What is a Drop? And Other Common Baseball Bat Questions

As we have had close contact with the industry for nearly 20 years, we tend to get asked the same questions time and time again. This article intends to answer some of the most common bat questions. We are hopeful this list will serve some answer to those looking for information on baseball and softball bats.

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Common Bat Questions Questions

What is a Senior League Bat?

Technically, there are two types of Senior League bats. The first is a 2 5/8 travel ball youth barrel bat. These 2 5/8 barreled bats come in a variety of drops that range from 5 to 13. The drop, you will remember, is the numerical difference between the length of the bat in inches and the weight of the bat in ounces. The second Senior League bat is a bat made for a slowpitch softball league. That league is usually meant for older players and the bats tend to be hotter than the standard USSSA or ASA softball bats.

What is the best bat for baseball?

We answer that question on this site. Or, at least, we hope to. Of course, the best bat for some is not necessarily the best bat for all. As such, we caution you to be weary of bat lists which claim to know the best bats and do not admit they may very well be wrong. The best bat for baseball is dependent on the type of hitter you are and how much money you want to spend. As well, the right bat size should be considered too. Not all bats come in all sizes so be aware of that before becoming dead set on a certain brand or model.

What is the drop on a baseball bat?

The drop of a baseball bat is a reference to how much the bat weighs in relationship to its weight. It is, technically, the numerical difference between the length of your bat in inches and the weight of your bat in ounces. Do not confuse the drop of a bat with the bats swing weight. MOI, or swing weight, is not the same as the drop and bats with similar drops can have wildly different swing weights.

What is a BBCOR bat?

BBCOR stands for Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution. It is, in short, a measurement of how a bat’s barrel responds to impact with a ball. Or, how a bat’s barrel restores after impact. As such, a BBCOR bat is really a .50 BBCOR bat. And a .50 BBCOR bat is the maximum allowable trampoline effect legal bats in Highschool and College can be. There is a huge market for BBCOR bats as this is what highschool and college players use. They are also drop 3 bats and all BBCOR bats are required to be a drop 3.

What is a composite bat made of?

Composite bats are made out of a plastic material. A more technical term for some plastics is composite. Engineers change the fiber structure in the composite bats to maximize performance, durability and barrel size.

Which is better wood or aluminum bats?

By almost all measures, aluminum BBCOR bats are better than wood bats. Not only Aluminum bats tend to have a longer sweet spot, but the metal allows for a lighter swing weight and a bigger barrel. As such, hitters can generate more bat speed and are given a better opportunity to get the bats maximum trampoline effect.

What is the MAKO bat made of?

The Easton MAKO is a two piece composite bat. Meaning, the bat is made of two different pieces of a plastic material that are set together to create one bat. This Easton MAKO is not to be confused with a wood bat that Easton also makes which they call the Mako. That wood MAKO bat is made from, it turns out, wood.

What temperature is it safe to use a composite bat on?

It is important to note that the temperature of the bat is not the issue but, rather, the temperature of the ball. When baseballs or softballs get cold they condense. And when they condense they get harder. Composite bats, nor aluminum for that matter, are not rated to hit balls that are too hard. Most manufacturers claim that anything below 55 Degrees is too cold for a composite bat.

How much is a baseball bat?

Bats range in price from $20 to $500. Those are for bats that are new in wrapper. On the secondary market some bats can reach several thousands of dollars if they are proven heroes. The dramatic shift in prices is simply a function of supply and demand. More expensive bats drive a higher price because it is believed, and they are right, the bats perform better.

What is the best wood bat on the market?

We think the Marucci wood bat lines are outstanding. They make some fantstic hard maple bats in all types of turns and drops. They are also the most preferred bat in the Major League baseball ranks. In the end, though, no wood bat company has a pattent on trees. And, as such, there are a lot of very good wood bat manufacturers out there.

What kind of bats do major league baseball players use?

Major League baseball players are required to use a wood bat. But the restrictions do not end there. The wood must be from certain types of trees that tend to be harder and break less. As well, the bats MLB players use must be under a certain size requirement (like under 34-inches). In 2017 the most popular wood bat for MLB players is Maple.

Are Aluminum Bats Allowed in the MLB?

No. Aluminum bats are not allowed in the MLB and we do not believe they ever will be. Although they can control the exit speed of aluminum bats to perform like wood, the length of the sweet spot would dramatically increase offensive production. That said, we would not be surprised if, at some future date, the MLB found a way to use Bamboo bats due to the fact they have no part in deforestation.

Best BBCOR Bats 2017 – Top Rated Baseball Bats From Top Brands

As the weather gets hotter, baseball players throughout the world are gearing up. If you’re also looking for some amazing BBCOR bats out there, then look no further. Here is an elaborate Best bbcor bats of 2017 buying guide for all you baseball players and parents actually buying the bats.

Best BBCOR Bats

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Best BBCOR Bats 2017

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1. Easton BB17MK Mako Beast BBCOR Baseball Bat

Best BBCOR Bats

The Easton BB17MK Mako Beast Comp bat is our favorite BBCOR baseball bat for a number of reasons. Foremost, the TCT Composite barrel is a proven commodity in the market. Ever since the MAKO took over the planet in 2014, and its accompanying TCT composite, every knows what to expect with the top shelf barrel from Easton. The design, as well this year, is a 2-piece design meant for an incredibly smooth smash at contact and an ultra light feel.

