USAbat Recommendations and Observations from Early Adopters

The first bats in conformance with the new USAbat standards went up for sale on September 1, 2017. Since then this site has maintained a database of all USAbat models currently available or expected to be available soon. The list has not grown by much since September. Many of the lighter models won’t be released until 2018, as some bat makers struggle to get these models to meet the new standard.

So how are the early USAbat models actually doing in the hands of young baseball players?

Courtesy CrimsonGuy from

My son has only personally tested one bat model, but reports are coming in from other parents testing various models, including one parent who spent over $3000 of his own money to test many of the new bats. In this post I share some of these early takes, including some personal observations I have from visiting my local Big 5 and weighing a few bats. Quite a bit of the information for this article comes from a USAbat thread at Baseball Fever, where coaches and other avid youth baseball parents honestly share information.

tldr version:  Most of the expensive composite USAbat models disappoint, while a few of the more affordable single-piece aluminum bats stand out as good values.

Read on for details, including recommendations for a couple specific models that seem like early standouts.

Before I go on, please understand that we’ll have much better information by April of next year, after we’ve seen these bats used in a few games. It’s one thing to test bats with a batting tee, at the cages, or off coach pitch. It’s another thing entirely to see how well kids can control their bats when experiencing the pressure of actual games, especially if kids pitch.

I’ll be sure to write a more comprehensive and reliable bat buying advice guide after the spring 2018 baseball season similar to my previous guide. I’ll also write a comprehensive review of the bat my son will be swinging in 2018, similar to the review I wrote on his 2017 Axe Bat.

This article assumes you know all the technology and vocabulary related to youth baseball bats. If you don’t, be sure to read my deep dive into bat technology.

So let’s start with the heavier bats:

Drop 5 and Drop 8 bats

If a player is big and strong enough to swing it, a heavier and longer bat will provide plenty of pop just from the weight of the bat. This makes it easier to make a heavy bat that meets the new standard and seems to perform well. There’s a reasonable selection of drop 5 and Drop 8 USAbat models to start with. For the most part, these bats will be appropriate for the ages of 12 and up, though a big 100+ pound 10-year-old can also find success with a drop 8 bat.

I have so far seen few reviews of drop 5 and drop 8 bats from parents of kids who use them. However, I have experience with one of them:

My son will be turning 13 in early 2018, so I got him his first drop 8, the Element Axe Bat model, in a 31″ length. We took it out for 30 minutes and he compared it to two other bats he owns, the MB50 that he used last year, and the Anderson Techzilla XP which had previously been too heavy for him but is comparable in swing weight to the Element. I threw him easy-to-hit daddy pitches.

Being used to last year’s 30″ drop 10 model, he hit best with that one. The new model is both heavier and longer. His swing was slower and he couldn’t control it as well, so hit quality was less consistently good with the new Element. However, when he did manage to hit it solidly, he could hit it just as far as with his lighter Axe Bat. And he was able to control it considerably better than the Anderson Techzilla.

Overall he and I were both pleased with the new bat, as the pop seemed, at worst, only slightly less than his previous bat despite the tougher new standard. We are confident that he’ll do much better with it a few months from now when he’s a little bigger and heavier. At the time of testing, my son was 4′ 10″ tall and weighed 86 pounds. I expect that he’ll be over 100 pounds and over 5′ 0″ tall for most of the time he uses this bat, which will mean a higher swing speed, better bat control, and a return to the consistent hit quality he had with the lighter drop 10 Axe bat he used throughout 2017.

My son and I are not the only ones who appreciate the Element USAbat Axe bat model. A number of other comments and reviews from early adopters are positive about this Axe bat model, including a few comments left on my site from kids who are a couple years younger than my son, using a shorter Element. The Element is looking to be one of the best USAbat models so far.

If you decide to buy the Element direct from the manufacturer, you can use the coupon code JGOL10 to get a 10% discount at checkout.

What about the other drop 5 and drop 8 bats? I have yet to hear anyone praise another model of bat besides this one. However, I simply haven’t seen much commentary on other drop 5 and drop 8 bats, so it could be that a few more good ones will emerge early next year as baseball seasons begin in areas of the U.S. with good weather.

Lighter USAbat Models Between Drop 9 and Drop 12

Courtesy CrimsonGuy from

I have seen much more review and discussion of the lighter bats. There is a growing consensus that it’s a waste of money to buy a light, expensive composite USAbat model. “Dead Logs” is an expression I’m seeing a lot.

Given the new standards, composite bats aren’t going to have any more pop than aluminum. It’s possible though that some composite bats will have a bigger sweet spot and/or a faster, more balanced swing.

So far, the one and only composite bat model that I’ve seen get consistent praise is:

Rawlings 2 5/8″ 2018 Quatro drop 10

Update: There are many reports of barrels cracking on the the 30″ size of the Quatro after little use. Given all these reports, I suggest avoiding this particular size of Quatro. There is not a high volume of cracking complaints on the other sizes.

