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Here is all the advice we’ve given previously. If you filter by category of question it’s possible someone else had the exact same question and we answered it already.
CAT USA vs Easton ADV 360
Dear Bat Guy, I’m a big fan of your videos. My son is turning 11 in February. He swings a -10 Posey Marucci USSSA bat in club ball. He’s starting little league in a month and have no clue what USA bat to get. What’s the best one for him? He’s about 5ft …
Dear Bat Guy,
I’m a big fan of your videos. My son is turning 11 in February. He swings a -10 Posey Marucci USSSA bat in club ball. He’s starting little league in a month and have no clue what USA bat to get. What’s the best one for him? He’s about 5ft and very thin. He has a very fundamental balanced baseball swing. What do you think?
USA bats are a different beast for sure. Pure performance is the Easton ADV drop 11. Swings like a drop 10. Make sure it’s the drop 11. If you want something that “feels” the most like the Posey28 we’d say the Solo in USA.
That article has some more insight too. Hope that helps and Happy Thanksgiving.
Dear Bat Guy,
One more question. Doesn’t his swing speed dictate the bat for him? So confused. Just tell me what you think the best bat for him is. Going to buy a few to try.
Some of the “12u” kids at the LLWS swing the ADV 360 Drop 11. Just go for the 32/21.
If you want something heavier the Slugger Select works too.
You’ll find the separation between USA bats is not as big as USSSA bats. Meaning, it just doesn’t matter as much as it does in USSSA.
We’d tell you to buy in this order:
- 31/20 USA ADV 360
- 31/21 Voodoo Balanced
- 31/20 Solo
Dear Bat Guy,
He swings a drop 10. He’s only 10 turning 11 in February. Currently using a 29/19 Posey in USSSA. However, little league is starting and want the best bat out there for him. What do you think? Is it bad going from drop 10 to drop 11? I thought he has to swing a drop 3 by high school?
I bought him the DeMarini Cat 29/19 and the Marucci USA to try. How come you picked a 31 when he currently swings a 29? Is it better for the bat to be longer? Sorry for the questions just want to make the right decision. When I measured him it looks like the 29 is perfect right now and the 30 is a little big. How do I test for correct size?
Is Easton the best USA bat?
Here’s the references:
Bat size for 11u: 31/21 or 30/20
Thanks so much. I’m going to try Marucci, Demarini cat, solo, and Easton USA. Leaning toward Easton for him. What are your thoughts on a drop 11 at almost 11 years old? Shouldn’t he start swinging a heavier bat then a drop 11?
A 31/20 swings heavier than a 30/20. It’s not so much the drop as it is the swing weight. Swing weight is affected by balance point and a longer bat usually swings heavier.
He does want to start swinging heavier and a 31/20 will be heavier than a 30/20.
He seems to love the USA Marucci drop 10. What do you think of that bat this year? Also, do you think it matters swinging a barrel that’s 2 1/2 vs 2 5/8? The two piece Easton seems like he has trouble with them or they are to end loaded.
Check our the site sometime:
In short: The CAT USA dented in the first 25 minutes. Hated the smaller barrel. The ADV is light swinging. Got the best exit speeds. It’s our favorite USA bat. I’m not sure how else we can possibly tell you that again. The drop 11 USA bat ADV 360 is the bat we recommend.
I purchased your data on all the bats and you had the Marucci rated number 5 against all the other USA bats. That’s why I’m confused.
Thanks for the support John,
Exit speed rankings are definitely one factor we use to help us determine the best bat. The CAT had an average exit speed ranking of the 5th best. But, to be honest, we aren’t sure the rankings of the averages is that useful a metric. You’ll notice the CAT, on the data sheet, ranks in the top 5 for only 1 hitter. It ranks 6th for another and in the bottom half for the other two. We consider that a ranking, not so much our rating. Its why we write this right next to that data column:
As we state everywhere, we think it a mistake to decide on your best bat by just looking at Exit Speed ranks of other players. Lots of factors, like feel, price, durability, etc should be serious considerations. That said, the chart to the left of this text box shows the Average Rank of every 2020 USA bat we tested.
How We Rate Bats
On our best baseball bat rankings page you can see how we rate our bats. In short, here is the breakdown:
- 30% Exit Speed Performance (That Data coming from the Sheet you Reference).
- 30% from Player Feel. (A survey our hitters take after hitting with each bat).
- 20% Popularity (We aren’t buying into marketing hype, but the general populations wallets tend to follow the better bats).
- 15% Relevance. (Meaning, how broad is the offering and how applicable is the bat to the general public).
- 5% Technology. (Tech doesn’t make a bat, but we do give credit for bats that are trying to push the envelope and be creative).
I feel your pain. You are living the Dad dream/nightmare that wants to make sure we have the right equipment for their son but realizes the bat world rarely has useful information. Some days it feels like everything works and nothing works.
Buy Confidence, Not the Bat
We also find that branding and experience gets in the way a lot. People who love Marucci or DeMarini or Easton often swear by it until the end of time regardless of any facts we could point out. That isn’t a bad thing, it is what it is. We’ve had people come hit with us that swear by how hot a bat is and how well it hits even as we show them on a speed gun that it just doesn’t match up.
I’m not saying that’s what is happening here. I’m saying that brand affiliation and attraction is a very real thing in baseball—its why these companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on marketing because it really does work. On us, on our children and on our decisions—there is no way around it.
Your son had such a good experience with the Posey 28 Marucci we don’t find it surprising he’s tending Marucci’s USA Bat. Does that bat match up to the ADV drop 11 or a number of other bats? We don’t think so and we think we have data to support it. But, that isn’t the same as saying the CAT isn’t the right bat for your son or any one else. If your son thinks its the best than what’s the point of trying to convince him otherwise? Confidence at the plate should be valued at almost all other costs. And a mile an hour or so of exit speed, a better feel or bigger barrel almost never makes up believing you have the best and can be the best.
Anyways, hope that helps and doesn’t make it more confusing. Keep up the good fight.
