Our VARO Baseball bat weight (Amazon Price Check) review comes after 10 hours of use with the specialized bat weight compared to other donuts on the market. The VARO is a high end bat weight that comes in two versions. One version focuses on creating a balanced swing with a focus more toward the middle of the barrel (called the COR), and the other version extends the weight of the bat toward the end cap (called the ARC) creating an end loaded feel.
Like Lizard Skin Grips, the VARO bat weight system has taken over MLB on deck circles. Where it was once a very traditional bat weight donut in the circle, most on deck circles today have a bright team-colored VARO that most players use.
At first glance it is obvious the VARO bat weights are much more than a traditional donut. For starters, they are much larger and extend along the length of the barrel. The claim VARO makes, and this makes enough sense for us to reword it, is the added length protects the sweet spot of the bat from chips and dings. We appreciate this by way of an aesthetic feel, but we can’t imagine a paint chip on the barrel that could possibly affect performance—that would be one serious paint chip. This doesn’t mean we dislike the principle of protecting the sweet spot, indeed we do.
Second, the VARO bat weight, because it’s spread across the length of the bat, does not change the balance point of the bat insomuch that it feels like a sledge hammer. As such, it allows for a more natural swing where the knob of the bat does the driving, unlike more traditional bat donuts that put excessive weight toward the end of the bat and force the end cap to the driver’s seat of a warm up swing. The VARO makes a definite improvement in a warm up bat.
[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end][su_heading]VARO Sizing[/su_heading]
The VARO bat wieght comes in three different sizes—each built for a different type of bat and to recreate a heavier type of swing. There are two versions in the ARC series of VARO bats. The ARC extends the weight of the bat toward the barrel and end cap, giving your warm up swing a heavier load toward the end cap and barrel. On some bats the ARC actually extends beyond the length of the bat. It is preferred by most players looking for a good warm up swing—the ARC is what is used in most MLB on deck circles.
The ARC comes in a 2 1/4 and a 2 5/8 version. The 2 1/4 can be used on softball and “youth” barreled bats. The 2 5/8 can be used on BBCOR or other senior league or big barrel bats (it fits the 2 3/4 bats). It is a 12 ounce weight.
The COR version of the VARO bat weight (opposed to the ARC) sits in the middle of the bat to give it a more balanced swing. The weight also protects the sweet spot of the bat with an extended look that hugs the bat instead of grips into the barrel like traditional donuts. It only comes in a 2 5/8 version (this can fit a 2 3/4 bat) in a 20 ounce weight.[/ezcol_1half_end]
On the whole, it’s not hard to get behind the VARO bat weight system. They look great, they are used by MLB teams and they legitimately recreate a more natural feeling swing when compared to traditional bat donuts which. Good new as it turns out traditional donuts have been proven to not be very effective in terms of improving hitting. The price point over $30 might turn some folks away considering a traditional bat weight is all of $5 if you buy at the right place, but you are getting more than just a donut with the VARO.
[su_heading size=”20″ margin=”10″]Previous Readers’ Choice Awards[/su_heading]
[su_heading size=”20″ margin=”10″]Best Bat Grip Voting Intro[/su_heading]
We reviewed the Lizard Skin Grip a few months back (before they became wildly popular in the MLB). We recently ran a user generated vote which ranked the line up of Lizard Skin bat grips by the one which “looked the best”. We ran this through the holiday and gathered 14,000 votes. It may be, in fact we are sure it is, the most robust data ever gathered on user preferences for what their bat grip looks like.
[su_heading size=”20″ margin=”10″]The Best Looking Bat Grip[/su_heading]
On the whole, and compared to other readers’ choice awards we’ve ran here on the site, the voting was much, much closer. We saw several different grips on the top of list throughout the competition. In our head to head match ups, even the ‘worst’ grips still were preferred no less than 40% of the time. The winning grips were preferred no more than 60% of the time. Meaning, even the “least” attractive grips were preferred at least 4 out of 10 times to any other grip design and the best no more than 6 out of the 10 times.
