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Hitting Like a Girl: The Bats of Mo’ne Davis and Kayla Roncin

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By Brian Duryea

Kayla Roncin and Mo’ne Davis are competing for the little league world series title. They also happened to be girls. These two don’t play for two top teams in the country in spite of or because they are girls, they play because they are ball players who have helped their team win games. Mo’ne, at the age of 13, throws in the low 70′s which, if you do the math, is the equivalent of a 91 mph big league fastball. Kayla, 12,  drops bombs with the best of them.

They both do it with the same bat, the Easton XL1. The bat, as we mentioned in an earlier post, was the best little league bat for 2014.

Screenshot_30 The XL1 is the end loaded bat in the Power Series from Easton with the highest MOI. In other words, it is the heaviest to swing. So, out of every Easton bat the girls of the LLWS could have chosen, they picked the one requiring the most strength. So what does hitting like a girl look like, exactly? Apparently, it looks powerful with a top shelf bat from Easton.

Brian Duryea, the author, is the owner of justbatreviews.com and is a regular contributor to whatproswear. He can be reached at admin@justbatreviews.com or

Old Hickory BBCOR Review and a possible Evoshield Bat

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By Brian Duryea

Old Hickory makes an impressive line of wood bats. At least guys like Mike Trout, Yasiel Puig and Paul Goldschmidt would tell you so—and I don’t see anyone disagreeing with them. Their wood bats are good and will continue to be.

Recently, Old Hickory released a BBCOR aluminum alloy bat: the 9914 BBCOR Aluminum Old Hickory Bat. You can read the full review on the Old Hickory BBCOR bat here. The Bat is $300.Old Hickory BBCOR review

I’m not trying to make any enemies at Old Hickory, but a $300 bat for a one piece aluminum alloy does not seem like a serious attempt at the metal bat space. There are dozens of attractive one piece aluminum alloys at considerably lower prices. I suspect, and this a perfectly fair approach, Old Hickory wants to capitalize on the brand recognition the previously mentioned demi-gods of baseball have created in their wood bats. Surely more than just a few metal BBCOR users want the same brand as Mr. Fish Shoes. In other words, I just don’t take Old Hickory’s one-piece alloy bat for $300 as a serious foray into the metal bat space. If it is then, quite frankly, I think its a serious swing and miss.

As a reference point, take another new comer with a familiar name who makes their first foray into the metal bat world: Adidas. Adidas released a one piece aluminum alloy for $199 and a two piece hybrid for $299. Respectable and proven price points from a brand that also appears positioning themselves for the youth bat market as well. I think Adidas has a ton of work ahead of them and still needs to consider getting a composite barrel (especially in the youth space) but their attempt into the space at least appears, to me, a serious one.Adidas EQT Review

Any other familiar name brands taking a plunge into metal bats? If this Instagram picture means to you what it means to me, then expect EvoShield to put their hat in the ring. EvoShield says there is an announcement on Sunday. Maybe its just another Wood bat so it might be a false alarm. But release date? Youth? BBCOR? Something is going on and we’ll know more on Sunday. Hopefully all soon to be answered–and hopefully it’s not a $300 one piece aluminum bat.

EvoShield Wood Bat Reveal

Brian Duryea, the author, is the owner of justbatreviews.com and is a regular contributor to whatproswear. He can be reached at admin@justbatreviews.com or

WPW This Week: Oakley #TBT, Bryce Harper Walk Off, Perfect Game All-American Gear

Happy Thursday WPW fam.

Let’s start with a nice #TBT courtesy of Oakley’s Facebook page.  Here are the lightest and strongest glasses they ever made (their claim not ours):

Oakley Sub Zeros circa 1992

Oakley Sub Zeros circa 1992

Here is a look at the gear that will be worn by the Perfect Game All-Americans this Sunday at 8:00pm EST at Petco Park in San Diego, CA. The game will air on the MLB Network.

West Team Gear

West Team Gear

East Team Gear

East Team Gear

Photos via @PGAllAmerican, including players @D_Finley09, and @hogan_harris_77

Here is another gear shot via @SluggerNation instagram account:

Jealous?

Jealous?

Bryce Harper walked off in style today wearing Under Armour UA Natural II batting gloves, and a nice pair of Under Armour Deception cleats. We’re still waiting for these to go on sale to the public.

When can we buy these?

When can we buy these?

You can shop @UABaseball HERE.

Mizuno has jumped into the BBCOR game…MaxCor model on top, Generation model on bottom.  You can shop for them HERE.

Everyone is jumping into the aluminum bat game

Everyone is jumping into the aluminum bat game

Last, but certainly not least, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention what the Triple-A affiliate of the SF Giants, the Fresno Grizzles (@FresnoGrizzlies), wore last Saturday night:

Cowabunga dudes.  See ya next week.

