The best youth baseball bat depends, entirely, on what you mean by “Youth Bat”.
Jump to the full list below.
After extensive hitting and measuring our hits, we’ve written 20 articles dissecting any number of situations for the best youth baseball bat.
2019 CF Zen USSSA Cage Side Hitting
Why the 2018/19 DeMarini CF Zen?
- The bat is available in every little league baseball bat size you can imagine. It comes in a drop 5, drop 8, drop 10 as well as a USSSA version and a USA Bat option too.
- The feel on mishits is unmatched. DeMarin’s 3-Fusion handle is a thing of beauty and every hitter who has tested this bat is in love.
- Exit speeds always look fantastic with the CF Zen and the balance point is right in the wheelhouse that young players prefer.
Here’s one of our reader’s testimonial on the drop 2019 USSSA youth CF Zen.
Why NOT the 2018/19 DeMarini CF Zen?
- It is not inexpensive. In fact, its just flat expensive. There are other bats in the youth space as expensive, but none greater.
- The recent track record for CF Zen’s staying legal is not so hot. The 2017 youth CF Zen was banned in several sizes and even the 2018 CF Zen was nipped in a few sizes too.
Granted, DeMarini does allow their purchases to trade their bats in. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t convenient. Some who were inconvinienced by the bat banning have really taken it out on DeMarini on social media.
- Some younger hitters prefer single piece bats, aluminum barrels or two piece hybrid bats. If that is you, then this bat won’t be a good fit.
Here’s one of our readers that is not impressed with the USA CF Zen’s barrel size:
9 Best Youth Baseball Bats Ever
Of course we made a best ever list. The below bats are rarely in stock new anymore. You’ll need to go to eBay to find them.
1. Best Ever: BZ1-C Sc500 Easton Redline Drop 5
Some may argue over this as the first pick, but if the order of the top 9 best youth baseball bats were to be decided on secondary market value, then the Redline ZCore with the now famous SC500 aluminum/scandium alloy—is the winner. The bat appreciates
in value and now, after over 10 years on the market, only used models can be found. They price well over $500, and often well into the $600 range.
The bat comes in a drop 5 or drop 8. It is categorized as an adult/middle school bat. The Easton SC500 is a full aluminum single piece bomb-dropping fool. The bat is, as you can imagine, banned in high-school and NCAA. The drop 5, we submit, is the
best bat on the planet.
This is the only bat we can find that actually appreciates in value. It has become the Michael Jordan Rookie Card of little league baseball bats–often fetching well into the thousand of dollars for a used bats. It is, at least these days, very difficult
to find. Even eBay searches like this often turn up nothing.
They are said to last forever (at least by those trying to sell them), have a pop that would impress your grandmother, and for those willing to get out a small bank loan to purchase a little league bat, will hit your favorite pitch somewhere into the
2. Best 2 1/4 Youth Bat: 2014 Easton MAKO Youth
In the last decade, no bat has changed the game the like the Easton MAKO in the 2 1/4 youth barrel. Easton dominated the BPF 1.15 space in the 2 1/4 barrel in 2014, and many argue, they still do today. The Orange MAKO was a man among
boys 18 months before other bats began to close the gap. Other bats have arguably caught up to the 2014 MAKO’s impressiveness. But, at the time, the MAKO was the best youth barrel bat on the market—and it wasn’t even close.
3. Best Big Barrel: CF Zen Drop 8 2 3/4
The CF8 2 3/4 Drop 10 is a very difficult bat to find—and there is a reason for that. The CF8 from 2016 is the best big barrel bat somewhat readily available on the market today. However, the fact it is driving such a premium price might give you
reason to visit our full list of best youth big barrel bats.
Yet even despite the ridiculous price points on the bat, people willing to spend that much may not be crazy. Durability has always been a serious concern with the drop 10 CF8, but the bat flat out rakes.
A good substitute for the drop 10 CF8 may be the new CF Zen. We discuss that more below.
4. Best Aluminum Barrel: 2006/2007 Anderson Techzilla
The original version of the Anderson Techzilla circa 2006 and 2007 was
(and is) a verifiable bomb dropper. A double-walled two-piece 2 1/4 alloy bat with enough pop to make a sailor blush, put this bat squarely in the top 9 best youth baseball bats ever. You can still buy them used for around $200 and we suggest, like
the Combat B1 and B2 above, it’s worth every penny.
This bat swings like a hot knife through butter and if the game was on the line and we were at the plate with two outs and the bases loaded, there are few other friends we’d want in our grip than this sweet swinging lady with a punch like Ali. The Techzilla
makes a bad hitter good, a good hitter great and a great hitter the king of the league.
Only problem is the bat is not legal in very many leagues anymore. But, if you happen to be in one, and like the feel of dynamite in your hands, then figure out a way to get this bad boy.
5. Best Drop 5: 2015 DeMarini CF7 Drop 5
The 2015 Drop 5 DeMarini CF7 is an amazing stick. Once you hit with you you can’t stop thinking about it. it is the perfect combination of balance and power. In terms of the best drop 5 bat that is somewhat readily available on the market today, this
is our choice. If you’d like some cheaper and more readily available options then you will like our best drop 5 bats article.
The drop 5 CF7 is smooth on contact. Butter like drives in the gaps are one-hopped to the wall. Hanging a ball in the zone and the bat nearly crackles at the ball before driving it into the stratosphere. The bat has a middle range balance point on the
barrel and is an earth shattering blast at full contact. It’s hard to miss with its over extended barrel.
Since it is not held back by BBCOR standards we think it’s the biggest hitting baseball bat you can still buy new in wrapper today. The drop 5 CF7 is an unashamed grizzly bear bat made to destroy baseballs, home run records and pitchers’ confidence.
6. Best Drop 8: Marucci CAT 7
We have hit with drop 8 bats more than any other line or niche of bats. Many, including the CF ZEN and Beast are fantastic. But the Marucci CAT 7, with its single piece feel and beautiful ping pop, is our favorite. We have yet to find a player that
can swing a drop 8 correctly who does not just love the bat.
The CAT 7 comes in a number of other sizes too. The BBCOR is also one of our favorites and so is the drop 10 JBB version. But, the drop 8, tops our list of best drop 8 baseball bats.
We also love the CAT 7 because the price point is at least a little more manageable than other top tiered bats. Those who swing the CAT 7 drop 8 will never go back.
7. Best Drop 10: DeMarini CF Zen
For much the same reason the CF8 is our best overall big barrel bat, the CF Zen is our specific drop 10 winner. The 2 5/8 version of the Zen is actually outlawed in USSSA in the drop 8 version. As well, the 2 3/4 drop 10 CF Zen is not legal there. Somehow,
the drop 10 CF Zen passed the test. And, it turns out, the bat is an absolute ball killer.
We have an entire article discussing the best drop 10 bats. You may find those helpful if you are not up for spending the money required to acquire the CF Zen. But if money is not
an object, the CF Zen is the best drop 10 on the market.
8. Best Drop 12 Bat: 2017 Rawlings VELO Composite
Rawlings makes a version of the VELO called the VELO composite. This bat is a two piece composite bat and built much differently than the traditional single piece hybrid VELO. But, the drop 12 is a fantastic bat for the kid looking for as much bat control and speed as possible with a reasonable and over-sized barrel. There are a handful of very good drop 12 bats. Our best drop 12 bat article sums them up nicely. So, if you are looking for more options and price points, head over there. On the whole, we would take the VELO for its ultra light drop 12 swing and legitimate price point over just about any bat in that specific class.