Answered On: November 29, 2019
Marucci CAT 7 vs CAT 8
Dear Bat Guy, What BBCOR bat do you believe is better, the Cat 7 or 8? Thanks, Cody Cody, Good question and one we get often. In short, we don’t think either one is “better” when compared to the other. The CAT 8 has a bit larger barrel and, in theory a …
Dear Bat Guy,
What BBCOR bat do you believe is better, the Cat 7 or 8?
Good question and one we get often. In short, we don’t think either one is “better” when compared to the other. The CAT 8 has a bit larger barrel and, in theory at least, a longer sweet spot. But, user ratings, swing weight and exit speeds all rate out very equally for us. The fact it usually runs cheaper (at least the time of this writing) means we’d tend towards the CAT 7. CAT 7 user ratings, aggregated through multiple sites (here, here and here) rate the two bats out identically.
Marucci CAT 7 vs CAT 8
The Marucci CAT 8 and Marucci CAT 7 have more in common than they do in contrast. They are, ultimately, both single piece aluminum bats with variable wall barrel thickness and unique technology in the knob to help dampen sting. They both also use variable wall thickness in the barrel which helps extend the lowest compression possible in a long stretch. That applies to BBCOR and USSSA.
They stand apart from most single piece alloys because of their barrel’s change in wall thickness (although that feature isn’t entirely unique). They stand apart from every bat in the market in that they use a sting dampening device inside the knob to help absorb vibrations on mishits.
See our full Marucci CAT 7 Review
See our full Marucci CAT 8 Review
The CAT 8 in both BBCOR and USSSA use more levels of wall thickness (made possible by an upgraded alloy) than the CAT 7. The CAT 7 uses 7 levels and, you might have guessed, the CAT 8 uses 8. That isn’t the reason they have those names, but does make it easy to remember. These additional levels found in the CAT 8, in theory at least, help extend the length of the sweet spot. User reviews don’t necessarily bear out the fact the CAT 8 has a longer sweet spot in practice—as both the CAT 8 and CAT 7 in BBCOR have near impeccable performance ratings.
If the price were exactly the same we’d likely choose the CAT 8 for these reasons:
- The CAT 8 will hold it’s price longer in the event we ever want to sell it.
- The CAT 8 Barrel is a big longer compared to the CAT 7, but not by much.
- The CAT 8 is more readily available (has the right sizing available).
Different Price for CAT 7
At the time of this writing we could find the CAT 7 for $100 cheaper. ($199 vs $299). If that is still the case by the time you are reading this then our suggestion is the Marucci CAT 7 over the CAT 8.
It’s hard to put an exact number on our breaking point. But, if we could find the BBCOR CAT 7 for at least than $50 cheaper than a CAT 8 we’d go with the CAT 7. The bat hits the ball just as well, has the same swing weight, and comes with the same anti-vibration knob technology which has made the CAT series a real winner.
USSSA: CAT 7 vs CAT 8
The CAT 7 and CAT 8 both come in a USSSA Drop 10, 8 and 5. But, for the CAT 8 the barrel sized changed (in the drop 8 and 5) to a 2 3/4 from the 2 5/8 it is in CAT 7.
Otherwise, the changes from the CAT 7 to CAT 8 in USSSA stand the same as the changes in BBCOR. That is, an upgraded allow to make more wall thicknesses in the barrel.
Marucci CAT 7 Connect vs Cat 8 Connect
From the CAT 7 to the CAT 8 Marucci also upgraded the connection piece in the Connect version of the bat. The Connect is a lesser known option meant as a heavy swing and a two piece hybrid bat. That is, expect a composite handle and the same aluminum barrel found in the CAT 7 and CAT 8 respectively.
Answered On: November 7, 2019
2020 Easton Fuze Hybrid USA
Dear Bat Guy, On the Dick’s website there is an Easton fuze hybrid. I have not seen it anywhere else though. Is it exclusive to Dick’s? Do you have any information on swing weight or how it would match up to other hybrids? ~Liz Liz, Thanks for the ques …
Dear Bat Guy,
On the Dick’s website there is an Easton fuze hybrid. I have not seen it anywhere else though. Is it exclusive to Dick’s? Do you have any information on swing weight or how it would match up to other hybrids?
Thanks for the question. You’re the second person in as many days to ask about an Easton Hybrid Fuze USA bat that can be seen on the Dicks Sporting Goods Website. The image on that listing, though, is the exact same as the 2020 Easton Fuze–not Hybrid.
We reached out to a couple of people we know in the industry and found they didn’t know either. We have the 2019/2020 Easton catalog and do not see the an Easton Hybrid Fuze USA in it. We do see, of course, the single piece alloy Fuze. But that is clearly a different bat with a different price point.
We even spoke to an Easton rep through a contact of ours and they weren’t sure either.
Dicks Sporting Goods Exclusive?
Long story short, after a lot of digging around, we are pretty sure the 2020 Easton Fuze Hybrid will be a SKU unique only to Dicks Sporting Goods only. We don’t have date for when it will be on sale. But, from we are guessing, DSG will release the Fuze Hybrid for the 2020 season. Before or after the holiday push we don’t know, but we’d guess they’d like it to be before.
We did find a picture of it on the approved USA bats website. But, it didn’t have a release date or a place where you could buy it yet. Meaning it wasn’t for sale anywhere yet.
We’ve also looked on our favorite big time bat sites like JustBats, CloseoutBats and Baseball Express. We can’t find it there. So, again, our theory about a DSG exclusive a lot like they did with the Easton SC500 in USA for 2018 (one of our favorites from that year).
2020 Easton USA Fuze Hybrid Review
We don’t know much about the bat in USA, but we do a lot about it in BBCOR. It is, as expected, a two piece bat built with a composite handle and an aluminum barrel. It uses the same handle as you can find in a bat like the ADV 360 and the same barrel that is in the non-hybrid Fuze (which comes in a BBCOR, USSSA and USA).
The 2020 Easton Hybrid Fuze in USA replaces the Beast Speed Hybrid from 2019 in USA and, for all intents and purposes, we expect it to feel and perform pretty similarly.
Wait for It?
At the time of this writing we could find the Easton Beast Hybrid Speed for under $120. Considering the Fuze is going to start at nearly $300 and stay at that price for several months we think the Beast Hybrid Speed is a great deal. Although we’ve yet to hit with it, we can’t imagine the Hyrid USA Fuze is going to be worth the price difference even when it does come out. But, time will tell and we’ll be sure to hit it once it releases.
