After hours of hitting, measuring and testing we think DeMarini’s 2020 CF is the best fastpitch softball bat. There are, we note, many good options from the eleven performance softball bats we extensively tested. We report much of that data and insight we gained from real independent players below.
Overall, our hitters loved the feel of the 2020 DeMarini CF. The barrel size is solid, swing weight fits right where most players want it. We also found the exit speeds, among all three hitters, as the best.
In truth, ASA and USSSA fastpitch bats perform well across a lot of companies. You’ll notice, even in our video,t he two hitters we featured chose bats that were NOT the DeMarini CF. Instead, they liked the Prism and the Easton Ghost. Good choices. As
are several other 2020 fastpitch bats. Here are some of our 2020 fastpitch favorties.
|Power Hitter||Mizuno Carbon|
|End Loaded||Easton Ghost|
|Honorable Mention||Rawlings Quatro Pro|
|Light Swinging||DeMarini Bustos|
Throughout 2020 there will be several options to buy last year’s model of fastpitch bats. This is our 2019 article up for your reference as you shopping for deals. We think the 2019 fastpitch crop is just as good as the 2020 set. So, have it with a lot
of confidence. You aren’t missing anything by going with a 2019 bat.
We don’t just look at best sellers and make our lists. Rather, we do real, independent measuring on all the bats we hit, rank and review. Here are the three main areas we measure with the 2019 Fastpitch bat line.
We also wrote reviews on every 2019 fastpitch bat that we hit.
The 2019 Louisville Slugger XENO. Although a few were close, we liked the Xeno’s wide range of options, great feel, more reasonable price point and straight jack like performance.
|Bat||Rank||Barrel Size||Exit Speed||Swing Weight (Low to High)|
|Mizuno Power Carbon||2||3||1||4|
|DeMarini CF Insane||4||2||5||3|
|DeMarini CF Zen||5||4||2||2|
Best Fastpitch Bats by Category
|Best Fastpitch Bat 2019||2019 Slugger XENO|
|Best Runner Up Fastpitch Bat 2019||2019 Mizuno Power Carbon|
|Best Budget Fastpitch Bat 2019||Easton FS400|
|Best Cold Weather Fastpitch Bat||Anderson Rocketech|
|Lightest Fastpitch Bat||DeMarini Bustos|
|Best Power Hitter’s Fastpitch Bat||2019 Slugger XENO Drop 8|
|Best Fastpitch Bat for 8 Year Old||DeMarini Bustos|
|Best Fastpitch Bat for 9 Year Old||Danielle Lawrie Axe Drop 12|
|Best Fastpitch Bat for 11 Year Old||2019 Slugger LXT X19|
|Best Fastpitch Bat for 12 Year Old||2019 Slugger LXT X19|
|Best Drop 12 Fastpitch Bat||2019 Axe Element Fastpitch|
|Best Drop 10 Fastpitch Bat||DeMarini CF Zen | Xeno | Power Carbon|
|Best Drop 8 Fastpitch Bat||2019 Slugger Xeno Drop 8|
|Best Home Run Fastpitch Bat||2019 Slugger Xeno Drop 8|
Of some surprise, Mizuno’s Power Carbon did remarkably well in our rankings and user feedback. Exit speeds were top shelf, the feel was loved and the swing weight sat right in line with the XENO. For a bat we had barely heard of the Mizuno Power Carbon was a huge, welcome, surprise.
If you are still tepid about your long term comittment in the compettive fastpitch sapce. Every player we had hit with the LXT had between good and great things to say about the bat. Performance, feel and sound were on the top of most lists. The history
of Slugger’s LXT success in the fastpitch space is compelling too.
The competition is stiff for the ‘best fastpitch softball bat.’ But, the 2019 Slugger XENO emerged as our favorite after 200+ hours of testing. We tested over a dozen high-end performance fastpitch bats. In addition to the positives we observed from hitters,
we could not find anyone—regardless of hitting type and skill level—who didn’t love the Xeno. If you can find the 2018 XENO in stock with a warranty then we would suggest buying that (assuming its at a discount) before the 2019 version. They are the
same bat. Same connection piece, same barrel, same swing weight, roughly. You are getting a different paint job. This is not a conspiracy by bat manufacturers or Slugger in particular. Bats are only produced in so much volume and when the 2018 version
runs out there will be only 2019 versions. And since the 2018 was a great bat, why change much if anything at all?
No doubt, there are plenty of really great drop 10 fastpitch bats out there. We like just about every one of them. Our hitters liked the XENO due to its sound and feel on contact. Even the bad hits felt good, they said. We like the price point of the bat and the pedigree of a real durability. It is helpful, too, the bat soared in our exit speed testing for average sized hitters. The at also comes in a number of drops. A drop 8, 9, 10 and 11 for this year’s 2019 Xeno. See our full 2019 Xeno Review.
No bat has ever surprised us as much as the Power Carbon from Mizuno. The bat is a two piece composite with a swing weight much like the XENO. However, the two piece connection isn’t built as stiff. Our hitters loved every bit of it. To break into the big time fastpitch space with a brand new bat is a pretty remarkable thing to do. Bats like the CF Zen and LXT have been vying for the top spot in the fastpitch space for a number of years—and many times receiving it. And though we like those best plenty in this year’s 2019 class we can’t stop thinking about how fun the Mizuno Carbon 2 is to hit.