9. Best Youth Wood Bat: Marucci AP5
It is difficult, at best, to narrow down the best youth wood baseball bats. This difficulty stems from the fact that no bat company has a patent on maple or ash trees. As such, just about anyone can buy a high quality wood billet from a major supplier and then put it on their lathe. Some minutes later, boom, you have a very nice ash or maple bat. That said, we do have an affinity for the AP5 from Marucci. At the pro level, it is one of the most popular turn patterns.
The maple is as good as you can get anywhere. The brand name that stands behind it is the most popular MLB bat. In other words, it is very hard to go wrong with a youth wood AP5 from Marucci.
Common Questions About the Best Youth Baseball Bats
How Do You Determine the Best Youth Baseball Bats?
We spend a considerable time actually using the bats we review on this site. We are not, as so many are, simply parroting lists from Amazon or other major vendors’ best sellers lists. Our reviews take on serious research by players and parents. Often,
we discuss our findings with major vendors and several manufacturers. Throughout that process, bats in each category tend to rise to the top of the lists. That said, we are the first to admit that our recommendations are not fool proof. Indeed, the
best for most is not the best bat for all. We are hopeful our insights are simply once piece of the puzzle for you in determining the best youth baseball bat.
Are Youth Bats and Little League Bats the Same?
The confusion is to be blamed completely on the Industry. There is an entire swath of young players that play youth baseball in Little League organized leagues. Notice the capital L’s. Those leagues put their own set of requirements on the bats. Including,
for example, a 2 1/4 inch max barrel diameter. But, there is also an even bigger swath of players that are often referred to as Youth players but they do not play in leagues that are affiliated with Little League. As such, the youth bats they use are
not the same as the youth bats Little League uses. To make it even more confusing, 2 1/4 baseball bats are often referred to as Youth Bats. But, 2 5/8 or 2 3/4 barrel bats are often referred to as Youth Big Barrel Bats. It is terribly confusing. But,
in the end, Youth Bats and Little League bats are not always the same.
What Size Youth Baseball Bat Should I get?
We cover the way to size a bat correctly on our bat size chart page. It is too long a conversation for a simple paragraph. But there, we give some insights worth considering.
Our testers hit every 2019 USSSA Baseball Bat. We tracked the exit speeds of those hits, measured barrel sizes and swing weights as well as detailed our testers’ feedback. We graded out each bat and found the best USSSA Baseball Bat for 2019, regardless of price or drop, is DeMarini’s CF Zen in a drop 5.
Drop 5 Winner
Drop 8 Winner
Drop 10 Winners
USSSA Winner Cage Side Review
Best USSSA Baseball Bats 2019 – 2018
|Category (Click for Full Review)||Bat|
|Best Overall 2019 USSSA Bat||Zen | CAT 8 | 619 Solo|
|Best Drop 5 USSSA Bat||2019 CF Zen|
|Best Cheap USSSA Bat||Slugger Vapor|
|Best Value USSSA||2019 Easton Beast Speed|
|Best 2018 USSSA||2018 DeMarini CF Zen|
|Lightest Swinging USSSA Bat||2019 Easton Ghost X Hyperlite|
|Best Fall Ball USSSA||CAT 8 | Easton Beast Speed|
|Best Unheard of USSSA||DSB Demon|
Best USSSA Baseball Bats 2019
2019 Budget Picks
Those on a budget, or looking for a real value buy, should like the Easton Ghost Speed. We found that bat packs a full on punch, has a huge barrel and swings right where we want it too. If you want something cheaper, then check out the 2019 Rawlings 5150. The 5150 is a staple in the traditional bat market. Smooth swinging, although slightly heaver, single piece aluminum.
Reader USSSA Bat Rankings
This chart sorts by highest rated. Our millions of readers rate bats every year, we approve each review.
Best 2018 USSSA Big Barrel Bats
Our process included barrel size measurements, exit speed tests and swing weight measurements. That objective data, combined with a dozen hitters using the bats and recording their direct feedback plays roles in determining the best big barrel bats. We also observed what players tended to use at major tournaments and spent considerable time looking for objective online reviews. Much of more detailed findings can be found on our USSSA Big Barrel bat reviews pages under our individual reviews for the following bats. Below is a highlight of our 2018 best big barrel bats.
1. DeMarini CF Zen Drop 10
The 2018 CF Zen is really a perfect bat. DeMarini has dialed in the feel and barrel performance better than anyone in the USSSA space. We have dozens of players try our every bat in the market (even the small ones) and the Zen always rises to the top, or right near the top, of everyone’s list. This 2018 version is not much different than the 2017 Retooled version. But, even after the 2017 version was retooled we still loved it. See our full 2018 CF Zen review.
2. Easton Ghost X Drop 5
There are a number of other great options in the big barrel space. Especially in the drop 5, we love the Easton Ghost X for many of the same reasons we love the CF Zen in the drop 10. The Ghost X Drop 5 has remarkable pop and a good sized barrel. Expect an endloaded feel. Oddly, the drop 5 Ghost X has a smaller barrel profile than the drop 8 or drop 10 Ghost X, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t absolutely rake. See our 2018 Easton Ghost X review.
3. Marucci CAT 7 Drop 8
Both the Easton Ghost X and CF Zen come in very nice drop 8 options. But, our favorite drop 8 big barrel for 2018 is Marucci’s CAT 7. This swings, feels and sounds a lot different then the two piece composite bats that grace this list. But, no doubt, it is delivers absolute screamers. We love the balance and slightly tapered grip as well as the durability and brilliant feel. The stiff feel from the single piece can occassioanly ring the hands but Marucci’s AV2 knob is unique feature that makes it reasonable for even young hitters. This is a top shelf cold weather bat built for performance players at a fraction of the price. See our Marucci CAT 7 review.
4. Rawlings VELO Drop 12
The easiest choice on this list is the 2018 Rawlings VELO for the best drop 12 bat. Most bat companies do not take the drop 12 space seriously. They leave their second teir bats to top out on the space. Not Rawlings. They actually upgrade their traditional single piece Rawlings VELO into a two piece composite with a huge barrel and a real great feel. If you are looking for the best 2018 drop 12 bat, and money is not an option, then the two piece Rawlings VELO is a fantastic option. See our Rawlings VELO review.
5. Easton S450
There are not very many cheap 2018 big barrel baseball bats worth mentioning. Under $75 are about the same. That is, a single piece of aluminum shaved down to offer a light swing weight. These rarely have any tech that helps dampen sting. But, if your player is new to the sport and you just looking to get through a couple games before diving into the deep end we really like the Easton S450. You can find this bat everywhere for a pretty cheap price and as a drop 11 it should be useuful to the beginners.
6. Louisville Slugger 518 Omaha Drop 10
If you have a budget of $100 and are trying to be the most wise we suggest the 2018 Omaha 518 as the best value 2018 Big Barrel Bat. There is not a ton of tech on this bat as, it is, a good old fashioned single piece of aluminum. However, the barrel performs really well and is considered one of Slugger’s top end bats. We like the grip, tapered knob and number of size offerings (drop 10, 8 and 5). It’s a very legit choice for under $100. See our Slugger 518 review.
