Top Baseball Bat Awards
Just Bat Reviews' industry recognized awards are based on personal, player and parent feedback. We also spend considerable time researching, writing and discussing bats with major manufacturers and vendors. The details of those discussions include bat performance, barrel sizes, exit speeds, and improvements from previous years. The full length of our reasoning in the section can be found our our best baseball bats article.
- USSSA (Big Barrel)
- Home Run Derby
- All Time Little League
2017 Louisville Slugger 617 Solo
Although sales of the 617 SOLO are not stellar, we stand by our claim it is the best BBCOR bat of 2017. Aluminum barrels are in style and players love the stiff feel and honest feedback. The idea of an extended composite end cap to lower the swing weight was lifted directly from the Rawlings VELO. But, unlike the VELO, the 617 Solo comes in a 29 inch length. And, as such, it becomes our favorite BBCOR bat because any player in the BBCOR market can find it in his or her size.
Testing In Progress...
(Results by 11/20/2017)
2017 DeMarini CF Zen
We know what you are thinking. Wasn’t the DeMarini CF Zen made illegal by the USSSA? The short answer is yes. But there is some explaining to do. For starters, only the drop 8 2 5/8 and the drop 10 2 3/4 have officially been banned by the USSSA. But, the drop 10 and drop 5 2 5/8, as well as the JBB drop 11 in the 2 3/4, are still legal. And, in those particular models, it stands as the best big barrel bat.
Best Wood Bats
As we mention in our best wood bats article, there is very little difference between the top 5 or 6 major wood bat manufacturers. Marucci, like others, is required to only use certain types of wood and by no means do they have the patent on a special type of tree. That said, more MLB players swing a Marucci bat than any other. And since the AP5 is its most popular bat then it becomes our best wood bat for the serious wood bat player.
Best Fungo Bats
Another no-brainer on this list of best bats is our best fungo bat. We can’t remember a time when SSK did not make the best fungo. These are almost the exclusive wood fungos of the MLB. The SSK fungo comes in both a 100 and 200 model. SSK fungos come in just about any color as well as a short and long version. Although not inexpensive, they are well worth the investment if you want to run a great practice.
2017 Easton Mako Beast
The best baseball bat on the market today is the 2017 Easton Mako Beast. The bat has proven time and time again that it is rock star of a stick. Since 2014, the Mako series from Easton has led the space. This bat has a monster barreled with a nice light swing. The feel on contact is as good as it gets. It is helpful, when you win the best overall baseball bat award, to be offered in every size category imaginable. Every player in the market for a bat will find a 2017 Mako Beast in their wheelhouse.
2017 Drop 5 CF Zen
This is likely the easiest decision on the entire list of best baseball bats. The Drop 5 CF Zen's legality is questionable. The drop 10 in the 2 3/4 as well as the drop 8 in the 2 5/8 were both banned starting the 2017 season. Yet, somehow, this drop 5 made it passed the second round of testing. The Drop 5 is the biggest hitting bat on the market (that includes BBCOR). And if you were looking to win a baseball home run derby then look no further than this piece of dynamite.
2016 DeMarini CF Zen
If you can find a Drop 10 2 3/4 CF Zen for less than several hundred dollars over its original price then buy it. This bat, although known to break, is an absolute ball killer. Most eBay auctions run well over $600 for a used version. And if you can find a new one expect to pay more than did for your first car. The bat can absolutely rake and once worked in you'll see why we consider it the best little league bat ever.
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Top Fastpitch Bat Awards
- Best Fastpitch
- Runner Up
- Best Cold Weather
- Best Slapper
- Best Budget
2017 Louisville Slugger LXT
As we write in our Best Fastpitch Bat article, the LXT competes in a highly stylized niche. In the top shelf fastpitch space the bats are so remarkably similar. Even within the Slugger line, the Xeno feels more like a different version of the LXT hyper instead of an actually different bat. Outside of the brand the competition is stiff---but the pedigree and player feedback of the LXT make it our favorite fastpitch bat.
2018 DeMarini CFX
Our second favorite fastpitch bat is the 2017 DeMarini CFX drop 10. Like the LXT it is light swinging, has a great sized barrel and comes with high marks from serious players. As well, the CF9 from Demarini rop 10 bat will be well received among the largest group of serious fastpitch softball players. Most who swung this bat commented on the massive amount of barrel achieved with such little swing weight. This bat is verifiable keeper.
