Easton Bats moved their performance BBCOR line to the MAKO, Hybrid and Z-Core line of bats in 2016—abandoning previous years names in the Speed and XL Series. In little league and senior barrel bats (2 1/4 and 2 5/8), however, they kept some old keepsakes with similar designs to years past. Namely, the 2016 Easton S2, 2016 Easton S3 and, as we discuss below, the 2016 Easton XL3.
With one exception, we think there are many better bat options in the ‘new’ 2016 Easton XL3 price range for either little league (youth) or big/senior barrel sizes. That one exception? The Drop 5 2016 XL3 in the 2 5/8 size. There is simply nothing in that niche on the market and, if you are in the market for a very heavy hitting bat with a drop and undeniable feedback (i.e. hand sting) and power transefer then the drop 5 Easton XL3 should be seriously considered.
Otherwise, considering the XL3 is a single piece stiff one piece aluminum bat that hasn’t seen a serious upgrade in at least 3 years it is hard to find much to swoon over. You can expect, if you go this route, a durable bat with a serious end load and an ultra stiff feel. You’ll also quickly notice how thin the handle feels. Compared to many other performance based 2016 bats in similar niches the barrel size feels lacking despite Easton’s upgrade to the newer alloy last year.
The 2016 XL3 is similar in many respects to the 2015 Easton XL3 (which was remarkably similar to the 2014 Easton XL3). The XL3 is still a one piece premium aluminum alloy bat with an extra stiff feel and a serious end load. For an aluminum one piece in the little league, youth and big barrel space the barrel length is noteworthy but still lacks in comparison to other 2016 composite barreled bats.
The 2016 XL3 keeps the same “HyperLite” Alloy which the 2015 gained from the 2014 version.
Like 2015, there will be no BBCOR or 2 3/4 Big Barrel version of the Easton XL3. If you’re looking for single piece aluminum from Easton in those categories check the 2016 Easton Z-Core XL HMX.
The 2016 Easton XL3 will come in:
*The Drop 8 version is new this year. It will take the place of the 2015 XL3 Drop 8 in the 2 5/8.
Video Reviews of the 2016 Easton XL3
Here is Easton’s Promo Video of the bat. Not particularly informative, but fun to see the up close glamour shots of the bat nonetheless.
As we stated above, the 2016 Easton XL3 is a stiff one piece bat with a serious end load. In 2014 Easton has several complaints of the XL3 denting way too early in its life. The change to a new “hyperlite” alloy, which is now found on their BBCOR aluminum barreled bats, appears to be solid move as the 2015 XL3 generally was given rave reviews.
The end load on this single piece bat is it’s real unique feature. In particular, the drop 5 2 5/8 senior league Easton XL3 is as heavy hitting a bat you can find in the space. Those capable of wielding it could hit a ball to the moon.
While there are a number of bats in the youth and senior league space that are full alloy, none quite have the end load as the XL3. It’s closest competitor is DeMarini’s 2016 Insane—which boats an end load on a single piece alloy in many more sizes than the XL3. However, the Insane DOES NOT come in a drop 5 version.
A drop 5 in a single piece alloy can be found in the Marucci Cat 6 but the CAT 6 is a balanced bat made for line drives whereas the XL3 in the drop 5 is made for towering bombs from the biggest kid on the playground. Another similar bat would be Louisville Slugger’s 2016 516 Omaha. It also comes in a drop 5 (among several other sizes). But the 516, like the CAT 6, is built as a balanced bat.
Nothing quite captures, especially in the drop 5 version, the heavy hitting power of the 2016 Easton XL3 drop 5.
If you’re looking for the heaviest hitting stick in the drop 5 game then we’d point you in the Easton XL3 direction first. We do think the 2015 version, which is generally cheaper these days, is just a good a get as the 2016 version. We’d also shy away from the 2014 version due to it’s denting and older alloy—unless it was a fantastic deal.
We’d also feel pretty good about a youth barrel bat (drop 11 & 2 1/4) need in the heavy hitting single piece space to look closely at the 2015 or 2016 Easton XL3. But if you need more bat speed, appreciate a bigger barrel, would like composite or a hybrid bat and/or don’t appreciate hand sting very much then we’d say keep on looking. (2016 Easton XL3 Amazon Price Check)