2018 vs 2017 Big Barrel Options
As always, looking for many of the above bats in a 2017 model year option can usually save you a few bucks. With the exception of the drop 12 VELO, the 2017 version of each of the bats we list above are basically identical. And, if you can find them, likely worth it at a discount from this year’s model. Finding used or last year’s model is a bit of an art form and we discuss some tricks to buying bats here.
One notable exception, in terms of saving money from last year’s model, is the 2017 Drop 5 DeMarini CF Zen. This bat is straight ridiculous. Very hard to find at any level of a discount. It is our favorite drop 5 bat maybe ever.
Best 2017 Big Barrel Bats
(The below section entails our write up for 2017 bats. If you are looking for our thoughts, after hours of testing, on the 2017 line of big barrel bats then see below).
1. DeMarini CF Zen Drop 10
There are a ton of great drop 5 bats on the market. Easton’s MAKO XL Beast, Marucci’s CAT 7 or the Voodoo Insane are great drop 5 options. But the bomb making ability of the CF Zen is unmatched.
The 2017 model over the 2016 model, added some barrel length with a new internal design. The technology in the knob to help dampen sting is still there. Expect a focused barrel and a super smooth feel. Great for kids who can handle a drop 5, but who don’t think an endload is the feel for them. See our 2017 CF Zen review.
2. Marucci CAT 7 Drop 8
We originally had DeMarini’s CF Zen in the drop 8 as the winner of this section. However, the bat was deemed illegal by USSSA and several other leagues. As such, it probably does not deserve a strong recommendation.
The drop 8 CAT 7, however, does. The at is dynamite for all the same reasons the drop 5 bat is awesome. Expect a smooth swing and a beautiful ping. The bat sings when it is hit well and it really benefits the player who has good bat speed. The barrel is a good size and the balance is managable but by not means light. See our 2017 Marucci CAT 7 review.
3. DeMarini Voodoo Drop 9
DeMarini’s Voodoo 2 5/8 big barrel bat is our favorite drop 9 of the bunch, in part because the balanced two piece hybrid is a great smooth swing with that hot out of the wrapper aluminum from DeMarini we have grown to love. Collegiate teams that swing DeMarini almost always tend toward the Voodoo over the CF Series.
The other part of the reason we think it is the best drop 9 big barrel today is because it is just about the only one. Most other brands offer a drop 10 or a drop 8. A two piece hybrid in a drop 10 or drop 8, though, is difficult to find, too. Hence the reason the DeMarini Voodoo dominates the space. See our 2017 DeMarini Voodoo review.
4. Easton Beast Drop 10 2 5/8 or 2 3/4
No bat space in the baseball bat market is more competitive, save BBCOR, than the drop 10 big barrel space. There are literally a half dozen or more great choices in this exact space. We chose the Easton MAKO Beast as our best big barrel drop 10 for its barrel size, balance weight and great performance. Every single player who used the bat sang it’s praises.
The Easton Beast won our best overall 2017 baseball bat award. Not a small feat. In part that award rests on fulfilling the purpose of the drop 10, which the Beast does so very well. We are confident there is not a kid in the drop 10 big barrel space that will dislike the 2017 Easton MAKO Beast. The only thing we don’t like about the Beast is the price—but welcome to youth baseball. See our 2018 Easton Mako Beast review.
5. Rawlings VELO Drop 12
Like the drop 9 section, there are not a ton of bats competing in the drop 12 space. Most drop 12 bats are made for the Junior Big Barrel divisions which come in shorter sizes between 26, and possibly 29 inches. We dedicate an entire page to those best junior barrel baseball bats.
In the Big Barrel, a.k.a. Senior Barrel, realm, there are only a few that really compete with bats longer than 28 inches. One favorite of ours is the 2017 Rawlings Composite VELO. This bat is unlike any other in the VELO line, as instead of a single piece hybrid, it is a two piece composite bat. It comes in a 2 3/4 only, but has a super light swing weight. Reviews of last year’s model were not stelllar, due to some durability issues on some early releases. But the 2017 model claims to have fixed that, and our players have had great success with the drop 12 VELO. See our 2017 Rawlings VELO review.
Best Used Big Barrel Bats
(Below are some bats you can rarely find new anymore. But, in terms of eBay type purchases they may serve you well if you can find a reputable seller and a good deal.)
1. Marucci Hex Composite
Anyone who reads this blog knows we are in love with the drop 10 2015 Marucci Hex Composite. For us it was love at first site. The barrel is gigantic, swing weight light and sweet spot large to say nothing of the design which we think looks fantastic. Those in the market for a top shelf big barrel bat in only a drop 10 will not regret this decision. It’s clearly a top shelf choice for 2015. (Check pricing here).
2. DeMarini CF7
The Drop 5 CF7 from DeMarini may be our favorite bat of the year in any category. My three sons prefer this bat over any of the arsenal we have and the ropes drilled from this bat are remarkable. It does not come in a 2 3/4 version (only 2 5/8) but we stand by our earlier claim: if you can swing it, you should swing it. It’s also not inexpensive but if any bat has claim on the top of a list of best senior league or big barrel bats we don’t know how this wouldn’t be anything but first. (These are still hard to find, but check pricing here).
3. Combat MAXUM
Combat’s 2 5/8 drop 12 Portent G3 puts a stamp on the phrase “big barrel bat”. This stick should make any list of top shelf big barrel youth bats for 2015. The barrel is smooth and Combat’s seamless construction makes for a real fun hit. The green version is a boat oar at the plate with an ultra light swing weight and lizard skin grip. Those who prefer one piece bats and Combat aficionados will be perfectly pleased in this green monster. (Check pricing here).
4. Easton MAKO
We admit this choice is predicable, but how do we leave off what is probably the most popular bat off the best bat list? Easton’s 2015 big barrel MAKO is as good a bat you may ever swing and, like the BBCOR version, those who swing it scoff at the idea they should ever try something different. Huge long barrel, low swing weight per length and a couple different options: a drop 10 2 3/4 and drop 9 2 5/8. The marquee bat from the biggest metal and composite bat company is predictably good great and is easily a top 5 big barrel bat for 2015. (Check pricing here).
5. Easton XL1
At the risk of being an Easton Homer, we follow up the MAKO with the 2015 Easton XL1. This bat is the only drop 8 big barrel to make the list (although the DeMarini CF7 and Combat G3 both come in a drop 8). But the big barrel 2015 XL1 drop 8 is the perfect bat for a heavy hitter who isn’t quite ready for a drop 5 yet. The XL1 is a monster bat whose genealogy contains the famed Easton Omen and little league series lore. The bat is highly, highly recommended. (Check pricing here).
6. Slugger 915
Probably should have made this list: Slugger 915 Prime drop 5, DeMarini Overlord FT drop 9. Why they didn’t make the list is a mystery, but its a top 5 list and we had to make it shorter. These bats rock in the the big barrel market.
Common Big Barrel Bat Questions
What is the difference between a Senior League bat and a Big Barrel Bat?
There is significant confusion in the industry surrounding the terms big barrel and senior league. Each vendor often uses them interchangeably. Technically, a 2 5/8 bat that is NOT a drop 3 is considered a Senior Barrel bat. Big Barrel bats are 2 3/4 sized bats. But, don’t expect the vast majority of vendors and manufacturers to make the distinction.
