For 2016, Easton Bats moved their BBCOR line from the S3 series and into the Z-Core brand of names. They also added a Z-Core for little league and senior barrel sizes. However, in a few offerings, they kept the Speed (S) and End Loaded (XL) names including, as pertains to this review, the 2016 Easton S3. (Price Check).
From a recommendations standpoint, the 2016 Easton S3, like previous years iterations, fits the mold of a light swinging bat made for players who need more help in simply finding the ball at the plate than anything else. The Easton S3 has never been known for power and its potential to ring a few hands due to its ultra-stiff feel has left more than a few leaving this bat behind in search for more barrel per swing weight, less hand sting, and more power. We’d hesitantly recommend it for the struggling hitter who doesn’t see serious pitch speed (sub 40mph) but, other than that, would be hard pressed to get excited about the bat for anyone in particular.
In the right hands, the stiff nature of the S3 could very likely due some damage as, for an aluminum bat at least, the swing weight allows for ultra quick hands. But we’d guess a legit hitter would find at least as much success, and likely a lot more, with a different stick. The S3 just doesn’t pack enough punch to be considered seriously by good players.
From a pure market reach standpoint, the limited offerings of sizes in the 2016 Easton S3 make it even more difficult to recommend across the board. It will only come in four sizes: a Youth Drop 13; 2 5/8 drop 10; a 2 3/4 drop 10. There is also a Junior Barrel Version of the bat which may be it’s most recommendable version due to the type of player looking for JBB bats (young, inexperienced, and not seeing impressive impact speeds). But, even then, the JBB version isn’t meant for serious pitching and you can get a little more bank for the buck they are asking for.
There are virtually no performance differences between the 2015 Easton S3 and the 2016 Easton S3. (Nor, for that matter, were there any differences in the 2014 S3 and the 2015 S3). The bat continues to be a single piece aluminum stick with a long barrel (for aluminum) and real stiff feel for the player looking for a light swinging bat.
The 2016 S3 keeps the same “HyperLite” Alloy which the 2015 S3 added to spite the 2014 version.
There are only 4 size offerings in the 2016 Easton S3:
- Drop 13 Youth Barrel (2 1/4)
- Drop 10 Senior Barrel (2 5/8)
- Drop 10 Big Barrel (2 3/4)
- Junior Big Barrel Drop 10 (2 5/8)
As we stated above, the 2016 Easton S3 is a stiff one piece bat with an ultra light swing. In 2014 Easton has several complaints of the S3 denting way too early in its life. The change to a new “hyperlite” alloy in 2015, which is now found on their BBCOR aluminum barreled bats, appears to be solid move as the 2015 S3 was reviewed well for the select group of smaller hitters who find success simply making contact.
There are few bats more mimicked than a one piece alloy with an attempt at a light swing weight. If you are looking for a similar bat to the 2 1/4 drop 13, then the Louisville Slugger 516 Omaha comes to mind as well as the Rawlings 5150.
A drop 10 in the 2 3/4 or 2 5/8 as a single piece light swining aluminum can also be found in the Slugger 516, the 5150 from Rawlings as well as the 2016 Rawlings VELO.
Our favorite in the single piece aluminum space remains the 2015 Marucci CAT 6 and, if you are willing to pay the S3 price, we’d highly recommend the CAT 6 although it’s senior barrel only comes in a drop 8 and their is no youth (2 1/4) barrel version.
We expect this to be the last year the S3 is made by Easton in any form—at least for a while. The MAKO Z-Core and its larger barrel appear to be taking over the single piece game on the Easton front.
We find the single piece aluminum barrel market to be lackluster at best. The average player who prefers stiff one piece bats do so for their power. That power is also enhanced by bats that are end loaded—hence the reason we find one piece bat lovers more in line for XL3 type bats instead of S3 type bats. When a single piece bat is put in a hand loaded or balanced bat we’re not quite sure what the point may be other than delivering a chance to at least hit the ball. But we’d rarely, if ever, expect such a hit ball from a light swinging one piece alloy without a monster barrel to go much further than the infield grass line. (Amazon Price Check on the 2016 Easton S3).