The WPW Guide to Bats of the Little League World Series

todd Frazier

By Brian Duryea

For those who will be watching the greatest baseball event of the year over the next two weeks, I thought I’d put together a guide to the baseball bats you should see. My hope is to turn you into a youth bat Rain Man of sorts–uncontrollably naming out the bats as they get to the plate.

Know, as well, that Easton owns the tournament. Not literally, but sort of. They have a bat contract with LLWS and any player in the tourney on ESPN must use an Easton bat. Hence the reason all the bats below are Easton made.

Bat #1: Easton MAKO

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The Easton MAKO was the most buzzed about bat this year in little league and it is no surprise you will see a lot of it at the plate in the LLWS. It’s the middle swing weight bat of Easton’s Power Brigade Series. Reviews on the bat have been mixed but overall The MAKO grades out as a very good high end bat. The expectations were so through the roof on this bat (not quelled by its price point) that they were hard to meet. As a result, it appears, more than just a couple little leaguers wondered why this neon orange bat wasn’t hitting home runs for them.

Overall I’d suspect Easton made boatloads of money selling the Easton MAKO. Which is probably what has given Easton the confidence to extend the line again in 2015 as well as make a TORQ version of the bat with a spinning handle at a new record price point.

Bat #2: Easton XL Series

The XL Series from Easton is a recognizable almost all yellow bat. It comes in three different versions: A one piece full aluminum alloy called the X3, a two piece composite bat called the X1, and a hybrid version with an aluminum handle and composite barrel called the X2.

There were clearly some other good options in the 2014 class but, in our opinion, the 2014 Easton XL1 was the best youth bat of the year. In particular, the drop 5 XL1 was an outstanding bat. Particularly because, we think, Easton smartly worked the system a bit. We measured and weighed the bat XL1 in our lab (and by lab I mean basement) and found that the actual weight on the XL1 drop 5 was usually a good 2 ounces above the stated weight. In other words, a 32/27 drop 5 XL1 was really a drop 3 weighing in at 29+ ounces. A “drop 3″ with only little league restrictions on its trampoline effect would be a verifiable bomb dropper which, it turns out, is exactly what the XL1 drop 5 from 2014 was.

To be clear, we are not suggesting by any stretch that such approach by Easton is against any regulations or that Easton was underhanded. Clearly a stated drop 5 bat without a .50 BBCOR stamp isn’t allowed in highschool or the NCAA (or wherever else BBCOR is required). Easton simply made, as we see the drop 5 XL1 for 2014, a throwback drop 3 bat in the drop 5 little league category. And, if you can swing it, that bat is a beast.

In our opinion: well played Easton. Well played.

Bat #3: Easton Omen

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The kids swinging these bats are smart. The Omen is a pre-”Accelerated Break-In” (ABI) testing period bat. This means this two-piece full composite bat can have, over time, more trampoline effect than bats made after the implementation of the test (e.g. MAKO, XL, S Series bats of 2014).

You can think of the Omen as the XL’s daddy. Easton left the Omen name in the dust and translated it into the XL series in the Power Brigade Seires. It is one of the top 5 youth baseball bats off all time. You hit this bat correctly in the sweet spot at full extension and its the last thing that baseball will ever do–with the exception of sink to the bottom of the ocean.

It will be interesting to see how long Little League allows the Easton Omen bat at the plate because, in our opinion, it is clearly a bat with a trampoline effect better than the others in this list. I suspect the Omen’s time is limited.

Bat #4: Easton S1

ajreed

I have yet to get a good screen grab of the S Series bats in the LLWS, but this is sort of what it looks like. The dominant color is black with the yellow highlights.

The S1 is the opposite side of the swing weight spectrum from the XL in the Power Brigade Series. It has a more handle loaded swing compared to a balanced swing of the MAKO and the end load (or overload?) of the XL. The S1 is the two-piece composite, s2 the hybrid and the S3 the one piece aluminum. We are big fans of the 2012 through 2014 S1–especially in the youth and senior league versions. The S2 and S3 are okay but nothing, in our opinion, to get too excited about.

Bat #5: ???????

Easton_All_Bats

Easton does a pretty good job of letting those who make some of the Marquee games on ESPN and ABC be the first in the country to swing the youth versions of the 2015 Easton Line. There is a new 2015 S Series, XL Series, MAKO series and the much hyped MAKO TORQ.

There has never been as much hype around a bat as there is around the TORQ. Searches on Google Analytics show the TORQ roughly 10 times more popular than any other newly released bat this year. Almost the same multiple as its price point.