Answered On: November 5, 2019
Easton Fuze vs Voodoo One vs Solo
Dear Bat Guy, Hi my son will be 10 Years old in the spring. He likes single piece alloy bats. This past season he used a 28″ Demarini Voodoo one. He wants the same bat next season. How would you compare it to the 2020 Easton Fuze 360 USA? Do you recomm …
Dear Bat Guy,
Hi my son will be 10 Years old in the spring. He likes single piece alloy bats. This past season he used a 28″ Demarini Voodoo one. He wants the same bat next season. How would you compare it to the 2020 Easton Fuze 360 USA? Do you recommend one over the other? Is there another bat in the same class that you would suggest over both of them? – Thank You
The Fuze has not been out long so our rankings might change. But, we really like the Power Boost knob. Not because we think it gives you better bat speed, but just because it actually feels better. Our performance tests showed both bats were all but identical. We also liked the look and barrel size better of the Fuze—but, again, those had no measurable change in actual bat to ball performance.
For what it’s worth, our lower swing speed player (like 50 to 60 mph swing speed) did like the Voodoo better.
Fuze vs Voodoo One vs Solo
In that class, we think the Fuze, Solo and Voodoo One are the best lot of single piece aluminum bats. If we had to choose one we’d go with the 2020 or 2019 Solo. But, we realize, that solo is a drop 11–unlike the drop 10 Fuze and Voodoo One. Even at a drop 11 we think the exit speeds, feel and barrel size of the Solo are the best in class. (Assuming you think a drop 11 and drop 10 are in the same class).
If we had to make a decision right now, as of this writing on November 3rd 2019, we’d buy the Demo House USA Voodoo One on JustBats here. Simply because it’s a price you won’t see for long—inventory on these guys is usually pretty low and, at least by our sorting, it is the most popular bat on JustBats USA section right because of the price. But, your son might be disappointed in the same exact bat and year just an inch or two bigger.
The bigger question for you might be a 29/19 or 30/20? See our 10 year old size suggestions here: 29/19 or 30/20?.
In other words, we don’t think you’ll go wrong with any of those three choices above. If he loves the Voodoo then we think the 2020 Voodoo One has way better graphics than the 2019 and he’ll be stoked to open that bad boy up. If he’s down for trying something that ‘feels’ better than the Fuze is a great bet. If he wants to go for something that rates out with the best exit speeds and has the best average reviews than the Solo it is (although its a drop 11).
There are other options too.
Our Single piece aluminum USA Bat ranking would look like this:
In any event, we hope that helps a bit. You’re in a good spot and definitely looking at the right bats.
Answered On: November 3, 2019
USA Bat vs BBCOR
Dear Bat Guy, Our summer league gives the option of USA Bat or BBCOR. If weight is not the deciding factor. Is there a difference in ball speed between the two in general? ~Tim This is a fun question so thanks for that. We’re going to break your questi …
Dear Bat Guy,
Our summer league gives the option of USA Bat or BBCOR. If weight is not the deciding factor. Is there a difference in ball speed between the two in general?
This is a fun question so thanks for that.
We’re going to break your question a bit but then we’ll try and put it back together again. The answer is BBCOR not because they have better trampoline effect (they are in fact the same). But, BBCOR bats have much greater mass as they are required to be drop 3 while USA bats are not that heavy. Bat’s with a higher swing weight (as almost all BBCOR bats do compared to USA bats) will hit the ball father.
You can find BBCOR bats that swing lighter than USA Bats. For example, Slugger’s Solo comes in a 29/26. That bat’s swing weight is considerably less than an end loaded drop 5 USA bat like the Axe Elite in a 32/27.
Assuming we could find two bats of the same swing weight….
USA and BBCOR bats are both meant to replicate wood bat performance. So, in that sense, the bats won’t perform differently. However…
The question that gets thrown around on bat forums often is what BBCOR score would a USA bat get. It’s helpful to understand how BBCOR is calculated which we discuss in depth in our BESR bat article. In short, BBCOR is a measurement of how flexible the barrel of a bat is in relation to the ball at impact. During collision both the bat and the ball change shape as they compress together. The more the bat compresses, and hence less the ball will, the higher the exit speed. The BBCOR standard requires the bat compress no more than that of the ball. When they compress equally than the BBCOR rating is .500.
USA uses a similar test but deals more with exit speeds that replicate wood bat performance than the actual compression of a baseball. There’s likely some internal company data used to measure a USA bat during the BBCOR test but no one has yet to make it public. Our educated guess it the BBCOR test results on a USA bat would be so close to .500 that it wouldn’t make an inch of difference. (Okay, maybe an inch, but no more than 6 in one way or the other on a perfectly hit ball).
In any event, thanks for the question and we hope that helps settle the dispute as to which one works better. The answer: the one with the higher swing weight (assuming they can swing it as fast).
Answered On: October 31, 2019
Are 2020 USA Bats Better than 2019 USA Bats?
Dear Bat Guy, Having a difficult time deciding whether to purchase a new 2020 USA Bat or stick with the 2019 Solo we already have. Player is 10, 4’5” 65 lbs. Have been looking at a two piece composite for this year, have hit Easton, Prime, Quatro. Don’ …
Dear Bat Guy,
Having a difficult time deciding whether to purchase a new 2020 USA Bat or stick with the 2019 Solo we already have. Player is 10, 4’5” 65 lbs. Have been looking at a two piece composite for this year, have hit Easton, Prime, Quatro. Don’t want to make the wrong decision like I did last year and end up with a bat we don’t use, especially a $350 one. Are 2020 bats better than 2019 ones?
We hear you on spending money on the wrong bat. It’s crazy its this hard sometimes.
We think some 2020 USA bats are better than others while some got worse. For example, we think Easton’s ADV 360 is better than the Ghost Evo and we think Rawlings VELO ACP is better than the 2019 Rawlings VELO. However, we think the Quatro Drop 10 took a step backwards.
In any event, for 2020 USA bats we really like the DeMarini Voodoo Balanced. If he’s 10 then he should be able to get the 29/19 around easy enough. The bat rates out great, tops our best USA bat lists again this year and doesn’t break the bank like some of those other bats you were swinging.
