You may have noticed JBR’s near obsession to find the best bat of the 2015 class. Among other things, we made our own predictions, collected user votes, tried to break it down by age, broke it down by league and broke it down by hitter type.
If we were to aggregate such predictions and user generated voting tallies for 2015 we’d be hard pressed not to give the nod to Louisville Slugger’s 915 Prime (Ebay, Amazon $179+) . The bat was loved from the get go and all of the user generated votes pushed the 915 in either the top spot or close to it. Message boards pimped Slugger’s updated 2014 Attack as a smoking-hot two piece composite bat with an end load and array of drops. The 915 Prime is clearly a great bat.
But there is another, arguably more legit way to measure greatness for the 2015 class. And that leads us down yet another path of determining the ‘best bat’. Now that the NCAA College World Series is over, we can look at the actual stats for the 2015 season from teams that are under contract to swing a certain brand of bat, aggregate their stats and see which bat brand came out on top. Sounds like fun…
But this statistical analysis and aggregation comes with some serious issues that should be noted before we get to our results. For starters, bat contracts at the Division I level in College are given to better offensive teams. Clearly bat companies only like to partner with those teams that represent well. So, who is to say that any given bat company doesn’t possess the ability and resources over another to acquire the best teams and, hence, stats? If that were the case, then comparing stats aggregated by bat brand wouldn’t be a way to determine the best bat but, instead, it would be the best way to determine which company is willing to make the best contracts.
Such an argument is fair and we don’t intend to convince you otherwise. But while that argument may make the aggregated comparisons unhelpful, it doesn’t make it uninteresting. To prove my point, I give you said aggregated data and am sure you’ll spend more time looking at this chart than any other thing on this page:
Also along those lines, a team with a bat contract was much more likely to make the NCAA Division I tournament when compared to those without: 66% of all NCAA Division 1 teams have bat contracts while 81% of those in the tourney did.
With that aggregated data we can do something else we might find interesting and actually helpful. We can make claims as to how these four brands compared to one another. But such a task isn’t as straight forward as looking at the averages in the bar charts above. We need to account for the fact that these four major bat brands could have simply been lucky in the teams they chose to partner with.
To ensure that there was a statistically significant performance by one brand over another, we first ran a statistical T-Test to measure if our results were just reflecting a random and lucky sample of aggregated data or if there was some real significance in the differences in averages. We found that our results were significant in these regards:
2015 NCAA Slugging
- We can be 99% confident DeMarini teams were not lucky, but great in hitting for bases and extra bases.
- We can be 90% confident Louisville slugger teams were not lucky, but good in hitting for bases and extra bases.
- We cannot say with any sort of confidence that the average Rawlings or Easton team did anything other than the average this year.
2015 NCAA Home Runs per Plate Appearance
- We can be 99% confident DeMarini teams were not lucky, but great in hitting home runs when compared to the rest of the NCAA this year.
- We can be 90% confident Louisville Slugger teams were not lucky, but good in hitting home runs when compared to the rest of the NCAA this year.
- Easton and Rawlings teams, on the whole, did not show any propensity to hit more (or less) home runs than the average teams.
2015 NCAA Batting Average
- We can be 90% confident DeMarini teams were not lucky, but great in batting average when compared to the rest of the NCAA this year.
- We can be 90% confident that Rawlings teams were not unlucky, but poor in batting average when compared to the rest of the NCAA this year.
- Easton and Louisville Slugger performed with no degree of significance when compared to the average NCAA team.
2015 NCAA Runs Per Game
- DeMarini teams, once again, were great at scoring runs this year compared to the average NCAA team.
- Louisville Slugger teams, as well, were good at scoring runs this year compared the average NCAA team.
- The analysis does not allow us to say that either Easton or Rawlings preformed with any degree of significance in runs scored per game when compared to the average NCAA team.
To caution again, it is likely these results may have more to do with a company’s ability to identify and incentivize contracts with great collegiate teams instead of actual bat performance. However, that ability, if it does exist, should not overshadow the statistical reality that DeMarini teams performed markedly better than the NCAA averages in 4 major offensive categories—a feat which none of the other big 3 in the market accomplished this year. If we are giving out podium awards then Louisville Slugger was in 2nd and Easton in 3rd.
So, can we run finally proclaim that DeMarini won 2015? Hardly. But we’ll file this analysis neatly away with our others in our quest to answer the age old adage: what bat is best?
And, it should be noted, the vast majority of NCAA players who swing DeMarini swing the two-piece hybrid Overlord not the CF7 (Amazon $150+, Ebay). Why? NCAA players prefer hot out of the wrapper bats and have enough strength to swing end loaded sticks—both of which describes the 2015 Demarini Overlord FT perfectly (Amazon $199, Ebay).
Don’t believe us? Then just look at the numbers.