Easton had great success with the Mako and XL1 over the past few years so many people were hoping Easton would figure out how to bring some of that composite goodness to USAbat models. Apparently not. Mostly negative experiences are being reported for Easton’s Ghost X and Beast X models. Easton spends a lot on R&D so I wouldn’t be surprised if Easton’s 2019 USAbat models greatly improve.

Some of the lighter one-piece aluminum bats are getting good praise. The two models which I have seen receive more praise than any other are:

Rawlings 2 5/8″ 5150 drop 11

Louisville 2 5/8″ Slugger 618 Solo drop 11

The 618 Solo costs nearly double the 5150 and weighs nearly 2 ounces more than advertised, so the 5150 seems like a better value. JAN UPDATE: As of end of January 2018, the 618 Solo is out of stock at many bat selling sites, which lends support to the idea that it is one of the best of the single piece aluminum USAbat models.

FEB UPDATE: In the two months since I wrote this article, I’ve seen much praise for De Marini’s 2 1/2″ model, specifically for use by 7- and 8-year-olds (but not recommended for use with older players and kid pitch as it may be too prone to denting at higher speeds):

2018 DeMarini Uprising (drop 10), 2 1/2″, USAbat

There aren’t many low cost 2 1/4″ models available yet, but these two from Easton are getting some early praise as reasonable options for a slimmer 2 1/4″ barrel:

Easton 2 1/4″ S450 drop 12

Easton 2 1/4″ S350 drop 11

Do note, however, that many models are significantly heavier than what is stated on the bat. For example, the S450 drop 12 sounds very appealing given that it’s both light and inexpensive. However, reported weights for several sizes of the bat are 2.5 ounces more than what is advertised, so it may be more realistic to consider the S450 a drop 10.

In recent years, a new norm among bat makers has them printing bat weights which are a bit under what the bat actually weighs. I guess it would be okay if every bat maker printed exactly one ounce under, because at least then bat weights could be compared easily across models and manufacturers. But unfortunately, actual bat weights are off from printed bat weights anywhere from 0 to 3 ounces.

In my visit to a Big 5 store earlier this month, I weighed 5 different USAbat models. All weighed at least an ounce over what was printed on the bat. The worst offenders were the Easton S150 (over by 2.5 ounces), and the Easton S550 (over by 2 ounces).

I expect the Easton S150 will be a frequent purchase due to the $29.99 price point but I also expect a lot of disappointment because it claims to be a drop 10 and will therefore be purchased for many kids in the 10-12 age range weighing 70-90 pounds. I would imagine most kids swinging an S150 won’t realize they’re actually swinging a heavy drop 8 bat and will just think they are not very good at hitting.

I think there will be much better USAbat options coming out next year for baseball players between the ages of 7 to 12. I am especially excited to see what the lighter Axe bat models are like when they finally come out, because the axe-like knob allows for modifications to the end-cap design that will allow for more balanced swings than other single-piece aluminum designs.


As I mentioned at the start of this article, 2018 is not the season to expect much benefit to buying expensive, composite USAbat models. Bat makers are still struggling to get some of their models to comply with the new USAbat standard, so the only way many of them can do it is to make bats that are little better than last year’s $30 models.

This is not to say that all bats are the same. Axe bats look to have some advantages over the competition, at least among single-piece aluminum bats. With no light USAbat Axe models yet existing, early indications are pointing to the Rawlings 5150 as being the best of the single-piece aluminum offerings for younger players. And if your player absolutely insists on going composite, Rawlings Quatro is looking like it may be the best of the bunch so far, according to early adopters. For older, bigger kids, the drop 8 Axe Bat Element is a very good choice.

Some parents and coaches are disappointed by the quality of the new USAbat models, especially considering that they’re a little more expensive than last year’s models. I think some of this disappointment is related to the transition. The year a new model comes out will be the most expensive because you can’t get closeout models at discounts.

By August of 2018, parents will have a lot more choice. They will be able to save money by buying 2018 models on sale for closeout prices. Or they can wait a couple months for the 2019 models to come out, which I’m guessing will improve significantly from the 2018 models as bat makers continue to learn how to better make bats that meet the USAbat standard.

In the end, the batter matters far more than the bat. BBCOR made this truer than ever for the high school and college level, and the USAbat standard is now doing the same for youth baseball. The performance gap between the best and worst bats is simply not going to be as wide as it was before. Whether or not you think this is a good or bad thing will depend on your perspective.

Author: Joe Golton

I’m a dad with a son who loves baseball. Professionally, I’ve been a software developer, investor, controller, and logistics manager. I now make my living from this blog, supplemented with occasional consulting gigs.

