If baseball bats are hard to keep track of, softball bats are impossible. Our math shows there are nearly twice as many performance softball bat iterations than baseball. Considering the number of baseball players outnumber softball players in multiples, the bat disparity is surprising. Louisville Slugger Slowpitch bats for 2016 alone number no less than 15.
When our reviews for these specific bats are added, you’ll find them below. For now, we present an overview of the Slugger slowpitch lineup for 2016 to help you navigate the abundant options. (You can see all our slowpitch bat reviews here).
For organization’s sake, the 2016 Louisville Slugger slowpitch bat lineup is listed under four categories. From most ‘premier’ to least, they would go as follows: The Z4 series, the Super Z series, the Hyper Z series and the budget bats. These series contain no less than two (Hyper Z) and as many as six (Z4) bats. We dive in a bit more below.
Category 1: Louisville Slugger Z4
The Slugger Z4 is Slugger’s most advanced bat (their claim, not necessarily ours). The Z4 should be considered the next generation of the Slugger Z4000, which followed the Z3000. The bat boasts a two piece composite design with an additional slug within the transition point at the handle and barrel. This extra piece, which Slugger calls Tru3, serves as a sort of proverbial roach motel for vibration. That is, vibrations check in, but they never check out. [The writer grimaces].
Compared to the Z4000, the only real difference is the colorway. It remains a two piece composite with a 7/8 inch handle and a 12 inch barrel. The grit finish on the barrel is also the same. Like the Z4000, the Z4 also comes in 6 different iterations. Three in the dual stamped ASA/USSSA realm and another three in the single stamp USSSA.
Dual Stamped ASA/USSSA Z4 Options:
See our full review of the 2017 Louisville Slugger Z4 slowpitch bat.
Apollo Special Edition (End Load):
Single Stamp USSSA Z4 Options:
Category 2: Super Z
Slugger’s Super Z in 2016 is a two piece composite bat with a stiff transition. Serious players often prefer these due to their very stiff feel and short work in time. Time will tell how well they are received in the market. If Z2000 (the last generation of this bat) reviews are any indication of how well folks will like this bat, then it should be a great choice.
The bat comes in only 4 different sizes: an endloaded and balanced singe stamp USSSA and a dual stamped end load and single stamp. If you’ve been paying close attention, you’ll notice a white knob means a balanced version while a black knob means an end loaded version.
Dual Stamped ASA/USSSA Super Z Options:
Dual Stamped USSSA/ASA Super Z Options:
Category 3: Hyper Z
Technically, the 2016 Hyper Z is an adaptation of the Z4 in terms of construction, but built to standards of senior association softball. This means, as some argue, it has the most legal pop you can find.
The Hyper Z arrives in two versions: an endload and a balanced. The endload is a two piece bat like last year’s Hyper Z. The balanced is, unlike last year, a single piece stiff stick.
Of course, just to keep you on your toes, Slugger doesn’t use the white knob/black knob to indicate balanced and end load—like they do in the Z4 and Super Z. Instead, both bats have yellow knobs and are recognized only by the white or black toward the end of the barrel. (White is balanced, black is end loaded).
Category 4: Budget Bats
Slugger also produces three less popular models in the slowpitch softball space. The bat with the most tech is the XXL Balanced dual stamped bat. This is a good option for cold weather play and is built for durability with its double wall design. Those looking for a simple bat with some moderate to good performance in the cold weather space should like this one.
Slugger also offers a very inexpensive single piece 7050 alloy slow pitch bat. This is the epitome of big box store bats. You are buying nothing more than a brand name. The specs are similar to a dozen or so other low priced fastpitch bats: single piece, known alloy.
If you’ve yet to hit with a wood bat made for slow pitch softball, then the $20 you spend on Slugger’s 34 inch Ash slowpitch softball bat might be money well spent. It’s a heavy swing, but gives that sound and feel that replicate real baseball. This bat is also a really good cold weather option in the sense it won’t crack like composite bats will. It can, however, flat out break because it is wood. It does not have any particular association approvals, so be aware it might not be legal in your league.