For bat sizing on a 10 year old, we don’t worry too much about height and weight. We know that sounds non-intuitive. But, all our data shows that 10 year olds bat happiness is not connected how well their height/weight match up with their bat size. Short and Weak kids swing the same kinds of bats as tall and strong kids with the same amount of happiness at 10 year’s old.
Good luck and thanks for the note!
Answered On: October 31, 2019
Fastpitch 14U Travel Team Bat Options
Dear Bat Guy, What is your review on the 2019 DeMarini Prism? I have a 2010 DeMarini currently and I am in the market for a new bat and was looking at the prism. I would be open to any brand of bat but have had a really good experience with the DeMarin …
Dear Bat Guy,
What is your review on the 2019 DeMarini Prism? I have a 2010 DeMarini currently and I am in the market for a new bat and was looking at the prism. I would be open to any brand of bat but have had a really good experience with the DeMarini that I have. I play for a 14u travel team, I am 13 and going to play in high school next year as well. I am a power hitter, but sometimes struggle with the speed of my bat. Once again I am open to any brand but would really would like feedback on the 2019 DeMarini Prism.
Thanks for the note. We do have a review on the 2019 (and 2020) DeMarini Prism right here. In short, it does well on our exit speeds and has a ton of give on the hit (meaning the barrel and handle really bend to give a cushion feel). That said, it isn’t the best performing bat out there in terms of exit speeds. If you are a power hitter than we say go with something more stiff. That would include a bat like Louisville Slugger’s Xeno or, if you want some 2020 stuff, maybe a 2020 DeMarini FNX.
Good luck with the season and thanks for the note!
Answered On: October 31, 2019
Easton Hyperlite Upgrades
Dear Bat Guy, Which 2020 USA bat do you recommend for 8u in 28”? We had the solo last year and did not like it. The ghost hyperlite -11 is what he currently has and has out performed the solo. We were looking for alloy or maybe hybrid? Something close …
Dear Bat Guy,
Which 2020 USA bat do you recommend for 8u in 28”? We had the solo last year and did not like it. The ghost hyperlite -11 is what he currently has and has out performed the solo. We were looking for alloy or maybe hybrid? Something close to stated weight.
Thanks for the email. You give us a lot to talk about so bear with us for a minute.
(We do have a best bat for 8 year old article you might like).
We’ll start at the end of you question and address the ‘close to stated weight’ issue first.
Actual Weight vs Stated Weight In Youth Baseball Bats
Turns out, if you don’t mind us being frank, neither one of them really matters.
Bats that weigh more than other bats can very well swing lighter. That is actually the rule more than the exception. Consider this we try and illustrate in the chart.
- Notice the CAT Composite feels lighter when swinging it (that’s what swing weight is) than the 619 Solo but, it weighs almost 2 ounces more.
- In 2019 we measured the swing weight of 29 different 30-inch drop 10 bats. Of those, 82.7% (24) of the bats had at least one other bat whose scale weight was less but was more difficult to swing.
- If wanted our bat to be no greater than 0.5 ounces heavier than it’s stated weight in 2019 (in the 31/21) than only 7 out of 29 qualified.
- If we went with the 21.5 ounces Dirty South Demon (considerably close to the stated weight relativity speaking and almost 2 ounces lighter than other 31/21s) we could have bought 17 other bats that swung lighter but weighed heavier.
- The only bat to weigh exactly 21 ounces (like the stated weight) had 4 bats that swung lighter than it.
- Statistically speaking, the R2 of scale weight and swing weight in this chart is 0.28. Meaning, simply, the correlation between swing weight and scale weight is considered very weak at best.
In other words, we entirely get the sentiment of getting a bat that is close to the stated weight because we don’t want something our kid can’t swing. And when we say we want an 18-ounce bat we feel cheated when we get one that weighs 19.9. But, in truth, the stated weight of the bat is no more useful to us than the graphics. They are virtually pointless when it comes to a bats feel and performance.
Although groups like Slugger are getting closer, bat companies continue to produce stated weight bats when they know the number is pointless. Much to the shagrin of parents trying to spend their money wisely and untold amounts of ink wasted on internet forums. (We learned much of the stuff above from talking with bat engineers at companies that every baseball player knows).
In other words, we would not worry a single lick about the bat being close to its stated weight.
8U Bat Options
From the sounds of it your 8U boy takes baseball serious. The fact you’ve used two different bats that each cost over $100 on a 7 year old means you’re not fooling around here. (As if someone on our site looking for information was anything but, am I right?).
If he liked the Hyperlite in a drop 11 (must be a USA player because we don’t think they made the drop 11 in USSSA) and is considering a 28/18 in a, possibly, hybird bat, then we’d look close at the USA 2019 Easton Beast Speed Hybrid. (JustBats Price, Dicks Sporting Goods Price, CloseoutBats Price). The handle is a lot like the hyperlite he liked but it adds the aluminum barrel you might have been looking for.
(For 2020 Easton really doesn’t have a hybrid USA bat. The Fuze is only a single piece aluminum although they do some inner things on the barrel with composite.)
Funny enough, after all our humming and hawing over swing weight/scale weight, the Easton Beast Hybrid stays real close to the stated weight line. In the chart above its the dot just to the right of the 5800 MOI and a scale weight of about 21.25. Consider the Easton Beast Speed Hybrid just a hair lighter than the average in its class.
Note, the Beast Speed Hybrid from 2019 gets really good ratings for that kid wanting a lighter swing and a good feel. That is, good ratings except for the people that it breaks on. It might not break more than any other performance bat out there these days, but the negative ratings you see on sites aggregating buyer reviews are almost exclusively from instances where it broke. In cases where it didn’t break folks love the bat.
If you want an aluminum single piece in the USA space than, to be honest, nothing is better than the Solo. We don’t think it changed enough from 2019 to 2020 for you to all the sudden start liking it.
So, if that’s off the table due to prior experience your only other single piece aluminum option, really, is the Velo in a drop 11 aluminum. (You could do the 5150 but we think you’ll be disappointed). The 2019 version didn’t get good ratings (and we didn’t like it). The 2020 is a bit better and should be better received. It’s still an ultra light swinging single piece that competes with a bat like the Solo.
