When it comes to BBCOR bats, we at Better Baseball like to look to those who are using them at the highest level, which in this case is NCAA Div I Baseball. The first month of the college season has produced a top ten list of perennial powerhouses, with a long history of winning and College World Series appearances. Every year when we do our BBCOR Breakdown on the top 10 teams in DIV I, we find some interesting trends and occurrences that leave us scratching our heads when it comes to the bats that these players choose to swing. This year is no different.
Most of the BBCOR bats on the market today will perform about the same due to the safety regulations that the barrel is required to not exceed. With that said, players are now primarily looking for sound, feel, and balance more than overall "pop" or performance.
For those of you who don't know, most of these schools are contractually obligated to swing the brand of bat that sponsors or endorses that collegiate program, i.e. LSU- Demarini, UCLA- Easton, South Carolina- Rawlings. With that said, a player at that school can swing any bat as long as it is made by that particular manufacturer. For instance, a player at Rice University ( Louisville Slugger sponsored school), can swing any BBCOR bat in the louisville slugger line, 515 Omaha, 715 Select, or the 915 Prime as well as any past models of that manufacturer.
Like 2014, we are seeing more and more players swinging alloy barrels than composite barrels. Almost 87% of the players we observed were either swinging a one piece alloy barrel, like the Easton S3z, or a two piece barrel (composite handle, alloy barrel), like the Demarini Voodoo Overlord FT.
Some players are even using models dating back to 2012. We did witness some Florida batters using Easton Surges, a bat that has been discontinued and replaced by the Easton S2z since the start of the 2013 season. Even some LSU players were swinging some of the 2013 Demarini Voodoo Models. Is this trend due to superstition? Do these hitters think that these particular models are superior bats to the newer modes? The answer seems to be player preference.
Probably one of the most notable trends in 2015 bats is the absence of the high end BBCOR bats at these top 10 schools. Although, we did see schools using bats like the 915 Prime and Easton Mako outside of the top 10. Only a handful of players were using the Easton Mako Torq , a bat that has garnered a lot of hype and attention this season due to its rotating handle. We didn't find any players at any of the Demarini Schools swinging the CF7, but we did see several of them in their dugout and on-deck circles. The Louisville Slugger Prime was also a no-show in the top 10 list but we did see it being used by some of their sponsored schools in the top 25.
*NATIONAL RANKING AS OF 3/23/15
Better Baseball BBCOR Breakdown
When deciding which bat to designate for a particular team we looked at all 9 hitters in the line up to see which bat is being swung the most . A lot of the time several different bats will be swung by the same team, but we only list the most popular model from the leadoff hitter to the bottom of the order. For instance South Carolina swings the Rawlings 5150, the Velo, and the Trio, but more hitters are swinging the Velo BBCOR than any other.
The most popular bat in our list is the Easton S2z. Easton also has the most sponsored schools in the top 10 with four. ( Demarini 3, Slugger 2, Rawlings 1). The second most popular on the list is the Demarini Voodoo Overlord. Alloy barrels reign supreme on this list with all 10 schools preferring the aluminum alloy over the composite barrel.
As the season carries on, and new 2016 bats become available, look for some of these trends to change. We hope this list helps players make more of an educated decision when picking the perfect BBCOR for their high school or travel ball team. But remember every swing is different. It is best to try a bat out to see if that works for your specific swing and playing style. You can try out all of these bats and more at any Better Baseball location free of charge.
One of the most important aspects of hitting is being comfortable at the plate. Before stepping in the batter’s box, players should consider what they can do to maximize their comfort level. Having the right size bat is crucial. Wearing batting gloves, to some, is also a must. But what about the bat grip? Are the pre-wrapped grips that come standard to metal bats doing the trick? And what’s a good alternative to the sticky mess pine tar leaves behind with wood bats?
Lizard Skinsbat wrap is the answer you’ve been looking for. Lizard Skinsspecializes in high quality polymer bat wraps that are designed to increase comfort and confidence at the plate. These bat wraps are offered in three different thicknesses (0.5mm, 1.1mm,and 1.8mm) and in a variety of color combinations (including solid colors, two-tones, and camos).
Do you like a very thin bat handle that you can get your fingers around as much as possible? If so, the 0.5mm Lizard Skins bat wrap is for you. If you like a thick handle with a lot of cushion, the 1.8mm bat wrap is calling your name. Regardless of the thickness you’re comfortable with, all Lizard Skins bat wraps are slip resistant, very easy to put on, and designed to fit any bat (wood, aluminum, composite).
In my many years of baseball experience, I’ve seen it all when it comes to bat grips. Most players just stick with the bat wrap that’s already on it when purchased. Those guys don’t know what they’re missing. Some take the standard grip off and use athletic tape or pine tar for a smaller bat handle. That’s what the 0.5mm wrap is for! Many Major League players, including Hunter Pence, David Wright, and David Ortiz, have adopted Lizard Skins as their grip of choice and haven’t looked back. I’d say those guys probably know what they’re doing, so take it from them. They’re only perennial all-stars.
Lizard Skins bat wraps are hands down my favorite bat wrap, and that also seems to be the consensus among my close baseball peers. There is an undeniable “swag effect” that comes with each Lizard Skins purchase. Players will see your bat wrap and be drawn to it. Once they get a feel for it, they’re going to want one for their bat. I’ve even seen entire teams outfitted with the same color grip and it’s a good look! There is no other bat wrap in the baseball community growing as fast as Lizard Skins. Get on board, and get a grip!
Lizard Skins bat wraps are available for purchase here.