Written by: Just Bat Reviews

The Hottest Bats | Independent Barrel Pop Performance Data

Hottest Bats

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To measure barrel performance, and influence our recommendations for the best bats on the market, we capture the ball flight data from game speed hits on each bat we review. To date, this has occurred over 1,000 times over no less than sixty different bats in the baseball and softball space. Our intent is to grow this database enormously and update some of the insights we gain from that quantifiable data in the sections below.

Is Exit Speed All that Matters?

The ability of a barrel to produce the speed of a batted ball is vital in a bat's overall performance. Measuring the exit speed is the very definition of the bat's pop or, as some say, how hot a bat is.

We think a barrel's ability to produce a fast flying ball is a significant consideration when paying real money for a bat. It may very well be the most important one. We offer this article in response to the many players and parents searching for the hottest or bat with most pop. Our data is independent of any manufacturer or vendor.

However, we note, ball exit speed is not the only serious consideration before buying a bat. Enforced performance standards have narrowed the barrel performance gap insomuch that ball exit speeds, or barrel pop, has become less differentiating. Consider things like price, feel on mishits, durability,  warranty, swing weight and a host of other bat features which play a significant part in finding the best bat for you.

BBCOR Winners

Ball Exit Speeds

Just in the BBCOR space, we measured over 800 swings with 15 different 2018 BBCOR bats. Please note that a few bats were not used and we are still in process of adding those data points to the metrics. We used a 33/30 in each model. We found the Rawlings Quatro as the clear winner in terms of ball exit speed.

  • Best 10 Avg: 86.74 mph
  • Over 80 mph: 21/30
  • Max: 89.7 mph
Ball Exit Speeds

Not far behind the Quatro stood DeMarini's Voodoo Insane. This two piece hybrid bat was hot from swing one, hit 19 of its 30 hardest hits above 80 miles per hour and was one of 6 bats to hit over 300 feet.

  • Best 10 Average: 85.84 mph
  • Over 80 mph: 19/30
  • Max: 87.4 mph
Hottest Bats

Although it lacked the real top end speed of the Quatro or Voodoo Insane, the 618 Solo delivered the most consistent result. No bat, within its best 30 hits, hit more balls above 80 mph than the 618 Solo. It was the most consistently high performing bat of the bunch.

  • Top 30 Average: 82.22
  • Over 80 mph: 23/30

USABat Winners

Ball Exit Speed

A few USABats were difficult to acquire this early in the bat standard's lifespan. Our intent is to add them to the lists below when we get our hands on them.

Easton's Beats X stood out as the clear favorite among the bat we tested for batted ball speed. It hit the ball over 60mph given our condition, 33% of the time. The 2nd best reached those speeds only 10% of the time.

Much more testing in this category will be required for more definitive numbers. We are particularly interested in measuring the change in the composite exit speeds as we work these bats in over the year. Although we did work them in with 250+ hits, many of the composite USABats failed to generate the ball speed of the aluminum.

  • Best 5 Average: 62.5 mph
  • Over 60 mph: 10/30
  • Size: 31/21

Big Barrel Winners

Barrel Exit Speeds

USSSA big barrel's are our next bat category to measure. We are hopeful to have this data by the middle of December 2017. Check back often.

Fastpitch Winners

Barrel Exit Speeds

Fastpitch bat exit speed data is on our short list to accomplish. We plan to have this captured and published by the early parts of 2018.

Slowpitch ASA Winner

Barrel Exit Speeds

Most Slowpitch bats are released toward the beginning of the year. Instead of testing 2017 bats, we will wait until early 2018 and work on those. Expect them by the end of February 2018.

Slowpitch USSSA Winner

Barrel Exit Speeds

Most Slowpitch bats are released toward the beginning of the year. Instead of testing 2017 bats, we will wait until early 2018 and work on those. Expect them by the end of February 2018.

The Awesomeness of Ball Flight Data

We discuss the hesitations on the data below, but before we rain on this parade, let us point out how unique an experience it is to accumulate real ball flight data by bat. Below marks the first time in the history of the sport, as far as we can tell, that game type ball exit speeds are available to the public in some form of statistical significance.

No longer are we stuck listening to some self proclaimed bat expert telling us such and such a bat is or is not exceptional. Real ball exit speed data finally gives us consumers a chance to wade through the minutia of industry hype, vendor bias and fluff pieces trying to get your clicks and dollars and find conclusive data.

Hesitations on Ball Flight Data

It is tempting to take the ball flight data points we have gathered, in particular ball exit speed and flight distance, and assume they are the end all be all of deciding what bat is best. But, we emphatically note, while exit speeds and average distances are overwhelmingly useful in evaluating bat performance in a lab, they are far from the final say on the best bat for any given player. There are at least a few reasons why. Let us discuss two of them.

