New youth baseball bats came to market in September 2017, supporting the new USAbat standard. This site maintains a comprehensive list of USAbats that are on the market (or will be soon). Over the next few months, I’m going profile a few bats that I happen to think are particularly noteworthy (see USAbat Recommendations and Observations from Early Adopters).
This is the first such profile, the Easton S450.
When I first heard about the new USAbat standard last year, the biggest question I had was:
What options are there going to be for kids between the ages of 7 and 10? Specifically, will there be any light, 2 1/4″ models suitable for smaller players?
If you look at the bats on the USAbat list, you’ll notice that most bats are between drop 5 and drop 10 (see What Does Drop Mean?). A drop 10 bat such as a 29″, 19oz bat in the hands of a 7-year-old or even a small and light 10-year-old can be a frustrating experience, with many strikeouts and very few solid hits. My own smaller-than-average son did not begin to use a drop 10 bat until a couple months before his 12th birthday (30″ length).
A drop 10 bat is not so heavy if the bat is shorter. But while small players or beginners may be able to swing a 27″ or 28″ drop 10 bat well in practice, it doesn’t cover the outside part of the strike zone well. When kid pitch begins, typically at age 9, the tendency of many recreation league umpires is to call a strike zone that extends an inch or two beyond the outside edge of the plate. A small hitter with a 27″ bat can struggle to hit pitches that find the outside edge of the plate. I’ve seen it.
While there are a number of very light USAbat options for 5- and 6-year old T-ball, there currently aren’t many light bat options for 7- to 10-year-old players. But there are some. Here’s a list (if you see a blank screen below, hit the refresh button on your browser):
After eliminating all bats for T-ball and bats with drop between 5 and 10, there are 12 bats remaining. Of the 12 bats remaining, 6 of them are 2 5/8″ drop 11 bats. In my opinion, 2 5/8″ bats are difficult for many kids below the age of 11 to swing, especially the smaller and lighter kids, unless these bats are 28″ or shorter. So let’s eliminate the 2 5/8″ bats.
This leaves six 2 1/4″ bats that are drop 11 or 12 (or possibly four, as Easton has three different model numbers for Beast X Hyperlite that are identical, so far as I can tell).
The only two 2 1/4″ bats with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price under $150 are:
They are both at $70 or below. I think both of these are going to be very popular bats. Many parents don’t think twice about spending $50 or even $70 on a bat. However, $150 or more for a bat is too much for many families unless their player is an all-star or select team player.
I think the S450 is likely to be worth an extra $20 over the S350 if it turns out to truly weigh an ounce less. Bat weights from Easton and other bat makers are often inaccurate so I’ll want to weigh a few S450 and S350 bats as they come into our league.
Assuming the weights are as stated, a drop 12 S450 means that some 9-year-olds will be able to swing a 30″, 18 oz bat, and most 9-year-olds will be able to swing a 29″, 17 oz bat. Swinging a longer bat is very helpful when facing kid pitch for the first time, especially with strike zones that are often wider than the plate.
Bats that adhere to the USAbat standard are so new that I haven’t seen anyone in our league swing one yet. I greatly look forward to seeing both the S350 and the S450 in action, as I think these will be the two most popular bats for kids between the ages of 7 and 10. There’s a good chance I’ll test one or both of these and then publish a review on this site.
In my comprehensive bat guide, I mentioned the Easton S500 as being an ideal entry-level bat through the age of 11 or so. It’s looking to me like the S450 is going to be the USAbat to fill this same role. I could be proved wrong as other bats come to market, as the S450 could be superseded by better competition.
For the moment, however, the Easton S450 is going to be an obvious choice for many families with a 7- to 10-year old playing baseball in a recreation league.
22 thoughts on “USAbat Profile: Easton S450 (drop 12)”
Joe, while this is interesting, it would be a lot more useful if you actually reviewed the bat. We all know that the cheaper Eastons are going to be what a lot of us have to buy, but we don’t know if the new version is totally awful or not.
Matt – I agree that a review would be much more useful. I intend to write one as soon as I get my hands on this bat and have my son test it. The nearest store that carries it is a Dick’s location that is 13 miles away, and they have been out of stock for literally a month. I wanted to buy it there instead of online so I could also lay eyes on all the other USAbat models there. I also plan to bring a scale and weigh them all – I figure they’ll be more accommodating if I actually buy something!
There’s a fall ball happening near me so I’m going to show up either this weekend or next weekend and see if anyone has started using a USAbat. I would expect this particular model to be one of the first to show up.
One more thought, Matt – I’ll be seeing many USAbat models in actual use in March of next year. When I do, I’ll have a lot more to say based on real world usage. Anything I say now, even if I’m to test the bat with batting tees, coach toss, etc. is not going to be as good a test as seeing how well the bats work during games.
I just bought my son the 2018 Axe element. I read your review of the last year’s Axe and several others and am hoping it’s going to work for him. If it does what everyone says it does, I’m hopeful for a better year for my guy offensively.
Hi April – Good luck to your son with his new 2018 Axe Element! If it turns out to be too heavy, keep in mind that lighter USAbat models of the Axe bat are coming out a couple months from now.
Kevin Lewis just left the following question:
Do you know when Axe will be releasing some lighter options? Will they be drop 10 or higher?
Kevin – your comment and my response was deleted due to a WordPress bug so here again is my response:
Lighter Axe options are coming. The company was hoping for a December release but for reasons unknown to me it will be another few months before they come out with the lighter bats. By March seems like a good possibility.
