Our Experience: We spent 8 hours evaluating and researching the 2016 Louisville Slugger 916 Prime (Amazon’s Best Pricing Search) baseball bat. Of those 8 hours, 5 were spent in the cage with several different hitters who play all levels of composite bat baseball. The remaining three were spent reading early online reviews of the 916 as well as exchanging several emails with Louisville Slugger’s home office in an attempt to get a feel for the direction and performance of this year’s Prime.
Changes and Construction: By way of construction, like the 2015 915 Prime, the 2016 916 will be a two-piece composite bat with a balanced swing weight. The transition from the composite handle and composite barrel is connected with a composite slug which stiffens the transition point. Slugger refers to this as their TRU3 connective piece and it has been working well since the 2014 Attack. By way of upgrades, the 2016 comes with a bigger barrel (12% or 27% depending on the model) and a new black and white camo lizard skin grip (1.2mm).
We think the 12%* added barrel length on the 916 and the continuation of the two-piece composite with a balanced swing weight puts the 916 squarely in the recommendable category of high performance bats in 2016. Hitters who prefer a stiffer two-piece full composite bat with a balanced swing weight and a flared knob in the performance bat space should put this on their short list.
*The 2 3/4 actually has a 27% larger barrel than the 2015 version. All other models have the 12% increase.
Sizing: The bat comes in myriad sizes: a BBCOR, 2 3/4, 2 5/8 and a 2 1/4. Our favorite in the group was the BBCOR. It has a great combination of balance and pop. It is made for the every day hitter in baseball and could serve its purpose in just about every spot in the line up. The drop 5 in the senior league 2 5/8 is a beast of a bat too.
Other Similar Bats are plentiful as the balanced two piece composite space is thick with options. By way of swing weight and composition the 2016 CF8 may be its closest competitor. Of course the traditional Easton MAKO might also fit the comparisons list. The 916 is different than these two in the TRU3 connective piece and the standard lizard skin grip. By our measurements, both the CF8 and Easton MAKO have slightly larger barrels than the 2016 Prime—although it is rather close.
In the results of a blind study performed last year, The Perfect Game found that significantly more players preferred the PRIME when compared to the MAKO.
Recommendation: It’s impossible not to like the 916 Prime. This bat is smooth swinging with a great grip and knob flare feel. It is also a well constructed bat with three well thought out and top end performance pieces. The BBCOR version was one of the public’s favorites last year. We expect that to be no different in 2016.