About this time of year, as has become our custom, we reflect on each of the 2017 bats we reviewed. Many are doing as well or as poorly in the market as we predicted. Others fail to gain the ground we thought possible. For lack of marketing budget or other reasons, there are 2017 bats that never appeared on most players’ radars. As a last ditch attempt to give those underappreciated bats their due publicity, we write this 2017 Bats You May Have Missed article.
Missed 2017 Bats Contents
Missed 2017 Bats Sources
There are no similar articles around, due to the fact that traffic is controlled by a few major vendors and the accompanying manufacturers. These few control much of the information parents and players receive on bats. This dynamic makes an article highlighting what the majority have missed possible from an independent and bat obsessed source like JBR.
We don’t mean to suggest any type of conspiracy. Rather, the sheer volume of bats on the market make it difficult to highlight every one. And the cumulative effect of marketing and Google searching simply boxes out bats that should get more spotlight.
With our ability to provide wider spotlight, we think our reviews on each of these bats are worth your time.
Slugger’s 617 SOLO
Louisville Slugger’s 617 SOLO in a 29 or 30 inch bat may very well be the best shorter BBCOR bat ever produced. There, we said it. We have seen this bat in action among several players and each tells us the same thing: I LOVE IT. Yet, with Slugger’s marketing budget pimping the more expensive 917 Prime, and bigger players in the BBCOR space ignoring the bat because they have options in 32 and 33 inch lengths, the 617 has failed to drive the traffic it deserves.
Consider these factors. For years, the BBCOR space has struggled to produce a quality bat for smaller players who are now required to swing BBCOR. As well, the industry trend is for BBCOR players to use aluminum barrels. Now, we finally have a few companies that have designed a light swinging and big barreled aluminum bat through the use of variable wall thicknesses and composite end caps. But only one, the 617 SOLO, takes those design features into a shorter bat. the 617 SOLO is the only light swinging, big barreled, hot out of the wrapper aluminum barrel that comes in a 29 inch. It is the literal nexus of what every parent and player has been complaining about for years.
And brand new at $299? What a great, great buy. See our full 617 Solo Review.
2017 AXE Hyperwhip
Included in the category of bats you have yet to try, must be the 2017 AXE Hyperwhip. The bat loses points for not being available in any category but BBCOR. Yet, the thoughtfulness of the bat forces it on this list. As we mention in our review, the bat uses an asymmetric handle to create predictive impact on one side of the barrel. Engineers design the barrel and end cap with one sided hitting in mind. Most noticeably, they remove volume from the back of the end cap to help decrease swing weight.
Much like the 617 SOLO above, the Axe Hyperwhip also uses some variable wall thickness and and extended composite end cap to lower the swing weight in this single piece hybrid bat. Smart.
We have been told that some vendors are surprised at how well this bat is actually selling. Parents and players are smart enough to see the ingenuity. But, even if the numbers are above the expectation, we still think it short of what it should be in the BBCOR space. This bat, and its legit price point, deserve your serious consideration.
Dirty South Bats
There are few bats we get asked more about than the Dirty South line of bats. If your eyes have yet to dry from the dissolution of Combat Bats late last year, then do we have some good news for you. Dirty South prides itself on making a big barreled single piece composite bat in massive drops.
In large measure they have taken the Combat model and recreated it in Atlanta, Georgia. Like Combat, these bats are not cheap. They price out as much as top shelf bats like the Easton Beast and the DeMarini CF Zen. The biggest knock on the bats is the general feeling they are overpriced. We won’t disagree there. But, in terms of single piece composite with an oversized barrel, you won’t find anything comparable. And, in terms of bats you’ve never heard of but probably should have, this fits the bill.
Note on 2017 Dirty South Bats: Like many smaller manufacturers, Dirty South does not release a new iteration of their older bat each year. Small manufacturers claim this is just a change in paint job so why bother. In reality, though, the vast majority of new bats do have reasonable changes and upgrades from the previous year. But, when your distribution and sales numbers are that of a start up, producing a new bat every year is way too expensive. In other words, these bats making a 2017 list of bats is an admitted misnomer. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t a worthy addition.
2017 Mizuno Covert
We can think of reasons every bat on this list is not widely known with the exception of the 2017 Mizuno Covert. Maybe people have yet to realize that Mizuno makes serious baseball bats. Or maybe, Mizuno spends most of its resources talking about the soft barreled MaxCOR instead of this more traditional stick. Another theory may be the name change from the NightHawk last year.
Whatever the reason, the Covert is as legit a hybrid bat as you can find in the space for 2017. The barrel size is good, the swing weight is light and the aluminum barrel is hot out of the wrapper. Still, though, few people pull the trigger on this bat from this world wide company.
To boot, the bat comes in just about every size you could hope for: BBCORs, drop 10’s, drop 9’s, drop 5’s. Unless you need a youth barreled bat, expect the right size for you in this very underappreciated Mizuno Covert.