Easton S450 has been reviewed by a couple end customers on different sites now. Both customers said the same thing: it weighs about 2.5 ounces more than what is stated. So it’s really a drop 10, not a drop 12.
I can’t confirm or deny this as I have yet to get hold of an S450 for testing.
I just picked one up today. I will try and weigh it later. I’m bummed it will take so long for axe to release some lighter one
Yes, I’m bummed too. Kevin – I would really appreciate if you could leave another comment here with the weight the Easton S450 once you weigh it. Easton often exaggerates the weight of their bats and people really need to know if this is a drop 12 or something more like a drop 10. Thanks in advance!
Do you have any insight into the S750c. This is an Easton bat that is exclusive to Dick’s. As a result, I can’t find any reviews of this bat, other than the Dick’s customer reviews.
Jason – Thanks for pointing out that Easton S750c is an Easton exclusive. Hadn’t realized that. Unfortunately, I have no insight to offer on this model.
One general comment I can offer though from reading comments and reviews about many USAbat models (especially real world use by kids) is that many composite (or two-piece) bats in general are proving to be no better than one-piece aluminum, and in some cases worse. That would suggest that an S750 may be as good or better than the S750c, despite the lower price.
thanks for your reply… are you familiar with Easton having other bats in their past that were exclusive to Dick’s? if so, how have they performed?
Jason – I never tracked Dick’s exclusives before so I don’t have any answers for you. I also don’t think I’ve ever seen a Dick’s exclusive used by any of son’s teammates because the nearest Dick’s store to where we live is around 20 miles away – so hardly anyone in our league buys bats from Dick’s.
I’m impatient for reviews of these bats to get released! My son used the 2013 Easton Mako 31 inch 20 oz bat for the past two years. He’s a strong kid that has tremendous bat speed. I was waiting for him to get all of it and he did last year in the end of season tournament. In the bottom of the 8th with our team down two runs, a runner at first, two outs and two strikes on him he crushed a ball over the right center fence clearing it by about 20 feet. My estimate is that he hit it about 230 feet since the fence was 195 feet and it went through the trees that were behind a path (yeah I’m a bit boastful, but that happens with Dad’s sometimes). In any case my point being he can handle a big bat. I hope you will review some of the more higher end bats that are longer and heavier… not just entry level.
I decided to wait until after Christmas to buy one so I can read some reviews. When I called the local baseball store they basically said with the new rules being so stringent that likely all of the bats will hit just as far and the only differences will be the amount of vibration and the size of the sweet spot. My sons biggest complaint with the Mako is that it vibrated. He always chocked up on the bat to minimize the vibrations on his hands.
Greg – The only bat I’ve seen in a kid’s hands so far has been the drop 8 Element Axe Bat and it seems pretty good (just based on a half hour session with my son – it was a little too heavy for him but I think he should be big enough by Spring). It’s single piece aluminum.
What I’m starting to read (reviews from early adopters) is that the composite bats are hardly better than the single-piece aluminum bats and in some cases may be worse. This suggests to me that getting a less expensive single-piece aluminum USAbat model may be the way to go. And from what I’ve observed over the past year, nobody is making single-piece aluminum youth bats better than Axe bats these days.
I talked to Axe about the drop 10s, it appears that they are having some difficulty getting them thru the standards testing. But they are working on it. They just don’t want to talk too much about it until they are sure they can meet standards and manufacture it.
My 11 year old is swinging the -8 Orgin without a problem. I think by spring, it won’t matter.
Have any tests been completed on the Easton S750C, which appears to be exclusive to Dick’s Sporting Goods?
Thank you for any input,
I haven’t seen this bat yet, nor has anyone whose opinion I trust. So at this point, S750C is an unknown.
We are looking for bat options for my 11 year old. He’s not a real big kid or a power hitter, but he is good at the plate and hits well for his size.
He was using the Rawlings Plasma 30 inch drop 12, so I’m looking at this S450 in 30 inch, as well as the Easton Beast X Hyperlite -12, 30 inch…
Any input would be most welcomed…
Isaiah – both seem like reasonable possibilities. You might find it helpful to read a more recent article on this site which provides an overview of some of the better choices available for USAbat models:
My 8 y/o son (4’3” and ~50lbs) previously used the Easton S500 28/15. The S450 was one of my hopes to at least be somewhat close in weight, listed at 28/16 (-12). I also bought the 29/17 to give my son a chance to swing both and see what felt more comfortable. I weighed both today, and guess what?? The 29/17 is LIGHTER than the 28/16. The 29” weighed in at 17.4 oz (pretty close to listed weight). The 28” bat (listed at 16 0z) came in 18.5oz, which is over 2.5oz above listed weight and an ounce heavier than the same bat that is an inch longer. Crazy!!! I think I came across someone else making the same observation, perhaps in an Amazon review, so it doesn’t seem like I just happened to buy a lemon.
Dan – Easton has had issues for several years know with bat weights being quite different than advertised, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I’m not sure if it’s getting worse, or if awareness is growing with the USAbat models given that the new standard makes it harder for manufacturer’s to make the bats seem like they have less weight then they actually do.
This particular model has had many reports of being overweight, and those amounts being different by size. It’s wild though that a 29/17 that is literally lighter than a 28/16.
The DeMarini 2 1/2″ Uprising model is getting some pretty good reviews for light 7-8 year olds so that one might be a better bet if you’re league is requiring USAbat this year.