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The 2022 Victus Vanal is a single piece alloy bat that comesin a BBCOR and USSSA drop 10, 8 and 5.
The 2022 Easton Ghost Double Barrel comes in a drop 11, 10, 9, and 8. This is an all-association bat (meaning you can use it wherever you want). Easton changed the bat's outside barrel to a new "sonic" composite. It has the same sound, but they claim it is more durable (although it doesn't appear it did). They've also changed up the connection piece---this is the same one they use in baseball, and the hope is there won't be as much wobble. Expect drop 10 and 11 to swing lighter with a different end cap than the drops 8 or 9 for bigger hitters.
The 2022 Ghost Advanced is a two-piece double barrel all, composite fastpitch bat made for the player that takes fastpitch seriously. The drop 11 and drop 10s are made for the younger player that likes bat speed and control while the drop 8 and 9 are for bigger hitters who need all the barrel they can get.
The broader availability of the 2022 Xeno, compared to the 2021 version, is a behind-the-scenes WIN for consumers. The XENO was shelved as a Slugger. com-only product for the 2021 season and what many believed was the foreseeable future. In an attempt to capture more margin, Slugger wasn't interested in giving full distribution to even its most trusted vendors. But, for 2022, and for no reason that was ever given to the public, Slugger returned to a broader distribution model
. This increase in competition and broader distribution is only a win for consumers in the bat space. And in a world where bat prices only go up and distribution becomes more limited, this is a big little win.
The bat has not changed from its 2021 version (the same as its 2020 version). The 2022 Louisville Slugger Xeno is a two-piece composite bat with a good-sized barrel and a mostly balanced swing weight.
Our 2020 Easton Ghost Double Barrel Fastpitch review consists of three hitters feedback over the course of two days and nearly 400 hits. We measured exit speeds, barrel sizes and direct player feedback. We also did actual swing weight tests. In short, the 2020 Easton Ghost Double barrel is an end loaded fastpitch bat that can hit absolute rockets. It's swing weight is considerably heavier than any other fastpitch bat on the market. But, many players LOVE that about it.
The 2019 version of the Ghost Double Barrel is a USSSA/NSA certified bat. IT DOES NOT WORK FOR NCAA OR HIGH SCHOOL fastpitch
. This is the Gold/Black version of the bat.
Those looking for the Easton Ghost Double in a ASA/High School/NCAA league should look at the 2018 version of the bat.
This is the Blue/Black version of the bat.
and Black Easton Ghost Fastpitch bat is an ASA approved (girl's fastpitch) bat. We review that bat, the Easton Ghost ASA bat below. The gold version, which we review here
is a USSSA only version.
Not much has changed on the 2019 DeMarini Voodoo Balanced. It's still a two-piece hybrid bat with a reasonably balanced swing, good barrel profile, and relativity stiffer feel than the two-piece composite world. The bat is very popular and difficult to find but everyone who has ever had the bat loves it. There is another version of this bat that has a heavier swing and a very stiff feel called the DeMarini Voodoo Loaded.
The 2022 Stinger Missile 2 is a single-piece alloy bat with a big barrel and a heavier swing. We really only like this bat for advanced hitters who can find the barrel often and those who like a stiff feel on a bat with more load.
Generally, we think the 2023 Axe Avenge Pro is built for the small to the mid-sized player that likes and plays a lot of baseball. It's a gap power bat for the base hitting kids. Kids upgrading here as their first performance USSSA bat will find a measurable performance difference in the Axe Avenge Pro. If you're in the market for a big-time USSSA bat available and in your size, then the 2023 Axe Avenge Pro might be the ticket. There are currently no 2023 USA or BBCOR versions of the bat.
We've always been fans of the Slugger Meta. The 2023 line is no different. It is the same as the 2022 versions of the bat, with the addition of a USA to round out the USSSA and BBCOR versions. They also added a new end cap to the USA version of the bat. But, other than those changes, the bat is unchanged. We still like it. Despite its high price and the fact that its peak popularity passed, it's still a great bat in BBCOR and has real potential in the USSSA space to compete with the CF and Marucci CAT Composite. There is also a META PWR version you can find directly on Slugger's website.
The 2023 Louisville Slugger Atlas is a single-piece bat that uses unique variable wall thickness to lower swing weight and improves performance along the length of the barrel. Although Slugger does not, we consider this the new and 'improved' Solo series from Slugger. It is another in a long list of bats trying to capture the hype train created by the resurrection of the Voodoo One series in DeMarini. The Atlas performs great in BBCOR, but there are some real durability issues
in the BBCOR bat. In USSSA, it's hard to love, and in the USA, it's probably the best drop 12 on the market. For the 2023 College World Series, Slugger released a 2023 "Atlas Omaha
" in BBCOR in limited sizes.