42 thoughts on “USAbat Recommendations and Observations from Early Adopters”

  1. Thanks for this, and for the link to that discussion–very helpful. I noticed that you mentioned that Axe might have an aluminum bat in development for their speed line. I was curious if you have any concrete confirmation of that because that would be great, but when I talked to a customer service agent last month he would only confirm that a composite was in development.

  2. Hi CE – I do know that Axe is working on an offering similar to the 2017 Origin drop 10, though I can’t tell you what the drop will be exactly, when it will be released, or any other features it might have. It does have to pass testing for the new USAbat standard, and therefore it’s possible it could be delayed for a very long time. They hope to have it out by April, though.

  3. Joe,

    Thank you for this blog. I follow your articles quite frequently. I was hoping to get some advise for my son. He is a soon-to-be 9 year old getting ready for his first year of kid pitch. He is small-ish at 4’2″ and about 55 pounds. He is a good contact hitter, and will be coming from a 27″ drop 13 Easton S500. This new standard seems to be severely lacking options for his age/size. Despite middling reviews, I’m seriously considering a 28″ Beast X Hyperlite -12. It seems to be the best of the few lighter bats with a 2-1/4″ barrel.

    Do you agree? I feel like 2-1/4″ barrels are best for this age, but do you think I should look at any big barrels since they seem to have way more selection? I appreciate any input. Keep up the great work!

  4. Hi Bill – It’s not a fun time to be buying a light, 2 1/4″ bat, that’s for sure. I absolutely agree though that someone his age, height, and weight is best off using 2 1/4″. In my mind, that leaves three logical choices:

    1) Wait until the last minute to buy something, hoping for something better to come out. My guess is he’s not playing any games in January. If the games start in March, then buy last week of February.

    2) Buy a really cheap bat, intending to ditch it when something worth paying up for finally comes along. The Easton Models at target range from $25 – $35 and go under the names of Magnum, Hex, and Wildcat.

    3) The Easton S450 is not as bad of a choice as the rest of the 2 1/4″ bats. I discussed it briefly above. It’s heavier than advertised, but a kid his size and wieght should easily be able to handle 28″. If he likes it, stick with it. If not, you can get something else mid season.

    The problem I see with getting an expensive bat like Hyperlite that isn’t very good is that you may get emotionally attached to it working out for him, depending on your financial circumstance, and be resistance to ditching the bat if it isn’t very good.

    Light, 2 1/4″ Axe Bat models will probably be coming out within a few months that meet the USAbat standard. I know for sure they’re working on it. My expectation is that they are going to be the best of the bunch, at least for the single-piece aluminum models and possibly better than anything until better composite models finally hit the market.

  5. Joe, great articles. A couple questions for you… In another post you mention it’s a good idea to use a second heavier bat for practice to build strength. Will it throw off my son if he uses an Axe bat for games and a regular handle bat in practice? Also, my son is only 10 years old, but he’s 5’6” and 110 lbs – exceptionally tall for his age. So even though he’s young, I’m thinking about getting him a 31”Axe Drop -8. Does that make sense?

  6. Wow that’s a really big 10-year-old! 31″ drop 8 should be no problem for a kid that size. Just saw a friend of my son’s who is 12 years old, about the same weight, and 3 inches shorter swinging that bat with no problem.

    I don’t think there’s any issue using a regular bat in practice in terms of hurting his in-game performance. However, what I have seen with my own son is that he loves the Axe handle so much that he hates practicing with any bat that doesn’t have an Axe handle at this point – so I’m not going to get him something he won’t use. Don’t really know if other kids will be like that but it’s a possibility that some will. He has an Anderson Techzilla that he doesn’t like swinging that much because of the knob. So I got him a drop 5 wood axe bat that he prefers swinging (the particular model we got was discontinued).

  7. Joe, my son’s a 13 year old travel ball player with pretty remarkable strength and bat speed; he’s got the arm and shoulder musculature of an adult already, and can definitely choose his pitches, since he can get the bat up to speed so quickly when he wants a pitch. He’s also got very good swing mechanics, though he hasn’t faced a whole lot of very fast or very curveball-heavy pitching yet. He prefers 32″ maple, and hasn’t liked the feel of any teammate’s USABat he’s swung so far. He likes his 30″ BBCOR -3 a lot better than any USABat’s he’s swung, but still prefers 32″ wood to the 30″ BBCOR. I’m having a hard time figuring out what to shop for in a USA Bat model, as his coach wants him to swing a USA Bat in games (though I think BBCOR would be allowed too). Drop 5 seems to be the smallest drop factor available in USABat models. You page has helped more than any other I have found in understanding bat selection, but I’m still at something of a loss understanding exactly how different a BBCOR vs. low-drop USA Bat would perform for him– or what advantages a BBCOR or low-drop USA Bat would have for him over the maple he prefers. Any insights? Thanks.

