The Rawlings Velo is as iconic as any bat in the non-wood bat space. It’s light swing, light price, loud sound and hot out of the wrapper performance in a number of sizes and leagues make it the right choice for a lot of players. You’ll find a 2020 Rawlings VELO at the plate in a high end NCAA Div I game as well as the newest of coach pitch leagues. The 2020 ACP version went through considerable upgrades compared to the 2019, which we discuss in more detail below. Still, though, the bat is a stiff single piece made unique by its extended composite end cap to bring down the swing weight. Our hitters hit with every version of the 2020 Rawlings VELO ACP, we measured its swing weight and exit speeds with high speed cameras. Armed with that information, we write this 2020 Rawlings ACP review.
As has been the case for the last several years, our hitters like the light swing and loud ping of the 2020 Rawlings VELO ACP. The new end cap has driven down the swing weight a bit from previous years (2 to 3%) and it feels great if you can barrel it up. Of course, like always, single piece bats… Jump to the full review.
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As has been the case for the last several years, our hitters like the light swing and loud ping of the 2020 Rawlings VELO ACP. The new end cap has driven down the swing weight a bit from previous years (2 to 3%) and it feels great if you can barrel it up. Of course, like always, single piece bats will ring your hands if you miss it. But, the stiff nature of the bat, loud sound and reasonably sized barrel can drill some balls if you square it up.
The idea 2020 Velo ACP hitter, in our mind, is two types of players. First is the newer and younger player looking for as much bat speed as possible whose parents would rather not get a second mortgage to buy a bat. The Velo feels great and can hit the ball as far as any other performance bat on the market at a fraction of the cost. The other type of hitter who will like the Velo is a relatively big hitting high school player that likes a stiff feel and really wants to maximize his reach at the plate with a 33 or 34-inch BBCOR. Those aren’t the only two types of players who will like the Velo ACP for 2020, but those are the exact type of hitters that gravitate towards it.
The big change from the 2019 Velo and the 2020 Velo ACP is the end cap which lowers the swing weight, by our calculations, 2 - 3%. This change makes it the lightest swinging BBCOR bat on the market for 2020 and now lower than the Quatro Pro. The ACP (Accelerated Carbon Performance) shows two full inches of carbon extended into the barrel. Previous versions of the bat had a similar composite end cap, but the ACP takes it up a notch. Although we don't have all the numbers for every drop and length the theme we noticed for USSSA as well as USA also make the 2020 version a bit lighter swinging than the 2019. As well, the 2020 Velo has a new barrel profile (made possible by the end cap) as well as a vibration dampening material infused on the inside of the barrel. These changes make a considerably different bat than the 2019 Velo---which really had not changed much since the 2016 version.
Aside from the color design, there are no considerable differences between the 2018 VELO and the 2017 version, including our opinion that it is a great buy.
Although the Velo is the first line to use variable wall thickness, at least as far as we’ve been tracking, there are many other bats that use similar tech now. Marucci’s CAT line of bats use a similar process and, likely most popularly, Louisville Slugger’s Solo series does it too. Over the years there have been a few which have come on gone like a few of Rip-Its bats as well as Boombahs series of BBCOR bats. We argue the most similar bat to the Velo is the Solo. But, the 2020 Velo ACP is priced more like the CAT than the Solo. Rawlings did add a new polymer to the handle to help dampen sting on mishits, a feature the Solo does not have, so the jury is still out if that’s worth the extra few bucks.
There are a lot of changes for Easton’s 2020 Fuze 360. For starters, they changed the BBCOR version into a traditional hybrid two piece bat. It is the 2020 Easton Fuze 360 Hybrid. The 2019 BBCOR version was not received so well. Second, they moved the single piece Fuze technology into a USSSA and USA drop 10 bat. This single piece aluminum bat with an extended composite end cap will fight for space with the Velo from Rawlings and Solo from Slugger. Each of those are built with the idea of a light swing on a single piece bat that uses an extended composite end cap with a more affordable price point. We hit with the Fuze 360 for 2020 and write this review.Price Check
Our 2020 Louisville Slugger Solo review comprises the USA, USSSA and BBCOR versions of the bat. We have hit each of the Solo bats extensively in game, cage and tee work among several different hitters. Compared to 2019 the only change is an upgraded end cap on the BBCOR version to give even a little lighter swing weight. The USA and USSSA stay the same save the graphics. Hitters should expect the same broad sizing options, light swing, big barrel considering its construction and high end performance. Our expectations are, as it has been in years past, that the 2020 Slugger Solo will be the bat of choice for the value seeking serious baseball player as well as the occasional rec player who wants a reasonable top end bat.Price Check
We are bombarded with questions about the release date of the Marucci CAT 9. But, the 2020 Marucci Cat line in BBCOR is the CAT 8 Black. They only release every other year. This year, they updated the color scheme on a few of their bats due to the new white bat NCAA ban.
For the heretofore unknown Marucci CAT 9 (if that is even what it will be called) we have no expectation for that release for until the summer of 2020. But, that is just our guess based on their previous release of the CAT 8 and CAT 7 in years passed. They are capable of surprising all of us. You will note, the 2020 USA CAT bat is called, just that, the 2020 Marucci CAT USA.Price Check
We get this question a lot. In the traditional sense the answer is no. Hybrid bats in the industry are referred to as those who have a composite handle and an aluminum barrel. The Velo has a mostly aluminum bat with a composite end cap that extends two inches into the barrel. Most aluminum bats on the market have a ‘composite’ end cap. That is, plastic. We don’t refer to those as hybrid bats. For example, the Slugger Omaha, a very popular bat, has a composite end cap. It is referred to as a single piece aluminum although it has multiple ‘pieces’ that make it up included the end cap and grip.
That said, the extension of the end cap into the barrel is unique enough to think of differently than a traditional single piece aluminum. The industry would do well to think of another name for this type of bat as Slugger has one too in the Solo. Calling it a Hybrid in marketing literature is at best confusing. But it does draw attention to the fact that is different than your traditional single piece aluminum bat.
The 2020 Rawlings VELO ACP is a single piece bat with an extended composite end cap. Meaning, and you can see this quite clear on the barrel, the last two inches are made of a different material. That material is a light plastic type material which helps bring down the swing weight of the bat. This allows for more construction girth to sit in the handle and barrel which helps extend its sweet spot.
In addition to the end cap, its most unique feature, the Velo uses a strong and proven alloy in the barrel (they call this the Ai909). On the inside of the bat, this Alloy has different levels of thickness to help it stay within the league standard but also extend its performance away from its middle. This is a proven tech which at least a couple aluminum bats use in the baseball space.
New to the 2020 Velo is the use of a “urethane infused” within the handle to help sting. It’s possible this works, but we can’t find any reliable way to measure it other than hearing from the thousands of readers and direct feedback we will get over the year.
The Velo ACP for 2020 has a huge offering. It comes in BBCOR, USSSA Drop 10, 8 and 5 and a USA drop 10 and 5. Here are the catalog images of the bats.
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