Our favorite BBCOR bat on the market today is the 2017 Louisville Slugger 617 Solo. Our hitters’ feedback focused on the light swing, smooth look, good sized barrel for aluminum and solid ping on contact. Parents noticed the reasonable price point. The 617 SOLO is a great choice for players in need of as much bat control and bat speed as possible in a top shelf performance bat.
Amazon Price Check the 2017 Slugger 617 Solo BBCOR.
|Best BBCOR Bat Reference Table|
|1||2017 Slugger 617 Solo||Overall||5||$$||Smooth|
|2||2016 or 2017 MAKO||Overall||4.5||$$$$||Ubiquitious|
|2||CF8 or CF Zen||Overall||4.5||$$$$||Polished|
|5||916 or 916 Slugger Prime||Overall||4||$$$$||Notable|
|1||Axe Hyperwhip Fusion||Inventive||4||$$||Ingenious|
|1||Voodoo Raw or Insane||Power Hitter||5||$$$||Dominant|
|1||2017 or 2016 VELO||Base Hitter||4.5||$$$||Ping|
|1||Marucci CAT 7||Base Hitter||4.5||$$||Graceful|
Why Trust Us?
Our credibility comes from our experience with every serious bat in the last 4 years. Since 2013, we have game and cage tested each performance bat on the market. We also spend considerable time discussing bat performance with manufacturers and major vendors as well as with players who use the bats. That information is aggregated into reviews for each bat and into ‘best’ articles like this one.
We can also be objective because we have no dog in the fight—we don’t sell bats and we don’t manufacturer bats. Though we have good relationships with these companies, we don’t work for them and they don’t work for us. Our data is independent and conclusions are our very own. Our intent is to provide real reviews and honest feedback on game tested bats.
The internet is plagued with lists that have no bearing on actual bat usage, but instead are a reprint of Amazon best seller lists, parading as legitimate ‘reviews’. We put considerable effort into creating helpful lists of bats based on actual game and cage use.
Even with all those fail-safes, our determination of the best BBCOR bat is not always the best choice for every player. So many factors go into successful hitting and every player has their own specific needs and preferences, that though our intent is pure, our best bat determination is not fool-proof. At a minimum, we are certain our choice is legit.
Table of Contents
- Why Trust Us?
- Table of Contents
- Is the 617 Really the BEST?
- 2017 Louisville Slugger 617 Review
- Other Options
- Composite Barrel Options
- Best Unique BBCOR Bat: Axe Hyperwhip Fusion
- Best Power Hitter BBCOR Bat
- Best Base Hitter BBCOR Bat
- Best Value Buy BBCOR Bat
Is the 617 Really the BEST?
Why It May Not Be
There are reasons the 617 might not be the best BBCOR bat on the market. As we mention in just about every best bat article we write, the BEST bat is as much a function of preference and hitting style as it is top shelf performance. Yet today, many bats in the market meet top shelf performance standards. BBCOR performance is no secret and many manufacturers possess R&D teams who know how to reach peak limits.
Why We Say It Is
Simply put, the 617 has the greatest potential to be the best bat for the most players. As most players need more bat control and speed, players tend toward lighter swinging bats. The 617 is a very light swinging BBCOR bat, and more importantly, comes in a 29-inch length—the shortest of any BBCOR bat. As well, players’ preferences have pushed toward aluminum bats for their hot out of the wrapper feature and wood like feel on contact.
The 617 Solo fits this bill with its single piece alloy construction and extended composite end cap. Throw in a mid-range price point and we have ourselves a winner.
No doubt about it, each player should take the time to find their best BBCOR bat. For most players, the Louisville Slugger 617 will fit the bill well. The obvious exceptions are folks who want a two-piece bat, composite barrel and/or end loaded swing.
2017 Louisville Slugger 617 Review
Our in-depth 2017 Louisville Slugger 617 SOLO Review might be worth your time. Here are the highlights:
Construction & Sizing
The 617 is a single piece aluminum bat with an extended composite end cap. We often refer to this design as a single piece hybrid. The extended composite end cap allows for a lighter swing weight without compromising the size of the barrel. It also takes less technology out of the transition point to offer a 29-inch length.
Those in the BBCOR space who need as much bat speed and control as possible will love the feel of the 617 SOLO. Smaller players in 8th and 9th grade who still need something swingable will love the 29-inch option. Expect a wood-like feel and legitimate power with the single piece design.
Not Recommended For
A large swath of the market appreciates the smooth smash of a two-piece bat. Those in that category likely won’t appreciate the stiffer feel of the 617 SOLO. As well, the light balance isn’t for those who want an end-loaded bat nor is the aluminum barrel for those who like the sound and softer feel of composite barrels.
Where to Buy
In terms of pure market presence, the Easton MAKO BBCOR line of bats must be on any list of best BBCOR bats. The 2017 Easton MAKO (called the BEAST) and the 2016 Easton MAKO are top shelf bats with top-shelf pricing. No one walks away from a BP session with a MAKO without thinking the bat is exceptional.
So why not 1st place over the 617 SOLO? For many hitters, the bat could be. And, due to the breadth of the MAKO’s sizing options, we named the Easton MAKO Beast as the Best 2017 Baseball Bat. The MAKO’s light swing and industry leading large barrel are very attractive features. The smooth smash of the two-piece composite makes even mishits feel like bombs.
