We spent some time at the 11U Perfect Game in July of 2016. Since we review baseball and softball bats, we thought it to be fun to do a gear check on what the so-called ‘best of the best’ swing. Indeed, what better proof of the ‘best bat’ than in the actual pudding? Amid our thousand different ways of determining the best bat, maybe finding what some of the best players swing as their Perfect Game Bats is our best idea yet.
In particular, these are some of the best players in the big barrel and senior barrel baseball space, whose parents clearly hold no bar in what they might spend on their kids’ endeavors. Surely they must swing the best bats, right? Maybe.
Home Run Derby Bats 1st, 2nd & 3rd
The 11U Perfect Game, as we detail in an earlier post, selected 15 players among the 200 or so participants. These 15 players get 10 swings in the opening ceremonies to see how many taters they can drop. They came from every team in the tournament, and the vast majority of them could crack serious distance with their bat. We kept track of the Perfect Game participants’ bats, of course. And we present them to you here.
The winner of the home run derby used the 2015 Easton XL1. Not surprising considering this end loaded two piece composite was built, in the big barrel space, for the exact hitter in the video. We personally would have loved to see the Drop 5 CF7 in this kid’s hands, but who are we to judge? For crying out loud he won!
2nd and 3rd place came from Puerto Rico and had, at least what we thought, were the smoothest swings of the bunch. They used, much to our surprise, a 2015 Catalyst from Louisville Slugger and a 2015 Easton S1.
Home Run Derby Perfect Game Bats: The Others
We were surprised at the breadth of the different bats used among the remaining 12 contestants. And, if we’re being critical for really no reason, we were surprised at how many bad choices there were. A home run derby bat choice, in the composite and aluminum space, is critical. Clearly, there are not enough people reading this blog.
Of those 12, 10 different bats were used. In no particular order:
- 2015 Easton MAKO (Used by two different players. Great choice.)
- Marucci CAT 7 (Very new at the time of this writing.)
- Marucci Black (BBCOR only bat. Great bat, but this choice makes no sense to us in a home run derby at this age group. Take the 1.15 BPF when you can!)
- Easton MAKO XL (Used by two different players. Great choice.)
- Rawlings VELO (If this were a base hitting competition, then great choice.)
- 2014 Easton S1. (We’ve seen worse choices, but not by much.)
- 917 Prime (Very new bat at the time of this writing. Didn’t sound worked in to to us.)
- CF8 Drop 8. (Surprised we didn’t see more of these.)
- CF7 Drop 5. (Our recommended stick! The kid swinging this missed out on the finals by one.)
- MAKO TORQ with a taped handle. (Wonder if he got this idea from our Making your Own Mako article?)
Actual Game Use Perfect Game Bats
We also watched 17 players participate in batting practice. These consisted of the non-home run hitters of the bunch as well. Hitters used several great bats. But, the DeMarini CF8 was the undeniable winner in terms of usage. If our counting was right, 9 of the 17 hitters used the CF8. Many were in the drop 8, but most were the drop 10. In other words, if the numbers hold, elite 11 and 12 year old players swing the DeMarini CF8 52% of the time. That is both remarkable and not surprising. We have loved the CF8 from day one and it consistently gets top marks nearly every way we slice the data.
The tally looked like this. (We’ve hit every one of these bats extensively, and you can read our review here)
Are these Perfect Game Bats Perfect?
As we mention above, we’ve tried to slice the ‘best bat’ a number of ways as to give players the best chance to succeed. We submit, at least on this page, the success of elite players could give no better evidence of what bat is best.
The home run derby bats were so diverse it’s difficult to make any overall suggestion. If it proves anything its that the long ball hitting is, at best, supplemented by a good bat—not created by it. Yet we are confident we could have improved a few results by a better choice. (Maybe start on our best bats page?)
The general bat bags of elite 11 year and 12 year old players clearly favor DeMarini’s CF8. We were rather surprised by the lack of the Combat MAXUM in the lineup—but such deficiency may be do to our location in the south east—where the Canadian Combat company doesn’t have as big a presence for whatever reason. Or, although many would disagree, the monstrosity of a barrel on the MAXUM doesn’t have the right performance for the ‘elite’.
But, in the end, the CF8’s dominance is absolutely clear. You can disagree it’s the best bat on the market in terms of performance, but you can’t disagree a near majority of elite 11 year old players and their parents, are convinced it is.
You might like our Pitch Smart Rules—which the perfect game implements.