As well, we also noticed the America Theme played very well within the bat grip wars, as we affectionately referred to them as. Patriot Camo, Dynamite Camo and other red, white and blue themes tended to win more often then they lost—and in such a neck and neck competition that was all it took.
Additionally, camo grips ruled the day. 8 of the top 10 designs were a camo design. As such, the best looking bat grip on the market today was a camo based American theme: Dynamite Camo. It’s a smooth looking Camo with a white base and Red and Blue. This color would looks fantastic on black, silver and brown colored sticks (and just about any other type too).
We noticed two other things: 6 of the bottom 10 designs (and 4 of the bottom 5) were solid colored grips. For whatever reason, folks tended to prefer solid color grip designs the least when compared to two tone and camo colors. Also, most two tone grips sat squarely in the middle of the pack—not liked as much as Camo on average—but also preferred more than single tone colors.
[su_heading size=”20″ margin=”10″]The Best Looking NON-Camo Bat Grip[/su_heading]
The best looking two tone grip (and #5 overall liked grip) was the Lizard Skin Grip that actually looks the most like a Lizard. Real swamp-like colors in this green and black two tone grip that comes in the 0.8, 1.1 and 1.8mm thicknesses. Lizard Skin, the company, doesn’t give any particular names to their grips outside the obvious and, as such, this is called the Black Green Grip. We’d like to see this named The Swamp Grip and, regardless of their packaging will heretofore call it such.
Great looking two-tone grip for sure.
[su_heading size=”20″ margin=”10″]The Best Looking Solid Color Bat Grip[/su_heading]
Only two NON-Camo grips broke the top 9. The Swamp Grip above (at #5) and this Neon Grip at #7 beat out the love of camo in many eyes. We’ve used the Neon Grip on a few bats before and are for sure kids eyes gravitate towards this one immediately. It does get dirty rather quickly but that only adds to it’s mystique and ruggedness. Great looking grip.
[su_heading size=”20″ margin=”10″]The 2nd Best Looking Bat Grip[/su_heading]
2nd place, and oh so close to 1st, was this straight forward Black Camo look from LIzard Skins. This is the Cookies and Milk Grip design was our personal favorite. It comes in the traditional 0.8, 1.1 and 1.8mm sizes and looks good on any bat you can imagine. It couldn’t quite beat out the wow factor and pop of a multi colored Americana themed camo grip, but in practice we’d wager this cookies and milk camo would look better on any random bat you could find on the market. 2nd place, among so many great choices, is a very respectable finish.
[su_heading size=”20″ margin=”10″]The Entire Ranking List of Best Looking Bat Grips[/su_heading]
About a year ago, we saw one of the very first glove bags to enter the market. (We reviewed that here). Since then, we’ve seen several bags with the same idea of protecting the leather pop up on our radar.
Recently, the folks at HIVE baseball let us get a closer look at the HIVE protective baseball glove bag. This bat has neoprene bag designed with a stiff plastic shell secured to the bottom. Your glove is slid into the shell to keep its shape while the water proof and thick bag keeps it safe. The bag also has drawstring at the opening. Any glove’s pocket (infield, outfield, catcher, lefty, righty) will fit directly into it.
The neoprene bags are two pieces of fabric with a thin layer of foam between them. It feels very well made. The plastic shell inside the bag is to preserve the glove’s pocket and maintain its overall unique shape.
Maybe the best recommendation I could give: My son has used it for several weeks now and loves everything about it. This video gives you a pretty good idea on how it works and looks.
Hive baseball bags can be found here.
If you’ve ever met someone who has a Boombah bat bag then you know these bags are LOVED. And I mean absolutely loved. We took three different versions for a spin recently, got some player feedback and we really have a hard time seeing anything Boombah did wrong. These bags are recommendable far and wide.
