After considerable time in the cage, direct feedback from hitters at different levels of the sport and discussions about the upgrades with several in the know, we present our 2017 Rawlings Quatro bat review in both Senior League and BBCOR.
2017 Rawlings Quatro Recommendations
The Quatro is built with a wide swath of players in mind. Players who prefer massive sting dampening and as much barrel size per swing should be happy with this choice. Although not a budget conscious choice, its price point is comparable to other bats in the top shelf composite space.
It is missing some sizing we’d like to see. In particular, a drop 8 and drop 5 in the big barrel space, and the 2 5/8 version, which isn’t available at its release date (8/1/2016). These sizes may be coming soon.
The Quatro is not for players looking for massive power or hoping to recreate a wood bat feel. The bat’s connective pieces (the outside collar and inside connective design) allow for a lot of flex at contact and, as such, contact rarely feels bad. Some elite level hitters actually prefer more feedback. And, some argue, more give at contact actually decreases potential power.
2017 Rawlings Quatro Construction
At its core, the 2017 Rawlings Quatro is a two piece composite bat with a centering balance as close to the hands as possible. This gives the bat a large barrel and a light swing. Rawlings added a silicone collar within the connective area of the handle and barrel. This feature dampens sting on mishits and the general idea has been used in several other brands, confirming it works.
One could assume the name Quatro means a four-piece bat—just as the Trio from 2015 and 2016 was a three piece bat—yet this is not the case. The Quatro is officially a three piece bat: the handle, the barrel and the transition piece.
2017 Rawlings Quatro Video Reviews
2017 Rawlings Quatro Marketing Hype
Every vendor site we’ve read claims the 2017 Quatro allows for flex between barrel and handle to increase ‘accelerated bat speed through contact’. They all must simply be copying from the same Rawlings adslick.
Sadly, this idea of ‘bat whip’, or bat acceleration, is a terrible misconception about two piece bats. Two piece bats DO NOT flex on the down swing (like a golf club) to store up bat speed for impact. Instead, two piece bats flex at impact. The flex actually delivers less power to the ball, but feels better on the hands. This is one reason better hitters use one piece bats (or bats with very stiff transitions). Don’t be fooled by such silliness.
Rawlings is also claiming this is the first composite barrelled bat they’ve made. In the BBCOR space that is true enough. The Quatro is Rawling’s first BBCOR composite barrel. However, they did produce a two piece composite design in the Big Barrel space (2 3/4) just last year. It was called the VELO Composite.
2017 Rawlings Quatro Comparable Bats
There are a few two piece composite bats with a balanced swing and some innovation at the connective piece. The leaders in the space include Louisville Slugger’s 917 Prime—which first pimped the “Three Piece” bat design in 2015. From the 2015 model to the 2017 model, Slugger has consistently strengthened the connective piece (they call this TRU3). Slugger’s upgrade focus on a stiffer transition gives at least a bit of pause to Rawlings touting significant flex in its first run at a ‘three piece’ bat.
Other light swinging two piece composite bats are the Easton MAKO Beast and the DeMarini CF Zen. Both emphasize their connective design which can, they claim, deliver an ultra smooth swing with optimal power.
2017 Rawlings Quatro Last Year’s Model
The Quatro is a new line of bats for Rawlings in 2017. In the Rawlings line, you will not find a similar BBCOR bat from year’s past. In the 2 3/4 Big Barrel version, the VELO Composite from 2016 is somewhat similar, although it lacks the silicone collar around the connective piece.
Other models in the line, like the VELO, TRIO and 5150, are not very similar to the Quatro. The composite end cap on those bats has taken over the entire barrel in the Quatro. The composite handle could be found in the TRIO, but not the 5150 or VELO. The connective collar piece is entirely new in the space.
2017 Rawlings Quatro Experience
We have had a ton of fun hitting with these ‘glowsticks’, as they’ve affectionately been dubbed on social media. Younger players are attracted to the bright colors, monster barrel and lights swing like mosquitos to a bug lamp. BBCOR hitters immediately appreciate the Rawlings name and light swing. In cage work at least, no one has yet to claim the bat isn’t un fuego. It sounds great and with a good swing, hits them flat.
Younger players who need a light swing appeared to have more success and better feedback with this bat than others. Stronger hitters with a little more time under their belt, at least in the senior league space, had better success with a drop 8.
While it made hitting smooth, it was impossible for us to measure the effect on power of the the claimed flex in the Rawlings Quatro. Our gut reaction, simply based on the retooling Slugger went through on their 91X series, gives a bit of pause in terms of pure power with the bat, but time will tell.
2017 Rawlings Quatro Sizing
At release, the 2017 Rawlings Quatro is available in a 32, 33 and 34 inch BBCOR as well as a drop 10 2 3/4 Big barrel bat. We have no indication if it will come in other sizes.
We will be a bit disappointed not to see it in a shorter BBCOR, as this is a light swinging bat. And we are hoping it will come in a 2 5/8 for hitters who aren’t allowed to use a 2 3/4.