The bat has serious pop and on every hit it feels like you are going deep.

2. Marucci MCBC7 CAT 7 BBCOR Baseball Bat

Best BBCOR Bats

Marucci does not release a new BBCOR bat every year. Their last foray into the BBCOR market was in 2015 with the CAT 6. This year they release an upgrade to that very popular CAT 6. The 2017 CAT 7 has a larger barrel and a slightly lighter swing weight. Marucci accomplished this by shaving some of the inside of the barrel as to give it variable wall thickness. As such, the bat takes what the CAT 6 did fantastically and improves upon it.

The bat is made for hitters who love a light swing but still appreciate the feel of a stiff single piece aluminum bat. We would recommend it across the board to any hitter looking for top end performance on a 30, 31, 32 or 33 inch BBCOR bat.

They also have a special edition BBCOR bat that came out the beginning of May. That bat is built just like the CAT 7 but with some updated, and dare we say, sweet graphics.

3. Lousivlle Slugger’s BBP9173 917 Prime BBCOR Baseball Bat

Best BBCOR Bats

Anyone that has spent more than a few seconds swinging the 917 Prime from Slugger will know it is a top end bat. The two piece composite design is built with an ultra smooth feel and buttery smash to boot. We love the feel at contact and the multiple sizing options. If you are getting really technical, then the most unique feature on this bat compared to the CAT 7 and Easton MAKO Beast is the use of the custom Lizard Skin grip that comes on each of the bats.

Last years model, the 916, had a few issues where the barrel was becoming loose on the handle. You could feel it at contact when the barrel would shift slightly. This was no bueno. This year’s 2017 model appears to have corrected that issue. Compard to the other bats on this list the 917 Prime has the shortest barrel.

All in all, the 917 BBCOR deservers a spot on the top of any best BBCOR baseball bat list.

4. DeMarini DXCBC CF Zen Balanced BBCOR Baseball Bat

Best BBCOR Bats

The 2017 CF Zen comes in a ‘balanced’ version and an ‘end loaded’ version. The end loaded version is referred to as the CF Insane. The BBCOR CF Zen is, by all accounts, one of the very best bats on the market today. People love the CF line of sticks and appreciate the two piece composite design that DeMarini has perfected. The BBCOR Zen is meant for long strokes and even longer bombs. Most will like the lighter feel of the bat and the balance point that is closer to the hands.

Why the CF Zen is #4 on a list of best BBCOR bats, insteas of #1, is a great question. The short answer is that it is difficult to differentiate between the top 4 bats on this list. Each are two piece composite bats built with a light swing in mind. In fact, in an eyes closed test you would be hard pressed to find any bat that is better than another in the top 4 bats.

5. Rawlings BBRV3 VELO BBCOR Baseball Bat

Best BBCOR Bats

As the first non two piece composite on this best bbcor bats lists, the Rawlings VELO is a worthy addition. In fact, many would put the VELO much higher on this list. It is, by some measurements, the best selling BBCOR bat on the market. We suggest that has as much to do with its cheaper price point than the bats improvement over any of the two piece composites above. Regardless, there is no shame in having the Rawlings VELO at the plate.

With its light swing weight and good sized barrels it is a great bat for strong hitters who like a bunch of feedback. Those who don’t like the buttery smash of a two-piece, that feels like it is hitting a home run on every hit, will like the honest feedback of the Rawlings Velo. We should also note, if you have yet to hear this bat getting hit, it has the loudest ping in the industry.

6. Demarini DXVIC Voodoo Insane BBCOR Bat

Best BBCOR Bat

Next on the list is the first true hybrid baseball bat to make the best BBCOR list. A traditional hybrid bat, you should know, is a two piece bat with a composite handle and an aluminum barrel. The idea is for hot of out the wrapper stick that still has the nicer feel of a composite handle and its accompanying sting dampening in the barrel.

We like this bat for the same reasons other users do to. Namely, the end loaded feel and the massive pop on this stick feels amazing. We cannot get enough of the stick and how it feels on a perfect smash. Although it does not have as large a sweet spot as a more pricey composite, a solid smash on the middle of the barrel is a sight to behold.

We would recommend this bat for the stronger hitter, or the player that simply likes an end loaded feel. Generally, bigger hitters with faster bat speeds are all about this DeMarini Voodoo Insane.

7. Louisville Slugger BBS06173 617 Solo BBCOR Baseball Bat

Best BBCOR Bat

Other popular best BBCOR bats lists rank the 617 SOLO as their top choice for 2017. We understand their thinking. But, we are not sure that the bat has been on the market long enough, nor has the bats sales been good enough, to warrant a top spot. No doubt we like the new single piece hybrid designs and, as such, the 617 SOLO has found its way on the top of this list. We like how the bat also comes in a 29-inch length.

We would recommend the bat for the player looking for a smaller bat that really find any pitch with some great bat speed. Players that need a 29 or 30 inch bat might have more fun with this bat than any other on this list.