But, a single piece aluminum USA bat for $249 for an 8 year old? We’d rather use that Hyperlite from last year and wait until he can get the 29″ DeMarini Voodooo USA (which we think is the best USA around for the price and value—but no 28/18’s or we’d be all over it for you).
Really, the Beast Hybrid Speed?
We try to get a bat in someone’s wheel house. For starters, you had a good experience with the Easton. That’s a start. Second, the Beast Speed has virtually the same barrel but sizes up for the 8u guy nicely. Third, it’s priced in the range of the other bat’s you’ve bought. Fourth, we like the Solo in the light swinging USA class but from what it sounds like that didn’t hit the sweet spot, so to speak.
That leaves us with a boring class of USA bats (not that the Solo made it any better). But, that’s the name of the USA bat game—boring, predictable and rather okay. So, here’s our other choices in the event we didn’t understand the question.
- If you liked the Hyperlite then just get one in a 28″.
- If you want a good value and a drop 10 then the Rawlings 5150 USA might be the best bang for your buck out there. But it’s not keen on performance as much as it is cheap.
- If you wanted to try something complete different go for a 29-inch drop 12 Rawlings 2020 Threat in USA.
In any event, we wrote way more than is necessary to answer your pretty straight forward question. We’re hopeful you can find at least something in there that’s useful.
Thanks for the question and good luck!
Answered On: October 31, 2019
Hand Sting & Performance with a 7 Year Old’s Bat
Dear Bat Guy,I am looking for a bat for my 7 year old. He has a good swing and generates decent power. I’m looking for one with good pop and balanced in the weight. Also looking for something that doesn’t sting if missed as much. ~Justin Hey Justin, We …
We’ll give you some bat ideas for your 7-year old in a second, but let us indulge for a moment.
(We also have this article about the best bat for a 7 year old that you might like too).
We don’t buy the idea that 7-year olds should use a bat based on their weight and height. It turns out, most height and weight aren’t good indicators as to how much a 7 year old likes his bat. Tall, strong or skilled 7-year olds have just as much bat satisfaction with a 27/17 than do short, weak and novice players.
As such, if we’re off to recommend a bat for your son and know nothing else but he’s 7, wants good pop and would rather get less sting then we need to find a 27/17 in a performance rated bat that has some sort of sting dampening ability.
Our Pick For Your Son
Once to that point, the options are narrowed down easy. In terms of overall user happiness the answer is the CAT 8 in a JBB 27/17. It has some sting dampening ability built into the knob and has as much pop as you’d hope to get in a 27/17.
You can find a bit more sting dampening in a two piece bat like a 2019 Ghost Evo which also comes in a 27/17. Although the ‘pop’ might not be as good as the CAT 8 it will feel great on the hands and rarely if ever ring his hands.
Do You Need to Spend That Much?
Also, we should add, we think the best bat for a 7-year old is a less expensive big barrel bat like Slugger’s JBB Omaha. This doesn’t necessarily meet your criteria in the sense of a lot of pop and some sting dampening ability. But, we think the vast majority of 7-year olds rarely see pitch speeds fast enough to justify any sting dampening tech and we think bat performance at that age is overrated.
Few 7-year olds swing hard enough to see the benefit of a bat with a lot of pop. Your’s might be the exception so fair enough. For most we’d bet on our best bat for 7 year old to do the trick. As long as, of course, its a 27/17.
USA or USSSA?
(By the way, we just assumed you were talking USSSA bats. If you need a USA bat for a 7 year old then check here).
Good luck and hope that at least gets you on the right path.
Let us know how it goes.
Answered On: October 30, 2019
Cat 8 vs 2020 CF in USSSA
Dear Bat Guy, Hey guys; first of all, I’m a longtime reader of your website. Thank you for all you guys do to help dads, coaches, players in the world of youth baseball. You guys are usually my go-to source before I buy a bat for my son. I’m an adult b …
Hey guys; first of all, I’m a longtime reader of your website. Thank you for all you guys do to help dads, coaches, players in the world of youth baseball. You guys are usually my go-to source before I buy a bat for my son.
I’m an adult baseball player and travel around the country to play in adult wood-bat baseball tournaments. I also (and much more importantly) coach my son’s travel baseball (USSSA) and league team. My son is 11 (almost 12).
Anyway, he has a baseball camp upcoming at the University of Kentucky soon; right now he is using the CAT 8 -10; but I’m thinking of getting him that 2020 DeMarini CF -10 before the camp, but I’m kinda waiting on your reviews first, ha ha ha. Any rough idea when you guys will have review out? Thank you Brian and JBR. You guys are great! Have a wonderful week, you are appreciated.
Thanks for reaching out. Always love to hear from real folks.
Answered On: October 29, 2019
Drop 8 or Drop 5
Dear Bat Guy, Hi this would be for USSSA 12U Majors. He is 57 inches tall and weighs 135lbs, muscular build. My son currently is swinging a 31-8 Easton Beast X or Ghost X but also has been swinging a Phoenix Bats DR271 -5 wood bat in the offseason. Con …
Hi this would be for USSSA 12U Majors. He is 57 inches tall and weighs 135lbs, muscular build.
My son currently is swinging a 31-8 Easton Beast X or Ghost X but also has been swinging a Phoenix Bats DR271 -5 wood bat in the offseason. Considering looking at a -5 metal/composite bat to swing. I have messed around some with a Blast motion sensor but am not sure how accurate it is. It seems he gains anywhere from 4-6 mph swinging the -8 metal bats over the -5 wood bat with an actual faster swing weight on the Beast X compared to the Ghost X. He seems to prefer the stiffness of an aluminum bat over a composite but did swing a Mako Beast -10 last year and liked that. Not sure if the swing speed reduction will be giving up too much speed.
Couple things come to mind as we read through your situation.
Bat Sensor Accuracy
For starters, we agree with you on the Blast Motion (or any swing sensor for that matter). We feel like anyone we’ve tried is marginally repeatable. This is somewhat helpful for practice and progress but we find it hard to be useful in terms of bat fitting. (We also really like the Garmin Impact in terms of accuracy—but they all struggle).
