After 1,000 swings from 5 different players, we think the best USA bat for 2020 is Easton’s ADV drop 11.
What is the Best USA Bat for 2020?
In our analysis, we tracked it’s exit speeds, measured swing weights, and got quantitative feedback from each player that hit 2020 USA Bats. We also measured the bat’s size offerings and tested out new tech specs for this year’s class and graded every category from 1 to 100. The tally showed the 2020 Easton ADV Drop 11 rated out as the best USA Bats for 2020.
Important note: although listed as a drop 11, the bat swings as heavy as other drop 10’s on the market.
We have hit with every 2019 USA Bat. We think the best all-around bat is the 2019 DeMarini Voodoo Balanced.
The Voodoo rises to the top of our list due to its wide range of sizes. And, our hitters like the smooth smash on contact. It feels like the CF Zen prices out better and doesn’t have any severe durability issues. Performance is as good, if not better than any bat we tested.
We surveyed over 2,000 bat owners, 600 of which were USA 2019 bat owners and users. We measured what bat they use, how they like it, and what bat they consider to be the best. What follows is the insights we gained from this study.
In our survey, we found that DeMarini, Slugger, and Easton owned a similar amount of market share in the USA Space. But, unlike USSSA and BBCOR bats, the USA market had 4th and 5th place not far behind. Both Rawlings and Axe have considerable market share.
The outer ring of the chart below shows which brand bat owners thought was best. As an example, the majority of Easton owners though Easton was the best USA brand (not surprising). But, many of them also thought DeMarini was the best USA bat brand. It is one thing to understand that bat owners think their bat is best and quite another to know when bat owners think another USA brand is best.
In any event, there is a lot to gather from the chart below. Have at it.
Below ranks each of the bats by the different categories we asked in the survey. For USA bats, this comes from over 450 different USA players and parents. It is, as far as we know, the single largest collection of 2019 user ratings and rankings anywhere.
|Rank||Brand||Model||Yes, My Bat |
|1||Easton||Ghost X Evolution||57%||#2||75||Price|
|3||Louisville Slugger||619 Solo||33%||#6||75||Price|
|5||Easton||Ghost X Hyperlite||47%||#9||61||Price|
|6||Louisville Slugger||919 Prime||77%||#9||81||Price|
|7||Easton||Beast X Hyperlite||18%||#12||74||Price|
|8||Easton||Beast Speed Hybrid||36%||#12||65||Price|
*Rank: The bats are ordered based on their popularity.
*Player Rank: Player rank adds up how many self described USA players or parents think a certain bat is the best.
*Owner Happiness: Players were asked how happy they were about their bat purchase on a scale from 0 to 100.
*Popularity: How many players claimed to use this bat.
*Yes, My Bat is Best: How many players claimed the 'best bat' was also the bat they used.
We hit with every 2018 USA Little League baseball bat on the market.
The Best USA Bat? Although it swings heavy.
Price Check: Amazon
Were you looking for all our best youth bats?
If you need/want something that swings more faithful to the drop 10, the best USA Bat in 2018 is the 618 Solo.
Easily, the best rated USA bat user wide, the 618 solo is just what the market needed. A well-priced bat with a good feel, big barrel, and a light swing. People wanted to love this bat, and they did.
Best 2018 USA Bats
|1||Easton Beast X Hybrid||$$||Here|
|2||Slugger 618 Solo||$$||Here|
|3||DeMarini CF Zen||$$$||Here|
|4||Slugger 718 Solo||$$||Here|
|6||Axe Elite Hyperwhip||$$||Here|
But Doesn’t the Easton Beast X Hybrid bat swing heavy?
Although this bat swings heavy (and should be probably be categorized as a drop 9), we like the bat’s price point, size offerings, and hot out of the wrapper performance. It is also helpful the bat is at the top of the rankings for largest barrel sizes and ball exit speeds.
USA bats are the new standard by which many youth baseball organizations abide starting 1/1/2018. These bats use a performance standard different than USSSA or 1.15 BPF bats. Although more like BBCOR bats, which are used in the high school and collegiate space, these USA baseball bats use a more prominent drop (or lighter swing weight) to allow younger players success. You can read more about the reasons behind the change in our USA Bats article.
