2017 is the year you are going to buy a new BBCOR bat. And it’s going to put you in the zone, blasting those softballs over the fence. But you probably don’t know where to start.
You may even feel a little guilty replacing your trusty bat. That’s ok. We all get attached to the equipment that brought us through great seasons. You can always shine it up and hang it on your wall.
But, you’re on to your new era of awesome batting averages. We’ve selected some excellent bats this year. And we think you will agree, they’re the best BBCOR bats on the market this year.
Our desire is to get the best bat into your hands we possibly can.
Our team of former college baseball players knows how they test BBCOR bats. And when you are in the field facing down that pitcher, only performance matters.
1. What Is BBCOR?
You may have absolutely no clue what we’re talking about when we spout off the acronym BBCOR. Don’t worry, you’re probably not alone.
The acronym itself stands for Bat-Ball Coefficient Of Restitution. Now you see why we shorten it to BBCOR. It’s a standard test for non-wood core bats introduced in 2011 by the NCAA.
It’s essentially a very fancy way of saying that it performs comparable to a wooden bat. It all has to do with something called the moment of inertia.
To put it simply, how the ball trampolines off the bat.
A Short History
Back when non-wooden bats were introduced, they were just aluminum hunks of metal.
They were only useful for preventing breakage on an inside pitch. And thus ball players would use these bats to get easy hits to the outfield without risk of breakage.
But bats improved.
Composites were introduced. And composites have an interesting feature.
Their trampoline effect increases the more you break them in.
Once teams figured this out, they started to find ways to quickly break in bats and increase their performance in unfair ways. Essentially illegal steroids for composite bats.
Now, composite bats are tested before placed on the market. Manufacturers now break their composite bats in the way teams illegal broke in their bats by rolling.
If you roll a pre-2011 composite bat, it breaks in the bat and makes it better. It keeps getting better until it breaks.
The BBCOR standard tells bat manufacturers how much trampoline effect can occur before a bat breaks. If it’s trampoline effect exceeds the BBCOR standard before breaking, it can’t be used for competitive play.
Why BBCOR Is Important
The standard evens the playing field (No pun intended). Non-wooden bats will no longer perform better than wooden bats.
Now, of course, you can’t get away from the fact that any composite is going to be lighter than wood. The only factor overall weight influences is maneuverability.
BBCOR testing makes sure the bats have the same impact on the ball by balancing swing weight with overall weight. With less overall weight, you have less inertia. Simple physics really.
1. Best BBCOR Bat For The Money
If you have to compare value to performance, the Combat Maxum wins the cake.
This model is unique: it was constructed in one piece. Every inch of this bat is composite material.
Are you a power hitter? This bat is for you.
While it has a low swing weight, the sweet spot is wide.
Well, that’s an understatement. This barrel is huge!
And with the one-piece design, every ounce of your strength transfers into the barrel.
And with the wide range of bat sizes offered to the purchaser, you’re likely to find the fit you want.
The Maxum this year also seems more durable than past years. Maxum claims they have increased the technology factor in their creation technique.
They seem fairly confident in this assertion. Maxum gives purchasers a one-time replacement and a five hundred day warranty on their bats.
The biggest negative for a one-piece design like this is the impact on your hands. Like the old aluminum bats of yore, you won’t be feeling good vibrations when you hit that ball wrong. You may lose feeling in your thumbs occasionally or feel your palm sting.
Really, if it’s a large, decently priced, ultra-lightweight, single-composite construction bat that makes the competition look like it skipped its Wheaties all year long. Then this is the bat for you.
2. Fifth Best BBCOR Bat
This bat still makes our top five list because of its well balanced, acoustic alloy barrel. This offers loads of pop for the kind of bat it is.
This is for someone who wants a bat they can buy and then immediately use. Someone who prefers aluminum to composite.
Like the Combat Maxum, this BBCOR bat has a large barrel size compared to its light swing weight. And every review out there agrees that this barrel offers solid pop effect on various pitch speeds.
The bat itself is a two piece. The end cap sits two to three inches into the barrel. The balance on this puppy sits right above the hands. This is mainly what is responsible for the lighter swing.
What gives this stick its pop? A groove so smooth you cannot see it. Buried deep in the barrel is a literal groove. Don’t worry, this groove isn’t big enough to change the bat’s durability.
3. Fourth Best BBCOR Bat
The Marucci Cat this year is better than previous years.
The sweet spot on this bat is better than the Marucci Cat 6. In fact, it’s twice as large.
This bat takes care of the biggest complaint among baseball and softball players. Hand vibration.
This bat features something called an “anti-vibration knob.” And we can tell you, it really works well.
Once you ping that ball, you’ll know what we’re talking about when we say “anti-vibration.”
It’s a little heavier on the swing than other bats we’ve reviewed, but this is made up with pop. The fact that it’s a one-piece bat that vibrates less makes it a hard hitter.
The other awesome things about one-piece construction are durability and strength. This bat is going to last you a lot longer than most other bats. And the strength behind the hit.
And it comes with a twelve month manufacturer’s warranty.
4. Second Best BBCOR Bat
This composite BBCOR bat sits at second on our list because it’s definitely for the serious ball player. While it’s a bit pricey, you can’t help but admire its construction.
This is a two-piece with carbon fiber bat. It also claims vibration control for miss-hits.
And it ranks right up there with the Mako in performance and smoothness when hitting that ball.
This bat is for the player who prefers the lightest weight swing possible in a BBCOR bat. This gives the bat maximum performance across its length. But the biggest downside to this bat is the fact you need to break it in.
Breaking in the CF Zen takes some time.
You can’t just take this into a game and expect it to work wonders. You have to give it some love before you get anything real.
Another reason we have this high up on our list: DeMarini. They are a great company that cares about their customers. Home-grown out of Hillsboro, Oregon, they’ve been producing bats for a little over thirty years.
While this isn’t a long time in the world of baseball, it’s a long time in the world of high-tech bats.
5. The Best BBCOR Bat Of 2017
The Mako Beast BBCOR bat is actually for everyone. If you can afford it, that is. If you aren’t skilled enough, you might not want to put down the cash on this bat. It won’t make you a home run hitter overnight, no bat can do that.
Don’t get this bat if you like stiff single construction bats. This is a composite through and through.
But it’s an excellent composite. The best there is this year.
This bat will give you top-shelf performance for top-dollar. And it gives you so much barrel to work with.
Again, just like the DeMarini, you can’t just unwrap and play with this thing. You have to give it love too.
But these high-end composites are meant to last. This means that trampoline effect we talked about earlier, you need to break it in a bit.
But, if you are an experienced player, this shouldn’t dissuade you from getting this bat. It will reward you with performance if you give it the love it requires.
Really, the choice of which BBCOR bat to take with you to the plate is a personal preference. You can read reviews until you are blue in the face, but until you pick up the bat for yourself, you will never know if it’s for you.
And, if you need more help figuring out which bat fits your style, check out our buyer’s guide. And, as always, keep making those balls fly.