In other words, we hesitate making bat recommendations based on swing sensors—although they are fun.
Drop 8 or Drop 5
As well, a general bat size chart suggests his optimal swing weighted bat is a 23.5 ounce stick. However, these bat size charts (like all bat size charts) tend to forget about the fact bats swing differently based on their load out.
Although I’ve yet to see your son swing, I’d be more likely to put him in a 32/24 with an end load before I’d drop him to the drop 31/26 or 30/25. It is temping at 12u to go heavy especially if he’s been swing a drop 5 woody all winter. But, the pitch speeds they see at 12 at short distances really rocks the house. I’d be more interested in him gaining the length of a 32 then the girth of a drop 5.
If he really likes stiff bats and wants to try something a bit off the beaten path then check out the drop 8 DSB KAMO. It has a little bit of an endload, swings pretty stiff, but still gives a nice smooth smash with a huge composite barrel. That bad boy at a 32/24 in the right hitter’s hand will make holes in the clouds.
If you go with a drop 5 then there are few we really like.
Good luck and thanks for the note!
Answered On: February 11, 2019
Best bat for my 10-year old
Dear Bat Guy, My son is 10 years old, 4’8”, and under 70 pounds. He is a great contact hitter, but does not generate a lot of power. What that would you recommend for him length, and drop weight for his travel team approved for USSSA bats? ~Christian H …
My son is 10 years old, 4’8”, and under 70 pounds. He is a great contact hitter, but does not generate a lot of power. What that would you recommend for him length, and drop weight for his travel team approved for USSSA bats?
At 4’8″ and 70 pounds we tend to suggest a drop 11 in a 30 inch range. (We like the sentiment on our bat size chart or here). In the USSSA space that limits your options—as drop 11’s don’t come in every model. But that’s not a bad thing. Narrowing down the options is part of the process.
You might also like our best bat for 10 year old article.
Elite Level Options
If he’s an elite level player–or real close to it–you’re likely fine sizing up to a drop 10 for a 30/20 (or maybe even 29/19). If that is the case, we’d look closely at our best USSSA bat article which really likes the CF Zen. But, that 2019 Zen (or almost anyone from the last couple years) has some bad ratings by some because it breaks. We aren’t bothered much by the breaking because it means the bat is hot. But, if the idea of dealing with a warranty isn’t your cup of tea we’d look elsewhere.
If spending that kind of money wasn’t on the docket then take a close look at the retooled 2017 CF Zen in the blue barrel in a 29/19 or 30/20. Again, you won’t find great aggregated ratings on line because more than a few people are mad about the bat’s durability. But, in terms of pure performance and barrel size you really won’t beat the retooled 2017 CF Zen—which can sometimes be found for a song.
Getting Your Feet Wet Option
If you’re boy is decent but likely needs more help find the ball, and he is a new player, we’d suggest the 2019 Easton Speed. This bat won’t get any oohs and awes from the dugout, but it is legit, swings light and comes at a price point that works for just about any budget.
We hope that helps and, again, thanks for the note.
Answered On: February 11, 2019
Help with next bat
I currently have a 32 inch cat 7 one piece bat and playing 90+ games last year. I believe I killed the bat and I think it is dead. I hit in the 4 or 5 hole and I need a BBCOR bat under $250. What do you suggest? Also, I don’t like the feel of Easton ba …
I currently have a 32 inch cat 7 one piece bat and playing 90+ games last year. I believe I killed the bat and I think it is dead. I hit in the 4 or 5 hole and I need a BBCOR bat under $250. What do you suggest? Also, I don’t like the feel of Easton bats but will swing anything else and older models don’t bother me.
Thanks for the question. It’s common to think our bats are “dying”. There really are not too many ways to objectively tell if it has lost some pop. Really, it will come down to how you feel about it. It is possible that aluminum bats lose their force over time—they don’t crack like a composite would.
(You might also like our conversation on the best BBCOR bats. We do have a ‘value’ section which would fit the bill you’re looking for)>
In other words, I’d suggest your bat likely has lost something—especially with you playing that many games and, we are assuming here, using it for practice as well.
CAT 7 & CAT 6 Options
Why not stick with what you know?
I know a latest and greatest bat sounds exciting, but if you really liked the CAT 7 why not rock and roll with another one? Maybe that’s too boring to back to what you had, but its not crazy. Especially if you liked it—and no one is going to knock for swinging the Cat 7. It’s a great bat.
If you want a change of pace, we just finished a review on the Cat 6 Generation 2. This is a sub $250 bat that rings and rakes a lot like the CAT 7 did. With some updated colors directly from Just Bats you can get it and have $100 left over.
And while we’re at it, why not check out the CAT 7 limited—if you want to feel like you’ve upgraded something but still stick with what you know. You can still find a few of these in BBCOR at reasonable prices and definitley under $250.
If you want to try something else (ie not a CAT 7/6) and want to stay under $250 for a new 2019 that is NOT Easton then try the Axe Elite One in BBCOR.
Don’t get all out of sorts for the handle. It really does feel good—just give it a day or two at BP and you’ll ever wonder why it thought weird in the first place. But, if you really want to replace your CAT 7 with a single piece bat in the sub $250 range we think you’ll find the Axe Origin as an absolute winner. It’s stiff, swings light and hits the ball as hard as any other aluminum BBCOR bat we’ve tried.
In any event, we hope that helps and gets you on the wright track. Happy hitting!
Answered On: February 11, 2019
USA & USSSA Bat Suggestions for 8 Year Old
My [son] plays USA ball in the spring and USSSA in the fall. He is 8 years old, 4′-4″ and 60 pounds. He has played every year since 4, started taking hitting lessons 1 year ago and is a solid contact hitter put with good pop, hits to the fence…in the …
My [son] plays USA ball in the spring and USSSA in the fall. He is 8 years old, 4′-4″ and 60 pounds. He has played every year since 4, started taking hitting lessons 1 year ago and is a solid contact hitter put with good pop, hits to the fence…in the park hrs every season.
He used a Rawlings 5150 -11 last year as a 7 year old. Price isn’t an issue. More interested in the best bats. Thank you.
Here are some related articles you might find helpful.