8. Easton BB16S500 S500 BBCOR Baseball Bat

Best BBCOR Bats

Make no mistake about this, the S500 from Easton is a cheap economy bat. But, at less than $100 we dare say it the best buy of the bunch. Many would argue that it is not the bat but the hitter. If that is the case, then you will appreciate the S500 from Easton. It meets the same .50 BBCOR standards that other bats do. As well, it drives a serious bargain price at a decent bat.

As a general rule, we have noticed that the better hitter you are the less a bat matters. If you are a great hitter we suspect you can make the S500 sing. If, on the other hand, you need as much help as possible then we would suggest you open up your pocket books a bit and find a place for a bat somewhere higher on this list.

Best Used BBCOR Bats – Old Models

If you are in the market for a BBCOR bat but would rather not spend brand new bat prices then we applaud your thoughtfullness. Often, places like eBay and Amazon, as well as a few major vendors, can have legitimate places to pull the trigger on baseball and softball bats. Last year’s model, or even the year before that, are often picked up for a song.

As a general rule, we would suggest you shy away from used aluminum barrel bats. Aluminum tends to lost its pop over time and, as such, can be sold without any pop. On the other hand, composite barrel bats tend to get more hot over time and as long as it is not broken will still give top end performance. With that in mind, we submit the following as our best used BBCOR bats list.

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1. 2016 DeMarini DXCVC CF8 BBCOR Baseball Bat

Best BBCOR Bat

If you can still find this bat new in wrapper then count yourself lucky. Otherwise, you are left to the throws of the used bat market where you can find a previously owned DeMarini CF8 BBCOR bat. We would not hesitate to buy one of these if the price was right. You will find it a sweet swinging lady just as good, if not better, than any of those bats in the new list. It has not changed much from the CF Zen and still has a nice big balance point on a light swinging bat.

2. 2016 or 2015 BBRV3 Rawlings VELO BBCOR Baseball Bat

Best BBCOR Bat

The 2016 Rawligns VELO may have been the best BBCOR selling bat of all time. It is, after all, a light swinging bat with great performance, a memorable sound and reasonable price point. All things parents and players adore. This bat has not changed much since the 2015 version. It does swing a bit heavier than the 2017 VELO and has a slightly smaller barrel than the new one too. But, if you can find it for the right price, expect some very happy hitters and very impressive stats.

3. 2015 Easton BB15MK MAKO BBCOR Baseball Bat

Best BBCOR BAts

Hard to argue that the 2015 Easton MAKO BBCOR bat is not the best of all time. So, of course, it makes this list of best used BBCOR bats on the market. If you can’t find any success with this bad boy then maybe it is time to hang up the cleats. There are several used versions of this bat on eBay. And with the BBCOR standard here for the long haul we have no reason to think these bats are not great invesetments. We would even suggest you stock up on a few before they become obsolete.

4. 2015 Louisville Slugger 915 Prime BBCOR Baseball Bat

Best BBCOR BAt

The 917 Prime has come along way since the 915 first came on the scene. This two piece composite was the first attempt by Slugger to enter the high end market and, in many respects, they did a lot of things right. They invented this idea of a TRU3 connection piece that is now found on all of their top end baseball and softball bats. The Prime series of bats has become a mainstay at every level of the sport.

You can often find these bats at very good discounts nowadays. Especially in the used market. As a composite barrel, we would still recommend this bat if the price was right. Good luck finding one with the wrapper still on it.

Common BBCOR Bat Questions

What Materials are BBCOR Bats made of?

BBCOR bats are either an aluminum alloy or composite. The aluminum is referred to as an alloy because it is given certain additives that change the aluminum properties. Those additives include things like scandium which help the bat get stronger and weigh less. Composite bats are another name for plastic. The fibers in the composite are structured to give the bat certain properties like trampoline effect, durability and weight. You can read more about composite bats here. You can also see a scholarly article as to which is better: composite or aluminum.

What is a drop 3 bat?

The drop of a bat is the numerical difference between the length of the bat in inches and the weigth of the bat in ounces. So, for example, a BBCOR bat is required to be a drop 3. Meaning, a 33-inch BBCOR bat weighs 30 ounces. Non BBCOR bats often have much different weight drops like a drop 8 or drop 1.

What BBCOR bat has the most pop?

BBCOR standards have done a good job of leveling the playing field in terms of performance. Most BBCOR bats perform real close to the standard on a given pitch speed. What may be a more pressing question is what BBCOR bat has a longer sweet spot. Although each bat may produce at the .50 BBCOR standard only the best ones perform so along the length of the barrel.

What BBCOR bats are colleges using?

Most major collegiate D1 teams have a contract with bat manufacturers. This allows them great access to the latest and greatest BBCOR bats and gives the companies some exposure. As such, the players are required to swing those bats. DeMarini, Easton, Slugger and Rawlings are very much a part of the pay for play game at the collegiate level. Other’s like Adidas and Axe bats have made a serious run at those markets too.

Conclusions

We are hopeful the above information can drive you at least to the right area of bat you would like. We think the BBCOR market is an intersting one and, if nothing else, we suggest you find a batting cage where you can demo the bats. You will find they each swing at least a little bit differently. And, in baseball, the smallest difference can be a game changer. Happy Hitting!