Sheepishly, we had never even heard of Boombah until about two months ago when we reviewed their bats. We saw they have bags, noticed a few kids in our league had them, acquired a couple to use and were quickly off to the ‘slobber-land’ of coveting bat bags.
If Easton’s motto is a bat for every player, Boombah’s could be a bat bag for every player. Boombah has the largest selection of baseball and softball gear and bat bags on the market. They have small bags and big bags; wheeled bags and carry bags; airplane bags and catcher’s bags; bags for softball and baseball; blue bags and red bags and green bags and digi camo and multi colored bags; they have bat bags that can carry just a small set of a gear and gear bags that could carry an entire t-ball team. We tried to get an accurate count and found it difficult because if you take in the color combinations, Boombah has well over 200 different types of bat bags. Yes, 200.
Boombah bags are also as well thought out as any bags we have seen. The higher end ones have a vented shoe compartments; the logo’s are made of velcro for easy placement of batting gloves; there are outside pockets for water bottles and easy access to keys, wallets and phones; most inside compartments are adjustable in size; even some of the smallest bat bags can carry four bats. The list goes on. Here are some highlights of some specific bags.
Rolling Superpack Camo Overview
For starters, take the Rolling Super Pack Camo bag from Boombah. The bag is one of 19 they have listed on their site. It is a large roller bag built more square than long (unlike most other roller bags that are longer rather than square). This bag comes in 17 different color combinations.
- Room for 4 bats
- Room for two external water bottles
- Velcro strapping on the logo for your batting gloves
- Quick access compartments for keys, wallets, phones, etc.
- A vented shoe compartment
- An adjustable compartment size through the top.
The digi camo look is very in and with an array of color options at a price point sub $80 how can you go wrong?
The only complaint we’ve read about, but not experienced, is that rolling the bag with a softer underside may create some holes earlier than hoped for. Good advice to follow if you see your player dragging it along the ground.
It is really hard to claim what bat bag is ‘best’ as, after all, it is just a bag that holds stuff. But this bag has to be near the top and if we were buying bags for our boys this would be it.
Superpack Bat Pack
There is a non rolling/non camo version of the Rolling Superpack Camo bag called, unsurprisingly, the Superpack Bat Pack. This bag has many of the same features as the rolling version with the obvious exception of the rolling wheels.
The bag is the exact same size as the rolling version but is built with straps to carry like a back pack. It also has the individual vented compartment for shoes, a detachable pocket and a Boombah logo that will hold batting gloves between innings.
Of course there are the same heavy duty zippers and zipper pulls, 4 slots for bats and reinforced J-hooks to hang on the fence. Dimensions are 23.5″ Tall, 13.5″ Wide and 9.5″ deep.
Beast Bag Overview
The Beast Bag by Boombah is the largest one they make. It is a soft cased roller bag with a hard bottom that could hide a small army of tiny people or, better yet, about any combination of baseball gear imaginable. It is 40″ long, 14″ wide and 13″ wide.
The bag has a detachable flap that is customizable, well built wheels, a separate compartment on the top for quick access items. Boombah.com says the bag can hold up to 8 bats. We think it could seriously hold 20 if you wanted it to.It also has heavy duty zippers, straps and fence hooks with a ventilated shoe compartment. There is a soft lined valuables pocket on the side for delicate items (like a phone) and an easy to grab handle. This beast of a beast bag has a billion features.
Overall Boombah Bag Reviews
Our first love is bats, as bags by nature lack the excitement of an object meant to send projectiles rocketing into space. But if there is company that can ignite our excitement in bags, it’s Boombah. The options are endless and the prices are fantastic. These bags are an accomplishment in both form and function. Boombah is a direct to consumer company so the only place to pick these up is on their website.
Mizuno makes everything and they tend to make everything well. It is no surprise, then, they happen to make a pretty impressive wheeled bag. As travel ball becomes more and more popular, parents look for a convenient one solution bag to carry baseball gear. Mizuno’s solution to this is the MP ELITE wheel bag. This bag has a pocket or compartment for everything.