What is a Junior Big Barrel Bat?
Junior Big Barrel bats are 2 3/4 inch baseball bats meant for smaller players. They often come in a max size of 26 or 27 inches and have considerable drop weights. These bats are usually not rated for pitch speeds over 45 miles per hour.
What is the best Big Barrel Bat for a 10 year old?
We cover the 10 year old question exclusivley in a best bat for 10 year old article.
Can you use a Big Barrel Bat in Little League?
If you are talking the official Little League then the answer is no. They use USA Bats now and you can read all about that stuff here.
Are all bats the same?
It is probably safe to say that a top shelf bat from any number of companies performs at peak powers. If it says Slugger, Easton, DeMarini, Rawlings, Axe, Anderson, Marucci or Combat (and maybe one or two others) than you can bet the bat is legit.
Are better bats always more expensive?
Bats that have higher price points tend to have larger barrels, more specific swing weights and technological innovations that dampen hand sting.
What has BPF 1.15 standars done for the market?
BPF 1.15 standard implementation has really forced bat companies to the drawing board on innovation. This is ultimately good for all of us.
Are Swing Weight and Bat Load the Same?
To the contrary of what many vendors often erroneously claim, a bat with an end load does not also have a high swing weight or MOI (mass moment of inertia). Instead where the load is found in a bat is only one of many factors which determine swing weight—the most important of which is arguably the total length of a bat. Just because a bat has a handle or end load does not also mean it has a low or high swing weight. You can prefer an end loaded bat but get a low swing weight by simply getting a shorter size. See our swing weight charts.
The 2018 season brought with it some great bats, but nothing to knock off the world’s hottest bats ever. Below is our list of the world’s hottest bats ever.
We have written so many best bat articles it makes our heads spin. But surprisingly, what we’ve yet to do is make a list of the world’s hottest bats. That is, what bats have been known to be the ‘most hot’ off all time and eternity. In Little League, we consider the Combat B1 the hottest ever. For Big Barrel, the 2017 Drop 10 CF Zen was ridiculous. In Adult league, we think the Redline Z-Core from Easton takes the cake. In Slowpitch we would take the Miken Ultra II. And in Fastpitch, well, we think there are several.
You may also like our hottest bats section that uses real ball exit speeds to determine the bat with the most pop.
World’s Hottest Bats List
|Combat B1 DaBomb||Youth/Little League|
|2017 DeMarini 2 3/4 CF Zen||Big Barrel USSSA|
|Easton Redline Sc500||Adult Baseball|
|Miken Ultra II||Slowpitch Softball|
Without surprise, many of those bats also made our illegal bats list. Obviously, this makes them illegal in most leagues. You may find a few leagues that welcome such crazy hot bats, don’t enforce rules, have no bat standards or where anything goes in a home run derby. In those cases, expect anyone with the above bats to do remarkably well, even if they are a weakling.
Combat B1 Da Bomb
The B1 DaBomb put Combat on the map. Sadly, they are now a defunct company whose brand is captured under the Easton banner. This B1 was pre ABI testing (Accelerated Break-In) and anyone who stuck with this bat, worked it in and hit with it in Little League was a bomb maker.
Now that 2 1/4 is a standard of days gone by, the Combat B1 DaBomb can be found for a song on eBay. And although there are several bats on the market who have made their dent in the Little League space, we give the B1 DaBomb the title of World’s Hottest Little League Bat.
Also, see our full list of best Little League bats.
2017 CF Zen 2 3/4
In modern history, that is since standard testing has become very restrictive, no bat ever performed in the big barrel space like the 2017 drop 10 2 3/4 Zen. It was, after all, banned in the early parts of 2017. Even compared to bats before the restrictive period, the 2 3/4 drop 10 CF Zen would be considered hot.
DeMarini retooled the CF Zen and those bats have both a different serial number and an orange cap instead of the white. However, many of the white cap bats still exist for a massive premium on secondary market sites.
Easton Redline Sc500
Few bats in the world have appreciated in value over the last several years. But chief among those investment bats is the Easton Z-Core Redline SC500 stands. This bat is the Michael Jordan Rookie card of baseball bats. If you are lucky enough to have one, in nothing but hittable shape, expect its secondary market value to be north of $1000. And if you have one new in wrapper, you should put that thing in a very safe place.
Also see our best baseball bats.
Miken Ultra II
Over the years there have been several crazy hot bats in the slowpitch softball space. Pushing the limits on bat performance is felt no where more acutely than in men’s softball.
Most of the world’s hottest softball bats are found in single piece composites. And while many could make the top of our list, we like the Miken ULTRA II as the hottest softball bat in the universe. Do note, however, the bat’s durability is terrible. But, while the handle is still attached to the barrel, expect to hit crazy monster bombs.
After hours of real testing, review writing and research—as well as long conversations with major manufacturers and vendors—we think the Rawlings VELO the best balanced bat.
Although there are dozens of really, really good balanced bats, we like the Rawlings VELO for its long term commitment to an ultra light swing. Year in and year out there are few bats that give you more bat for less swing weight. And the 2018 version of the VELO, in its numerous sizes, is no different.
Lots of Other Options
Before we get too carried away, make no mistake about the fact there are dozens of other legitimate balanced bats on the market. Each is worth your consideration before you pull the trigger.
We also suggest you consider more than the swing weight of a bat before pulling the trigger. Among those other factors, and maybe mostly so, we would look at a two piece or one piece construction. That distinction makes the most difference in bat feel. Also before swing weight we would consider the barrel’s material. Do you prefer composite or aluminum on the barrel?
Best Balanced Fastpitch
2018 DeMarini CFX Drop 11
DeMarini makes a half dozen CFX bats, so make sure you are looking at the drop 11 if you want the one with the most balance. The drop 10 in the CFX is, we believe, the most popular. But if you want as much bat barrel for as little swing weight as possible, then look for the drop 11.
What is a Balanced Bat?
We measure swing weights here. That conversation might be helpful for you.
Most consider a balanced bat to be the opposite of an end loaded bat. An endloaded bat is one in which the weight of the bat is focused more towards the end cap, and therefore the bat swings heavier. As such, a balanced bat is a bat where the weight is distributed closer to the knob. This shift in balance point makes it so the bat is easier to swing.
Some consider a balanced bat in between an end loaded bat and a speed or hand loaded bat. A speed or hand loaded bat is where the weight of the bat is focused towards the knob and a balanced bat is simply in between the end loaded and speed loaded.
Best Balanced Slow Pitch
Slugger Super Z Balanced
There is no unified nomenclature throughout the industry. Easton, more recently, has adopted three categories of bat load (speed, balance, end). Most of the other major brands use the two categories (balance, end). We prefer the load spectrum defined into three sections. But, since it is not quite industry standard to use three categories, we use the balanced term often to simply mean a light swinging bat when compared to end load. This encompasses, frankly, the vast majority of bats as only a few are true end loads.
In a sport defined by bicep size, most players like the idea of end loaded bats. And in fact, most bats are categorized into how many ounces of end load are added to the end of the bat. But, if you happen to be playing the sport and are not on steroids, you might consider the Slugger Super Z Balanced slowpitch bat, as it is the best balanced bat out there.
Baseball Balanced Bats
Here is a sampling, and link to the review, of some of the 2018 baseball bats considered “Balanced”.