  8. Glenn – neither my son nor any of his teammates have starting using BBCOR bats so my knowledge of BBCOR is too limited to comment on how they compare to USAbat. But I have a question for you:

    Given that you’re playing travel ball, why is your coach wanting you to use a USAbat model? It isn’t required, and it seems to me like it just handicaps you versus the competition which can use BPF 1.15 bats. As I’m sure you know, not only do BPF 1.15 bat barrels have more pop, but the manufacturers have had years to make some very good models that have many performance advantages over wood. So why use USAbat for kids who are not playing in rec league? Not only does the USAbat standard reduce performance by definition, it also is in the first generation of bats with this new standard.

    Another question – do any of your son’s teammates have an Axe Bat? I’m thinking specifically of the drop 5 2018 Elite Hybrid USAbat. If so, has your son tried it? I have not tried that particular model (way to heavy for my son at this point) but I wouldn’t be surprised if it performed better than the other USAbat models out there. However, it still is not going to be even close to as good performing as BPF 1.15 models.

  9. My son is one of the bigger 12 year olds at 5’7″ and 150. He’s been swinging a 32″ BBCOR in practice for a while and we bought a 32″ -5 USAbat to debut in Little League this spring. My understanding is that the USAbats are limited by rule to 32″ -5, so you can’t get any bigger even if size guides tell you you should. And, for some inexplicable reason you aren’t allowed to use BBCOR in Little League, so we were required to drop a bunch of money on a new bat he’ll potentially use for only three months…

    But regarding Glenn’s travel ball question, you’ll want to look at the governing body of your league. Around here, at least in the more competitive travel ball leagues, 12u and 13u are USAbat or BBCOR, but BPF 1.15 is not allowed. And middle school ball (meaning starting in sixth grade) is BBCOR-only. Which strikes me as a bit crazy, because many of my kid’s friends are much smaller and would have difficulty with BBCOR. But they play NFHS rules, which I gather is common.

    I’d be interested in knowing about the difference between BBCOR and USAbat testing so that kids who can reasonably play both have a basis for deciding between them. I think it’s similar testing, but conducted with a ball moving at different speeds. But if you have a bigger kid who can swing the bat fast, so maybe the USAbat testing is no longer appropriate, what do you do? Anecdotally, the USAbat seems to have slightly more pop but we haven’t used a Rapsodo or anything to measure it. It’s also 7 percent lighter, though it’s not visually clear that his swing is any faster with it. If the USAbat is designed to have no trampoline effect with a 45 mph swing speed, what happens when you give it to a kid with a 65 mph swing?

  10. Lord Action – Thanks for your comments. This is the first time I’ve heard that some travel leagues are adopting USAbat (or BBCOR). I too think it’s crazy to make middle school kids swing BBCOR. My 7th grade son is 4′ 11″ and 85 Lbs so he would have have no chance whatsoever to swing a drop 3 BBCOR. He can’t even swing his drop 8 31″ bat all that well yet! He’s not in a middle school with a baseball team so it’s not an issue for us.

    As for your last question on 45 MPH vs 65 MPH – for whatever reason the testing protocol for USAbat has not been public. What we do know is that the old BPF 1.15 standard only tested at one speed and that manufacturers routinely fooled the test by making the bats satisfy the standard yet perform better at higher swing speeds. We also know it’s harder to fool the BBCOR standard, and that the USAbat standard is supposed to be a similar testing protocol to BBCOR. So this implies that it’s going to be hard to fool the standard and that therefore the trampoline effect won’t change significantly at different swing speeds. But all this is guesswork because the testing protocol is not public, and I therefore haven’t seen it.

  11. We’re in New England:

    • 8U-13U all divisions: USA Stamped Bats Only or BBCOR -3
    • 14U Division I, IA , II & 15U Division II: BBCOR -3 Bats
    • 15U Division I, 16U Division I & 18U Division I & II: Wood Bats”

    But conversely, I wasn’t aware any travel ball leagues were still allowing BPF 1.15. It strikes me as legally risky to be alone on that. The trend is towards heavier and more wood-like bats at younger ages, with wood bat tournaments becoming more popular as well. I understand keeping the bat performance under control, but the emphasis on weight is probably a bit much.

    If you ever find anything on the testing protocol, I’m sure people would interested in seeing it.

  12. USSSA is by far the biggest national travel ball organization running weekend tournaments. They are sticking with BPF 1.15. In CA and NV there is a large regional travel ball organization called ALL WORLD that is also sticking with BPF 1.15. Personally, I hope that everyone switches to USAbat (with option for USAbat or BBCOR for 13 and 14 year olds) eventually. Not sure it will happen though as USSSA has financial incentives to stick with BPF 1.15.

  13. USSSA has a state director here, but very limited presence. I didn’t realize they were that big, although I probably should have.