The Most Popular Bats | 2017 BBCOR and Youth Breakdowns

The most popular bats can be measured in a few ways. We take on all of those below. First we go by data we find on the largest review sties. Second, we use google search analytics to see who is searching for what and where. Third, we speak with major vendors to decide what bats they think are the most popular. Our intent is to update this frequently.

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Most Popular Baseball Bat

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Collegiate Baseball: DeMarini Voodoo

Most Popular Baseball Bats

Many collegiate teams—especially good ones—have their bat brand determined for them. Meaning, a particular brand has an agreement with a college. As such, players on that team must swing bats from that brand. These bat suppliers often fork over a ton of money to keep their brand in the hands of the best teams.

To that end, determining the most popular baseball bat for collegiate players is as simple as learning what bat brand has the most contracts. Then, we can see what bat within that brand is more preferred by collegiate players. Turns out, such an approach is pretty simple: DeMarini has the most collegiate bat contracts. As such, they are the most popular bat at that level of play. Within the DeMarini brand the most popular bat is the DeMarini Voodoo.

Most Popular Bats

The stronger the hitter the more they tend to prefer aluminum bats. Stronger players prefer bats with an end load—which is exactly what the Voodoo has. Second, the DeMarini Voodoo uses an aluminum barrel for hot out of the wrapper performance. There is no work for the Voodoo, and other aluminum barrels, like there is for composite bats.

Collegiate Fastpitch: Louisville Slugger’s XENO

Most Popular Bat Brands

The most popular fastpitch bat at the collegiate level is a tough one to narrow down. But, in the end, we see the Slugger XENO at the plate more often than others. I am sure DeMarini’s CF9 insane as well as Slugger’s LXT each feel differently. But, the XENO is made for heavy hitters and big bat speed. It is helpful, too, the Xeno comes in enough sizes to satisfy even range in the best of hitters.

Most Popular Bats

Highschool Baseball: Easton MAKO BBCOR Beast

Most Popular Bats

The most popular high school bat is the Easton MAKO. By several estimates, search interest in the Easton MAKO drawfs that of other brands. Although, we should note, the CF Zen and Marucci CAT 7 are the closest. We should note that we are not suggesting this should be the case.

Such a choice isn’t ultimately surprising considering high school players tend to prefer lighter swinging bats. They also have the time to work in a bat’s composite barrel. The huge barrel on the MAKO gives them as much chance as possible to square up a ball. As well, Easton’s distribution and branding is top notch. And the effects of that in terms of popularity is not lost on us.

Most Popular Bats

We are cheating here. The Rawlings VELO is such a wildly popular bat in some areas of the country we would be dumb not to add it right here. It has a considerably different makeup the Mako. Instead of a two piece composite with wood like sound the Rawlings VELO is a single piece hybrid with the loudest ping you ever heard. Still, high school players love the light swing of this flat out beautiful stick and few there be that have anything bad to say about the VELO.

High School Fastpitch: DeMarini CF9 Balanced

Most Popular Bats

DeMarini’s CF9 balanced drop 10 is the most popular highschool fastpitch bat. Of course, the real data on this is sparse so we used a lot of guesswork to come to this conclusion. But, in the end, the traffic on review sites as well as ranks of best selling bats made and google analytics made it a clear winner. Not surprising either. The CF9 Balanced is a big barreled bat made with a massive sweet spot and very ligth swing weight. It is consistently one of the most popular bats on the market ever since it was the CF7. The CFX series of DeMarini fastpitch bats, we suspect, will follow suit too.

Travel Baseball: DeMarini CF ZEN

Most Popular Bats

Despite the fact that a few versions of the CF ZEN were outlawed by the USSSA for being too hot, the CF Zen is the most popular bat for travel baseball. Not only does it get the most searches of any in that class, but it also finds itself on the top of many best big barrel bats lists. In fact, rarely have we ever seen a bat more hyped than the 2017 DeMarini CF Zen.

It helps, too, the CF Zen for travel ball comes in a number of sizes. The 2 5/8 version has a drop 5, drop 8 and drop 10 while the 2 3/4 version comes in a JBB drop 11 and Big Barrel drop 10. The long list of sizes make the likelihood of one being in your size very good.

Little League Youth Barrels: Easton MAKO Beast

Most popular bats

The most obvious winner on this most popular bats lists is the Easton Mako beast on the youth barrel leagues. The bat dominates the 2 1/4 space and has ever since the famed orange MAKO from 2014. We have no question these bats will be the most popular and best for as long as the 1.15 2 1/4 BPF standard stays in play. Which, mind you, is just until January 1st 2018 when the Little League board changes the standard for 2 1/4 baseball bat leagues.

Youth Fastpitch: DeMarini CF9 Drop 11

Most Popular Bats

As the ligthest swinging fastpitch bat on the market, it is no surprise that the drop 11 CF9 is the most popular fastpitch bat among smaller hitters. Although we ere a bit in lumping together both the Highschool and youth players, the bat still serves both markets well who are looking for contact and pitch speed.

There are several very good fastpitch bats. And, in the youth and highschool market, any number of bats could very well be the most popular. The Slugger Hyper LXT in a drop 11 is a fantastic bat. But, in the end, we were forced to choose something. And the CF9 Drop 11 from DeMarini is as good a choice as any.

