Before we get into the good stuff (aka fascinating baseball science and technology) here are some basics of the 2015 Mizuno MaxCor. It is a heavier balanced bat. Its swing weight is similar to Slugger’s 715 Select. The MaxCor swings heavier than the 2015 Generations also from Mizuno.
The 2015 Mizuno MaxCor is only available in BBCOR.
Most importantly, if you buy from the right places, the MaxCor comes with a dope faux-leather bat sheath. Justbats.com should be pimping that little case stand alone. It’s stiff and padded on the inside. More high-end performance bats should do this. Pricing is found here.
Now for the science: To understand what the 2015 Mizuno MaxCor brings to the plate, we must first understand two principles of ball flight: ball rotation and flat faced hitting.
Ball rotation and flat faced hitting matter for the Mizuno MaxCor because its barrel is uncommon. The MaxCor is on the growing list of outside the box thinking which drives metal and composite bat manufacturing these days (see the Easton MAKO Torq and RIP-IT Helium). The innovation looks like this:
The MaxCor consists of an inner hard aluminum barrel and a specially designed polymer sleeve. The polymer sleeve is compressible and the inner barrel is rigid. When a ball is smashed into the bat it drives through the polymer sleeve and into its metal innards. This sleeve compression allows more barrel to get in contact with the ball. When more barrel is in contact with the ball two beneficial things can happen: The first is an increase in ball rotation and the second is that the flattening of the bat’s face increases the size of the crosswise sweet spot.
It is often told that a one mph increase in batted ball speed gives 5 more feet of distance. This is, for most intents and purposes, a true statement. However, at least as far as I played with Dr. Alan Nathan’s trajectory calculator, I could find no such memorable axiom for how ball rotation effects distance.
There are several reasonable scenarios where doubling the backspin increases ball flight by a max of 7 or 8 feet. However, we are not told how much Mizuno thinks the MaxCor increases rotation. Nominal increases (like 10-20%) as well as any rotation for a ball sub 40mph are not distance affected. Some scenarios, especially for very high speeds, are actually hampered by increases in rotation and ALL distances are affected negatively by off axis rotation.
All in all, however, we really LOVE the idea of a bat company trying to find ways to increase ball distance while maintaining the BBCOR standard. But it’s outside our capabilities to claim that increased rotation results in greater distance more often than not.
On the flip side, however, we can say from experience that a ball with more rotation is remarkably more difficult to field—and the added English the MaxCor gives to an in-play baseball may be the most verifiable benefit of increased ball rotation.
A Crosswise Sweet Spot
Along with ball rotation, the clever make of the Mizuno MaxCor also affects the crosswise sweet spot of the bat. When hitting with a Mizuno MaxCor, the baseball is absorbed through the polymer sleeve towards the stiff aluminum barrel. This flattens the face of the barrel to increase total contact with the baseball. When a bat can increase its contact with the baseball more energy is transferred through the ball instead off deflecting off it. A full transfer of energy to the ball is also known as a hit on the sweet spot.
Mizuno’s claim is, with a barrel that flattens by absorbing the ball on its outer polymer sleeve, the MaxCor increases the sweet spot crosswise the barrel. Our experience in the cage appeared to confirm this. Hits that we felt we missed a little bit still popped off the bat and felt good through the swing.
So while lots of bats are claiming the length of their sweet spot is the longest only Mizuno thought to make their’s the widest. And we love it for that reason alone.
We commend Mizuno for their innovation, and love the sick case. We do wish the bat was less expensive but we’ve come to expect top shelf performance bats from top shelf companies to price out around here.
We will keep an eye out of for this bat this year and update as we gather more insights. In the meantime our only real recommendations are for fielders who see bat in the box: get ready for some funk.