    Not to be morbid, but wait until they have a mechanical engineering professor explaining to a jury that the ball got to little Timmy 0.25 seconds quicker than it would have off a USAbat, and that’s why he isn’t with us anymore. As a dad, I’m already nervous when my big kid goes to bat 46 feet from a pitcher who might be 10 years old.

    Also, you’re trying to extrapolate to BBCOR performance for most kids, so there’s something to be said for commonality. PerfectGame adopted USAbat and I think that was part of the reasoning.

    But hey, thanks very much for all the information here. This site is a great contribution to parents.

  14. As Lord Action noted, my son’s New England Elite Baseball League’s rules allow USABat or BBCOR at the 13U level, and BBCOR only above that level. BPF 1.15 bats became illegal on January 1st. The rule does not actually make it clear whether wooden bats are even allowed, as it’s phrased as an exception to the general applicability of Massachusetts high school rules. I’ve inquired with the league about whether they intended to rule out wood bats.

    It sure would be nice to be able to understand the difference between the performance of a drop 5 USABat and a drop 3 BBCOR bat, since the USABat he could get this year could only serve for this year, and if they are close, we’d likely opt for the BBCOR for this year. I wonder whether the lack of real detail about the new bat standard is by design, to keep those bat sales up. I wonder, without knowing, and I’m not entirely a conspiracy theorist about it. (There are other good reasons for evolving bat standards. It used to scare me when my son would come up to bat in Little League. With a BPF 1.15 bat he stunned a good number of infielders, fortunately never in the head or face.)

    I wonder whether even with his strong mechanics and bat speed, maybe there are advantages of using a higher drop factor only for this year, though. You can get much higher drop factors for USABats, but BBCOR is always drop 3.

    I also wish I could find better data about the performance of any of these metal bats versus wood bats, which he really does prefer. He just cracked the handle of the wood bat he’s been using and liking this year, though, during batting practice this afternoon. So that’s a factor in deciding what to get.

    I appreciate your attention, and want to thank you again for the great information here.

  15. I’m a little late to the party, but in response to Patrick Kirk’s post on 1/22/18, my son will be swinging a 31″ Axe Element this year. I picked up an older, used 31″ Axe, BPF 1.15, bat at a local sports equipment re-seller for my son to use in the batting cages. I didn’t want him using his new bat on with the hard balls they use at the cages near me, but I wanted him to get use to the Axe handle and heavier bat.

    Last year my son played on a regular Little League team, and Tournament team, which was made up of the better players from LL. The Tournament team played in a few weekend tournaments against regular travel teams. In addition, there was a wood bat tournament thrown in there too. My son ended up using 3 different bats throughout the season (his LL coach didn’t want him to use his Tournament team bat because he thought it was too big for him). I think switching between the bats throughout the year really messed with his swing and timing.

    This year I wanted his practice bat to be as close to his regular bat as possible to hopefully minimize the difference. Since you can’t find used USBats yet, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to use an old BPF 1.15 in the cages.

  16. In response to Lord Action and Glenn Picher, I live in the Chicago area, and all of the travel teams are sticking with USSSA bats. I do know that there is a lot of confusion about what bats are allowed in the various leagues. I’ve heard of USAbats not being allowed in travel tournaments where USSSA bats are allowed. I’ve also heard of a Little League district near me that didn’t allow wooden bats until someone at the State level got involved. I have a feeling that this year is going to be a real mess.

  17. This has been a very useful conversation. We’re attending a tournament in the south later this spring, and it prompted me to check the bat rules. Apparently it’s open to BPF 1.15, USAbat, BBCOR, and wood for everything under 14u, at which point they require -5 but don’t specify certification any further, and 15u, at which point they require BBCOR. As I said above, locally everything seems to be USAbat or BBCOR, with the odd wood bat tournament thrown in.

  18. Hi Joe,

    Great blog. I just discovered it a couple of days ago and really enjoy your posts.

    My son is 6 y/o, but is tall (48″) and thin. He will be playing coach pitch (USA Bat) and I’m confused on which bat to get him. It will be his first season playing, but we have been doing tee work, soft toss, etc. for a while so he is not a total beginner. He is a good little athelete and I played college ball so hopefully am giving him decent instruction.

    The bat size charts have recommend a 28″ bat based on his height, but I’m guessing these haven’t been updated for the new (heavier) USA standards. What would you recommend as far as length/weight/barrell size? From what I’ve read the high-end composite bats aren’t worth the money so I’d prefer to stay under $150 or so.


  19. Nathan – The simple answer is to get a tee ball bat, so long as he’s permitted to use that in whatever league he plays in.

    Most leagues do allow use of Tee Ball bats through age 6. The Axe Bat Hero is a particularly good T-ball bat model and you can get the BPF 1.15 version in 26″. Note that the USAbat standard is much looser on Tee Ball bats – they don’t really care what Tee Ball bat is used and in fact they sell a cheap USAbat sticker that you can put on Tee Ball bats that don’t have already have a USAbat logo.