Unlike many other bags, the water proof footwear compartment is toward the top of the bag. Great access makes shoe placement and replacement easy, so if that is a feature you value, the MP Elite is a great option.
There are also J Hooks to conveniently hang the bag on a fence, keeping the bag and your dugout cleaner.
There are a few accessory compartments on the outside of the bag: places for phones, wallets, credit cards, plane tickets, and a host of other items your player just might be carrying.
Another helpful feature is a zip off panel that can be removed to make embroidery easier for teams or individuals who want their bags personalized. If you’re not going the embroidery route, claim your bag on the tag provided.
The wheels also seem very durable. We have yet to put these to a year’s worth of testing, but at first glance and feel we think they are as good as we’ve seen. Good wheels are a must when carrying this size bag filled with gear.
As far as gear space, the bag holds up to five different baseball bats which is the largest compartment we’ve yet to see. A few more bats and you may need to hire a caddy for your hitter.
Other specifics include:
- A padded shoulder strap
- Insulated pack compartment for water
- Dimensions are (L) 38″” (H) 13″” x (W) 13″”
The Mizuno MP ELITE Wheel Bag is a high end bag with tons of space for any occasion. It is not a position specific bag, but I am sure it could hold catcher’s gear. In fact, it could hold 2 adult sizes of catcher’s gear. The divider in the center section is well thought out. The waterproof side piece is also a useful feature.
If we could change anything about the bag we’d like to see a vented shoe compartment – it is our unfortunate experience that little leaguers’ cleats need some breathing room. Also, as much as we like insulated drink space, it would be handy to have an external place to slide an extra water bottle or two. But despite those minor criticisms, we think the bag is highly recommendable for someone looking for a great wheeled bag with tons of space. Probaby even enough room for a trophy or two.
Every person who has ever looked at my selection of bat bags gravitates to the white DeMarini Black OPS Backpack. It’s not only DeMarini’s flashiest bat pack but may be the flashiest on the market. The white version is stylish with a black trim, silver lettering and white panels. The top panels are water-proofed to a leather feel. A middle panel can be customized with your number. The zippers are well designed and the DeMarini name and logos are well placed. It is a beautiful bag. Or, as my son said when he first saw it: Oh my sickness.
Aside from its aesthetics, the bat is practical. It has room for everything you would hope for in a bag:
- A protective compartment for your helmet, glove and shoes
- The main section is adjustable to two half compartments or a full compartment
- Two bats can be put in a smooth designed zipped barrel sleeve on each side
- Good strapping making it easier to carry
- An expandable/breathable compartment on one side for a water bottle or other item
- A pocket compartment on the outside for quick access to phone, keys, wallet, etc.
- Several zipped compartments inside the other compartments above
- A curved hook for easy hang on the fence. The hook then easily hides away.
If you are looking for a well made bat pack with a smooth look then were not sure you need to keep looking. It comes in black too. Its ‘practical’ score is a solid 9 out of 10. Its ‘look’ score is a 10 out of 10. It is DeMarini’s best bat bag. (See Also: DeMarini’s Black OPS Wheeled Gear Bag Review.)
These many pictures don’t do the white one justice.
DeMarini makes a fantastic high end bag for travel players. It has everything you could ever want in a roller bag that converts into a bag pack and individual sleeves for up to 4 bats.
Here are some other features.
- Enough storage space to bring along the contents of a Manhattan apartment.
- The bag has 6,700 cubic inches of space. This is equivalent to the space of 30 gallons of water. It measures over 3 feet long, 15 inches wide and 12 inches high.
- For being so large, it is exceptionally stylish and compartmentalized insomuch you may forget where something is. I counted, twice, and there is at least 21 different places to put stuff. Including:
- 4 custom made bat slots inside the bag.
- A breathable shoe compartment that can be removed and washed.
- A large central storage area the size of your laundry basket
- 400 compartments on the side for cell phone/wallet/keys.