USSSA Slowpitch Softball: Miken DC-31

The most popular bat in the USSSA slowpitch space is the 2017 Miken DC-31. It follows that it is also the most popular. Although Easton, DeMarini and Slugger run some pretty popular slowpitch bats, no one quite beats the Miken DC-31. This two piece monster is meant to crush balls right out of the wrapper. We dare say the DC-31 dominates the USSSA space as well as the Easton MAKO Beast dominates the youth barrel space.

ASA Slowpitch Softball: Miken Freak Platinum

Most Popular Bats

The DC-31’s twin, the Miken Freak Platinum, is a bomb making fool of a bat found only in ASA space. Although this niche of the market is replete with serious bats and all types of players love them dearly, we think the Miken Freak Platinum is the most popular. It is if we take lists of the most sold bat on Amazon and justbats.com into account.

Search Traffic for the Most Popular Bats

Another interesting way to measure brand popularity is to divide the information by state. We took way too much time making a few images for your viewing pleasure. Below, you will find a few interesting ways to look at bat brand popularity among states. You will find that bats popular vary by state.

Most Popular Bats

Most Popular Bats

There could be several comments on these charts, but we will save you from those. With the exception of one: more regional bat companies fair better by their headquarters. Dirty South, based out of Atlanta, Georgia has found more interest in their home state then the entire state of California. And, it would appear, not a single soul in Vermont, Montana or the Dakotas has yet to hear of the bat. Anderson bats, on the other hand, has at least a couple fans in those states. But its stronghold is so firmly rooted in California insomuch you’d think the company was based there. Turns out, it is. Rude American Bats does well in Nevada relative to other search densities. They are based in Las Vegas. Yet no one in Wyoming has yet to be interested enough to search for it on Google.

Fastpitch popular vs Women’s Soccer

soccer vs Fastpitch image

As we found ourselves finding search data on a number of different baseball and fastpitch related items, one stood out to us. That was the search volume comparison between fastpitch and women’s soccer. Mind you, this does not show the interest volume compared to each other. Rather, it shows the search intensity across the country. We are not up for preparing many comments on the differences in the maps but thought it interesting enough to publish it somewhere.

What Little League Bat Has The Most Pop?

Pop is an often used term explaining the measure of bounce a particular bat gives the ball at impact. A bat with more pop would hit a ball further than another with less trampoline effect. But there are so many factors that determine how far bat travels that isolating the pop of a bat in tests is very difficult. To illistrate, some years ago, we thought we would try and measure the pop of Little League bat since we had few. We took 5 bats from the old school. And, although these bats are not readily available today the results were instructive nonetheless.

The 5 Bats We Measured:

  • DeMarinni Vexxum
  • 2013 Easton XL3
  • Combat B2 Da Bomb
  • Combat B2
  • DeMarinni CF4

Pop Little League Bats

We set a Stalker Sports 2 speed gun up at the end of the cage and then our 10 year old at the plate. We threw soft toss to him while he hit the ball directly at the speed gun. The balls would travel 8 feet into the net. It was plenty of time to get a reading on the speed gun. We took 40 swings per bat in groups of 10 swings. After each hit, as long as it went directly into the speed gun, we took down the measurements. The balls we used were of the same type and brand.

What Little League Bat Has the Most Pop?

Pop Little League Bats

What we found was disappointing, but at least insightful when measuring the pop in league bats. Our average hit from soft toss into the net was 47.3mph. Four of the Five bats had a max speed of 53mph the other (the Vexxum) was at 52. Statistically speaking, none of the bats were any better than the others. Although they were quite close, the rankings looked like this:

  • Combat B2: 48.0 mph
  • Combat B4: 47.9 mph
  • Easton XL3: 47.4 mph
  • DeMarini CF4: 46.8 mph
  • DeMarini Vexxum: 46.6 mph

In other words, despite our effort we were not able to really determine what little league bat was best. Others often write the best youth baseball bat articles and, although we do not disparage the effort, we struggle to find value in making lists that are more precption than science. That said, there are clearly bats the public and little league players prefer more than others.

What we Learned about Pop in Little League Bats

If there is a difference in trampoline effect among these bats then it was impossible to tell by us. Most players and parents who think a certain bat has more pop are relying more on sound and feel then on any measurement of actual ball exit speed. As well, in leagues where pitching is slow and swing speeds are down the trampoline effect becomes even less noticeable. Some of that insight is gained in by diving in to the bat standards which govern bat performance.

To take advantage of trampoline effect, a serious collision needs to occur. Some bat manufacturers try and solve this by adding two barrels to a bat. Where the outer one is softer then the inside one that keeps it performing under the standard.

Conclusions

  • There is (probably) between very  little and no trampoline effect on bat/bat collisions when forces are non-violent. In the very little leagues, where pitch speed and swing speed is lower, we see no reason to believe that trampoline effect, at least significantly, has anything to do with batted ball speed.
  • To measure trampoline effect in a hitting scenario you’ll need either more sophisticated equipment or a hitter with an exceptionally fast swing speed.

Baseball Softball Holiday Gift Guide

Well, somehow the holidays are upon us once again. It’s time to make your list, check it twice, and decide who gets the best gifts. Unless, of course, they are a US Senator.