- Slugger 918 Prime
- Slugger 618 Solo
- Easton Ghost X
- Beast X
- DeMarini CF Zen
- DeMarini Voodoo Balanced
- Marucci CAT 7
- Marucci Hex Alloy
- Marucci F5
- Rawlings Quatro
- Rawlings VELO
- Mizuno Ghost
- Mizuno Covert
- Axe Element Hyperwhip
Fastpitch Balanced Bats
With a few exceptions, almost every performance fastpitch bat is considered balanced.
You should not use performance bats in cold weather. The issue is not a cold bat but a cold ball. Cold weather, according to most manufacturers, is sub 60 degrees.
Cold Weather Bat Recommendations
With that said, we realize that playing in sub 60 degree weather is common place. We play in the rocky mountains and hoping for a cool ocean breeze and a 70 degree game is the thing of legends.
Baseballs and Softballs, made out of leather and string, become more dense as they become more cold. More dense baseballs have less bounce and can cause more damage to a bat. Aluminum bats tend to dent, composite’s crack. This is why we prefer aluminum bats in cold weather.
Here are some cold weather and aluminum bat recommendations:
- BBCOR: 718 Slugger, Easton Hybrid, DeMarini Voodoo
- USA: Easton Beast X Hybrid, 718 Slugger, DeMarini Voodoo
- USSSA: DeMarini Voodoo
- Fastpitch: Anderson Rocketech
Generally speaking, we suggest a two piece hybrid bat. That includes a composite bat with an aluminum barrel. The barrel’s aluminum has less chance of catastrophic failure in the cold weather. The two piece construction gives a smoother feel on a cold night and a mishit ball.
Our Cold Weather BBCOR Pick
Heavier swing weight? Check. Aluminum barrel? Check. Good transition piece to help dampen sting on a cold day? Check. The 718 is the perfect BBCOR cold weather bat. Price check: Amazon.com.
Bat performance in Cold Weather
Ball flight changes when the weather is cold. Colder weather brings down both slugging percentage and Home Runs/At Bat.
Aluminum or Composite?
Per our industry conversations, we suggest you tend towards aluminum in cold weather months (sub 55/60 degrees). Hitting an aluminum bat with a ball too dense (cold) is a possible dent. The result of a ball too dense on composite is a crack and, then, the ultimate failure of the bat.
Our Cold Weather USA Bat Pick
We love this USA Bat for lots of reasons. The fact it works very well in cold weather is towards the top of the list. Is it made with a nice big aluminum barrel and a smooth transition that dampens some of the most violent of mishits. Do note, however, this bat swings heavy compared to others “drop 10” counterparts. It should be categorized as a drop 8.
How Cold is Too Cold?
For cold weather bat weight and an aluminum barrel help performance and durability. In the USA Bat space, no other bat quite captures those cold weather value like the 2018 Easton BEast X Hybrid. This is also one of our most favorite overall USA Bats. Price check: Amazon.com.
Really, no Hitting Below 60 Degrees?
Our personal experience has shown that a 60 degree cutoff is a rather conservative figure. We have used composites in 50 degree weather and a few times in 40 degree weather. Do note, however, we were not seeing massive pitch and swing speeds. If you are seeing 90+ from the mound and are swinging close to that to match it we would guess the 60 degree cutoff is reasonable.
But, if it is more like 60mph or so from the mound with a 60 or so swing speed then going below 60, in our eyes at least, is reasonable. The manufacturers feel differently and, likely, have data to back it up. This is just our layman’s observation.
Some manufacturers do not recommend hitting with a thin walled, high-grade, aluminum bat either in sub 60-degree weather. The denser ball, they argue, creates a greater chance for the aluminum bat to dent. Others manufacturers accept the risks for aluminum bats but admit the outcome of small dents on a barrel is much more satisfactory when compared to the catastrophic results of a cracked composite bat.
Best Fastpitch Cold Weather Bat
For many of the same reasons we like the Beast X Hybrid in baseball, we like the Rocketech in fastpitch. That is, the bat swings heavier (a drop 9) and is made of an aluminum barrel. This helps with durability and feel on those cold weather days. Price check: Amazon.com.
What Does Cold Weather Bat Damage Look Like?
For composite bats, bat breaking appears in the form of cracks. Cold weather cracks tend to be more focused at impact than manufacturer defects which often crack along a certain seam or length. But, that doesn’t mean cold weather cracks don’t look like that either.
Aluminum cold weather damage exhibits dents by hitting objects too hard for the bats rating. This type of damage is consistent with most aluminum bat problems as they rarely break. Instead, they bend.
We think the best cheap baseball bat (under $50) is Louisivlle Slugger’s VAPOR. The BBCOR version of the bat is over $50, so we have some other options below. But the USSSA big barrel feels great, has a good sized barrel and some legit performance if you can swing it. Our testers thought it felt as good as some bats twice its price.
In truth, though, we could do some damage with a $50 budget on eBay with a search like this. If you can afford to be patient, then finding a bat for less than $50 that once sold for 5 or 6 times that number just a few months previously is very possible. You will likely not have any warranty, but our experience with sub $50 bats makes us hard pressed to spend real money on new in wrapper $50 bat from a box store. See our tutorial on buying used bats.
See our video comparison between cheap and expensive bats below.
Best Cheap Baseball Bat (Under $50, New)
|Big Barrel (USSSA)||Slugger||Vapor||Check|
How Would We Spend $50?
Simply, we’d find a year or two old/used bat on ebay under $50 ending on auction. Sure, we’d lose a warranty and have to wait for it, but you can often pick up great deals on older model used bats. And the upgrade in performance is worth the risk, we think.
Also, if you look in October, or so, you’ll find the supply outweighs demand and you have some negotiating power.
Is there any difference between sub $50 Bats?
It is difficult to find any reasonable difference between sub $50 baseball bats. In fact, we couldn’t find one which wasn’t some simple aluminum alloy. The only major difference, in terms of performance, was the grip texture. Some bats had a perforated grip while others a more slick feel. Our experience is we like the perforated grips better as they tend to keep their tack a little longer.
Otherwise, you are buying a paint job and a barrel profile.
Is the $400 bat that much better than the $40 bat?
For most, it is not a question of being able to afford a more expensive bat. It is a function of simply choosing not to spend your money in that direction.
Our role on this site has always been to find the differences in bats and measure their performance changes. As such, we think there is a considerable difference between a $40 bat and a $400 bat. The feel, usable barrel profile and actual performance are measurable better in a more expensive bat.
We’ve also found that the better a hitter gets, the less useful they find a high performance bat. Great hitters can make just about anything work, and work well.
But, for younger players trying to have success at the plate, we think a good bat means a lot. Even still, it is no substitute for good old fashioned practice.
Best Cheap BBCOR Bat
If we wanted a sub $50 BBCOR bat, and needed it brand new, the S250 from Easton will work as good as any. It swings light, has a decent barrel profile and we like the perforated grip.
The S250 is a traditional one piece aluminum with nothing particularly fancy about its makeup. The industry has been making bats like this for the last several years.
As we state above, if you have the patience and time, it would make sense to buy a used BBCOR bat if $50 was your high water mark. Try a search like this on eBay and you’ll see there are several used BBCOR bats in that range—these are much better than the S250. In fact, at the time of this writing, we found an 2015 Easton MAKO that sold for $46. This bat was listed, and sold, for $449 just a few months ago.