- The gear bag rolls smoothly and can convert into a backpack.
- It has double sided hideaway fence claws which are curved to hang on a fence much more effectivley.
- Hard-body on the undercarriage
The DeMarini OPS wheeled bag is as nice of a gear bag as you will ever find on the market. Serious NCAA, travel ball and high-school players—who do a lot of travel on airplanes and buses—will appreciate the thoughtfulness of this bag. Best pricing we could find was here. You can also look for some auctions here. (See Also: DeMarini Black OPS Bat Back Review).
If you are looking for a high end bag as the perfect present for a baseball player then the DeMarini Black OPS Wheeled Bag should be on your short list.
Check out some pictures of the DeMarini Black OPS Wheeled Bag below.
Inflatable batting cages, in theory at least, are the single best way to add a hitting cage to your back yard, gym or travel team’s equipment bag. They are quick to set up, quick to take down and give you a portable hitting experience that no soft toss net, swing-a-way or chain link fence could ever do. If taken care of properly, they can also outlast your outdoor cage.
But, in practice, most portable cages are often hard to maintain, require constant air flow, are overly affected by wind and create ricochet that is flat out dangerous.
We’ve gone in search of the best inflatable batting cage that addresses these concerns and come back with some encouraging answers. Only two companies make batting cages that are recommendable by way of the concerns we mention above: Rude American and InMotion. We think, in the end, the Rude American cage is a clear winner due to its price point, added security features and focus on stability.
Sealed Air is a MUST
Both Rude American and InMotion use a sealed air approach. This means you only need to fill up the cage one time and do NOT need a constant air pump like a bouncy house. Any other competitor (especially many overseas models) requires a no stop flow of air through a constantly running pump. No matter what you end up choosing, we highly recommend you do NOT choose one that requires constantly running air.
SET UP and TAKE DOWN and PORTABILITY
The reason people LOVE inflatable batting cages is their portability. They can come inside for the winter to be set up in a gym, go outside in the back yard to hit for a few hours (or longer), be taken down in a minute or two for an impending storm and then be packed in the back of the mini-van or truck to be taken on a travel team’s road trip. It really is the best way to go if you are adding a cage as part of your life.
Both Rude American and InMotion take about 20 minutes to set up a 40 foot cage. Both take only a few minutes to take down and pack up. Both fold down to the same size (which is, roughly, a 4 x 2 feet square case). As well, both are about the same weight and require the same amount of trunk space to transport.
Stability and Safety: Advantage Rude American
One differentiating feature that we found favoring Rude American’s inflatable batting cage is the pillars that lift the bottom rung of the cage from the ground. InMotion’s inflatable batting cage has the bottom rung run on the ground. (See Pictures Below).
We found that an elevated bottom rung allows for a couple things:
- An elevated bottom run makes the cage less susceptible to wind (because air can now flow both above and below the bottom run).
- A bottom rung off the ground is safer as it creates a greater distance from structure to the net which, in turn, gives less chance for ricochet.
Another feature where Rude American inflatable cage excels is the Velcro netting that attaches the two pieces of the cage together. This allows for less ricochet and a more solid feel. The InMotion version doesn’t have any particular way to connect to the two except for placing them by each other.
Price: Advantage Rude American
Legitimate and well working inflatable batting cages that can be used with strong players are not cheap. Especially ones that come with lifetime warranties on seams.
Rude American’s price on baseball express is $7,000. InMotion’s price for their 40 foot cage starts at $12,500 (which you can only find by calling them). InMotion does have a 36 foot cage (with 2 eighteen foot sections) but that is still over $9,000. No matter how you price it out the Rude American cage will save you several thousand dollars.
InMotion does send an employee on site to help you set up the cage for the very first time–which I am sure adds a cost to their process. We are not sure, at least for most, how that might be needed as set up and take down aren’t particularly difficult. Regardless, if you think onsite help is needed then be prepared to spend upwards of $5,000 more.
