We’ve worked with a TORQ handled bat for over a year—spending several hours in the cage and on the field paying close attention to the spinning handle of Easton’s new flagship bat (Easton Fastpitch TORQ Price Check). Overall, as we’ve said before, we are impressed with the idea in theory. Meaning: We really do think the bat can create a more ergonomic swing allowing for a shorter distance to the point of attack. In conjunction with that “quick to” advantage, as it is often deemed, the independent rotation of the hands also allows the hitter to keep the barrel of the bat in the zone longer or, to keep with the axiom, “long through.” This “quick to long through” approach to hitting is what good hitters use at the plate and great hitters do in their sleep.
In practice, on the other hand, this technology has had a tough row to hoe. A difficulty not necessarily born from the effectiveness of the technology, but from the battle with tradition, pricing and competition both from without (DeMarini CF8, Worth 2 Legit) and within (Easton MAKO) the company. As well, it’s pricing still makes many feel it’s impractical. We would still argue this: had the MAKO TORQ come out at a price clip at or below the famed Easton MAKO then it’s uptake would have been remarkable. But, at such a significant premium, parents and players found every reason in the world to hate it.
Yet none of those difficulties allow us to dislike the bat technology. We still like the rotating bottom handle and can appreciate what it’s trying to accomplish notwithstanding its disruptive approach. Moreover, the 2016 Easton MAKO Fastpitch TORQ comes with the same shell shocking power and tremendous pipe of a barrel made ever so famous in the fastpitch MAKO. Worst case, if you end up hating it, just tape the thing down and voila! you have a MAKO.
Those who are willing to become comfortable with a rotating bottom hand, are possibly new to the game and struggling with getting their bat in the zone, don’t have much regard for a budget, are learning how to switch hit and/or like to have the latest and greatest may very well find the 2016 Easton MAKO TORQ fastpitch bat their weapon of choice. Others looking to get the most bang for their buck, are confident their mechanics are currently very good or prefer a more traditional handle may need to look elsewhere.
If owning a rotating handled bat in the fastpitch space is on your bucket list then your options are slim to none. Aside from the 2015 version of the MAKO Fastpitch TORQ your only other option is the Easton FS3 TORQ from 2016.
Other performance bats in the fastpitch space you may consider are DeMarini’s CF8 (Price), Worth’s 2 Legit (Price) and Louisville Slugger’s Xeno (Price). While each of those are two piece composite bats with their own little twist on max performance, none of them have a twist as literal as the 2016 Easton TORQ.
The 2016 Easton MAKO TORQ Fastpitch bat is designed just like the 2016 MAKO Fastpitch bat but with a rotating bottom hand. That means, the bat is a two piece composite bat built with Easton’s top shelf performance composite to the edge of allowable limits along all parts of the over-sized barrel. The connective piece, called the CXN, has been in the Easton design repertoire for several years and focuses on good stiffness throughout the transition while dampening sting on the hands during mishits. It really is a top shelf bat with top shelf construction only rivaled by some of the best in the business.
It comes in three versions or “drops” (the numerical difference between the length of the bat in inches and the weight of the bat in ounces). A drop 10, 9 and 8.
The drop 10 (-10) is considered a light swinging bat where the balance point in the stick is more toward the hands. The drop 9 (-9) and drop 8 (-8) are considered end loaded where that extra ounce (or two) is added toward the end of the barrel which forces the balance point more toward the end cap. Hence the end load.
The Drop 10
- 31, 32, 33, 34 inches
- Balanced/Hand Loaded
The Drop 9
- 32, 33, 34 inches
- End Loaded
The Drop 8
- 33, 34 inches
- End Loaded
(At the time of this writing, we found the 2016 Easton Fastpitch Mako TORQ from $389 to $399 on Amazon. Check here for a price update).
In the baseball, fastpitch and slow pitch game (where the TORQ was released in 2015) the rotating handle required such divergence from tradition that its uptake has been, to put it nicely, lackluster. Anyone who knows the actual Easton sales numbers, and wants to keep their job, isn’t going to tell us much, but look no further than the massive unloading many major retailers did on the 2015 TORQ insomuch that just a few short weeks ago the TORQ was less expensive than the MAKO. Better yet, go to your local little league or high-school game and see if you can find one. If you do then they are few and far between.
Yet we can’t help but really like the bat. Not in spite of the technology but because of it. Those on the inside at Easton must think so too. Why? Look no further than their 2016 line up of fastpitch and baseball bats. The TORQ technology has been expanded to the FS3, a new Hybrid, and a couple end loaded versions.
The TORQ story is far from over and those who wrote off the bat tech due to its ho-hum acceptance must have been at least slightly bewildered at Easton’s doubling down of the technology in 2016. We are not sure if the market’s tipping point to a revolutionary technology in a game built on tradition will be found somewhere in 2016 but we are confident of this: The TORQ technology has given us a lot to write about. And, it would appear, spurred a 50 gallon drum of industry wide bat innovations that should shape the market for years to come (e.g. smartBat).