Anderson RockeTech 2.0
Composite barreled bats, you should know, have a tendency to break in cold weather (like sub 60 degrees). Some would argue that small hitters won’t risk cracking composite because there is not enough bat speed and swing speed to create damage. This is exactly why we love the 2017 Anderson RockeTech 2.0 drop 9. It makes the list of our best cold weather bats. It’s a heavier swinging bat with crazy power---but we’d expect nothing less from Anderson and an aluminum barrel.
2018 DeMarini Slapper
Left handed batters who make a living just getting on base will love the 2018 DeMarini CF8 Slapper. It is a massively barreled light swinging bat with an opposite wrapped grip (so it doesn’t bunch on lefties). While we give a slight nod to the Slugger LXT in terms of overall player feedback the, the CFX Slapper is a one of a kind bat built for the lead off lefty. If that is you, then you may have just found your bat.
Louisville Slugger X12
If your budget is outside the ‘performance’ bat market range, we suggest the Louisville Slugger X12 fastpitch bat. This is the bat for players convinced their hitting challenges have more to do with their mechanics than bat. Most of all, this fastpitch bat comes with a light enough swing weight (drop 12) and a big enough barrel to work well enough for many hitters. Hitters new to the game won't notice a difference between this bat and other high performing ones.
Other Best Fastpitch Bats Articles By...
Top Slow Pitch Bat Awards
We have spent days and days testing, reviewing and writing about slow pitch softball bats. We a more exhaustive explanation of our best slow pitch bats in this article. You can see many of the highlights in the snippet box below. This includes our favorite ASA and USSSA bats as well as a couple unique types to the space.
- Home Run Derby
2016 Miken DC 41
In our best USSSA slowpitch bat articles, we pimp the value of an end load and a two piece composite bat. No other company has quite captured the hearts and minds of serious slowpitch players like Miken. And the Denny Crine 41 bat is the best USSSA one they make. We love the extra ounce of end load in this beast. It makes even the small kids feel like they deserve a place at the table. It also feels pretty hot out of the wrapper and comes with a relatively smooth smash with a stiff transition.
Miken Freak Platinum
Go to any serious slowpitch softball tournament in an ASA league and you will find this Freak Platinum in abundance. It is the most popular bat in the space right now. The bat has a great smash, tons of power to all fields, and serves the purpose of hero maker. A nice stiff transition keeps balls flying deep while maintaining a smooth ride on the hands.
2017 Easton Helmer Flex
In terms of the ‘best value ASA bat’ the Helmer has the market cornered. At a fraction of the price when compared to some others on this list, the Easton Helmer stands as a bright spot in an industry riddled with overpriced reprints from years past. This two piece composite design is a favorite of ours and, if we were spending our own money, would have a hard time spending it on anything but the Easton Helmer Flex loaded ASA softball bat.
Banned Miken Ultra II
This is the easiest decision we have ever had to make in terms of deciding the best bat. The Miken Ultra II is so hot even anemic folks are dropping bombs on 320+ fences on slow pitch softball fields around the country. Work this bad boy in and be the king of the league before, we should warn you, the bat either breaks or they confinscate your bat for using an illegal stick.
How We Decide
How We Decide What Bat has the most Pop
As the leading independent voice on bat industry news and reviews, we pride ourselves on delivering real content from actual hitters and parents. In the last 12 months, we have spent no less than 2,000 hours hitting, playing, reviewing, reading and writing about bats of all types. Add to that a never ending stream of conversations on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook discussing the articles we decide to publish. We are not simply spinning product detail bullet points and calling it a review. Hoping, then, that Google ranks us well for “unique” content. Instead, the pages on this site chronicle real hitters, real parents, real coaches and real advice. It is, we believe, one of the major reasons this site is as popular as it is.
The Making of a Best Bats List
From that never ending stream of unique information it is only natural that lists of best bats begin to form. Certain brands and models have more social buzz. And, as the season goes on, the buzz begins to wax or wane. But keeping our independent finger on the pulse of the market does not mean we come without bias. In fact, we admit often our advice can be wrong. Everyone has their biases even, like us, if you don’t work for a given manufacturer or vendor.
By trade we are baseball and fastpitch players, not bloggers and search engine optimizers. We are parents of kids who play at the top level of their age group and of girls who struggle to hit the ball at all. We are fans of the game at every level of the sport. When it stops raining there is rarely a night of the week we are not at the fields. Our yards look long and weedy. And terrible. That’s because we are not home. And, you find yourself reading this far into this post, then you would know exactly what we mean.