We’ve looked, read about and tested hundreds and hundreds of baseball and softball related gear this year. We also have children, lots of them. Such elements are the perfect combination for determining the best gifts for baseball and softball related gear this holiday season.

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Baseball & Softball Holiday Gift Guide

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Under $20

Lizard Skin Grip

Baseball softball Holiday Gift Guide

Lizard Skin grips are super soft and tacky. They are also super popular. We suggest the 1.8mm version for just about everyone. If you want an athletic tape type feel then feel free to go to the 0.8mm or 1.1mm. These grips improve the hitting experience and customizes a player’s bat for something close to $12.

ProHitter Thumb Guard

Baseball softball Holiday Gift Guide

The ProHitter is another rock solid gadget every player needs. That is, they need it once they know it exists. Look closely, and you will see that close to 50% of MLB players use the thumb protector.

What is the ProHitter? The ProHitter closes the gap between the natural shape of the top hand of your grip with your bat’s knob. In turn, better contact increases grip strength and means less pain on mishits. As well, some argue, the little item can help with more consistent swings. And $12 later, you’ve got yourself the perfect gift for the baseball or softball player. Especially those who thought they already had everything. $12

Wilson Premium Glove Oil

Baseball softball Holiday Gift Guide

What says “I Love You” more than helping a player protect their $400 glove? Take it from us, everyone knows they should be conditioning both new and old gloves with oil to both work in and protect it, yet few really do it consistently. There are a lot of other oils on the market and we suspect some may be similar in premium quality. But, none we’ve ever seen also use a clever spray bottle like the Wilson Premium Glove Oil applicator. This Wilson Premium Glove Oil is the best applicator on the market and, at less than $10, makes the perfect little gift for any baseball or softball player, coach or parent.  $10.

Boombah Baseball Face Guard

Baseball softball Holiday Gift Guide

When we were kids, a face guard on your helmet meant you had some problems. But, ever since Stanton and Baez in the pros got their own version of helmet face guards, the market has seen a steady rise. We are in love with Boombah’s new face guard. It is meant to attach directly to their helmet but, we have found it does work on several other helmets too. The three holes usually line up. If your helmet only has two holes it might still work too.

And, for all of $10? This may be the easiest gift on this entire list.

$20 to $50

Performance Batting Gloves

Baseball softball Holiday Gift Guide

Almost any quality batting gloves will price you out between $20 and $50. Ones we like to recommend are the Pro Lite batting gloves from Marucci. They have a unique feature the camera can’t pick up. A breathable mesh on the back of the hand wicks away sweat. It really does feel like you are not wearing a glove at all. As a result, these are one of our most favorite batting glove designs of the year and, for the record, Jose Bautista of Blue Jays fame thinks so too.

Any player who has yet to use a real legit pair of batting gloves will never go back. At $49 they make a solid gift. $49.

EvoShield Wrist Guard

Baseball softball Holiday Gift Guide

The Evoshield Wrist Wrap is a sweet grab for any serious baseball or softball player. Good news is, at least in some models, the wrist wrap is closer to $10. There are some colors and sizes in the $25 range. The wrap easily attaches to your bottom hand wrist and gives that added layer of security on the arm for errant pitches. It doesn’t hurt that wearing one looks pretty sweet and a number of pros use them too. At Most $25, Maybe $15.

BP Jackets

Baseball softball Holiday Gift Guide

When you run a blog dedicated to baseball and softball bats you tend to see a number of bats, and maybe surprisingly, a number of batting practice jackets. Our far and away favorite is Marucci’s half sleeve jacket. It comes in a few different colors, and for around $30, we think every parent of serious baseball players on the planet should own one of these. It’s well constructed and feels great.

It is the perfect gift for a dad who spends a lot of time on the field, and if we didn’t already own it, you would find it on the top of our personal wish list. Turns out there are some youth versions of the jacket too. $29.

$50 to $75

Axe Composite Fungo

 

Baseball softball Holiday Gift Guide

You don’t have to know what a fungo bat is to buy this for that favorite coach in your life. This Axe Maple Fungo is a very well crafted pure maple fungo bat with the famed Axe Grip. The bat, used for fielding practice, has a great balance and great control. We are also in love with the asymmetric handle on the bat.

If you don’t have a fungo bat in your bag and/or never used a true maple stick to hit with, we’d highly suggest this little gem move up on your list. $60.

Boombah SuperPack Roller Bag

Baseball softball Holiday Gift Guide

We tested every roller bag we could find a few months back and, while there were plenty good ones, we settled on the Rolling Superpack from Boombah as our favorite. Great design and very durable, the roller bag allows for you to store the contents of a small apartment as well as several bats and myriad baseball and softball related gear.

Boombah is a direct to consumer related company so their site is the only place you can pick them up. They come in a multitude of colors and camo designs. Last we checked there were something like 60 different designs. If you’re in need of a roller bag this is an easy decision. $69.

The $75 to $100 Category

Series 9 Slugger Bat Pack

Baseball softball Holiday Gift Guide

Easily our most favorite bat pack in all of baseball. The Series 9 Louisville Slugger Bat Pack looks great, feels perfect, and carries everything you could imagine. The bag is breathable to help with odors. It uses 4 neoprene bat holders to protect the sticks, a hard case to hold breakables (like a phone) and a number of little side pockets which are easily accessible.

