The Easton Power Brigade line is back in 2015 with the usual suspects. The Speed (S), XL, and MAKO lines will once again grace the plates of little leagues, high school and colleges around the country. Of course the big news is the MAKO TORQ with its spinning handle, but here we focus on the Easton XL1.
For those who missed it, we voted the 2014 Easton XL1 as the best bat in 2014. The extended barrel on that yellow beauty was a verifiable bomb dropper. The end loaded weight (in fact, a bit over weight, in the drop 5) was a player favorite and a pitcher’s nightmare. While the MAKO won the hype contest we are confident the XL1 ruled the roost in 2014.
It is without surprise, then, that the 2015 version of the XL1 is virtually unchanged with the obvious exception of a color up. The once bright yellow bat now takes on MAKO colors in its neon orange. But the bat is still an extended barrel and end-loaded two piece composite stick. The IMX barrel composite is unchanged. The CXN connective piece is the same. And the composite handle with perforated silicon grip isn’t any different either. In other words, same awesome bat, same top shelf price, but a different year.
Sizing is a bit different in the 2014 Line. The bat will only come in a BBCOR drop 3, Big Barrel Drop 8 and drop 5. We have yet to weigh out the drop 5, but it will be very interesting to see if, like the previous year, it comes in at 2 to 3 ounces over its stated weight. The Easton XL1 will NOT come in a youth version of the bat—as that bat will be released in a new line called the Easton MAKO XL.
Will this bat be as popular as it was in 2014? I am sure Easton hopes so. We suspect, with other bats coming this year that are serious improvements over last years version (and here), that Easton’s dominance in the end loaded bat space might have a bite taken from it. However, with how wildly successful the XL1 was, we expect this bat to find its way, quite often, to the plate at every level of metal bat baseball.
There were two criticisms of the 2014 that are not addressed in the 2015 bat. The first is a few disliked the factory grip. The grip did appear to get dirty and slippery quite fast in comparison to other grips. However, we think this more of a preference issue than a real design one. As well, there are grips you can purchase post market if you don’t like it.
The second, and a more verifiable gripe, is the price point. A $400 two piece composite BBCOR bat is quite an investment. It of course now pales to other bats made by Easton, but bat prices sure seem to have done nothing but go upwards these days. The 2015 Easton price point is the same as last years. But considering the 2014 is basically the same as the 2015, maybe the smarter buy, while supplies last, is to go for the 2014 XL1 while suppliers are trying to make room in their inventory for the new version. Based on current prices, that should save you about $100.
(As of now, the best place to buy the XL1 is probably here and here. As that changes we will try and update this. If you happen to find a better deal please tweet us @justbatreviews or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
We would recommend the Easton XL1 to hitters who: Are willing to pay for the pedigree of a proven winner; Just about anyone that can swing it; Want a composite barrel; are not on a budget; prefer end loaded bats; prefer two-piece bats; want to improve their bomb dropping skills.
We would NOT recommend the Easton XL1 to hitters who: Prefer One Piece Bats; Do not want a composite barrel; prefer a balanced or lighter swing; Want Aluminum BBCOR; Are in a League that requires 2 1/4 barrels.