Many have long argued, for baseball bats at least, looks don’t matter. Indeed, there are no requirements for a color scheme in BBCOR or BPF testing. And real batted ball speeds shouldn’t have any measurable increase due to bat design or color, obviously.
Regardless of how many times we say this, however, year in and year out, bat manufacturers push the limits in artistry and design. What do they know that we don’t? Or, rather, what do they know that we as consumers are not willing to admit? Does a bat that looks more expensive somehow perform better?
The short answer is, maybe. If confidence increases with better looking gear, does performance also increase? Many make the case, especially in the batter’s box, that confidence is king. If a bat’s design projects better confidence in a player, doesn’t that also mean better results?
Rankings of What Bat Looks The Most Expensive
We set out to measure what bat this site’s readers think looks more expensive. We will take this data and preference at the end of the 2017 season to see if we can notice any correlations.
The Best Looking 2017 Bat
The most expensive looking bat for 2017, at least according to our readers’ voting, is the 2017 DeMarini Voodoo Insane. We review the Voodoo Insane here. As we state in the review, this BBCOR only bat is a power hitter’s dream. It is the brainchild of the 2016 Voodoo Overlord FT.
We must admit we were a bit surprised to see this bat rise to the top of the most expensive looking bat. But, on further reflection, we see how the classic colors look, well-known brand name and sweet transition design give this hitter top marks. It is a work of art as much as a stick of dynamite.
Consider, as well, this bat retail price at release is $300—a water mark far surpassed by many others that get real close to $500.
The Runner Up
In a distant second place, the 2017 Easton MAKO Beast made its mark. We review the Beast here. As we state in the review, the less neon look for the new 2017 Easton Beast is a real effort in doing more by doing less by the Easton design team.
We would guess, as well, the well-known brand name associated with Easton and MAKO pushed the limits on what voters thought was more expensive. And this bat, unlike the winner Voodoo Insane, comes in different sizes other than BBCOR. Indeed, the Easton MAKO Beast is likely the most popular bat on the market today.
The 2017 Voodoo One is the least expensive bat to make the top 6. At a price point of less than $200, only the Marucci CAT 7 comes even close. Others, like the MAKO Beast are well over $400. Chalk it up to a lack of knowledge of this single piece stick, or a design that resonates with people’s expectation of expensive. Either way, the 2017 DeMarini One was the surprise pick of the most expensive looking bat contest.
We review the 2017 Voodoo One here.
Other Notables & The Editor’s Pick
The 2017 DeMarini Voodoo Balanced, like its heavy-set brother the Voodoo Insane, also made the top of the list. No surprise considering the sleek design and well-known brand name. (See our review on the Voodoo Balanced here).
Louisville Slugger’s 2017 917 Prime, not surprisingly, also made the top of the list. See our full review of the 917 Prime here. The flagship bat from what may be the most recognizable name in bat-history. This bat would be our pick for it’s strong look and accents. It is a beautiful bat and the custom Lizard Skin grip is money.
No list of simply beautiful and expensive looking bats would be complete without the Marucci CAT 7. We were happy to see readers and voters thought likewise. Our full review of the Marucci CAT 7 is here.
Why Design Does Matter
You won’t convince us that bat speed and trampoline effect are directly changed by design. However, we are convinced that batted ball speed has a significant amount to do with player confidence. No one disagrees that a more confident hitter is a more successful one. This, then, begs the question: does the look of a baseball bat have anything to do with the confidence of the hitter? If your answer is categorically “No,” then I’d suggest you don’t know many 14 year old boys.
You can contribute to the voting here.
What We Set Out To Prove
Over the 2017 season, we hope to prove that bats that look more expensive also get better performance ratings. We will do this by letting readers of this site, before the seasons starts, determine which bats look more expensive. Armed with that data, we will compare end of season user rankings of those same bats. Two general outcomes from those results could occur.
- The most expensive looking bats get the best performance ratings. While this would not prove the causality of looks to performance, it would also not rule it out.
- The most expensive looking bats don’t get the best performance ratings. This finding would prove that a color scheme has nothing to do with a bat’s performance, or the player’s performance with the bat.