    I understand that, due to his being tall, you may be looking to get the next level up for a bat. However, the reviews for small 2 1/4″ bats have been, at best, lukewarm. The so-called light 2 1/4″ bats that are drop 11 or drop 12 are all weighing in at least two ounces more than what is claimed.

    My guess is if you wait a few months (or better yet a year), there will finally be some USAbat models for the 2 1/4″ size that are better. He’s young, so you may as well take advantage of being able to use a T-ball bat while you can (assuming, that is, you really can).

    If, after reading all this, you still want to get a 27″ bat, then the Easton S450 is basically your only choice at this point, but it ways around 2 1/2 ounces more than what is claimed. Hopefully, there will be better choices within a few months.

  20. Hi Joe,

    Awesome site – lots of great info on the USA bats.

    Not sure what I’m going to do with for my 9 year old who is 4 foot 3 and 55 lbs. Any thoughts on a bat that he might actually be able to swing?

    I did an online chat with a rep on Easton’s website. I asked about all of their bats coming in heavy. The rep (Alyssa) said that the bats should be within half an ounce of the stated weight, but they realize that there is an issue with their USA line. They are working to remedy the problem, but she said they do not anticipate a fix within the next couple of months….in other words, not for this season.

  21. Hi Matt – That’s exactly the size and weight my son was at when he was playing baseball at the age of 9. I would try to keep it at no more than 18 ounces.

    As you say, Easton is overweight on their bats – and I can tell you from weighing many bats over the past 3 years that most of their bats are overweight in general for many models in the drop 8 to drop 13 range – it’s not a new thing with the USAbat models. So don’t hold your breath waiting for Easton to put out bats that weigh as much as they claim. While Easton is one of the worst offenders, I have weighed many bats that are over from other manufacturers as well.

    Getting back to advice for your son – you basically have two choices at this point:

    1) Wait a couple months hoping for a reliably light USAbat model to come out. I know Baden Sports is working hard to try to get 2 1/4″ drop 10 Axe bats out in time for the start of the spring season and it would be great if they did come out with some lighter Axe choices, because their weights have been reliably over by almost exactly 1 ounce on all the drop 12 and drop 10 models I’ve weighed over the past couple years. That’s still over, but at least it’s predictably over by the same amount.

    If you do hold off for the possibility that Axe bats will be available in time for the season start, you can probably go with a 29″ drop 10 (or better yet 29″ drop 11 if that’s a choice). It’s possible other manufacturers will release new models as well.


    2) Get a short, cheap bat for now. Probably the 2 1/4″ Easton 450 drop 12 (which should more realistically be labeled a drop 10), in a 28 inch length. Keep using it until you’re convinced someone has come out with a better model for small, young players.

    The bat choices this year for small 7 to 9 year olds playing recreation league baseball are not good, for leagues that are adhering to the USAbat standard. I succeeded in convincing my son’s league to allow the old USSSA standard for 2 1/4″ bats, for 2018 only (but 2 5/8″ must use USAbat standard). I’m optimistic that by 2019 there will be plenty of good light, 2 1/4″ choices appropriate for 7-9 year olds. Unfortunately, not yet.

  22. Thanks, Joe

    Yeah, had the S450 been close to the stated weight, I wouldn’t have even thought twice about it. He has the body type that drop 12s were made for.

    We’ve never used one, but I’ve been reading about Axe – and everything I’ve read leads me to believe that a drop 10 for Axe is equivalent to a drop 11 or even drop 12 for other companies because of the design.

    Fortunately, we’re in Massachusetts – so the season usually doesn’t start until the second week of April. So if Axe can get one out in the next 6 weeks or so, it’s definitely an option.

    But if they can’t get one on the market, I’ll probably go with your second option. I’ll bring my food scale to Dick’s and buy the lightest bat I can find.

  23. Hi again Joe,

    You seem to have more knowledge on the mythical drop 10 Axe that is coming out than anyone not employed by Baden….On Axe’s website, the bat is blurred out and on their facebook page they keep telling folks that they’ve submitted it for approval and are waiting just like us.

    I’m curious – are you sure it’s going to be 2 1/4? I’m not seeing that anywhere….and I don’t suppose you happen to have any clue as to the planned price point?

  24. Matt – I do communicate regularly with my contact(s) at Baden Sports. I have asked about it several times but they were unwilling to give me details about the forthcoming Axe bats. Basically, they don’t like to make promises unless they are very sure they can deliver.

    Reading between the lines, I believe they are having trouble getting their youth-oriented bats (2 1/4″ barrels at weights appropriate for 7-10 year olds) through the USAbat testing protocol, and have probably had to redesign the bat at least once.

    Their original intention/aim was to have at least one drop 10, 2 1/4″ model available at a price point not too far off from $100. However, if it proves to be too difficult to achieve a bat of a high quality level that passes the USAbat test protocols, I could imagine them going back to the drawing board and maybe ending up with a drop 9, or something even more different from the bat they were originally hoping to produce.