Customization: Advantage InMotion
The other thing InMotion probably does better is customization in terms of logos and colors. This, of course, comes at an additional price. (Anywhere between $500 and $2000). Rude American does offer these services but, from what I could gather, would rather not do so as it adds significant time and cost to the process. We have a hard time seeing why custom logos would be that important especially at significant costs. If you need logos, buy some quality screen printed stickers and do it yourself.
But, like onsite set up, if you are in the market for a customized or branded inflatable batting cage then InMotion may be your ticket.
Both InMotion and Rude American inflatable cages are recommendable in terms of their air sealing, portability and warranty.
If you are looking for custom logos or other options (like a shorter cage) then InMotion is your only recommendable option. Pricing for the InMotion must be found by calling their main number.
Rude American inflatable batting cages are our recommended option in terms of added safety, stability and overall value. Price check on that inflatable can be found here.
If this is the first time you’ve heard or seen the Zepp Labs baseball sensor then be prepare to feel like you’ve gone to the future. You may exclaim, as Doc Brown would, “Great Scott!” Our general feelings are, this little gadget can, and just may, raise the bar of hitting instruction across every level of baseball. But before we start slobbering all over ourselves, let’s first detail the functions of the technology and also see if we can’t find a grievance or two in our zepp baseball review.
Zepp Baseball Review
The Zepp baseball sensor is a 0.4 ounce gadget that fits inside a rubber grip (called a mount) which attaches to the knob of a softball or baseball bat. The sensor is a gyroscope and accelerometer—meaning: when the Zepp Labs sensor is attached to the bottom of a bat it can determine both the bat’s orientation to the earth as well as how fast and what direction it moves.
The Zepp Labs sensor records these orientation and movement data points and, via Bluetooth, transfers the information to an app on your device. It only transfers the relevant data gathered around the time the bat makes contact with the ball. The app then aggregates these data points and places a series of charts, tables and graphics for perusal at your fingertips, literally.
If the Bluetooth connection is live during hitting the sensor immediately transfers its information to the phone or tablet. The results reveal in a matter of moments. If the sensor is not Bluetooth connected then the data is recorded (up to 2,000 swings) on the sensor and transfers when Bluetooth connects later.
The combined data creates metrics the average (and not so average) baseball player has never before seen. To name some of the insights the app provides:
- Barrel speed throughout the swing
- Barrel speed at contact
- Barrel speed after contact
- Barrel trajectory
- Hand speed throughout the swing
- Hand speed at contact
- Hand speed after contact
- Hand path
- Angle of attack
- Vertical angle
- Duration to impact
- Contact point in relation to your body
- Bat plane
- And so on.
This data is then stored under the selected player’s profile as well as the bat they were using when the data was generated. At any point in the future you can review any swings in aggregate under the labs’ report section or individually through the calendar. Here is some data my 10 year old son and I generated:
If you’re impressed so far get ready to have your pants blown off–we haven’t even started with the cool part yet. The app can capture video of the swing two seconds before and one second after contact–it knows where to capture because the accelerometer tells it there was impact.
This video clip is then filed away with the other data the sensor gathered. You can review these videos with toggled slow motion anytime later. We found the video review of the hit more valuable than the actual data points. Both used in conjunction, however, the two modes create a bag full of insight no generation of baseball players has ever experienced.
And all of that, quite frankly, isn’t even the most helpful part. The most helpful part, at least as me and my boys saw it, was the side by side video ‘swing compare’ of the app–especially to the pre-loaded swing of big leaguers.
For example, observing how my son swings a 32 inch Marucci Hex Youth barrel compared to Jose Altuve and his 33 inch Sam Bat in slow motion proved as valuable as any hitting instruction he’s ever received. That is without hyperbole. That few moments of insight comparing his swing to his favorite player’s swing was the most significant piece of hitting feedback he could have ever received and I could have ever given him.
