If you are trying to decide what company has the most to gain with this new USA Baseball bat standard, look no further than Axe Bats. And as far as we can see, they are doing all in their power to make a serious splash. Consider this, at the USABat release (September 1, 2017) only four companies (Easton, Rawlings, Axe and Mizuno) are releasing a total of 11 bats. Three of those 11 are from Axe. They offer a hybrid and two takes on an aluminum bat stick. We discuss those three bats, the Origin, Element and Elite below in our 2018 Axe USABat lineup.
In terms of price and technology in the bat, the Elite is the most advanced USABat Axe makes. It is a two piece hybrid bat built in a drop 5.
The idea behind a shaped end cap and an ergonomically shaped handle is to make heavier bats feel lighter. Or, said differently, to give you more control and ergo, a better bat path. In at least some measure we have found this to be true. We are fans of the Axe design and concept, but we realize others are not.
As such, those in the drop 8 space might be surprised at how good the drop 5 feels.
In terms of bat shape, the Axe Element is not much different than the Axe Origin. That is, both bats have an asymmetric handle and endcap. Both bats, too, are single piece aluminum alloy bats.
But, you will note, the Origin runs less expensive than the Element by a good chunk. So, why the change in price? Simply enough, the Element uses a higher grade aluminum. This "Mantic" alloy, as they call it, allows for a thinner barreled wall and more structure for a better performing barrel.
The entry level USABat from Axe is a single piece aluminum made with both the ergonomic handle and the asymmetric handle. If you've noticed, those features are across the board on the USABat scene for Axe.
The reason this bat is considered an entry level bat is simply because the aluminum alloy is not remarkably premium. A less expensive alloy ultimately means a less expensive bat.
This implies the bat's barrel is not as long in terms of performance when compared to the Element or Elite.
Pricing and Value
The most comparable bat to the Elite in the early 2018 USABat release phase is, arguably, Easton's Hybrid. The Hybrid from Easton cannot have the asymmetric handle or endcap the Elite does, due to patents. Also, the Elite is a drop 8 while the Easton Hybrid is a drop 10. Granted, the handle does give you more control, possibly making the bats feel more similar. The Elite, at release, is $20 more than the Easton Hybrid.
The Element looks a lot like the Rawlings VELO which is also priced at the same $199 price point. The Element is a drop 8 and the VELO is a drop 10. The VELO feels like a lighter swing.
The Origin sits a bit in no mans land. That is, not a lot (none) of the bats in the USABat world have a $129 price point. Granted, there are not many bats out there to start with. This price point may serve a great option for entry level performance bat seekers in the USABat space. And, save the Hyperwhip from Easton, which is of a totally different composition, the Elite might end up the biggest surprise of the 2018 USABat season.