We are waiting with baited breath to see if some kid at the LLWS gets to the plate with a neon green bat with a spinning handle. If he’s smart the kid will keep the wrapper on the bat, sell the bat on e-bay, put the proceeds in a simple interest bearing account and consider his college education paid for.

Reader Contest:

The first person to tweet @justbatreviews a screen grab of the MAKO TORQ at the plate in the 2014 Little League World Series will get a lizard skin grip sent to them courtesy of whatproswear.com and justbatreviews.com. How is that for keeping your readers happy? You need to be following @whatproswear and @justbatreviews for us to direct message the confirmation of your winning! Good luck.

Also, anyone in the comments want to take a guess as to who is in the lead picture?

Brian Duryea, the author, is the owner of justbatreviews.com and is a regular contributor to whatproswear. He can be reached at admin@justbatreviews.com or .

 

Dellin Betances’ Profile Added

dellin-betances-glove-cleats-undershirt

Mariano who?

Yoenis’ Red Sox Gear Update

yoenis cespedes nike cleats, yoenis cespedes chandler bat, yoenis cespedes rawlings glove, evoshield leg guard, oakley fast jacket sunglasses, yoenis cespedes cutters batting gloves

Red Sox just got swaggier (and now no one can use the word swag anymore because that officially killed it forever…my bad).

2015 DeMarini CF7, Voodoo Overlord FT BBCOR Bats Revealed, Reviewed

By Brian Duryea

The anticipated release of the baseball CF7 and Voodoo Overlord FT from DeMarini reminds me of the first time I heard Bryce Harper’s name. Someone was showing me a video of a 16 year old high school kid from Las Vegas hitting baseballs farther at Tropicana Field than anyone ever had. Sure, he was using a pre-regulation juiced metal bat, but it’s not like others didn’t have plenty of chances to hit round trippers at Tropicana Field with another type of juice. And none of them had ever hit a ball 502 feet. Harper’s shot would become the most talked about high school home run in history.

I would read somewhere later that around the time Harper was born a 5 foot 6 inch 40-something year old firecracker of a man, named Ray DeMarini, was selling juiced softball bats into the amateur ranks of Oregon. He owned a small bat company and was the lone salesman. He could demonstrate his bat’s ability as he air-mailed softballs into orbit. Ray’s bat could turn line-outs into ground-rule doubles and fly-outs into base-clearing jacks. How else could you explain, those listening to the sales pitch must have thought, how this Napoleon-sized man could hit softballs skyward to sink with the sun somewhere in the Pacific Ocean? Clearly, the rumor was, the bat can hit like that on its own.

demarini cf7 metal bat review

The bat was a revolutionary double-walled shtick, called the DeMarini Doublewall Distance, and you could buy the bat he sold only after you convinced him you were good enough to swing it. If you qualified, you could, for cash, buy these bats on the spot, right now or never. To say the bat had great pop would be an understatement. The original Demarini Doublewall Distance was so revolutionary it was soon banned in leagues all around the country. Talk about a compliment if I ever heard one.

Ray’s vision was to revolutionize the bat space again by producing the first ever hybrid bat with a composite handle and aluminum barrel. Sadly, Ray would never see his vision a reality. In 2001, at the young age of 55, Ray DeMarini would succumb to cancer. He would leave a vision and dedication to the craft of metal bats that his employees, many of whom still make bats for DeMarini outside of Portland, would inherit and dedicate much of their lives to.

2015 VooDoo CF7 CF6 Knobs

Seven years after Ray’s passing Bryce Harper would stand at the plate in Tropicana Field wielding none other than the reality of Ray DeMarini’s vision: a composite handle and aluminum barrel two-piece bat called the DeMarini Voodoo. Harper’s 502 foot shot heard round the world with the gun that Ray built would travel a field record–a full 30 feet further than Jose Conseco’s record set in 2000.

So as DeMarini comes out with a much anticipated line of their 2015 hybrid and two-piece bats, I can’t help but think how the vision of a Napoleon-sized bomb-dropping firecracker of a man has now found its way into the hands of a new generation of stars.

demarini cf7 voodoo metal bat review

The good news is those who are interested in buying DeMarini’s 2015 releases no longer need to track down some guy in Oregon selling bats out of his trunk. Also, you need not convince him you have the requisite ball crushing skills to prove worthy of the purchase because, as some say, the bat can hit like that on its own.

(Read more in-depth reviews on the DeMarini CF7 here and reviews on the DeMarini Voodoo Overlord FT here)

Brian Duryea, the author, is the owner of justbatreviews.com and is a regular contributor to whatproswear. He can be reached at admin@justbatreviews.com or .