(Slugger Released FIVE different 2016 Z4000 slow pitch softball bats. Three are made for USSSA play, the other two are for ASA play. You can read each of those reviews here: ASA End loaded, ASA Balanced, USSSA Endload, USSSA Balanced, USSSA Power Load.)
Z4000 USSSA Balanced
Approved for USSSA, ISA and NSA play the red balanced Z4000 slow pitch Slugger bat is our favorite balanced bat of the 2016 bunch.
The bat, much like the its Z3000 predecessor, is a smooth sailing, three-piece composite bat with a twelve inch barrel. Also like the Z3000, the bat comes in models 26 through 30 ounces in, of course, a 34 inch length. It hits like a gem.
The bat is, officially, a three piece bat. As far as we know, the only three piece softball bat on the market. The three pieces of the bat are:
- Full composite barrel measuring 12 inches long with 2 1/4 diameter.
- 7/8 tapered full composite handle with synthetic grip.
- A rubber insert (called the Tru3 connective piece) found in the transition point between the barrel and handle.
The bat comes with a sand paper type grit to the barrel. We like the feel of that because we think it feels great not because, as a few vendors erroneously claim, that somehow increases distance by increasing ball spin.
Even if the ball’s back spin did increase due to a sandpaper type feel on the barrel, and we don’t think it does, the principles of physics make the possibility of longer ball flight with great spin unlikely. (As we discussed in an earlier blog post). There are several very good reasons to purchase the Slugger Z4000 Balanced USSSA bat for 2016—but increased distance due to added back spin isn’t one of them.
Those reasons are most visible in the cage–where we had plenty of fun with this bad boy. Specifically:
- The 2015 Z3000 USSSA balance load was very well received in the market with, if anything, some slight concerns on its durability. The Z4000 takes all the good of the Z3000 and addresses durability concerns (much like the 2015 Slugger baseball line did) by enhancing the Tru3 connective piece in terms of stiffness. This not only improves durability but should increase power at contact with a better energy transfer to the ball.
- The price point is right in line with a two piece composite softball bat—and what most serious players are willing to pay for a top shelf performance slow pitch softball bat.
Overall we find the Z4000 Balanced bat highly recommendable for USSSA league players looking for top shelf performance and barrel control. Those looking to save a few bucks may look for a Z3000, if they are okay with a bit less durability, in a search like this. Those who want new with a guaranteed warranty and probably a little better durability should look at pricing here or here .