    It is also possible the time line will further slip and they won’t be able to have anything ready in time for the 2018 Spring season.

    Some of this is guesswork on my part, so take it for whatever it’s worth. The only thing I know for sure is that they really do want to have a light, 2 1/4″ USAbat option for the Axe bat line.

  25. My son is 6. He is about 4’6″ and weighs in the mid 40s. Last year at 5 he used the rawlings 5150 big barrel 25″ 15 oz. This year he is still going to be playing in the 5/6 league but has to move to the USA bats. I bought him the smallest 5150 rawlings that I could find. It was a 28″ 18 oz though it seemed heavier. My son had trouble with it being top heavy. I decided to get him the 27/17 demarini uprising. It is a 2 1/2 dia. barrel. He likes it much better than the rawlings at this point. The weight distribution seems much better. Have you an opinion on the demarini or the 2 1/2 barrel? thanks

  26. At the age of 6, I would normally recommend sticking with Tee ball bats, and especially this year because the USAbat options are not good for the light 2 1/4″ youth bats targeting 7-9 year olds. The testing for USAbat compliance does not apply to tee ball bats so they can make bats that are easier for small kids to swing.

    However, your son is very tall for a 6 year old so I can understand your temptation to try bigger bats. As a coach, I prefer to see kids below the height of 4′ 9″ or so swinging 2 1/4″ bats. They are much better able to control the bats, and they get better at squaring up the barrel when the barrel is not fat. They also can swing the bat much faster.

    I haven’t read much about (or seen first hand) one of the 2 1/2″ DeMarini Uprising bats so it could be that’s a good compromise. I really appreciate your leaving the comment here about that bat and would love it if you could report back in a few weeks from now to tell us how it’s been going with the Uprising for your son.

  27. I definitely agree with the swing a heavier bat idea. This was my thought as soon as I heard about the new bat standards. As long as the bat speed does not suffer much it should work. I did some research and bought my son the Axe Elite two piece bat. Overall the bat hits great. Baseball season has just started and he has almost hit 2-3 home runs in practice off of slow coach pitch. He has also drilled the ball into the outfield on the ground to the fence and line drives a number of times. I can’t see a difference in his hitting power from his Easton Mako bat from the past two years and this years Elite bat. The Mako was a drop 11 20 oz composite bat with all of the magic that Easton put in it to hit far and the Elite is a drop 5 26 oz bat conforming to the USA Bat standards. Not all kids will be able to swing as heavy of a bat as this one, but if they can then do it (or a drop 8).

  28. GB – Thanks for your comments. Swinging heavy works especially well with Axe bats. However, if going heavier, it’s a good idea not to go longer as well. After a month of practices, my 87 lb son is still not swinging his 31″ drop 8 Axe Element all that well yet. I figure another month will give him another inch of height and another few pounds and he’ll finally be able to swing it. But had he got a 30″ instead, he would have been able to swing it well right away.

    It was a double move for him as last year he swung a 30″, drop 10 Axe.

  29. Hi, I love your blog, especially in this chaotic and frankly exploitative initial year of USA bat standards.

    I’ve got a moderately skilled but enthusiastic and developing 10-year old (around 48″ tall & ~85 lbs) who’s currently swinging a 29″ (-12) S450, to emphasize bat speed as he’s not got huge upper body strength, and of course to comply with LL’s USA bat standard. He’s doing well with it, but he’s also getting stronger (he also uses a 29″ maple bat in practice that I’d estimate is 25 ozs. to swing in practice) so I’m looking at moving him up to 30″ and maybe a (-10).

    I see you liked the Rawlings 5150, but I also note that you don’t mention the comparable Louisville Slugger Omaha bat. Do you have any opinions about the LS Omaha (-10)?

  30. Chris – I haven’t personally seen the Louisville Slugger Omaha used by any players in our league yet, but there are many reports on line that this weighs about 2 oz more than is stated. So consider it more of a drop 8. A drop 8 for an 85 pound kid is definitely feasible but if you choose to go with a heavy bat like this, you should probably stick with a 29″. That extra inch actually adds more difficulty to a swing than an extra ounce or two.

  31. Hi my son is new to baseball. He’s 9 but 5’2 and 105lbs. Can you recommend a size of bat he should be using? We aren’t going to buy one yet as I’d like him to try a bunch of the teams, but I’d like to know where to start.

    Charts online said 31″ but didn’t give recommendations on drop.


  32. additionally what to look for since he’s a beginner (he has had some batting around the house)

  33. Amber – If he was 13 years old or even 12 I too would recommend 31″. But given that he’s 9 and new to baseball, 31″ would likely be too difficult for him to control unless he’s remarkably athletic and coordinated. I would have him try 30″ bats that are drop 10 or drop 11. If he is required to get a USAbat, note that many are much heavier than stated so that is yet another reason to steer away from 31″. Even a drop 12 could makes sense for him as in reality the drop 12 USAbat models out so far are more like drop 10.