Best Cheap Big Barrel
Our hitters liked the bigger barrel and smooth feel on great contact with the Slugger Vapor. It is the only bat on this list we think performs above its price point. We would likely choose this bat over several single piece bats twice its price.
Slugger has as single piece composite bat they refer to as the Catalyst. This bat runs around $100 and keeps tabs on the rising price of the VAPOR which we think could sell just fine at a price point closer to $100.
That said, just like the BBCOR bats, we think some patience and a good eye could go a long way with $50 on eBay with a search like this. At the time of this writing, we found a MAKO Torq in a drop 8 that went for $46. That bat sold for $349 about 2 years ago. It was no where close to worth $349, but is surely worth more than $46.
Best Cheap USA Barrel Bat
USA Bats doesn’t have the advantage of being around for a long time and, ergo, lacks a real robust secondary market. In fact, we couldn’t find any good used USA bats.
That leaves many of us stuck finding the best cheap USA Bat new in wrapper. We have a running article on that topic. There we chose the Rawlings Prodigy. We think that a great bat, but it has limited distribution as it is only available at Target. The Rawlings Raptor is quite similar and can be found everywhere, including Amazon.
Our hitters liked the fact the Raptor comes in a true drop 10 but still keeps the 2 5/8 barrel size.
As well, we think the VAPOR from slugger another legit sub $50 in the USA space. However, note it does swing heavier as a drop 9.
Best Cheap Wood Bat
Although not technically “wood”, we think the best $50 you could spend on a wood-like bat is on a BamBooBat. These bats are great entry level bats that swing well, have fantastic durability.
As well, they are less expensive because Bamboo is a grass, not a wood.
Do note, however, these bats might not be legal in a wood bat league.
Another option in the wood bat space would be to look for high quality blem bats. These blems are almost always a cosmetic, not functional, issue. See our article on finding blem bats.
After more testing than we can quantify (literally thousands of hours writing, researching and testing bats over the last 5 years), we think the Easton Ghost X is the best overall composite baseball bat on the market today. This wins in part because it is offered in every size and model known to man. You can find it in a USABat version as well as a drop 5, drop 8, drop 10 USSSA and a BBCOR, too. While other bats compete with it inside more specific categories, the Easton Ghost X is the best composite bat overall.
Composite bats in the baseball space run deep and wide. Three of our favorites in addition to the Easton Ghost X, are the Rawlings Quatro, CF Zen from DeMarini and 918 Prime from Slugger. Each of these bats run on their own merits as some of the best composite bats in the high school/BBCOR ranks.
Top 8 Composite Bats
2017 CF Zen
Drop 5 or 8 USSSA
Drop 10 USSSA
Best Composte Fastpitch Bat: 2018 Slugger LXT
In the fastpitch space, we love the LXT from Louisville Slugger. Although it has remarkably impressive competition in the composite space (like the XENO and CF9), we think the balance, huge barrel, fantastic player feedback and numerous options make the LXT the best composite fast-pitch bat on the market today.
Best Drop 5 or 8 USSSA Composite: CF Zen Drop 5
Talk to anyone who has hit with the drop 5 CF Zen from 2017 and they’ll say basically one thing: it is CRAZY hot. The bat’s sweet spot is as big as it gets. And the weight distribution is seriously perfect. It is hard to find this bat in stock, but if you can, please pull the trigger. You can thank us later.
Best Composite USAbat
Atlhough still early in the USABat game, we feel pretty confident the Ghost X from Easton will be the best. It has, after all, a much larger barrel than any of the other competitors out there. Add in the fact it comes in more sizes and drops than any other bat, and its likely you’ll get the best USA Baseball bat in your hands with the Ghost X. We sure wish it was less expensive, though.
Best USSSA Drop 10
2018 Marucci Hex Connect
We like the Easton Ghost,but don’t forget the Marucci Drop 10 Hex Connect. This is often a forgotten bat in the thick realm of USSSA Bats made for the drop 10 swinger. But the barrel is gigantic, the balance is quite perfect, and the performance is as good as you could hope for. This bat, and its price point, are worth taking a chance on.
Single Piece or Two Piece Composite
Most composite bats are built with a two piece structure. That is, they have a composite handle and a composite barrel that are connected someway or another. We refer to these bats as, no surprise, two piece bats. Other composite bats, although more rare, are made of a single piece of composite. These bats are stiffer, and in theory at least, can deliver more power to the ball (and, we should add, more shock waves to your hands).
The younger and lighter you are, the more you will prefer a two piece composite bat. Today, there are even several collegiate players still swinging a two piece composite. Few single piece composite bats even exist and their small market share might be all the info you need as to how well they are received. With that said, Combat (now defunct and owned by Easton) as well as Dirty South Bats (a small player out of Georgia) make a big barreled single piece composite bat that many people love. And if you are serious about going to the single piece composite space, we suggest you start with either of those two.
The Difference Between Composite & Aluminum
There are two major distinctions you can make from one bat to another. The first major distinction is whether the bat is made from two pieces or one. The other is whether the bat is made from aluminum or composite. We discuss this distinction some on our best aluminum bats page too.
There are several reasons some people prefer composite bats over aluminum. Close to the top of most lists is the fact that composite bat barrels are often quite a bit larger than aluminum bat barrels. This consistent feature is derived from the fact that composite material is lighter than aluminum, and less weight in the barrel means more material can be used to create a larger barrel. As well, composite bats tend to feel much softer on contact. The composite (which is ultimately a high grade plastic) can absorb more shock in the material.
There was a time when composite bats had better performance than aluminum barrels. Now, restrictions on barrels like BBCOR and USABat lend less credence to how hot composite can be compared to aluminum.
What is a Composite Baseball Bat?
In short, a composite bat is a carbon bat whose fibers are directed to give the bat certain properties. These properties include things like durability, trampoline effect and lightness. Composite is a fancier word for plastic. Composite bats come in all shapes and sizes and tend to run more expensive than aluminum bats. They are made for baseball, fastpitch and slowpitch. Performance fastpitch and slowpitch bats are almost entirely dominated by composite bats. Some groups take a composite handle and fix it to an aluminum barrel. These bats are referred to as hybrids. They are, in effect, a half aluminum, half composite bat.
After hours of testing, writing, reviewing and discussing metal bats with vendors and manufacturers alike, we have settled on the 2018 Demarini Voodoo Balanced as the best aluminum baseball bat. Our testers preferred the ultra smooth smash of the two piece hybrid design. Most hitters liked the lighter, ‘balanced’ version of the bat instead of the more end loaded ‘Insane’ version. Those wanting a bit more stiffness in their swing liked the Marucci CAT 7 and our fastpitch players preferred the Anderson Rocketech.
Best Metal Bats
|Voodoo||Overall – Hybrid||$$$||Hot|
|CAT 7||Overall – Single||$$$||Beautiful|
The large size offerings within the model was a plus, and the brand value ran high with a lot of users, who have used DeMarini Voodoo bats since 2014. If you’d rather have a single piece aluminum bat, we suggest the Marucci CAT 7.
Best Metal Bats: 2018 DeMarini Voodoo Balanced
This 2018 Voodoo comes in a BBCOR, Big Barrel and USABat option. The USSSA Big barrels come in a few different drops. Although the barrel is not massive compared to some composites, the bat is a perfect blend of hot out of the wrapper aluminum with the smooth smash of a composite handle.
