Louisville Slugger releases 15 different softball bats for 2016. Four of those fall under the Z4 category. While we discuss the entire catalog of softball bats in another post, here we dive into the Z4. Our input drives from several games with the Z4 from Slugger, as well as legit cage time. We also spent more time than we like to admit watching YouTube videos of big hitters with the bat and in online forums gathering others’ general feel for the Z4. That knowledge, combined with our previous reviews on slowpitch bats and our general knowledge of bats, helps create this 2016 Louisville Slugger Z4 Review.
2016 Slugger Z4 Recommendations
We’d recommend the 2016 Slugger Z4 for players that like a real smooth smash on impact and are comfortable with some work in period. They also need to be in the market for a top shelf bat in terms of price. You should expect good ball exit speed at all swing speeds, but those with non-elite level swing speeds should really enjoy the balanced.
Gigantic hitters who want the Tru3 tech in their bat should consider the power load if a single stamp USSSA bat works for them. Otherwise, the ASA end load would be their best best.
2016 Z4 Catalog
ASA/USSSA End Load:
ASA/USSSA Balanced Load:
2016 Slugger Z4 Categories
To understand the lineup, it is easiest to consider the Z4 in its two broad categories: dual stamp and single stamp. The dual stamped Z4 is approved for play in ASA and USSSA. The single stamp is approved only in USSSA (aka U-tripple-S-A).
Once you’ve grasped that differentiation, the next split is a function of the bat’s load. The load, you will recall, is a function of where the balance of the bat is felt. End loaded bats, you could guess, have their balance more toward the end cap when compared to balanced bats whose balance is felt more towards the hands. The power load, another type, has an even greater end load than the end loads.
- The single stamp comes in a power load, end load and balanced version.
- The double stamp comes in an end load and a balanced version.
2016 Slugger Z4 Video Reviews
2016 Slugger Z4 Sizing
All slowpitch bats are 34 inches, so the only thing to concern yourself with in sizing is the drop. The drop, you will recall, is the numerical difference between the bat’s length in inches and weight in ounces. The Z4’s drops range in sizes from 8 to 4. Also note, the Backman Power Load sizes out a half ounce heavier due to its exaggerated load.
All the bats use a standard 7/8 inch handle and a 12 inch barrel. The knobs are slightly tapered.
2016 Slugger Z4 Construction
The Z4, regardless of the iteration in 2016 line, is a three piece bat. Two of those pieces are visible: the handle and barrel, both made of composite. The composite handle attaches to the barrel using the third piece of the bat. It is, in effect, a rubber slug that sits between the barrel and the handle. Its purpose is to dampen sting on mishits and give a smoother feel on contact.
Slugger implements this construction in their fastpitch and baseball lines. All told, Slugger’s comittment to the three piece design in each of their top shelf bats is a testament to their success with the technology. Our experience shows a real smooth feel on impact which more than a few players prefer.
2016 Slugger Z4 Comparable Bats vs Z4000
The two piece composite space in slow pitch softball is, to say the least, crowded. Miken’s Physco, DeMarini’s Jiggy and Worth’s Legit are likely the three most popular in the space. Each have numerous iterations under the same brand to accommodate load preference and league standard needs.
No doubt you can find as many opinions on which one performs best in that grouping as there are bats in the space. If anything, the Z4 is known for a bit more loose of a connection. This is simply a matter of preference. But expect real smooth jacks and good performing barrels with each of these comparable bats.
The most comparable bat to the Z4 is actually Slugger’s 2015 Z4000 (our review). There are virtually no changes in the design aside from the colorway in this year’s model. You may also find a review of the 2016 Super Z and the Hyper Z helpful.