Ball Flight Variables are not Constant

The variables that determine the distance a ball travels, or the speed it comes off a bat are just that---variables. And although we are capable of controlling many of those variables in a particular Just Bat Reviews hitting session while gathering results for our database, we are not capable of recreating those variables under the conditions in which you are hitting. It is therefore possible, some might even argue likely, the results we gather are not necessarily repeatable under your circumstances. And, if they are not repeatable, they are not as useful.

Take humidity, for example. The change in humidity has a proven affect on ball flight. Most of Just Bat Reviews' tests are done at altitude in a dry state. It is therefore reasonable that a sea level player with considerable humidity might experience a different result. By how much and how consistently across each bat? We simply can't tell.

Humidity is likely one of the more abstract variables we cannot hold constant environment to environment. Here is a simple list of a few more that are more concrete. None of these can we recreate across location or situation, and each of these have a serious affect on ball exit speed.

  • Pitch speed
  • Hitter's ability to square a ball up with a certain bat balance
  • Hitter's confidence in the bat

Statistically Significant Confidence Intervals

Another reason we should all hesitate on this data is because of basic statistics. We have a background in statistics, so before we bore you to tears, let us simply point out that gaining statistically significant ball exit speed bandwidths is terribly difficult. In fact, adding two standard deviations to any mean we have achieved, even well beyond 30 hits, has rarely put us close to any serious claim with serious confidence.

Said more simply, means and averages might be an interesting thing to study and put in some ball exit speed table, but the variability in a real hitter hitting real pitches is so great that it is very difficult to prove that one bat is actually better than another with much confidence. It could be one bat is better than another simply due to chance. We try and control for this by getting a large sample size, but even then it is a difficult task.

2018 USABat Exit Speed Performance

Ball Exit Speed

As more USABats become available, we will update the following chart. We include the information for the seven we have tested, below. So far, the Easton Beast X Speed has shown considerable promise in the exit speed testing. It remains the only statistically significant (90% confidence) of being better than other bats on the list.

Each of the below bats have been hit squarely 30 or more times. Many are drop 10 bats while others are drop 11's. Note, too, there is a drop 5 Axe bat in the group. As we state in our hesitations above, bat speed is one of many factors we simply can't control for in our testing.

Ball Exit Speed Data

Composite USABat Note

We find it interesting that the composite barrels on the USABat side are the ones that performed the worst. The aluminum the best. It is possible that USABats require much more working in than traditional USSSA or BBCOR bats. And, therefore, in time they will get as hot (or hotter) than their aluminum counterparts. We will keep updating this chart as we gather more data.

2018 BBCOR Exit Speed Performance

Ball Exit Speeds

Theoretically speaking, every mile an hour difference adds up to 5 feet of ball flight difference. If that data holds true, and our 2018 BBCOR performance spreads below are true, the difference between the best and worst 2018 BBCOR bat would be 15 feet on a perfectly hit ball. And although we would take the extra 15 feet any given day, we find it a surprisingly close spread considering the sheer breadth of BBCOR performance bats on the market.

The below list contains the averages of no less than 30 squarely hit balls of data for each bat. The leaders, of which we have been enormously impressed, are the 2018 Rawlings Quatro and the DeMarini Voodoo Insane.

Ball Exit Speed Data

You will notice from this list that several major BBCOR bats are missing. As we get them in house we will add to this list. But, in the end, we thought it robust enough to be worth publishing.

2018 USSSA Big Barrel Exit Speed Performance

Coming Soon....

2018 Fastpitch Exit Speed Performance

Coming Soon....

2018 Slow Pitch Softball Exit Speed Performance

Coming Soon....

Methodology

To gather enough data to make determinations, we used the same hitter over multiple days. That hitter would rotate between each bat after either 3 or 5 hits recorded by the Rapsodo device. That data was captured via the Rapsodo app, transferred to an excel file and then manipulated to produce the tables above.

Liberty was taken to remove hits that appeared to be a misreading (outliers). A number of hits returned a reading of 0 and just a few others returned a ball exit speed that was sometimes 2 times the average. Those occurred rarely but enough to take note. They were removed from the calculations

We also removed hits that highlighted the player's mishit more than the barrel's performance. For example, a hit above a 40-degree trajectory was removed. As well, occasionally our hitter would miss one on the end cap and deliver a ball exit speed no where near what we know the bat is capable of at those bat and pitch speeds. We removed those from the data too.

Want the Data?

In the coming months as we gather the data, we will sell the entire set of bat data. Many statisticians, or companies, may be interested in the raw data we are capturing and we are compiling it for those purposes (and our own).

We will wait until we have sufficient data across each of the bat models before we set a price and a process for acquiring it.