Two other legitimate options in the aluminum metal barrel space, if your focus is high school BBCOR bats, are the 2018 Louisville Slugger 618 Solo and the Easton Beast X Speed. Both bats use an ultra light aluminum alloy to deliver a decent sized barrel. We also love how both these bats come in a short 29 inch version.
These bats will feel stiffer than the aluminum winning Voodoo. They are, after all, single piece aluminum bats. But you can expect more durability from these two, as well as a more reasonable price point.
Best Metal USSSA Bat: 2018 Marucci Hex Alloy
If you are looking for an aluminum bat in the USSSA or big barrel space, then might we suggest the 2018 Marucci Hex Alloy. This single piece aluminum bat boasts the largest barrel in its class of single piece metal bats. And although for younger players, we like the idea of a two piece hybrid as to encourage aggressive swings, making the Hex alloy a legitimate runner up in the big barrel aluminum metal bat space.
Best Metal Fastpitch Bat: Anderson Rocketech
This is an easy one. The Rocketech is the best aluminum barrel fastpitch bat on the market today. We also love it for cold weather and for any who love a strong swing with the ability to go deep at any plate appearance. This bat does swing heavier than what many may be accustomed too—but if you can wield this beast and want an extremely durable fastpitch bat, then we highly recommend the Anderson Rocketech as the best metal fastpitch bat.
Best Aluminum USABat: Easton Beast X
Although bats like the VELO look tempting, we really like the barrel size and multiple size options of the 2018 Easton Beast X in the USABat space. For a single piece aluminum metal construction, the barrel size is quite large. Granted, the real winner in this category is the Voodoo Balanced, but that bat has already taken the top spot. This 2018 Easton Beast X is a legitimate option, too.
The Difference Between Aluminum and Metal Bats
In short, there is no difference between bats referred to as aluminum or metal. In today’s market, every metal bat on the market is made of aluminum. This aluminum is manipulated to perform better by additional chemicals. The addition of these elements within the aluminum, like scandium, is why many officially call aluminum bats aluminum alloy bats. But, at its core, aluminum bats are simply metal bats just like composite bats are simply plastic bats.
There are a number of general benefits to aluminum metal bats when compared to composite and wood bats. We discuss that here. Also, you might find it helpful how some vendors make their bats sortable by aluminum metal only.
How We found the Best Aluminum Metal Bats
We have tested every performance bat since the genesis of this blog in late 2014. Those tests involve both simple approaches and more complicated ones. Measuring the swing weight, comparing it to previous models and seeing where the bat fits in the grander scheme of things, and discussing the aesthetics of the bat constitute more of our superficial approaches. We also use the bat in games and practices, as well as have multiple player feedback on each bat.
More recently, we have driven ball exit speeds and barrel size testings on our bats too. This more quantifiable data gives added insight to which bats really do perform best. Add that information to conversations with real players, an obsession for reading real reviews on a bat’s performance and dialog with major vendors and manufacturers, and we start to formulate data on what the best aluminum metal bats actually are.
The Advantages of Aluminum Bats
We discuss many of the advantages of aluminum bats when we compare them to composite and wood bats. (See here). In short, aluminum metal bats provide the distinct advantage of a hot out of the wrapper performance—meaning, no work in period like composite requires. That hot out of the wrapper performance provides confidence from swing one that you are getting the most out of your bat.
As well, aluminum bats almost always cost less than their composite counterparts. This is directly proportional to the fact they cost less to make when compared to composite bats. And although they cost more than most wood bats, their remarkable durability—much higher than composite and wood—make them a super smart choice for the value seeking consumer.
We have hit with every drop 5 baseball bat on the market since 2014 through 2018. In the USSSA bat space, we recommend the 2017 DeMarini CF Zen as the best drop 5 baseball bat. This is based on exit speeds and player feedback. Our favorite USABat in the drop 5 is the Beast X. A number are worth your consideration if you are in the market for the best drop 5 baseball bat.
Best Drop 5 Baseball Bat Table
|End Load||Easton||MAKO (TORQ) XL||$$||4.5/5|
We actually think the CF Zen drop 5 should have been banned like its drop 10 and drop 8 cousin bats. But, for whatever reason, the drop 5 made it past the secondary USSSA checks. And, to put it mildly, the bat can absolutely RAKE. If you are in the market for the best drop 5 bat, and are willing to spend what it takes to acquire this bat, then look no further than the 2017 DeMarini CF Zen.
The Best USABat Drop 5 Bat for Most People
This choice is easy for two reasons. First, the Beast X is the progeny of the XL3 from days gone by. Expect good performance, tons of durability and a very good sized barrel. Second, the drop 5 Beast X is just about the only drop 5 in the USA Baseabll Bat world.
Rawlings does make a VELO in the drop 5 and Axe has some options, too. And no doubt, both of those bats are interesting competitors to the Easton drop 5 Beast X. But, in such a new world of USABat, we go with what we believe to be the best bet for 2018.
The Best Drop 5 Aluminum Bat
This also is not a difficult decision. The CAT 7 is a stiff bat for maximum power transfer to the ball. That stiff feel can also rub the hands the wrong way on mishits but Marucci’s unique knob can take some sting off of it.
Those who prefer a durable bat at a more reasonable price point than the CF Zen will be happy with the drop 5 Marucci CAT 7.
Why the 2017 DeMarini CF Zen is the Best Drop 5
After hours of testing both in game and in cage, as well as discussing the bat with a number of real players and reading real online reviews, the 2017 CF Zen is a relatively easy choice for the best drop 5 on the market readily available today.
The bat is a nice balance, fused with a smooth swing made possible by DeMarini’s proven connective piece. They refer to this process as the D-Fusion handle.
The drop 8 version of this bat (the 2 5/8), as well as the drop 10 2 3/4 bat were deemed illegal by USSSA a few months back. Most were surprised to find that the drop 5 was NOT banned. The bat is terribly hot and we have yet to talk with anyone who thinks these bats are anything but absolutely smoking hot.
2017 Easton MAKO XL (TORQ): Best End Load Drop 5
We are going to get a few eye rolls for this choice, but as of this publishing, the MAKO TORQ from 2016 or 2017 is a great deal for an endloaded drop 5. Other bats in the space can make a good case, like the Voodoo EndLoad, but the MAKO has a fantastically large barrel. The fact the older models of TORQs can be found at a steep discount is very tempting—even if the drop 5 2017 CF Zen is on your short list.
And if you hate the spinning handle of the TORQ, just go with the MAKO XL version in the drop 5.
2018 Marucci CAT 7: Best Aluminum Drop 5
Our best Drop 5 Aluminum barreled bat may have been the easiest choice. The 2017 Marucci CAT 7 is a beautiful stick built with a lot of direct power and very little flex on contact. Our experience maintains the bat possesses wood like power transfer without the associated ring in the hands due to their ring free knob design. Marucci’s CAT 7, modeled after the CAT 6 and CAT 5, is an upgrade on previous versions with a larger barrel. The CAT 7 is one of our favorites across the board.
2017 Easton XL3: Best Value Drop 5 Bat
In today’s market, the best value drop 5 in the USSSA space is the XL3 from Easton. The bat has been produced for several years and each version performs admirably. Add in the fact they are often sold for a fraction of the price as the bats listed above, and these things are hard to pass up. Expect a durable bat with a fantastic endload for the large USSSA player looking for maximum destruction.