The only downside may be the fact it only comes in the steel grey look. Luckily we love that color for a top shelf bat bag. If you really need other colors, Slugger makes a Series 7 version with fewer bell and whistles but a lot more colors. It will also save you about $30.$79.

Custom Pure Maple Sam Bat

Baseball softball Holiday Gift Guide

If you are looking for a real unique solution to your holiday gift woes this year then may we suggest a custom maple bat from Sam Bat, the original maple bat company? The bats are gorgeous and game ready and come in a number of sizes and options for all. You can even make trophy or memorabilia bats as keepsakes.

The bats from Sam Bat are made to professional standards. In fact, they are made on the very same lathes, and with the very same wood, that MLB players use day in and day out. They do take a couple weeks for production and delivery. So, get your order in sooner rather than later. $95.

$100 to $200

MLB TV Subscription

Baseball softball Holiday Gift Guide

There isn’t an easier decision on this entire list. MLB.tv changes the game and continues to be the leading service among all professional sports content providers. It’s app available on whatever device you have and gives you access to games and data you would never see otherwise.

The only real caveat is the blackout restrictions found in your area. Depending on where you live, local teams are blacked out for live use on the service. Meaning, if you’re a huge Yankees fan and live where Yankees games are often broadcast, then it is unlikely you’ll be able to watch on the app. But if you live outside a major market or want to follow a team or set of teams outside your TV market, then this service comes 100% recommended.

The $200 to $400 Category

The Best Infield Glove

If you want to impress even the largest Grinches then why not buy them the best infield glove on the market today. That is the Wilson A2000 in a 1786 pattern. This 11.5 inch middle infield and utility glove comes in Twix type colors and is absolutley BEAUTIFUL. Take it from us, this thing is smoking hot and any player and dad will drool over this bad boy. $249

Easton MAKO Beast

Most Popular Bats

As long as you’re not buying BBCOR, you can get what may be considered the best baseball or softball bat for 2017 this holiday season. The Easton MAKO Beast is a proven workhorse. It is often rated the best bat by those who claim to know. And any trip to the ball park will prove the bat to be everywhere. The BBCOR version of the Beast is over $400 brand new, but if you are buying anything but that version then you’ll be closer to $349. Expect some deals on this bat as the holidays get closer too.

Boombah DEFCON Cather’s Gear

Baseball Softball Holiday Gift Guide

We reviewed a few types of youth catcher’s gear. This year we fell in love with the price point, look, and quality of Boombah’s DEFCON Catcher’s Gear Set. It comes in Red, Black and Gray as well as this Navy Blue Color. It’s a quality product rivaling any catcher’s gear on the market. And, compared to some, it comes at a fraction of the price. It runs About $240 for the entire set.

The $400 to $600 Category

Custom Wilson Glove

Baseball Softball Holiday Gift Guides

The Custom Glove site from Wilson is a beautiful thing and anyone who plays or coaches the game would love, and we mean LOVE, a custom made A2000 or A2K from Wilson. The glove itself is a top of the line construction made with decades of experience. The combination of colors and designs are straight out off the chain.

Money is No Object

Hack Attack

Baseball Softball Holiday Gift Guides

The Hack Attack is a three wheeled pitching machine that can pitch any type of pitch you can imagine. For a machine, it treats real baseballs relatively nicely and can be adjusted to shoot softballs too. That softball extension is an additional cost. The Three Wheel Attack has great top end speed and allows the hitter to see the ball well before it’s delivered through the shoot. Also, you can add an automatic ball feeder. It moves easily with roller wheels attached to the front for easy storage. If your cage is less than 50 feet from mound to plate we’d suggest the Junior Hack Attack to save a few bucks. Around $3000.

Easton MAKO

We have spent considerable time with the Easton MAKO line of bats over the years. In fact, since the Mako’s original release in 2014 we have ever single make bat on the market. That includes the famed 2014 orange version as well as the most reason Easton MAKO Beast. No bat, dare we say, has had more impact on the industry at large then the Easton Mako. It has consistently ranked on the top of many best youth baseball bats lists. Here we review each of the Easton Mako bats and detail their progression over the years. This serves a true Easton Mako review.

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Easton Mako

2017 Beast

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The 2017 Easton MAKO beast is the culmination of 4 years of R&D in the MAKO. The barrel is larger than ever. The swing weight is a bit heavier than the 2016 versions. But, still, it is a two piece composite bat built with a balanced swing weight and the ability to absolutely rake balls. Few players who use the Beast ever go to anything else.

The MAKO Beast comes in a number of sizes and model types. At the top of the popularity list is the BBCOR model. We discuss this more in our most popular bats article.  Then follows the 2 1/4 Little League bats that are the top of their class. Next is the large grouping of senior league and big barrel bats that range from a 2 5/8 drop 5 to a 2 3/4 drop 12. The Easton Beast really does offer a bat type for every hitter.

One complaint that many get when deciding on the Easton Mako is its price point. Never has the Mako been considered inexpensive and rarely can you find one on a closeout type deal where the prices are exciting for the consumer. Instead, almost always, it takes some effort to convince yourself to pull the trigger. But, year after year and season after season people keep coming back.

