We reviewed some products to find one of the best youth baseball bats out there on the market. We came up with a few options, but with overall quality and durability, Easton Mako Beast seems to win the race.
Our pick: Easton MAKO Beast -11 2017
Youth baseball bats are characterized by a 2 ¼ inch barrel diameter and are lighter than the adult or senior league bats. To be more precise, their length to weight ratio is between -8 and -13.
Apart from the more traditional youth baseball bats, they are also known as little league baseball bats or small barrel bats. Just like any other sporting equipment, small barrel bats are designed and manufactured by several brands. Although these brands conform to the universal basic shape of a baseball bat, there are differences in their products implying that some are better than others.
Buying several bats and testing them one by one could be illogical for you but certainly not for us. We will help you narrow your search to a few quality bats. You won’t be disappointed, not by consenting to the flow of internet hype but by researching and making our conclusions.
Most Easton loyalists who play in the little league talk about it. It could be overhyped, but there is a reason everyone thinks this is the best a hitter can find. Besides, it packs all the technology one can hope to find.
Why did we pick it?
Our pick was plainly impressive in all aspects. It has great pop, feels great in your hands and kids will certainly like it for its look. Below is what you get from our pick.
Thermo Composite Technology (TCT)
TCT is exclusive to the MAKO. It handles the reduced vibration in your bat’s handle. The technology was purposely designed to distribute all the power generated from a swing into the ball upon impact. With TCT, you will also note that our pick’s barrel is longer which consequently makes the sweet spot bigger. Easton claims that its design reduces the moment of inertia (MOI) to lower resistance and hence increase the speed of the bat throughout your swings. Taking a break from the jargon, we confirmed that the bat delivers what it promises. It has a very light swing.
ConneXion Design (CXN)
Another innovative technology you will find on our pick is CXN. The technology’s core purpose is to optimize on performance; it utilizes a technique christened hinge’ to ensure efficient transfer of energy. Additionally, CXN Technology isolates the bat’s barrel from its handle. The result is a bigger hitting surface and substantial elimination of vibration.
TCT and CXN are the two primary technologies that drew our attention to the 2017 Mako for youth baseball. Other techniques used on our pick are two-piece composite construction, balanced barrel load, and performance diamond grip. Performance diamond grip is the technology responsible for improving the bat’s feel when it is in your hands. It gives you a better grip and ensures that the bat won’t slip between your palms when you swing.
From our perspective, our pick looks like it can survive for an extended period. We noticed that while it is new, it loses some of its paint although this is not such a big issue to worry. Some online reviews state that Mako bats have a tendency of losing their caps if exposed to rigorous play although the one we used for testing did not disappoint us.
We were also interested in the bats’ structural integrity. For instance, did the caps come off after just a few hits or did it show signs of degrading by losing chunks of paint and such?
The experience you get from our pick
All of the young players say that it has great pop. It also has a very light swing that is something young players seem to like. With both TCT and CXN technologies designed to keep vibration at minimal levels, you won’t even notice it. However, the best thing about it is that your balls might start going further than you have made them go before. Just remember that even though how far a ball goes depends on how good you are at hitting, the quality of your bat can make an enormous difference between you and your competitors. This bat is approved by all leading baseball associations.
Our pick will cost you around $280 which is agreeably expensive, but you won’t complain. As a side note, most kids love the color scheme.
2016 Bat Sizing Chart
Who is it for?
The bat will find favor with most little league players. However, it best befits hitters who prefer light swinging bats. You might also want to note that this is not an ideal choice for kids or parents on a budget. At $ 280, it would only be a worthwhile investment for serious players. The bat is also an excellent choice for Easton loyalists who always want to have the brand’s latest release. It’s somewhat similar in performance to the 2014 youth baseball Mako, but if you have the cash to blow and feel that your previous Mako is aged, you can go on and purchase this one. This one will not impress hitters who prefer a one piece bat.
What to look for when purchasing a bat?