On August 10th, 2022 Marucci drops the Cat X Connect. The bat will do well among bigger hitters as they like the hot out of the wrapper alloy, as well as the heavier wing weight. The bat comes with considerable upgrades over the 2021 CAT 9 Connect, but we still think that bat, too, was great.
The 2024 Vicuts Vibe is a youth baseball bat built like the Marucci CAT line of bats. Marucci, a sister company of Vicuts, has long been admired for their sting-dampening technology in their knob. Vicuts, now a part of the family, can use that proprietary knowledge in their single-piece bats. Think of the Vibe as an upgraded version of the Victus Vandal from 2022 but with the knob tech of the Marucci CAT. In other words, there's a real chance the Vibe, at a $199 price point, could end up being the best value USSSA and USA bat for 2024. (There is no BBCOR version of the bat that we know of, and we don't expect one, at least for 2024. For that, check the Vicuts Lev3 Vandal).
After three serious, long batting practice sessions, among several different hitters, using the 2016 Anderson Centerfire
drop 11 youth barrel and drop 5 senior barrel, we've pinpointed who these hybrid bats are most likely to please.
The 2024 Warstic Bonesaber Hybrid is a two-piece bat built for a stronger hitter. We love the handle and think it's the best in the business, giving hitters the ability to "choke down." In BBCOR, it can hit the ball as hard as anything we've tested. It's got a decent-sized barrel and feels really good on hits and mishits. We recommend it for any stronger hitter looking at bats like The Goods, PWR Select or Connect. In USA, we like the hybrid as a heavier option with a great handle.
The 2024 DeMarini The Goods One Piece is back with the same makeup plus a new fortified knob with a $50 price bump. This is the same knob they put on the Voodoo One as well as the 2024 The Goods Hybrid. It's a balanced single-piece alloy with an average-sized barrel and really good performance. In the world of Atlas, Bonesaber, and Voodoo One, our prediction is at $400 it will struggle to make market share. Still, though, for that kid who likes a stiff feel in a mid loaded single-piece bat, the 2024 The Goods One will be a solid choice. While you can find the older versions in stock we suggest that the way to go.
The 2024 Easton MAV1 is a single-piece bat with a light swing in USSSA and BBCOR. It replaces the ALX line from Easton's 2022/23 lineup and comes without the soft knob, a similar price point, and some upgraded alloy in the barrel. Our initial reaction to the bat is that this is Easton's attempt to get in the Voodoo One market. The bat certainly hits the ball hard, swings light, and at a price point of $100 less than the Voodoo One (in BBCOR), it's a legit option.
Easton is looking to reinvent the BBCOR two-piece composite lineup with the 2024 ROPE. This is a two-piece composite that uses some interesting tech in the barrel. Apparently, it uses some kind of composite rope inside the barrel to help improve the consistency of the performance and expand the sweet spot. Of course, bats like these are often more about marketing jargon then they are about how their exit velocity has somehow outperformed the competition or previous iterations. But, nonetheless, we love to see companies pushing the envelope in what is possible and have full confidence in Easton's team to deliver something exciting.
The 2024 DeMarini ZOA is first released in a USSSA drop 5, 8, and 10 and hopes to compete against bats like Marucci's CAT X Composite and Easton's Hype. DeMarini appears to have all but given up on the CF, the legend of USSSA, and that's a bit of a head-scratcher by us. All their new tech and emphasis on high-end is focused on the ZOA. The 2022 and 2023 Glitch versions of the bats were well received, but nothing like the CF of the late 2010s and were weak enough to be overtaken by bats like the 2023 Marucci Composite and, for 2023 at least so far, the 2023 Easton Hype.
Marucci has a new version of the CAT X Composite, named the 2024 Marucci CAT X Vanta Composite. Though the name might be a bit lengthy, the bat itself is impressive. It's priced $20 higher in both USSSA and BBCOR categories, but its large barrel, light swing, and consistent hitting feel are worth it. We regarded the 2023 model as the top composite BBCOR for the initial months of the previous season. The 2024 version maintains this high standard. If you're a fan of the black design and don't mind the extra $20, this bat is for you.
The 2024 Marucci CAT X Vanta Connect is a two-piece hybrid bat with a great barrel and a good swing weight. The bat, as of now, only comes in a BBCOR version which is different than its' previous 2023 version that came in USSSA too. The CAT X Vanta Connect is a reprint of the 2023 CAT X Connect but with a $20 price increase and a new colorway. That previous version of the bat
was a rockstar in our eyes. Kids who wanted to jump into the hybrid game could find a great bat with a lighter-than-average hybrid swing weight and a really great feel. There will be no differences in the 2024 Cat X Vanta Connect.