2018 Easton Beast X: Best USA Drop 5 Bat
This is an easy decision considering the 2018 Easton Beast X is one of only a very few bats offered in the drop 5 USABat space. The youth bat 2 1/4 standard of the recent past never produced a real drop 5. They stayed in the drop 9 and 10+ range. But now that Pony baseball, among others, will require the USABat standard for their older players, too, expect the drop 5 market in the USABat space to make some sense. And this Beast X is as good a bet as any.
Common Drop 5 Bat Questions
Who Should Use An Endloaded Drop 5?
There are many end loaded drop 5 bats that swing with a greater MOI (swing weight) than many BBCOR bats. Meaning, an endloaded drop 5 bat with a BPF 1.15 stamp can be a bigger hitter than any number BBCOR bat. As such, those who hit with an endloaded drop 5 are bomb making hitters that pack serious punch.
Who Should Use a Balanced Drop 5?
The balanced drop 5 is a conundrum. Indeed, one chooses a drop 5 to get more power because your swing speed has maxed out and the greater weight gives you more power. But, one would use a balanced bat to help increase bat speed and make better contact with the ball. So, a balanced drop 5 creates some logical inconsistencies.
We conclude that those looking for a drop 5 in a balanced model can either
- not find enough weight in a drop 8, but also think an end loaded drop 5 is too much to handle, or
- appreciate the feel of a balanced bat, but can wield the power of a drop 5.
Who Chooses An Aluminum Barreled Drop 5?
An aluminum barreled drop 5 would fit a player who wants hot out of the wrapper performance and more feel through contact. As such, there are a decent number of drop 5 baseball bats that have an aluminum barrel. Most of these bats are end loaded. Some, however, are single piece aluminum bats. Others are hybrids that have a composite handle and an aluminum barrel.
You might also read our best cold weather bat recommendations, which fall along these lines. The catch with the best fall ball bat is we consider fall a transition period for most players as well as, potentially, a cold weather bat. In our minds, hefty composites still make a lot of sense as well as an aluminum bat, get this, a well weighted wood bat too. Although many options to consider based on the league, we think the best fall ball bat is the drop 5 DeMarini Voodoo.
Best Fall Ball Baseball Bat
|Best Overall||DeMarini Voodoo||All||1st|
|Best BBCOR Bats||Easton Hybrid||BBCOR||2nd|
|Best Big Barrel Bats||Rawlings 5150||All||4th|
|Best USA Bat||Easton Beast X Hybrid||USAbat||11th|
|Best Wood Bat||Baum Composite Wood||Composite Wood||N/A|
|Another Legit Option||Marucci Cat 7||All||3rd|
Our introduction to the 2017 DeMarini Voodoo Balanced was love at first sight. We’ve long been enamored with the two piece hybrid design that DeMarini pioneered, but believed it out of many players’ realm in a heavy swinging bat. But a new alloy design for 2017 finally gives us a lighter swinging version of the bat that started the hybrid craze.
The aluminum barrel is perfect for fall baseball, and its somewhat heavier swing than the DeMarini Zen, or other two piece composite bats, facilitates some strength training for fall ball.It is far and away, our favorite choice for fall ball—especially for those in cold weather states. It fits well, too, in our Best BBCOR bats page.
See our full 2017 DeMarini Voodoo Balanced Review
For much the same reason we like the Voodoo Balanced, the Z-Core Hybrid’s aluminum barrel and focus on a more balanced swing, fit in the wheel house of many fall ball players. It will work in cold weather, and give top shelf performance from a well known brand.
The Z-Core Hybrid is a two piece design. The idea is a focus on dampening hand sting that will make it a favorite among those who love two piece composite bats. And this bats ads the unbreakable nature of aluminum alloy in the barrel for fall ball. (Amazon Price Check)
See our full 2017 Easton Z-Core Hybrid Review
In terms of a value purchase for fall ball, the 2017 5150 Rawlings is a legit choice. Its single piece design should increase power, make stronger hands through contact and not break in cold weather. There are definitely other choices in the realm of best big barrel bats, but the 5150 is as good as any we’ve swung. (Amazon Price Check)
See our Full 2017 Rawlings 5150 Review
Although very early in the USABat world, the 2018 Easton Beast X Hybrid is our favorite cold weather USABat. We like the big barrel, multiple drop options and the durable aluminum. The two piece design should help dampen sting for those cold days where an endcap hit might send your thumb to the hospital.
We should also note, this bat is not technically required until January 1st of 2018.
If you’d like a wood bat to swing in fall ball—specifically for strength training and a focus on good mechanics—the composite wood Baum Bat is a must have. It is nearly unbreakable and has great performance. Unfortunately, it is not an inexpensive bat, but you’ll only need to buy one for your entire life anyway, as it won’t break like other wood bats.
We have a full article on the best composite wood bats that may be worth your time. We think any of those would work quite well in cold weather.
See our Full Baum Bat Review
How We Decided the Best Fall Baseball Bat
If you are an avid reader of our site, you know what is about to come next. It is our disclaimer in terms of claiming the ‘best’ bat. We heavily caution, the ‘best’ bat for everyone else might not be the best bat for you. We suggest you consider the opinion above, read our review of the bat in detail, and then make an informed decision. In large measure, bat fitting is a function of taste and preference over science and popularity.
With that said, we have objectivity in deciding the best fall baseball bat. For starters, we have hit extensively with every bat in the performance space since 2014. On this very blog we have documented those efforts. Our YouTube page shows just a small glimpse into our due diligence.
We’ve also spent a considerable amount of time discussing bat production and performance with bat manufacturers and major vendors. Additionally, we have meticulously gathered reviews from players across the country and their direct feedback on these, and many other, bats.
Information gathered in our now thousands of hours of reviewing and writing, gives us confidence in selecting a best fall baseball bat.
Do You need a Fall Ball Bat?
It’s possible you don’t need a fall ball specific bat. But here are at least three reasons you might:
- If your growth spurt justifies it. Few things will make your upcoming spring ball season more painful than swinging with too light a bat this fall. Players who have grown a lot since the spring may have maxed out their bat speed with their current bat as fall arrives. To avoid making the kind of considerable jump in weight that makes hitting more difficult than it already is as next spring comes, you might want a transition bat in the fall.
- If you use fall ball for strength training more than for filling up the stat sheet. Many players approach fall ball as a way to get in some quality reps and build muscle in time for the spring when baseball tends to be more competitive. If this is your plan, consider a heavy bat (or even a wood one) to produce stronger at bats come the spring.
- If it gets cold where you live, playing with a composite barrel is not recommended. Composite barrels are not good for cold weather. They are infamous for breaking. Most manufacturers suggest weather 60+ degrees. If your fall season puts you on the field in sub 60 degree weather, you should really consider getting an aluminum barreled bat for the fall.
Best Fall Ball Baseball Bat Conclusions
As we mention above, the ‘best bat’ for any given hitter may very well not be the best bat for the next. As such, consider all the information when you see lists like the ones we’ve made above. After thousands of hours of research, hitting, reading and writing, we are confident the above are good choices for the best fall ball baseball bat, especially if your focus is on good strength training, a transition bat into something heavier next spring and durability for cold weather play.