Arguably, technology has spoilt today’s players. They have many features and innovations, thus making it difficult to select. Due to the confusion, most people purchase brands instead of bats. It is not to refute the fact that some brands produce exceptionally good bats but if you want to find the best, adhere to these guidelines.
The first important thing you should look into is size. With bats, you will be considering length, barrel size and weight. The standard size for little league bats is a 2¼” diameter. However, the length of your bat will depend on your height and preference. Taller kids prefer a 32” while the shorter ones will be more comfortable with 29” variants. Most brands produce their bats in different sizes.
Weight determines your style. Older players prefer heavier sticks that give them maximum power. Since we are talking about younger players here, we recommended lighter bats for higher speed when you swing.
The second important factor you should be careful with is the feel. A good bat should feel like an extension of your arms when it is in your hands. The handle should have an excellent grip so that you won’t feel it slipping between your palms when you begin sweating, and at the same time it should not hurt you with friction.
The last thing although it should bother you is league requirements. A bat can be superb on its performance but may fail if it has no approval by the league. Note that although people purchase them, there is no point in buying an extraordinarily performing bat that you won’t get to use in competitions. In other words, practice with what you can use. Before purchasing, be sure to check whether a bat is approved by all Youth leagues.
The Runner-Up: Combat Youth Maxum
Combat is a reputed brand and often on the lips of little league players. It gains its credibility from its ability to create one-piece composite bats. The name primarily gained popularity after its release of the original B1 DaBomb, which is rarely left out on lists of the best small barrel bats ever made. Since its initial hit, it has improved on design every year to make it even better. As you might already have guessed, the Maxum is a better performing iteration of G3 Portent.
You get a balanced swing weight bat if you opt for this one. We liked the lizard skin tape that is exclusive to combat bats. It enhances Maxum’s balance, and from all the reports we collected, its feel is unrivaled. It gives you an excellent grip and feels. Just like laptops and smartphones struggle to grow thinner, the prize winner for baseball bats is a big barrel and sweet spot. All brands make claims of being best, but the Maxum has it.
If you do not like the Easton, the Combat will be an excellent alternative. Besides, it is one piece and will suit people who like the power of our pick but just can’t settle for a two-piece bat.
3rd place: DeMarini 2017 Voodoo Balanced
It is another excellent alternative for those who won’t like our first two options. Users admit that the bat is a little bit heavy and does not have the greatest balance, but they apparently liked the extra drawn from this flaw. Overall, it is an excellent performer with features to take your game a notch higher.
In previous versions of the VooDoo, the vibration was an issue and honestly, we were a little skeptical about the manufacturer’s claim of taking care until we got feedback from our hitters. Vibration is gone or rather, the energy is redirected where it should be. That would, of course, be in the sweet spot of the barrel so that you get the most from every swing. ION-V End Cap technology put an end to unpleasant reviews and claims that the VooDoo isn’t so great at eliminating vibration.
Another technology we loved is the Flame Tampering Treatment, which seamlessly binds the bat’s barrel and handles for enhanced performance. The RCK knob also caught our attention; it has a rounded edge that not only feels great when swinging but also protects your hands from blisters.
Wrapping It Up
Bats are for hitting and as you would expect, they degrade. High-end models will last for years, but there are some things you can do to extend a bat’s lifespan. The first precaution is limiting the bat to individual use. Secondly, try as much as possible always to use leather covered softballs and baseballs. Always avoid hitting balls that were recently soaked in water. Also, make sure that you are not wearing out only one side of your barrel. Always tilt the bat a little bit with every swing.
These bats don’t have the same price, but from experience, we can tell you that an expensive barrel is more likely to perform better. However, consider your budget and since you are the person to buy it for your child, be very careful not to bow to his/her demands. Also, do not listen to everything your child says and especially if you are not a big fan of baseball yourself. Consider conducting your research before purchasing.
Mako Beast -11 Two-Piece Composite Bat, Easton
Compat Portent, Combat
DeMarini Vodoo, DeMarini