If we are picky, and we have to be considering the number of excellent BBCOR bats in the space, the MAKO is expensive. At nearing $500, the sub $300 617 SOLO is a deal. As well, the lack of a 29-inch excludes a number of 14-year-old BBCOR players. Throw in the general preference moving toward stiffer one-piece bats with ping, and you may see our full justification for choosing the 617 SOLO. But don’t get us wrong, the MAKO series of BBCOR bats from both 2016 and 2017 are lights out.
DeMarini CF ZEN & CF8
In that same vein, the 2016 DeMarini CF8 and 2017 DeMarini CF Zen from DeMarini are amazing BBCOR bats. To many, the CF8 and CF Zen define balance and top shelf performance at every pitch speed. The two-piece design of the CF8 produces as silky a smash as the industry has ever seen. It’s like the adjectives tranquility and beast-mode had a bat shaped baby with a $450 price tag. Throw in a slightly tapered knob and we are drooling all over ourselves with excitement.
Take our excerpt for our best 2016 BBCOR bat write-up: “…When we consider the blessed and happy state of those who rock a D-fusion 2.0 handle with a delicious barrel of TNT known as the DeMarini CF8, we are left with no choice. The CF8 is straight money; it is euphoria incarnate. It is the best BBCOR bat in 2016.”
Composite Barrel Options
New to the space for 2017, the Rawlings BBCOR Quatro is full of features and pop. This is the world’s first four piece bat that includes a composite handle, silicone transition piece, composite barrel and inner barrel toward the end cap. Each piece delivers a specific task for overall performance and a feel that you can read about on our 2017 Rawlings Quatro Review.
In time, the Quatro may become one of our favorite 2017 BBCOR bats, but the lack of anything shorter than a 32-inch bat, and the crowded two-piece composite, light swinging BBCOR space gives it a tough row to hoe. For many though, this bat is definitely worth a try.
If the MAKO and CF8/CF Zen are first and second in the two-piece composite bat space, then the 916 and 917 Primes from Slugger were over-looked. All hitters, reviews and experience we use to rank bats puts Slugger’s two-piece composite, balanced swing, flagship bat at the top of the list. The crowded market makes it difficult to rise to the top, but for many, this bat should get a serious look.
If you are in love with the MAKO from Easton or CFx series DeMarini, we find no reason you won’t also love the 2017 Louisville Slugger BBCOR 917 Prime.
Best Unique BBCOR Bat: Axe Hyperwhip Fusion
Our favorite BBCOR bat readily available on the market today is the 2017 Axe Hyperwhip Fusion. Imagine the 617 Solo from Slugger, but with an asymmetric knob for a more ergonomic swing and an asymmetric end cap to delete cap weight for a more balanced swing. This bat designed with predictive impact in mind also adds durability and barrel length with an inner bat sleeve focused toward the hitting area.
Best Power Hitter BBCOR Bat
Our favorite power hitter bat readily on the market today is the 2016 DeMarini Voodoo Raw or 2017 DeMarini Voodoo Insane.
In a different life, the author of this article was meant to be a 6’4” left-hander weighing in at 228. The cannon equipped to his arm would only be equaled in power to the expertly crafted ball butcher of bat he held at the plate. Today, this bat is named the 2016 DeMarini Voodoo Raw, and the said left-hander would have so, so many girlfriends. You don’t even know.
(You can read our full 2016 Voodoo Review here. The 2017 DeMarini Voodoo Insane is similar.)
But, alas, the author is left to the balanced section of the sporting good aisle, hoping, rather praying, the .50 BBCOR stamp on our bat was put there by mistake. ‘Maybe quality control let this one slide,’. On our way out, we’d run our fingers along the rack where the big boy bats are kept—where Gunther and his guns can buy bats with his sponsorship money from winning things that strong and tall people win.
Best Base Hitter BBCOR Bat
The 2016 or 2017 Rawlings VELO is manufactured much like the 2017 Slugger 617 Solo. Why, then, is the Rawlings BBCOR VELO not our best BBCOR bat? That is a fair question and one for which we don’t have a great answer. It is likely due to the fact the VELO and its extended composite end cap on a single piece aluminum is an older tale. The BBCOR VELO hasn’t changed much for three years. On the other hand, the first iteration 617 from Slugger leaves us enamored.
But make no mistake about it. The VELO blazed the trail of hybrid single piece bats. The 2016 and 2017 bats are identical save the paint job. See our 2016 VELO Review and our 2017 Rawlings VELO review.
Marucci CAT 7
Lest we forget, the 2017 Marucci CAT 7 is also one our favorites. It replicates the wood experience as well as any bat on the market today. The bat expands the sweet spot by using variable wall thickness in 2017, and the sting-dampening apparatus found in the bat’s knob is a great feature no one else has.
Best Value Buy BBCOR Bat
A best value bat is a bit hard to define. Does it suggest the bat, in this case the 516 Louisville Slugger Omaha, could be good, but since you’re a cheap son-of-a-gun, you won’t be as successful at the plate? Or, maybe it means the bat is just as good as any other on this list, but flies under the radar in terms of its price point? (See our Our 516 Omaha Review).
The answer, at least for our purposes here, is likely a little bit of both. We don’t think the 516 Omaha is as good as the 617 SOLO, CF8 or MAKO. But, we also would not cheat up from left field because some dude was rocking it in the box. To be sure, the 516 can hit a ball just as far as the other two bats above, but it might require a higher end pitch speed and a hitter who doesn’t shy away from hand sting. The fact it saves you up to $300 that might otherwise be spent at the batting cages or on your mortgage is the downright reality of it all, and a very compelling reason to choose the best value bat.