As one of only four companies to deliver a USAbat offering on Septmber 1st 2017, Rawlings offers three very serious options that run the range of a high end two piece composite to a simple single piece aluminum. We have reviewed each one of these bat lines individually, but here we combine each of the USAbat bats from Rawlings and put together a high level lineup overview. Those in the USAbat space for the first time may find this helpful.
Rawlings appears to be the only company taking the reset of youth barrel standards to take a real shot at Easton. Axe and Mizuno are also producing USAbats as we speak, and DeMarini and Slugger should be by the end of the year. But, Rawlings already maintains the distribution and brand recognition to make a move on the market leader. And the reset of the standard gives a window for market presence that was utterly dominated by Easton. We don't think Rawlings will overtake Easton in the "youth" bat space, but we have no doubt they are seriously trying.
Where to buy Rawlings' USAbats
Most major retailers will carry Rawlings' USA baseball bat line. The more expensive the bat then the less likely you'll find it at box chains. Expect to find bats like the USA baseball Quatro, 5150 and Velo at major online vendors. We would suggest to start at places like JustBats and Closeoutbats or your favorite online store. We always like to check on Amazon.
2018 Rawlings USAbat Lineup
Rawlings USAbat bats, for our purposes, are separated into two major classes: The lower, mass consumer, USAbats and the top shelf performance bats. The lower end bats are made in a model called the Raptor. These Raptors are sub $50 bats made with a single piece of aluminum and very little technology. Expect a cheap experience but, at a minimum, at least it was cheap.
This site deals more specifically with the top shelf of bats. And, for Rawlings at least, that includes the 2018 Velo, 5150 and Quatro.
Rawlings USAbat 5150
In another post we write our 2018 Rawlings 5150 Review. Although built to a different performance standard, the principles behind the USAbat 5150 are the same as the others in the model line. That is, expect a heavier swing weight than the VELO but still the famous single piece aluminum bat that has graced the Rawlings line for a very long time.
The 5150 USAbat will come in a drop 5, drop 10 and drop 11. Producing both a drop 11 and drop 10 is an interesting approach. It makes us wonder why they didn't go the drop 12 and drop 10 which is a more traditional separation between bats. But, at a $99 price point, it might serve as the epitome of entry level performance USA baseball bats for the 2018 season.
Rawlings USAbat VELO
You can find much more information concerning the 2018 Rawlings VELO on our specific review of that bat. The 2018 USA baseball version of the VELO is not much different than the others in terms of construction. It uses a composite end cap, elonged barrel made possible by variable wall thickness and a laser groove down the inside of the bat. The point is a remarkably light swing and a decently sized barrel.
The Velo also comes in a drop 5 and a drop 10. And we fully expect the drop 10 to compete as one of the best mid range bats in the space for 2018.
Rawlings USAbat Quatro
The Quatro is one of two two-piece composite bats in the USAbat space for 2018. (At least at release on September 1st). The other two piece composite in the USAbat space is Easton's Ghost X. As such, we expect the Quatro to receive considerable attention from most very serious USA baseball players. The larger barrel and lighter swing weight afforded by the design---as well as a longer sweet spot made possible by the composite build---is exactly what a lot of elite baseball players look for.
You can see the full Rawlings Quatro review here. The USAbat version is built much like the other model versions of the bat but with the USAbat restrictions.
The major draw back to the Quatro will be the price point. But, as I am sure the case will be made by Rawlings, such is the plight of a player looking to get every advantage they can with equipment. The price is not different than what we have seen before. And with the pop dampening restrictions of USAbats, expect every small advantage to count.