(Slugger Released FIVE different 2016 Z4000 slow pitch softball bats. Three are made for USSSA play the other two are for ASA play. You can read each of those reviews here: ASA End loaded, ASA Balanced, USSSA Endload, USSSA Balanced, USSSA Power Load.)
Green USSSA Z4000 End Load
Approved for USSSA, ISA and NSA play the green end loaded Z4000 slow pitch Slugger bat is our favorite bat of the 2016 bunch. While we are not privy to the sales numbers of the 2016 slow pitch bats from slugger, our hunch is this green machine is their best selling one in the lineup.
The bat, much like the its Z3000 predecessor, is a smooth sailing, 1-ounce end-loaded, three-piece composite bat with a twelve inch barrel. Also like the Z3000, the bat comes in models 26 through 30 ounces in, of course, a 34 inch length.
The three pieces of the bat are:
- Full composite barrel measuring 12 inches long with 2 1/4 diameter.
- 7/8 tapered full composite handle with synthetic grip.
- A rubber insert (called the Tru3 connective piece) found in the transition point between the barrel and handle.
The bat comes with a sand paper type grit to the barrel. We like the feel of that because we think it’s cool, not because, as a few vendors erroneously claim, that it somehow increases distance by increasing ball spin.
We studied this idea in an earlier blog post and can say with pretty high certainty that even if a textured barrel does increase spin—and we think this very unlikely, especially at those collision speeds—improvements in ball flight would be, at the very best, nominal if not just unnoticeable. There is a real chance, as well, that an increase in off-axis rotation would actually decrease total ball flight.
Regardless of any perceived misinformation on the USSSA end load Z4000 we are still convinced the bat is one of the best, if not in fact the very best, end loaded USSSA bat available for 2016. Our personal experience with the bat in the cage confirmed this and we think this for at least a couple of reasons:
- The 2015 Z3000 end load USSSA was very well received in the market with, if anything, some slight concerns on its durability. The Z4000, however, addressed those durability concerns (much like the 2015 Slugger baseball line did) by enhancing the Tru3 connective piece in terms of stiffness. This not only improves durability but should increase power at contact with a better energy transfer to the ball.
- Although USSSA is more liberal in its standards than the ASA, it is still wildly restrictive compared to days of yore — which means an extra ounce in the barrel, if you can swing it, is almost always worth it. The Green Machine Z4000 End Load is in the money spot of power and prowess.
- The price point is right in line with a two piece composite softball bat—and what most serious players are willing to pay for a top shelf performance slow pitch softball bat.
Overall we find the Z4000 highly recommendable for USSSA league players looking for top shelf performance and maximum distance—who also have the guns to bang it. Those looking to save a few bucks may look for a Z3000, if they are okay with a bit less durability, in a search like this. Those who want new with a guaranteed warranty should look at pricing here or here .