As you can see, and as my son recognized without anyone’s help, Jose drives the top half his body through the baseball whereas my son takes it leaning back. Jose also drives forward well enough that his back foot actually comes ever so slightly off the ground at contact—my son has too much weight back. Jose’s swing is also remarkably compact–my son’s a bit too far away from his body. We toggled through the side by side video for several minutes and he and I quickly noticed the similarities and differences without debate. In a matter of minutes my son’s swing improved.
And Zepp Labs baseball sensor benefits are not done yet. The technology includes a catalog of tips, drills and videos the app suggests based on the deficit of skill reported in the metrics. John Mallee, hitting coach of the Cubs, even has a few cameos in the tips section showing you different drills for any number of topics: bat speed, hand speed, attack angle and so on.
Additionally, after just a couple hours of use, I increased the consistency of my hitting instruction to my boys by several multiples. I knew exactly what I was talking about and had video and data evidence to prove it to myself and to them.
I also realized, because dad had to try it out, that I’ll never be able to have bat speed of 90+mph and, maybe even more embarrassing, the harder I try and swing the more ridiculous I look–especially in slow motion.
If you couldn’t tell from the above we are thoroughly enamored with the gadget’s form and function as well as the app’s interface.
So enamored, in fact, that we hesitate pointing out things we wish were a bit different. But since this is a review, let us put our objective hat on.
First, the app is an absolute battery drainer. Running Bluetooth, video and internet (to sync profiles) sucks down your battery like nobody’s business. If your plan is to use this during a game or far away from an outlet make sure your battery is charged to the rafters.
Second, there are a couple of bat companies that are not in the drop down menu so you need to put their names in the ‘generic’ category. From what I’ve gathered this isn’t Zepps fault but the bat companies–who need to opt in. So, RIP-IT and Baden Axe: READ YOUR EMAIL.
The third issue is not so much a complaint as it is a caution. It’s also more philosophical than any real fault in the device. The data gathered by the sensor and app is so prolific that it might push players to over-complicate hitting a baseball. The app does try, and on the whole succeeds, in giving us tangible directions for improvement, but you don’t actually need to be a physicist to hit a baseball and this app might give players, especially young ones, too many chances to over-think their swing.
I can imagine, for example, a little leaguer with the Zepp Labs sensor attached to his bat knob more worried about his bat speed than a bunt sign from the third base coach.
Despite that caution, which is avoided with a healthy dose of reality, we think this device is an absolute win. Anyone who is serious about improving their swing should be able to benefit from this technology.
From a coaching perspective, we most appreciate the accuracy and consistency with which our hitting instruction can be explained and recorded for our players. With everyone including their grandma’s two cents of hitting instruction to wade through, hitters will find with the Zepp Labs baseball sensor and a competent coach, advice that is applicable, verifiable and actually possible to perform.
The $150 price tag may cause many to balk–and as a father of three boys in baseball we 100% agree on controlling the budget. But compared to the price of bats, private hitting lessons or travel team fees the $150 isn’t asking much. (The best price, as far as I could tell, was here or here).
As well, something to consider, the device is so transferable that going in as a team, league or a couple of different players makes it even more accessible and we’d recommend that route to most. (If you go that route, make sure you pick up some extra mounts from here).
Also, the same sensor is used in Zepp Labs golf swing app and tennis app. Just pick up those mounts too and you now have private golf lessons. So not only a baseball app swing analyzer for your team or group of players but a golf swing analyzer and a tennis coach for a one time fee of $150? The pricing isn’t free, but it isn’t crazy either.
The app keeping track of your cuts, measuring improvement in your swing speed, a graphical representation of your hands getting inside the baseball and comparing your swing’s finest points to those who have perfected the craft is an absolute treasure trove of information that was heretofore unknowable.
This little gadget should find its way, at some point this year, onto every little league, high school and collegiate player’s bat who wants to improve his hitting.
And if that isn’t slobbering, we don’t know what is. Two big thumbs up.
(What will they think of next? As my son suggested, maybe a pitching wrist band to measure arm speed and trajectory? Make it happen Zepp!)