In short, maybe you shouldn’t. We are simply a group of parents and players looking to document our collective performance on fastpitch and baseball bats. We don’t profess to be the end all be all in determining bat performance. That quest is usually better left to science labs. But, for what it’s worth, we’ve swung every baseball, softball and fastpitch bat in the performance space since the middle of 2013. With that said, we’ve reviewed hundreds of bats.
Within that process, we not only swing the bats extensively but we talk to manufacturers about the bat’s design. We talk to players at all levels of the sport about their experience. Also, we study every available review we can find online or elsewhere. Then, we take that data and put together a 700 to 1200 review that, at least we believe, is the most thorough and objective you would be able to find.
As well, we don’t sell bats as a manufacturer or a vendor. As such, we aren’t incentived one way or another to push a certain brand or bat type. No doubt, we do have incentives. Our incentives lie in convincing the reader to click on an ad or follow a link to buy something on Amazon. Not a guilt free process for sure, but it doesn’t come with any particular brand bias (as long as they sell it on amazon or ebay).
We don’t imply this should mean we have no biases—all baseball and softball players do. We are among them. But we can say our livelihood does not depend on you preferring a particular brand of bat that we review. In the end, we are parents and players who love the game and think it good to share the data and feedback we’ve compiled. Our hope is the approach is both nonthreatening and unbiased. If other parents and players find something useful in these pages then we feel successful.
The 2019 drop 10 XENO from Slugger is built for the serious player who wants as much gumption from their contact as possible. Players will feel more feedback in this bat then they will with other bats like the LXT or Cf Zen. The bat is a perfect fit for the middle of the lineup hitter who needs to move runners and create havoc on the defense. The drop 11 would work for players as young as 10 and the drop 8 works for players at the collegiate level. In terms of performance bats, the XENO comes in a great price point. Most composite bats are well into the $300
Within our testing, four common themes arose from players discussing what they did and did not like of any particular bat. They are (1) the barrel size, (2) the balance point and (3) the feel of the bat at contact and (4) the bat grands’ reputation. All preferred a larger barrel. Most preferred a balance point in the middle of the bat instead of toward the end. And nearly all preferred a relatively smooth hit on contact. These four factors weigh heavily in our decision to determine the best fastpitch softball bat.
The XENO is a mid range swing weight, two piece composite performance bat with stiff transition. There are have been little changes in the XENO since 2016. (You can read our 2016 review here). The 2016 LXT Plus from Slugger is a double walled composite bat. (You can read more about this on our 2016 and 2017 LXT reviews). The double walled design is made by forming both an outer and inner shell on the barrel. The outer shell is a thinner composite which allows for hot out of the wrapper performance. The inner shell serves to increase durability, lengthen the barrel and keep the bat from overstepping the allowable trampoline effects.
The bat’s handle is made of similar composite material. This composite helps both dampen sting and keeps the swing weight of the bat low. The LXT has a remarkably low swing weight and gives ‘oh so much’ barrel for such an easy swing. Slugger has been using this same composite handle design for years—and it works. The transition piece of the bat, that is the piece which holds together the handle and barrel, is stiffer than the others on the market. This stiffer transition gives hitters quick and unmistakable feedback and helps increase power transfer to the ball at impact.
It’s an admitted stretch to claim we’ve found the best fastpitch softball bat. Not that we can’t test and measure things scientifically, but hitting, at its core, is much more an art than it is a science. What bat is best for you specifically can not be decided by some metrics and hitting data we’ve gathered. As such, we disavow any claim here that the LXT Plus is the BEST bat for everyone. Instead, we claim this fastpitch bat is the best for more people than any other. As well, we’d be comfortable stating, nearly every player would have good success with this bat. If it is indeed the particular ‘best’ for your hitting and type and needs is a question we simply can’t answer.
To make our decision we’ve spent over 200 hours testing, reviewing, reading and writing reviews on every performance fastpitch softball bat in the market. This includes nearly 40 fastpitch models with a nearly innumerable sizing options. Most of our testing happened in cage work. Much of the rest on the field among different hitters. Almost always the hitter had multiple fastpitch bats at their disposal. The hitter would often change between one particular bat and another in a matter of just a minutes.
Further, we’d spend considerable time hashing out particulars of many of the bats we used with those who used it and those who manufactured it. Many of these conversations, with both players and engineers, were long and helpful. Additionally, we found to our surprise, writing our own fastpitch softball bat reviews, which were to be vetted our readers, kept us on our toes. Our data needed to be both accurate and helpful. Some days a very tall task when considering bats in the performance fast pitch space are so very similar. Those processes above have led us, over the course of the years, to conclude which bat generally fits the most amount of players. This isn’t to say we’d hesitate to recommend other bats—as there are a handful of good ones. But the 2016 Louisville Slugger Drop 10 LXT Plus consistently rises to the top any way we slice the data.
Ebay searches for the 2016 LXT Plus from Slugger are plentiful. Many of those searches turn up used bats—the history of which is often questionable. There are some circumstances in which we’d suggest buying a used LXT Plus. In particular, we are more willing to purchase an LXT plus that is a few months old instead of a few days old. There is a higher probability a composite bat has defects when it’s yet to really be used. The fact the hitter never had a good enough experience with the bat to keep it suggest something may be wrong. This reality keeps us away from ‘used’ bats that are only a few weeks old. On the other hand, bats with a season or so of good use prove the hitter had good success with the bat but really just outgrew it. Composite tends to get more productive over time so a bat with a year of use likely performs better than one out of the wrapper. As such, we look for a dirty handle and scuffed up barrel as a good thing in the used market.
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