Louisville Slugger released four major baseball bat lines for 2015. We previously reviewed three of them: 915 Prime, 715 Select and 515 Omaha. We now turn our attention to Slugger’s one piece composite, their only carry over from years past for the 2015 line, the 2015 Catalyst.
The Catalyst name has been used by Slugger in at least the last four years. Its genesis, as far as the Internets could tell us, was the one piece Louisville Slugger TPX Catalyst released in 2011. In 2012 the bat was released with a color up and hasn’t looked back.
As with the name, the bat itself hasn’t changed much over the years either. This isn’t a bad thing. The only change that we found, aside from the obvious color ups, was an increase in durability for the 2 1/4 barreled version between 2013 and 2014.
This year the Catalyst story is much the same with another slight improvement: The bottom hand of the grip has been expanded to increase grip contact. Although we admit it is a personal preference, we are fans of this expanded grip.
This bat is a full composite and will require several hits to break in. Manufacturers usually suggest 50 hits spread evenly across the barrel. We’ve found that those 50 hits need to be done by an adult as the power generated in a 9 year old just can’t hack it hard enough to get worked in. Quite often, we’ve also found, that 200 hits is more like it.
We’ve hit with the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 Slugger Catalyst bat in the Senior League level. We’ve found them all to be very similar in feel (because they are). These are very light weighted bats built for players trying to get as much barrel across the plate as possible without sacrificing swing speed.
The Catalysts are drop 12 bats with a lighter than average swing weight. Its swing weight is almost exactly like the 2 3/4 30/20 515 Omaha also from Slugger and about 10% lighter than the 2 3/4 DeMarini Overlord 30/20. Probably the Catalyst’s most comparable bat is the Marucci Elite Limited bat—which runs about 10% lighter in swing weight than the Catalyst. The Elite is easier to swing but the Catalyst will give your more oomph (and save you about $50).
Overall we think that when a big company, who clearly has the resources to create something new, keeps producing the same bat year in and year out, it’s a sure sign the bat is working– in the labs, in the markets and in the hands of players. Easton’s S1 is a perfect example of this. Slugger’s Catalyst is on that list as well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Slugger keeps leading the charge with the Catalyst on the menu, and for good reason.
If you are a player looking for the largest barrel size per swing weight and can handle (or prefer) the sting that sometimes comes with a one piece bat, then you can end your search with confidence here. We do suggest you check out the used/secondary market with a search like this for a new but older version as long as it’s not a youth barrel 2013 or older.
Best pricing, as of now, looks to be here.