Our 2016 Axe Elite Review would run amiss if it didn’t point out the Axe handled bat has been admitted to the hall of fame since our last review of the asymmetric handle technology. We knew our blog had far reaching effects but weren’t quite sure Cooperstown was listening! (Look at us, being a little cheeky). We also note how the quote from the Hall of Fame plaque—which sits next to the Hall of Fame Axe Bat used by Dustin Pedroia—paraphrases what we said over a year ago in defining the benefits of the axe shaped handle. It reads, “The innovative design helps keep the batter’s hands in a strong yet comfortable position.” True, True.
Good on you Hall of Fame for looking to the future—and good on you Baden sports for making an innovation on a bat with some serious staying power.
2016 Axe Elite Review
We’ve now spent at least 40+ hours, and thousands of hacks, hitting with and watching players hit with a handle that has an axe shaped handle. We are perfectly comfortable with the idea and find it no surprise that folks like Dustin Pedroia, among others, who, at the the top level of the sport, are finding success with the bat. As a comparison, we never expect a pro to use a bat with a spinning handle. But one shaped like an axe? Check.
The 2016 Axe Elite in particular is the bat for hitters who prefer a hybrid design (aluminum barrel and composite handle) but also would like an axe shaped handle. In our experience, it’s hard to even recreate a hand ringer with the two piece design so Axe leaving off their 2016 Endogrid technology in this bat makes some sense. (They put it on the Hyperwhip and Avenge).
By way of performance, when hit on the right spot, the bat feels hot right out of the wrapper. We do wish the barrel was a big longer—as we’ve grown accustomed to the monster barrels offered on composite bats (especially in the Senior League or Big Barrel Space). Compared to other hybrid bats in it’s class the barrel is just slightly below average size. It should be considered a balanced bat but does swing heavier than some of the lightest ones.
If it’s an axe shaped handle on a hybrid bat with a balanced swing weight you want, then the 2016 Axe Elite is the bat for you.
If you are looking for an axe shaped handle you have some options. But, if you are looking for an axe shaped handle and prefer a hybrid design for its hot out of the wrapper performance and hand sting control then the Axe Elite is your choice. Congratulations! Your search is over.
There is a part of us that would recommend the 2015 due to the price difference you can often find from one year to the next as the changes between the two bats aren’t overtly substantial. The 2016 Elite version does come with an upgraded alloy with a little more durability and an concave endcap that gives the bat a bit of a lighter swing weight when compared to the 2015 version. If such upgrades are worth it you’ll just have to compare prices.
From a recommendations standpoint, we would guess most would prefer the larger barrel that comes on the Avenge—although it will cost you more. If you need an aluminum barrel for sure, then don’t forget to check out the 2016 Axe Hyperwhip too. It may be a better fit and you’ll save a few bucks as well as get an asymmetric end cap (at least in BBCOR). The Hyperwhip Element won’t dampen sting as much as the 2016 Elite’s two-piece design, but it has the new ‘Endogrid’ design on the knob which contributes to a less painful hitting experience. If those two don’t sound interesting enough, then the Axe Element is for you.
The 2016 Axe Elite will come in:
- a BBCOR 31 through 34 inches. The bat is, obviously a drop 3.
- a Senior League (2 5/8) drop 9 and drop 5
- a Youth (Little League) Barrel (2 1/4) drop 12
As we mention above, the only performance based change (assuming different paint jobs don’t make you hit better) is the addition of a concave end cap on the 2016 version. This gives the bat a slightly lighters swing weight.
Additionally, the Elite uses a new alloy in the barrel which Axe claims is more durable. No way for us to verify such a claim and no real reason for Axe to simply make the claim up if it wasn’t true.
If such an upgrade from 2015 to 2016 is worth the price difference for the newer version will be up to you.
The 2016 Axe Elite is a two piece hybrid bat (composite handle and aluminum barrel) with an asymmetric handle. The bat is made of four pieces:
- The front side of the barrel optimized for ball impact
- The back side of the barrel optimized for swing weight and durability
- The composite handle of the bat which contains the asymmetric knob
- The composite end cap of the bat to help decrease swing weight by bringing the balance point of the bat more towards the hands.
Axe owns the proprietary technology to make an asymmetric handle on a baseball or softball bat. So, if an axe shaped handle is on your must have list then the you won’t find a similar bat to the 2016 Axe Elite unless, of course, you want to take a look at the 2015 Axe Elite.
If your looking for a balanced swinging hybrid bat and don’t necessarily need an axe shaped handle then your options open up considerably. We’d put the Mizuno NightHawk as the most similar bat in terms of a hybrid balanced feel in similar offerings as the 2016 Elite. There are a number of other options you can find in our bat reviews section.
We are fans of the axe Shaped handle and fully expect it acceptance along all levels of baseball to increase year over year. The technology simply makes too much sense and the swing simply feels too good to be left in the dust. We probably sound like a broken record in our review of Axe Bats, but it’s simply the truth: These bats don’t see nearly as much plate time as they should.
We are not sure the lack of barrel size on the Axe Elite is compelling enough to shout this bat from the housetops. The balanced hybrid bat space, if that is your priority, does have slightly lighter swing weights and bigger barrels then the Axe Elite. But none of them have an axe shaped handle. So, if an axe handle and a hybrid bat is on your must have then the Elite is your bat. If you were in the BBCOR market we’d definitley suggest you take a look at the 2016 Element Hyperwhip from Axe too.