If you want the best for a USA and USSSA league then we suggest you buy two bats. That might sound ridiculous to some, but maximizing performance in each league will require a bat fit for the specific requirements.
As well, timing does matter here. If your boy is not playing in a USSSA league until fall we would wait until then to buy the bat. More durability data will be out by then and you’ll likely find a better price in the late summer on bats that aren’t at full retail price in the early spring. As well, a full season will change a lot.
In other words, buy a USA Bat now and a USSSA bat in late summer.
At 60 pounds and a good to great player with good experience we’d go for a 31/21. The drop 10 range is where the best youth bats are made and a 21 ounce bat should give him plenty of bat dexterity at 60 pounds.
A slightly crazy, but not that crazy idea, would be a 29 inch drop 8 (29/21) bat. A 29/21 generally swings lighter than a 31/21 because its center of mass is more towards the hands.
On second thought, the drop 8 option is tempting, we really think he’ll like the 31 inch better and a more safe choice. And at 8u a drop 10 is much more common. (Although, again, we’d love to hear feedback from him swinging a drop 8 like the Marucci CAT 8.)
Price Check: Amazon
For this spring we’d take a real close look at the new Ghost X Evolution. We know the Ghost X from 2018 was a dog. It’d drop 10 felt weird on even good hits. But, this year, we really think they dialed something in. If price is not a concern, you might also take a close look at the Rawlings Quatro. Both of those bats we’d suggest in a 31/21.
Price Check: Amazon
Our favorite bat for USA in 2019 is DeMarini’s Voodoo. But, we like that bat in part for its many sizing options (like a drop 5) and the more reasonable price point. If you only need one for a smaller hitter in the drop 10 space then go with the Ghost X Evolution for 2019. Here, too, use a 31/21.
Price Check: Amazon
More than a few have complained about the CF Zen USSSA’s durability. It does, indeed, have an incidence of cracking. But, the payoff between performance and breaking is sometimes razor thin. DeMarini, apparently, has taken the stance they’d rather have a bat that was for sure hot and might break than that of one that might be hot but probably won’t break. If pricing isn’t an issue then the latter approach makes more sense. Like the above bats, the 31/21 is the place to be with this one.
Thanks and good luck!
Answered On: January 7, 2019
Are Dimple Balls Bad For Composite Bats?
We bought a new -3 (drop 3 BBCOR) two piece bat. Will it hurt the bat using it in a batting cage with rubber balls? ~JR We avoid hitting dimple balls with high end composite bats. Rubber balls don’t compress the same as baseballs (nor do they weight th …
We bought a new -3 (drop 3 BBCOR) two piece bat. Will it hurt the bat using it in a batting cage with rubber balls?
We avoid hitting dimple balls with high end composite bats. Rubber balls don’t compress the same as baseballs (nor do they weight the same). As such, the odds of cracking the barrel increase with dimple balls. A cracked composite barrel is as good as done. We are more comfortable with an aluminum barrel because their response to a dimple ball is denting. And a dented bat, at least at some level, is still usable.
But your question was this: Will it hurt the bat?
In most cases we’d guess probably not. BBCOR bats are usually built with a ton of durability. If the pitch speed is reasonably slower than average (say 50mph or lower) and the hitter doesn’t have ridiculous bat speed (say under 80mph) then we’d guess you’ll be just fine. But, to be clear, that is just a general hunch based on our experience with dimple balls in the cage.
A few composite USSSA bats (not -3) are built so close to the limit and so delicate we likely would never hit a rubber or dimple ball with those (even off a tee). Same goes with composite USA Bats.
Best Dimple Ball Bat
Price Check: Ebay.
In any event, we avoid our game bat in the cage with dimple balls entirely. Even if its a composite or an aluminum. If we are in a situation where we are using dimple balls then we’ll find an old aluminum or wood bat. If that new BBCOR bat of yours is also the game bat then we suggest you find another one to take into the rubber/dimple ball cage.
If you don’t have one of those, we’d suggest you do a search for an older 2015 BBCOR single piece aluminum bat on eBay. At the time of this writing we found a good bat NVS Vexxum in a 33/30 BBCOR for under $45.
As well, we should note, most manufactures have a warranty caveat if a bat has been hit with dimple balls. Meaning they have the right to deny the warranty if its been hit by dimple balls.
In practice, however, most vendors and manufactures are pretty good about honoring warranties unless the buyer is a serial offender or the break on the bat shows some pretty obvious tampering.
Answered On: January 2, 2019
9U Travel – USA or USSSA for the win?
My son will be playing for the local 9U travel team (Stow, Ohio). He is 4’6” and approximately 85 lbs. He has been playing baseball for three years and is a solid hitter, not power, but lots of doubles, few singles and one triple in the kid pitch leagu …
My son will be playing for the local 9U travel team (Stow, Ohio). He is 4’6” and approximately 85 lbs. He has been playing baseball for three years and is a solid hitter, not power, but lots of doubles, few singles and one triple in the kid pitch league last year. I bought him a Solo USA 30,-11….the bat was ok but was hoping for more. Would you recommend a USSSA bat, or perhaps another USA bat? I have considered the USSSA Marucci Cat 8, 30,-10. Can you offer some advice?
We answer the USA vs USSSA answer first. Below that we talk about the CAT 8 Drop 10 and some other options in the USSSA for 9 year olds.
USA vs USSSA
In short, any decent USSSA bat will outperform a USA Bat by a considerable margin. While it depends on a number of factors you should expect a legitimate 5 to 10% improvement in total distance and exit speeds. (That is, a 200 foot shot is now a 210 to 220 foot shot).
The average of all our exit speeds we gathered for performance bats in the category show this:
- 2019 USSSA vs 2019 USA give a 5% improvement for USSSA.
- 2018 USSSA vs 2018 USA give an 8% improvement to USSSA.
Testing USSSA and USA Comparisons
Comparing bats is no easy task. Too many psuedo-scientists in the blog sphere put together some type of exit speed test and think they’ve cracked the code. But comparing one bat to another is anything but an apples to apples comparison even if you can control for things like swing speed, hitter confidence and ball type.