No bat review site would be complete without a conversation on bat grips. And no conversation on bat grips would be complete without a Lizard Skin Grip review. Lizard Skin Grips, if you have yet to hear, may be the biggest revolution in baseball since pine tar. At every level of the sport, these perforated grips are found. We have seen several dozen up close, installed at least a dozen more, and used the product extensively. That experience, added with extensive player feedback, entails this Lizard Skin Grip review.
When we first reviewed Lizard Skin Grips nearly two years ago their color options number not much more than a dozen. Now, it can’t be less than 200. Throw in the custom grips they make for Louisville Slugger’s 2017 lineup of bats and the options are on the verge of endless.
More recently, we ran a user-generated review on the ‘best looking bat grips‘. The voting genrated over 10,000 votes. Spoiler alert if you intend to read that entire article: The winner was the Dynamite Camo (pictured at the beginning of this section). The Dynamite Camo is just one of literally hundreds of designs Lizard Skin offers.
Lizard Skin Grip History
Lizard Skin baseball and softball grips cut their teeth on the bike grip space. To survive in that highly competitive niche, bike grips needed to perform in all types of weather—while still providing the spectrum of comfort and feel desired by the preference of the rider. At the time, some believed no company was providing that type of offering in their handle and grip space. Lizard Skin saw the need and filled it. Today they are known worldwide for an array of quality built bike grips and handlebar tape on any
Today they are known worldwide for an array of quality built bike grips and handlebar tape on any line of bike you can imagine.
They’ve made the climb in baseball for much the same reason they are a worldwide brand in bike grips. That is, a simple recognition that different players like different feels depending on the situation. As well, grips must work in all types of weather. With 18 years of experience in perfecting different grips for competitive bike racers, the transition to producing grips for competitive baseball and softball players was pretty straight forward. They needed options, a grip that had success in all types of weather, and an unbeatable feel.
Considering that in 2012 Lizard Skin had yet to produce a single bat grip, their ascent into the baseball psyche has been nothing short of remarkable. Big names in baseball now use lizard skins religiously–Robinson Cano, David Ortiz and Hunter Pence to name a few. Massive vendors like closeoutbats.com can install the grip before shipping out new bats. In 2017, Louisville Slugger has custom made Lizard Skin grips for their bats.
What Lizard Skin Grip To Buy?
Get the 0.5mm If…
Wood bat users tend to the 0.5mm. This thin grip still gives a tactile feel to the bat’s handle but keeps exceptional grip without pine tar. Look no further than Bo Jackson’s bat or Ken Griffey Jr’s bat for examples pre Lizard Skin that wanted this tactile feel. Even Honus Wagner, in the 1800’s, attempted to improve the grip with cork.
Get the 1.8mm if…
Little leaguers looking for the most cushion possible prefer the 1.8mm. Even most highschoolers appriciate this feel the most. We recommend this to most simply because it does feel the best for shock absorbtion.
Get the 1.1mm if…
The middle ground is the 1.1mm Lizard Skin grip. This is, roughly, the standard grip width of most bats straight from the factory. We would recommend this to those who don’t want too pillowy of a grip, but still aren’t ready for the very thin 0.5mm.
How To Apply
Practice does make perfect in apply Lizard Skin Grips. We are much better at it today, after installing at least a dozen, then we were on our very first one. For best results, we suggest you watch the video above. And then practice.
In a sport that has been around nearly as long as America itself, Lizard Skin bat tape somehow created an entirely new category of product: customized baseball bat grips for any player, anytime, anywhere. In that space, they’ve made a significant run with all signs pointing to open field ahead.
And probably the greatest validation to Lizard Skin baseball bat grips? Big name conglomerate companies are now scrambling to the space with knock-offs of their own. With a two-year head start, a very fair price point and traction in the MLB, we suspect those copy-cats will learn quickly that it is hard to catch someone who first learned to run on a bike.