  34. Amber – There are not very many USAbat models available. Given that it’s his first bat, I would stick with single-piece aluminum bats which are less expensive and generally easier to control. Given how big he is, 2 5/8″ barrel thickness is doable, but 2 1/4″ is also something you can consider.

  35. Hi Joe, your site is great, I was suspicious of the bat sizing charts readily available at Dicks and online. My son is 7 and 4’1.5″ in stocking feet and approximately 55-57 lbs. I bought him a s350 in a 28″ and I wonder if I should have gotten an s450, but they were not available at the time. He seems to do OK but I wonder if I should also offer him a second lighter option to try to compare it. I note you recommended to Matt above a 28″ s450 (because that’s the best of what’s available now) for a 9 year old who is 4’3″ and 55 lbs. My kid is about an inch shorter and younger (7 now, 8 in October) but seemingly relatively similar in size (not sure how great minor size differences are at this age). Do you think it’s it worth also getting an s450 in a 28″ if he already has an s350 in a 28″? Or I suppose I could try a 27″ in a s350 or s450? Pros and cons? Or am I close enough with what he has that minor fine-tuning the bat size won’t make much of a difference? I wish I could try these out somewhere but that’s not really an option. Thanks in advance for your advice.

  36. Tom – One thing you’re certainly right about is that trying them out is the best thing. Do other players on your son’s team have some of the new USAbat models that he can try? Because these bats are overweight, the 28″ S350 may very well be too heavy, but one solution that doesn’t involve returning it and getting a new bat is getting him to choke up half an inch for the first couple months he’s using it. He may very well be big enough to swing it well by the end of the season.

    In case you haven’t seen it, I did describe an empirical test I’ve found fairly reliable to see if a bat is too heavy, in:

    Is Your Kid’s Bat too Heavy? Here’s How to Tell

  37. Thanks, Joe, for the reply. Very helpful advice. The only new USA bats other kids have that are smaller are a 27″ s250 (so same weight as his bat, but an inch shorter) and an Adidas tee ball bat (probably a 26″) that one shorter boy uses. Nobody has the other bats in the sizes I’m considering. I’ll try the soft toss test, thanks for that info. I am not averse to getting him another bat, but only if it makes sense, so I will experiment some more. It sounds like an acceptable remedy is to have him choke up a little. I agree with one of your other posts about most kids at this age have mediocre mechanics and that is part of the equation.

  38. Hey Joe,

    Thank you for all the information you give all of us. My son is 9 years old, 57″ and 72 lbs. He is a solid contact hitter with exceptional speed who hates to strike out and has a really good eye. I got him the Axe Origin 28″ -8 using your promo code and it looks to me that it’s too heavy. He has always been a bit behind and hits opposite field a lot but could pull the ball when he gets his timing down. With the Axe bat he seems to be constantly behind no matter how slow the pitch. He pulls 1 out of every 15 pitches in the cage (40mph). We went back to his Easton S500 28″ 15oz and he started actually pull 1 out of every 7 pitches in the 40 mph cage and 1 out of every 12 or so pitches in the 55mph cage. I am wondering 2 things. 1 do you think the bat is too heavy and looking at his height and weight should I bump him up to a 29″ bat that is 18oz or stick with the 28″ 17oz bat? I was thinking of getting him the Rawlings 2018 5150 USA Bat -11. The issue is he loves the Axe handle but I was thinking that for now he can use the Axe in practice and the lighter bat in games till he can constantly hit the Axe bat. Please let me know what you think since the season starts in 2 weeks and practice has started.

  39. Hi Tony – I agree with your reasoning. 29″ is typical for someone of the age, height, and weight you describe, and while most 9-year olds are best off with drop 12s, your son is big enough to use a drop 10 successfully. While there exist 9-year olds who can swing a drop 8, it’s unusual (they are kids who are far ahead developmentally and have a huge upper body).

    If you have the ability to test out bats from other players on your son’s team, I strongly suggest you do that with several bats, by hitting soft toss into a net:

    You’ll find soon enough which bats he handles well.

    Baden is still trying to get out a drop 10 USAbat model out within the next couple months but your son’s season may be over before the lighter Axe bats come on line, unfortunately.

  40. I know this is a older post but the Rawlings 5150 statement is untrue. The 618 isn’t double the price it’s $100 vs )179$ and is has a 13$ wrap on it . I have two scales both accurate and the Rawlings is 2-2.5 heavy and 618 is less than 1 oz stated. Bats are weighed with graphics and end cap and a1.75 wrap weight is .6 if one oz so that’s not it. And I am comparing-11 to -11 18 or 19 it’s the same with both models.

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