Swing weight, something you can’t easily control for (because swing weights are hard to find) dramatically changes results. To say nothing of the fact that you can’t find a single bat that is representative of the whole. Whose to say, for example, that Easton’s Ghost in USSSA is the same level of bat as the USA Version. Taking two bats to the field, as we do in the video, and then making sweeping statements about USA vs USSSA bats is unfair at best.
In other words, we can’t quite measure the exact difference between the USA and USSSA bat because there is no way to change a bat from one to the other and do a test.
That said, our collective exit speed tests, as we point out above, show a 3 to 8% improvement between USA and USSSA Bats. Further evidence can be found in our conversation about the lack of home runs in the 2018 LLWS.
Best Bat for 9 Year Old
Now that we’ve convinced ourself that we’ve convinced you to go with a USSSA bat when you have the option, let’s discuss the best bat for your 9 year old.
Based on your son’s height and age we use our scientific bat size chart to show he would do best with a 31 ounce bat.
The CAT 8 drop 10 is a good option. We like the sound on that bat and have hit with it extensively. We really like the CAT 8 in a drop 8 and drop 5. We feel like the CAT 8 loses too much heft in the drop 10 and ends up hurting the hands more than we’d like to see. But, in truth, it’s a good choice. If you’re set on the Cat 8 and can find a good deal then go for it.
Price Check: Amazon
For our 9 year olds we prefer two piece composite bats. Although they run more expensive than the CAT 8 you can usually find last year’s models on a discount. The smoother smash and bigger barrel tend to be worth it for most younger players.
If it were our player we’d go with a 31/21 retooled 2017 DeMarini CF Zen. At the time of this writing the bat was less expensive than the CAT 8 and Amazon had a 31/21. (This is because the bat is older and they are trying to unload old inventory). Some give it bad ratings because their bat broke. But buy it from a place Amazon and keep the receipt. We are willing to say your boy will love it.
References in this Article
- Best Bat for 9 Year Old
- Exit Speeds
- USA vs USSSA Video
- Swing Weights (USA, USSSA)
- USA Home Runs
- Bat Size Chart
- 2017 CF Zen Review
- Marucci Cat 8 Review
Answered On: December 31, 2018
Transition to Middle School Ball
My sons last year of little league was last year and he’s moving to a junior high league that requires USA bats. He swung a 31 inch drop 10 Easton beast hybrid and 31 inch drop 8 Rawlings machine last year. He has been playing for 4 years making the al …
My sons last year of little league was last year and he’s moving to a junior high league that requires USA bats. He swung a 31 inch drop 10 Easton beast hybrid and 31 inch drop 8 Rawlings machine last year. He has been playing for 4 years making the all star team each year. He has used both composites and hybrid bats but we live in ohio so cold weather is an issue. He’s 5ft 6’ about 130. Should I go ahead and move him to a 32 inch drop 5 or stay with a 31 inch drop 5? Also bat suggestions for under 250? Thanks for your time.
Thanks for the question. Here’s what we have.
We don’t know if your son is 12, but just guessing based on the fact he’s been playing for 4 years and probably started around 8 years old. If he’s 13 or 11 we don’t think our answer would change much. If he is 14 and in the BBCOR or a league that requires at least a drop 5 then read Option 2 below.
Assumptions (11 – 13 y.o | 130 pounds | Skill Level: Good – Great | Concerns: Cold Weather Bat, Under $250 | Previous Bats: Hybrids, Single Piece Aluminum)
We looked at our bat size chart for a 130 pound kid about 12 years old and found a 23 ounce bat would likely maximize his swing speed and force at impact. (These data points were gathered a scientific study done in a lab to produce the highest force at impact.)
Generally, our data tests show that bat speed, at a younger age, is more important than bat heft. Although, we realize, they are going to drop 3 BBCOR bats soon so building up to that is a smart play too. But, in terms of pure performance, staying lighter for longer tends to send the ball further.
If he’s allowed to do something besides a drop 5 then we suggest you look for a drop 8 32-inch. The Hybrids and single piece aluminum bats in the space tend to run a bit heavy so he’ll feel like its a bigger stick than last year. Our guess is he’ll really like the longer bat too.
2019 Easton Beast Pro Drop 8
If you want to stay under $250 for a new 2019 bat then take a close look at the 2019 Easton Beast Pro Drop 8. This is a solid, no frills bat. It’s a single piece so will be durable for cold weather although it will ring the hands on mishits. It will feel more like the Rawlings Machine, but better.
2018 Axe Element USA
Price Check: Amazon
(We had a hard time finding 32 inches in stock. But, at the time of this writing, Amazon had some).
Another solid drop 8 in the USA space and a real under the radar pick is the Axe Element.
You’ll need to get over the fact the bat has a handle he might not be used to (and its green!). But, our players really like them. The Easton Beast Pro it will ring your hands on mishits like the Rawlings machine he used last year.
Assumptions (13+ y.o | 130 pounds | Skill Level: Good – Great | Concerns: Cold Weather Bat, Under $250, Needs at least a drop 5 | Previous Bats: Hybrids, Single Piece Aluminum)
If he is required to swing a drop 5 in the USA space then the ‘scientist’ would say to get as close to 23 ounces as possible. So, the 31/26.
But, if he can’t get the optimal size we think it more a function of how much he’s grown in the last year. If a lot, then go for the 32/27. If not so much then stick with the 31/26. Both will feel like an upgrade. And, when in doubt, we’d opt for the longer bat in a 32/27. Each upgrade in inch adds about 7 or 8% in swing weight.
2018 Slugger 718 USA Drop 5
The decision here is easy.
Especially while vendors are trying to blow out last year’s inventory.
The 2018 Slugger 718 Select in a drop 5 won’t be beat. Your boy will really like how smooth of a smash it is, the Lizard Skin Grip, and the good sized barrel. This is an elite level bat. At the time of this writing the 32/27 on Amazon was a better price.
The hybrid will feel more like the Easton Beast Hybrid he swing last year, but the 718 feels just like it should. Swings like a boss and one of our favorite USA bats from 2018.
In any event, we hope that information is helpful and we at least put you on the right path to get answers and make the right decision for you.
Good luck this year! Let us know what you decided and how it worked out. If you liked our advice feel free to use the links above to make your purchases. We might get a small commission from those vendors if you follow to their site from ours.
Answered On: December 24, 2018