We have spent enough time with the Rawlings VELO and the Slugger 617 SOLO to compare them closely. At a high level, both bats are very similar. We discuss those details, as well as some of the differences, below. In terms of preference, for shorter BBCOR sizes we prefer the 617 SOLO because the VELO only comes in a 31+ inch sizes. For big barrel sizes we prefer the VELO. In 32 and 33 inch BBCOR we find the bats too close to prefer one over the other. See our entire Rawlings VELO vs Slugger 716 below.
Rawlings VELO vs Slugger 617 Solo Contents
Rawlings VELO vs Slugger 617 Solo Resources
As far as a head to head battle, we could not find any particular write up even with our advanced Google search skills. We relied on our 2017 Rawlings VELO Review and our Louisville Slugger 617 Review. In each of those articles we discuss sizing options, bat construction and comparable models at length.
Although they do not compare the bats directly, we found ourselves perusing the reviews on Amazon for the VELO and 617. There we gathered some general sentiment as well as a few specifics on what people liked about each model.
Rawlings VELO vs Slugger 617 Solo Chart Comparison [content-egg module=Amazon]
Rawlings VELO vs Slugger 617 Similarities
Single Piece Hybrid
The VELO and 617 SOLO should be considered in the same class of performance bat. That class, invented by Rawlings within the VELO, is the single piece hybrid. Bats of this class maintain a single piece aluminum structure with an extended composite end cap. This end cap usually extends into the barrel 2 to 4 inches and dramatically reduces the swing weight of a bat.
In 2017, the single piece hybrid design approaches a perfect combination of power, feel and a low swing weight. As a hot out of the wrapper aluminum barrel with an over-sized diameter made possible by the extended light end cap, many players, particularly in the BBCOR space, quickly appreciate the design’s power and balance. That feat describes both the 617 and VELO well.
Rawlings VELO vs Slugger 617 Solo Differences
The Slugger 617 SOLO has a straight focus on BBCOR bats. In fact, no bat comes in a broader range of sizes within the BBCOR category than the SOLO. Slugger makes this BBCOR version in as short as a 29 inch and as long as a 33. The shorter 29 Inch BBCOR is in large measure the reason we chose the 617 SOLO as our favorite BBCOR bat for 2017.
Although lacking a full complement of BBCOR sizes, the Rawlings VELO comes in a big barrel and youth barrel sizing in addition to BBCOR. It is, at least when compared to the 617, a more popular bat simply because more players can swing it. And we should note, it is more popular because it has been around for much longer and has made a very good name for itself.
Another difference worth mentioning is the speed of the tapered grip on the BBCOR bats. The 617 has a rather dramatic, quick taper while the BBCOR VELO’s taper is more gradual. Not a big difference in terms of performance, but in terms of personal preference you may find one more likable than the other.
Variable Wall Thickness
The major difference between the 617 and VELO’s construction is the use of the VELO’s variable wall thickness. Rawlings, you will find in their literature, refers to this technology as POP 2.0. It is, at a high level, a clever use of varying wall thicknesses in the barrel that allows for a bigger barrel and a lighter swing. As such, the VELO is larger than the 617 SOLO, and at least in the same size lengths, the VELO has a lighter swing weight. Why Rawlings doesn’t extend that advantage into a 29 or 30 inch BBCOR bat is a mystery to us.