After three serious, long batting practice sessions, among several different hitters, using the 2016 Anderson Centerfire drop 11 youth barrel and drop 5 senior barrel, we’ve pinpointed who these hybrid bats are most likely to please. In particular, those looking for a lighter swing weight, a decent sized barrel, a two piece bat that naturally dampens swing with a slighly tapered knob, and/or a performance aluminum alloy barrel hot out of the wrapper may very well find their weapon of choice in the 2016 Anderson Centerfire bat.
To date, Anderson has produced only one piece aluminum bats. Those bats, like the Techzilla, were famed far and wide for their stellar performance. In fact, many consider the original youth barrel Techzilla circa 2006 one of the best bats ever made. It was, and still is, one of our favorite bats and, although now illegal in a handful of leagues, can still be found on ebay with a search like this at a serious premium. A 2006 bat selling for above retail 9 years later is solid proof of the prowess of that beautiful bomb dropper.
Anderson, the company, revamped itself about 2 years ago and revitalized the show stopping sizzle of a one piece aluminum bat in the Techzilla 2.0 for 2015. Yet that Techzilla fell short in its size offerings by having no big barrel version. As well, its one piece construction was enough of a hand ringer on mishits to keep more than a couple players from using it consistently—and never on a colder day. (Although, we should add, those who could use the 2015 bat quickly fell in love with it).
It’s with that backdrop the 2016 Centerfire from Anderson takes center stage. The bat addresses the hand sting issue with a two piece design. The composite handle eliminates much of the handsting the player may have found in a one piece while the aluminum barrel (made from similar material found in the barrel of the Techzilla 2.0) still delivers the ball crushing power we’ve come to expect. Additionally, the bat is made in a drop 5 senior barrel.
The 2016 Anderson Centefire is a traditioanl hybrid baseball bat design. Meaning, it comes with a composite handle merged onto an aluminum barrel. Those who prefer these hybrid bats appreciate the lighter swing when compared to a fully aluminum bat but still maintain the hot out of the wrapper taste of peak performance aluminum barrel. Compared to a full composite bat, you can generally expect hybrid bats to have a heavier swing weight, no break in time, and longer durability. They also tend to have smaller barrels and sweet spots when compared to full composites.
Our testing found the general hybrid benefits to be the case with the 2016 Anderson Centerfire bat. The bat’s aluminum barrel makes a great ping on contact and maintains a low to moderate swing weight. It felt and sounded hot right out of the wrapper. The composite handle eliminates a lot of the vibration we noticed in other single piece aluminum bats.
The bat comes with a standard two toned wrap that isn’t overly cushy and plays well on the hands and batting gloves. There is minor flared knob for a little more girth on the bottom hand.
As a smaller bat manufacturer, you must pick and choose your battles. In the case of most, you’ll find they do so by releasing quality equipment in only select sizes they feel have a market and/or they believe they are superior. Anderson follows this model by only releasing a 2016 drop 11 youth barrel size (2 1/4) and a drop 5 big barrel size (2 5/8) for the Centerfire.
(They do, it should be noted, have an Anderson Flex single piece aluminum bat in a drop 10 Big Barrel and BBCOR).
Both bats are approved for USSSA play and have appropriate 1.15 BPF stamping. As well, both are made with a light to moderate swing weight right in the wheel house of what many players appreciate.
If a lighter swinging hybrid bat in the youth barrel or senior league (big barrel) space is in your wheelhouse, then there are several other bats, in addition to the 2016 Anderson Centerfire bat which you may consider. To name a few, Easton’s 2016 Z-Core Hybrid, Rawling’s 2016 Trio, and Combat’s Fray. There are several other hybrid bats in the performance space but they tend toward the heavier swing weight. Those would include the DeMarni Voodoo and the Louisville Slugger 716 Select.
Overall it’s hard not to appreciate this smaller bat manufacturer making performance sticks in a highly competitive space. While their lack of a BBCOR or big barrel sizes outside a drop 5 may limit the market uptake, those looking for the particular sizes in which the Anderson Centerfire is released should really consider the bat—especially if you:
- Prefer or want a two piece hybrid baseball bat.
- Prefer a larger barrel on their hybrid bat.
- Need a heavier drop 5 big barrel with a lighter swing weight.
- Need a youth barrel drop 11.
- Want some sting dampening/play in the cold.
- Have a budget sub $250.