSSA Beast.

Hope that helps and thanks for reaching out.

Pete says:

Looking for USSSA advice. My son is 13 and will need a -8 or -5 in the spring. He’s 5-4 and about 115 right now, but I expect him to be at least 5-5 if not taller by the time spring rolls around. A 31 is the longest bat he’s swung so far – at 31-21 (Prime) in Little League and 31-23 (Velo) in USSSA — so I’m a little nervous about going up to a 32, but based on the size charts I think that’s probably what he should be swinging in the spring? Would you agree with that? I think my plan is to get him a -5 since he’ll probably be going up to BBCOR sometime next year. 

Also, any recs on which bats will be more on the balanced side? I’m willing to buy a new bat and pay up to $300-350.

Brian says:

Pete,

I think a 13-Year-old swinging a 31/26 is reasonable. It will likely just come down to the model. Stay away from a bat-like the Elite which swings real heavy for a drop 5. But, any of the others, like the CF, might be a great fit. I wish it were as easy as some algorithm on the right size, but it’s rarely that easy. It will just be a matter of trial and error. My guess is he’ll be fine with a 31 and he’s used to that in terms of relativity to the plate.

In terms of deals and the right bat, we’d try and find a 2018 Easton Ghost in a 31/26 used on ebay.

This guy:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Easton-SL18GX5-31-26-Ghost-X-5-Baseball-Bat-2-3-4-USSSA-stamp/174512686791?hash=item28a1c446c7:g:dJAAAOSwLwhfYEpX

Under the radar bat that we’d put against the Zen all day. The longest hit we’ve ever seen by a 13-year-old was with that bat.

To be sure, we have no idea who that seller is so proceed with caution. It is eBay after all.

But there should be plenty of those for sale. In fact, with a $350 budget, maybe just buy the 31 and the 32, throw in a wood bat for the winter to get his strength up and see how it goes come spring.

Hope that helps and thanks for reaching out.

Brian says:

We’ve finally got around to updating our comments section! This page is read hundreds of times a week by several real and normal parents and players. Please be kind and assume the best in people while commenting.

Biden says:

This still was a great list and helped a lot thank you!

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