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Deciding the best USA Bat for 2018 is the most challenging ranking process we have yet to endeavor. With virtually zero player feedback on previous models or any prior year standards to measure it against, we feel a bit like we are shooting in the dark.
However, as we put each USA baseball bat to use among several different players over several weeks, we kept going back to the Easton Beast X Hybrid. Younger players loved the feel of the two-piece bat. This bat, we should note, also felt like the Rawlings Quatro, Easton Ghost X, and Mizuno Ghost, but each of those bats came at a considerable price increase.
We also found the barrel size on the Beast X Hybrid remarkably large for an aluminum barrel. Most aluminum bats have barrel sizes noticeably smaller than their composite peers. The Beast X, however, ranks right among the most enormous barrels in the entire USA baseball bat class.
The definitive factor for ranking the Beast X Hybrid at the top of our list was the results of our Rapsodo exit speed testing. The Beast X Hybrid hit the ball considerably faster during game conditions when compared to other bats in the class.
For many players?
Bat performance standards in baseball bats have narrowed the performance gap considerably, and as such, the feel of a bat becomes much more a conversation point than the actual performance.
That said, the early feedback on the Beast X has been remarkable.
Are there USABat Break-In Problems?
One concern we raised in our hottest bats testing is the lack of performance within the USA composite bats. We wondered out loud—and will here too—whether USABats with composite barrels require more break-in when compared to BBCOR and USSSA composite barrels. Early evidence and reports suggest they do. But, we know for sure, aluminum barrels tended to outperform the composite ones in the USABat space out of the wrapper.
Whether that phenomenon is a limitation of composite and the USABat standard, or something more simple like requiring a stronger work in, is yet to be seen. (We did work the USA Bat composites the requisite 250+ times before testing). As of this writing, we are confident the Beast X Hybrid hits the ball harder, although not by much, than any composite USA Bat barrel on the market.
Determining recommendations on bats forces our thinking into both a quantitative and qualitative section. The qualitative part is generally more subjective, including principles like feel on mishits, where the balance falls on the bat, and the general confidence the bat, its brand, and design inspire at the plate.
Quantitative data requires a more objective approach. It includes characteristics that we can measure, such as the actual swing weight, the bat’s actual weight versus its stated weight, the ball exit speed during game conditions, and the max barrel length of the bat.
We use both the quantitative and qualitative approaches in our rubric for ranking the best USABats. It is similar to how we determine every one of our best bats.
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Our first impressions of the CF Zen are in its feel. The bat is an ultra excellent swing on hits and mishits and our clear favorite in terms of the best feeling at contact. Exit speeds were lovely, and they led the composite space in exit speed.
The swing weight on the bat is accurate to the drop 10 form and lands right in the wheelhouse of a balanced bat. We do wish the barrel profile was more extensive than it is, as the profile is the smallest of all the $299+ bats on the market. But, we don’t value the barrel profile as much as others.
We wish the bat came in a 29-inch option and, in no small measure, is the reason we think it not the best USA Bat for 2018. But, in terms of the two-piece composite space, we, REALLY, liked it.
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See our full Rawlings USABat Quatro Review
In the first year of the USA Bat standard, you cannot expect more from a two-piece composite bat. The Rawlings Quatro is a super smooth mash with a big barrel and right balance. We have no reason to think anyone with the bat will be disappointed.
The only thing we found better in the Beast X was the exit speed. And in terms of statistical significance, that was a marginal win for the Beast X. The Quatro has a lighter swing weight and a bigger barrel. It also has a higher price point.
Among the two piece composite USABats for the 2018 year, we would have the hardest time passing up the Rawlings Quatro—assuming, of course, we were looking for a drop 10.
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See our full Easton USABat Ghost X Review
In short, ugh. The 2018 Easton Ghost X misses the mark for us. We didn’t like how it felt on either hits or mishits. We’ve yet to find a player in the industry who wanted this thing over smoother feeling bats like the Quatro or CF Zen. Many even preferred the single-piece aluminum 618 or 619 Solo regardless of the price too.
