On October 20th, the 2017 Louisville Slugger 617 Solo was released. We spent time on the phone with major vendors discussing expectations for the bat as well as testing the bat over the course of a season. Here is our review.
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As we are yet to hit with the bat, or get its swing weight and barrel measurements, it is difficult to give full blown recommendations. When more details are gathered we will give stronger recommendations.
The advancement of single piece hybrid bats have been the most robust in the entire industry. The 617 is Slugger’s response to the demand of players looking for a single piece feel without losing the swing weight and barrel size of a two piece composite.
Other companies have tried similar ideas. The VELO from Rawlings, it could be argued, pioneered the space of single piece bats with composite end cap. Axe Bats also produces a single piece aluminum bat with a composite end cap. Those two stand out, at least on paper, as similar constructions to the 617 Solo from Slugger. Time will tell us much more in terms of durability, performance and player uptake.
The 2017 Louisville Slugger 617 Solo is a single piece hybrid bat. We are not sure if we made up that categorization of bats in general, but we think it fitting for the 617. The bat is a single piece aluminum through the entire barrel, but has a composite end cap. This composite end cap can influence two significant things:
The 617 Solo will only release in a BBCOR version. Of note, the shortest length will be 29 inches—this is, if you don’t follow the space too closely, a remarkable offering. Most BBCOR bats rarely come as short as 30 inches, let alone 29. We suspect many young BBCOR players looking for the lightest swing speed will appreciate the barrel size on the SOLO. The top end will be 34 inches.
The 2018 618 and 2019 619 come in a other, non-BBCOR, sizes.
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