We had an exclusive sneak peak at the Louisville Slugger 918 Prime Custom bat selector. That insight, coupled with a few conversations with major vendors and the manufacturer, and a spin on the new custom Slugger site, allow us to put together this 2018 Louisville Slugger 918 Prime review. We combine that with our 2017 review of the 917 and our other 2018 baseball bat reviews and, in theory at least, we have some insight to share.
These bats are now for sale at every major retailer. Slugger has significant distribution so expect to find them wherever you like to shop for performance baseball gear.
What's New with the 918
The most exciting thing for the 2018 Slugger 918 Prime is the opportunity to create a custom bat. Slugger has taken, almost verbatim, the site from their sister company DeMarini and built the opportunity to produce a custom bat.
We were given a chance to take the process for a spin pre-release and can say it was as smooth as we could hope for. Dozens of great color options, the chance to personalize the barrel and the lizard skin options were all great touches. You can expect an update to this page when we get our hands on our Custom 918. Here is an image of the bat we produced.
Our custom results
It took the requisite 4 weeks to get out 918 Custom. Although the pictures don't quite do it justice, the thing is flat out beautiful.
End Cap, Composite Design
918 Upgrades don't just stop at the custom option selector. Compared to the 917, you can expect a larger barrel. This is made possible by a new composite structure and the change of a lighter weight end cap. And, a lighter end cap allows for more mass in the barrel. Slugger smartly used more of that mass to create a larger barrel.
Louisville Slugger 918 Sources
For over 4 years we have reviewed every baseball and softball bat on the planet (or at least close to it). That insight is found on the pages of this site. In some sense, the effort of all that have brought us to this very review. In some sense, behind this review stands the sources of all our bat reviews.
More specifically, don't forget our 917 Review. That 917 Review is the most read source on the internet for that particular bat. It is the previous version of the 918 Prime.
2018 Slugger Lineup Overview
In time, we will discuss the entire Louisville Slugger lineup. Below is a rough draw on where we think the 718 will fit in the 2018 Slugger line. Expect this to change as we gather more information.
Single Piece Aluminum
- Stiff Feel
- Good Value
- Hand Vibration
- Smaller Sweet Spot
Single Piece Hybrid
- Stiff Feel
- Balanced Swing?
- Only BBCOR?
- Smaller Sweetspot
Two Piece Hybrid
- End Load
- Hot Out the Wrapper
- Heaviest Swing
- Barrel Size?
Two Piece Composite
- Ultra Smooth
- Big Barrel
- Durability Concerns
In short, the 718 Select appears to be an upgrade from the 716 in 2016 that boasted a two piece hybrid structure. As we get more time with the bat, and start to hear back from players that have actually used it, we will keep our notes and data points in the following 2018 Louisville Slugger 718 Select Review.
918 Prime Swing Weight
The 918 is the second lightest bat of the 4 marquee bats in the 2018 Slugger lineup. It runs with a swing that is about 5% heavier than the 618 SOLO, about 5% lighter than the 518 Omaha and about 10% lighter than the 718 Select.
918 Prime Swing Weight
These numbers are representative of the swing weight index chart found on the sides of the 2018 Louisville Slugger bat lineup this year. They are tied to the MOI (or swing weight) of each at. It is very important to note, however, that these numbers are not perfectly scalable across each length of the bat. They are, for all intents and purposes, a rough indicator as to how these bats fair against one another.
Where to Buy the 918 Select?
These bats are available for sell just about anywhere performance baseball gear is sold. Slugger's distribution is top shelf and so is their gear, generally speaking. For brand new bats, we always look at major retailers like justbats.com and closeoubats.com first. Of course places like Amazon and eBay work too, but if you can find it there for a discount off the MSRP then you can bet you are buying a grey market bat. Don't expec these bats to have lower than normal pricing until the summer of 2018.
2018 Slugger 918 In Depth Review
918 vs 917 Prime Construction
The 2018 Prime brings with it a new end cap and a new composite structure. This, ultimatley, produces a larger barrel than the 917 Prime and should be a welcome relief to those who found the 917 lacking in barrel size.
The new micro composite barrel structure also adds to the weight decrease this year. Expect a light swinging two piece composite with a good sized barrel. All, we think, great upgrades from the 2017 version. And, if the price is right, worth the premium.
As well, the 918 will use the same TRU3 connective piece that was found in the 2017 917 Prime.
918 Prime Recommendations
As it is such a new bat, it is difficult to give full fledged recommendations on the 918 Prime. But, based on our previous experience with the 917, and understanding the nature of the upgrades from 2017, we can make at least some high level suggestions for the 2018 Prime.
Most prominently, we would suggest the 918 Prime for those hitters who like a light swing on a two piece composite bat. That is, hitters who like a buttery smash on almost every hit and need a bat weight that encourages a fast swing.
Generally, in the highschool ranks, that includes a lot of highschool players who don't get to spend all day in the weight room.
In the big barrel and USAbat bat space we have yet to get a good feel for how these bats will perform. The big barrel 917 Prime never quite got the traction we thought it deserved. the Zen, Beast, CAT 7 and Combat outperformed it, if not in the lab, in people's minds. We are hopeful the 918 big barrel bats will live up to their potential and the larger barrel might help push it over the top.
918 Prime Comparable Bats
Not many years ago, the two piece composite space only had a few legitimate options. Now, several two piece composite bats grace the plate. In addition to the 917 Prime, another very similar bat is the Easton MAKO Beast.
At the time of this writing, the MAKO Beast is the most recent BBCOR bat on the market for Easton. It is a 2017 model. Soon, for 2018, Easton will release an Easton Ghost bat in BBCOR. At this point, how comparable that bat will be to the 917 Prime is anyone's guess.
See the Beast and other BBCOR bat reviews here.
918 Prime Sizing
Below are the list of sizes the Louisville Slugger 918 Prime bat will be offered in. There may be more than these.
- BBCOR 31 to 34 inch
- Big Barrel Drop 12
- Big Barrel Drop 10
- Big Barrel Drop 8
- Big Barrel Drop 5
- USAbat Bat