It does have to go for it a big barrel. The Easton Ghost X has the most giant barrel in the USABat space for 2018—and considering the bat’s balance, such a barrel size is a remarkable feat.
As well, and of serious note, Easton has the largest selection of sizes, drops, and lengths in the Ghost X (drop 10, drop 8, drop 5) when compared to any other model in the space. For that reason alone, we expect it to be the best selling 2018 USA baseball bat.
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See our 2018 Axe Elite Review
Our love for Axe bats runs deep—some might argue a little too deep. Regardless of our soft spot, we like the two-piece Elite in the USABat a lot. It comes in a drop 5 and serves the big-hitting older kid that does not want a BBCOR bat in their hands this year. In other words, imagine the ability to take a drop 5 to the plate in those leagues that just last year required BBCOR.
We like the idea of a hybrid bat in the USABat space. The concern of barrel performance and work in disappear with a hot out of the wrapper aluminum. And the two-piece design gives a lot of kids enough confidence to swing hard every time. If you want a USA Bat drop 5 that uses hot out of the wrapper aluminum, then your only options are the Elite and the Beast X. Either is a legit choice.
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See our 2018 Mizuno Ghost Review
The Ghost from Mizuno drives a real, unique story. This is far and away, Mizuno’s most serious push into the Little League space, and a unique bat of 2018. Unlike Easton, Rawlings, or Wilson (DeMarini/Slugger), who have a proven two-piece composite to build on, Mizuno offers this ring-tech bat in the USA Bat space, and to say the least, it is a significant splash in a pretty crowded pool.
To stand out, Mizuno has the BIGGEST barrel in the space. It even dwarfs the Easton Ghost X, which puts the other bats in the area to shame. The Ghost uses a ring technology in the bat to expand its sweet spot. It sounds different than any other bat on the market.
If you are up for a different stroke in a competitive field, we would recommend the Ghost from Mizuno. Its barrel size is unrivaled. And our exit speed tests put the Ghost right there with all the other two-piece composite bats.
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See our 2018 Slugger 618 Review
We would not be surprised if, in five years from now, you were to tell us that aluminum bats ruled the day with the new USA baseball bat standard. Much like BBCOR bats are governed by aluminum barrels at the highest level of the sport, metal bats in the USABat standard (a restrictive measure for sure) might make more sense in terms of performance in the long run. We could be wrong, but would not be surprised if aluminum is king.
And such a winning bat in five years from now might look a heck of a lot like the 2018 Louisville Slugger 618 Solo. A single piece aluminum with honest feedback, a light swing, and a focus on bat speed might be just the ticket for the happiest players in the little league bat space. Add another hundred bucks or so in your pocket, and both player and parent win.
We answer most of these questions in our USABats article. Check there for the full story.
Players in leagues that require the new USABat standard will need to use bats with the USABat stamp. The stamp indicates the bat has passed its performance restrictions. Those restrictions include a particular trampoline effect akin to BBCOR and less than USSSA 1.15 standards. It improves the size of the barrel to a 2 5/8 from the previous 2 1/4.
Many leagues have agreed to use the new USABat standard. They include Little League International and many of its affiliates. Including, but not limited to, Cal Ripken, Dixie Youth, Pony, and at least a few more. Check with your local league to see if they are adopting the new standard.
This continues to be a question in many people’s minds—and one we have yet to find a great answer for.
Ultimately, USA Baseball felt the Little League game was wrought with too much offense. Insomuch the game was morphing into something different than what they had envisioned. A restriction on bats would limit the offense, force the game to become more defensive and give players a chance to focus on skills outside of hitting home runs. We find this mostly hard to believe, but there it is nonetheless.
Safety is another issue many have brought up, but USA baseball denies this as a reason for the change. And, yes, we are stretching for an answer here.
USABats first went on sale in September of 2017. The leagues adopting the new bats’ rules require them for play starting January 1st, 2018.