2017 TORQ

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Although no distributor or outlet is selling the 2017 MAKO Torq, you can still find them directly on Easton’s site. These 2017 TORQs are, as far as we can tell, left overs from previous years that went unsold. With such a massive inventory, Easton has repainted these bats and is now selling them on their site. We would guess this may very well be the last year of the Mako Torq.

On the whole, the bat’s barrel and performance are top shelf stuff. But, the spinning handle has struggled to find any real uptake among serious players. It is still considered a gimick by most. We are fans of the bat and the idea, but we are well in the minority here.

The 2017 Easton MAKO Torq is a two piece composite built on the same chassis as the Easton MAKO Beast. It comes in the full breadth of sizes the Beast does too. If you were to tape down the handle, and not allow it to spin, then the TORQ and the Beast would be identical bats.

2016 Mako

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The most popular of the 2016 line of bats, the Easton MAKO is considered by many the best MAKO ever. The swing weight is lighter than any version before or since. Although the barrel is smaller than the Beast, the 2016 Easton Mako deserves all the credit in the world for producing one of the lightest swinging bats with the one of the largest barrels. Few have anything to say but great things about the 2016 Mako.

You could find a 2016 Easton MAKO in just about any size imaginable. The most popular version was the BBCOR version. But, like clockwork for Easton, the Youth 2 1/4 barrel was, during the 2016 season, wildly popular. And, of course, the drop 5, drop 8 and drop 10 senior barrel bats were one of the most popular bats in that niche too. There really is not a bad thing we can think of to say about the 2016 MAKO. It is for hitters that love a two piece composite and would like a light swinging bat.

2016 TORQ

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The 2016 TORQ bats are left overs that did not sell from the 2015 line. Infact, they still have so many 2016 TORQs that they bled into the 2017 year as well. To put it nicely, the Easton TORQ was a colossal failure in terms of market acceptance. From a pure clinical standpoint, the TORQ is a good to great bat with a fantastic barrel and a massive sweet spot. The swing weight is right where folks want it. But, in the end, the spinning handle, and the premium price for the spinning handle, was too much to handle for parents and players. This bat, and the 2015 version, may go down as the biggest bat flop in history.

2016 MAKO XL

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Easton expanded the 2015 line of MAKO bats by adding an XL Version. The XL, as you might guess, is a more endloaded version of the MAKO. As Easton lowered the swing weight of the MAKO from the 2015 version, they felt obligated to still ad an iteration for the hitter that liked a two piece composite but still wanted some oomph. The bat was only offered in BBCOR and left those big hitting 14U players out in the cold.

We are big fans of the 2017 Easton MAKO XL. For those that like a little more end load but still want that smooth smash of a two piece composite bat then this bad boy is money. Although not the most ubiquitous bat in terms of market demand, the people this bat served it served very well.

2015 Mako

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The second year of the Easton MAKO was outstanding. Although there were no significant upgrades from the 2014 version of the bat the word was out. The MAKO was the king of the hill, especially in the Youth barrel space, and no one came close to catching them. Easton offered the 2015 Mako in a number of iterations including the very famous BBCOR, lights out big barrels and market dominating 2 1/4 barrel youth bats.

2015 TORQ

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Also in 2015, Easton released the bat that would get more publicity than any other bat ever has. The 2015 Easton MAKO Torq used a spinning bottom hand handle. The idea was to increase bat speed by allowing a hitters hands to rotate more quickly through the hitting zone. As hands could move independent of each other, at least in theory, inside pitches could be more easily raked.

In nice terms, the bat was an utter failure in the market. We contend it had less to do with the technology then it did with the price point. Easton had previously pushed the envelope with the most expensive bat in the 2014 MAKO, and then added another $50 to the MAKO TORQ. Parents, already reeling from sticker shock on the MAKO dry heaved at the price of the TORQ. It turned into a rich bat for a kid that didn’t have anything else going for him and, in the end, sales were abysmal. In fact, sales were so bad that Easton still sells this very bat in 2017. These are not newly produced bats but, rather, repainted bats from this very season.

Easton’s MAKO TORQ for 2015 was released in every size imagainable including a 2 5/8 drop 8 and drop 10 as well as the dominate youth barrel and BBCOR sizes. Today you can find these bats, still highly discounted. They are, in large measure, the same bat as MAKO but at a serious discount. If you are willing to tape down the handle then you could get a MAKO at a very cheap price.

2014 MAKO

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Ahhh, the bat that started it all. After composite bats were banned universally across baseball leagues a new standard of BPF 1.15 was implemented. Easton was so far ahead of the curve on producing a monster 1.15 BPF bat that few others in the space were even in the same category. The word got out quick that the MAKO was the bat of all bats. From what we have been told, the 2014 Easton MAKO was the best selling baseball bat of all time. Vendors could not keep them on the shelves. Even today the bat drives a premium price.

The 2014 MAKO came in a lot of sizes too. The BBCOR and Senior League 2 5/8 bats were impressive. But the 2 1/4 youth little league bat may have been the most dominant bat in any category of baseball since Slugger dominated the wood and pro market in the early 1900’s.