The 2024 Marucci F5 shines as the market's hidden gem. Despite its modest price tag, it often goes unnoticed amidst the glitz and glamour of other BBCOR, USSSA, and USA bats. However, year after year, when pitted against the so-called "top-tier" bats in our data tests
, the F5 not only matches up but often surpasses them. Admittedly, there might be concerns about durability or denting, especially with the lighter drop 10 variants. But, when you consider it's priced at just a third of its competitors, these minor hiccups hardly seem catastrophic. A simple solution? Have budding players opt for the drop 8 in a slightly shorter size. All in all, for those seeking top-notch value without compromising on quality, the F5 is an exceptional choice across any league it graces.
Easton is dropping their 2024 two-piece composite in USSSA. Usually, the bat line falls around October. This year, though, the bat will drop at the beginning of June. (June 1st here
, June 6/7th at select retailers). When a company releases a bat outside its regular schedule, it means either this bat will be something to talk about (in a good way) or because the last one was a dud--and we thought the 2023 model was far from a dud
. We've hit with the 2024 USSSA and our review is below.
The 2024 Atlas is a reprint of the 2023 version of the bat but with upgraded graphics and a $50 price increase. It's a single-piece alloy bat with a lighter swing and a smaller barrel profile. It hits the ball hard, especially for bigger hitters with top-end exit speed. As of now, the bat is only in a BBCOR. With the unexpected popularity of the 2023 Atlas
, this 2024 version was likely unplanned by Slugger until they ran out of stock everywhere so we don't expect to see a 2024 USSSA or USA version, but we've been surprised before.
We track the Little League World Series bat usage yearly at the regionals. Our findings are reported here. Jump LLWS - 2023 Bats LLWS - 2022 Bats LLWS - 2019 Bats Method For 2023, we watched all of the first-round games on the family of ESPN channels. While watching, we... read more
If you want a bat that isn't the Easton Ghost, DeMarini CF or Prism, or the Slugger LXT, then the Mantra+ (plus) might be the one for you. Compared to the Mantra (2022) and Mantra 2.0 (2023), the 2023 Mantra+ is designed to improve comfort with its double barrel design where the outside barrel gets maximum pop on slower swing and pitch speed while the inner barrel creates durability and governance for big hitters and top end pitching.
We've now had several batting practice sessions with several hitters using the 2017 Louisville Slugger LXT Hyper fastpitch bat.
After hitting with the 2019 Slugger PXT
our hitters found it to feel great off a tee. However, smaller hitters struggled during live pitching due to the serious end load on the bat.
Our 2020 Louisville Slugger RXT Review entails three different hitter feedback on over 400 hits both live and off a tee. We measured the bats swing weight and balance points in relation to all other performance fastpitch bats for 2020 and 2019. We took video and recorded some directly player feedback. In short, the RXT is a two piece composite built with a large barrel, stiffer connection than the LXT and a middle of the road swing weight. It replaces the PXT in the 2020 Slugger offering but is more like a stiffer connection in the balanced LXT than it is an upgrade of the heavy swinging PXT.
DeMarini's CF for 2021
is a light swinging high performing bat with a long barrel and flexible connection piece. Compared to the 2020 version, the 2021 DeMarini CF Fastpitch bat is all the same. In our tests with real high school fastpitch players, we found that smaller players tended towards the CF over bats like the Ghost or Xeno. Specifically, the drop 11 2021 CF is hard to beat in that swing weight class. The Drop 10 has plenty of competition, and we'd recommend only for the players who prefer lighter swinging fastpitch bats.
Those looking for a lot of barrel per swing weight should look elsewhere. As well, those who want maximum performance along the length of the barrel should probably lean toward a composite barrel.
Why not just choke up?
We have a hard time combating this (not that we need to, its not like we are trying to sell you the CF-XD. Instead, we are simply trying to help buyers see the justification if they want).
But, those willing to buy choke rings might be asked the same question. Why not just choke up?
Because, simply enough, it just doesn't feel the same. The knob's feel up against the bottom hand gives a different feel than choking up. It is why there is a knob at the end of the bat and it doesn't slide off at the same diameter. And, for younger players, we can see how familiarity in the feel of the hands, with a knob on the bottom of the hand, could be better than simply 'choking up'.
Is that worth $30 to you? Maybe.
We hit the 2019 CF Zen Fastpitch bat
in a drop 10 several hundred times with a few different types of hitters. Exit speed, ball distance and the general feedback from hitters was recorded. As well, we spent considerable time discussing the bat with major vendors and reading any early report online reviews we could find. That data is put together in this 2019 CF Zen Fastpitch Review.
The Xeno from Slugger is as good as it gets in the fastpitch space.
The Easton Hyperlite fastpitch bat is built for the entry level player looking for a legitimate drop 12 bat.
We spoke to a number of hitters, and read several user reviews, on the 2017 Easton Stealth Flex fastpitch bat.