2016 youth bat reviews

Although the 2018 USA Baseball leagues have adopted a new rule (see change here). We still want to be able to provide you with the older bat reviews for your comparison with the new upcoming season. If you're looking for all of the new 2018 USA Youth Baseball bats, please scroll over our navigation bar for the most up-to-date releases and reviews. 

*Please note, these bats will not be eligible for the upcoming 2018 USA Baseball Season.*

SUMMARY: The 2016 Centerfire hybrid was the last youth bat produced by the Anderson Bat Company before the USABAT Standard takes effect. Similar to the Anderson 2008 Nano Tek XP, the Centerfire encompasses a 2 piece hybrid construction that provides an ultra- balanced swing weight for quicker and more fluid swings through the strike zone. The barrel features Anderson’s unique AB 9000 aerospace alloy which generates optimum power, stronger durability and a deafening sound when colliding with the ball. The multi-layered composite handle eliminates any irritating shock vibrations to the hitter’s hands while simultaneously distributing a faster whip and a stiff grip upon the handle.

2016 Anderson bat company centerfire youth bat

OUR REVIEW: Much like our evaluation of the Anderson Techzilla XP, the 2016 Centerfire received consistently positive ratings from our team and pool of hitters. In fact, our volunteer sluggers gave the Centerfire one of the highest overall ratings among any bat in the categories of Vibration Control and Grip/Comfort.  On their scorecards, many of our players notated the impressively loud “ping” heard during impact. One child stated, “The best feeling in baseball is when your bat tells you how good you hit it.” During our Pop analysis, the Centerfire displayed tremendous distance especially for a baseball bat designed more for speed than power. The combination of Anderson’s aerospace alloy and composite handle created a perfect blend of power, comfort and speed for our hitters. 2018 Youth Bats highly recommends the 2016 Anderson Centerfire as a bat for players of all statures especially those looking to improve the overall efficiency of their swing. Although this bat may not be valid for the 2018 season due to the USA Bat Standard rule change, we recommend this bat as a training youth bat!

           2016 combat maxum youth bat

SUMMARY: When developing the 2016 Maxum youth bat, Combat had one singular intention in mind- to create the most effective and powerful fully composite youth baseball bat ever produced. The Maxum features a single piece composite construction which utilizes Combat’s “Precision Molding Technology”. With this technique, the Maxum distributes consistent pop throughout the barrel with an expanded sweet spot that’s  documented to be larger than any other 2 ¼ barrel ever made. In addition to the unmatched power potential, the Maxum also carries the lightest swing weight of any Combat ever made. Needless to say, the performance of this bat has the potential to elevate a hitter’s offensive productivity to a new level.

OUR REVIEW: Our evaluation of Combat’s record breaking youth bat garnered much anticipation from our youth hitters. The positive feedback rendered for the Maxum was overwhelming. First, it received high scores from our volunteers in every category including a near perfect score in “Grip & Comfort”.  One particular hitter stated the Maxum gave him “a stiff and relaxed feel”.  At the pop station, a significant proportion of players who considered themselves contact hitters stated they had never experienced having this much pop ever before. About 1 out of7 hitters notated feeling the unwanted shock vibrations at the handle. After enduring hundreds of swings during our evaluation, it proved to be very durable as well with the structure of the bat well intact. We highly recommend the Combat Maxum for youth baseball players of all ages, shapes and sizes.

SUMMARY: The 2016 Easton Mako features a multitude technological advancements geared towards maximizing offensive productivity and overall comfort for the hitter.  The most significant aspect of these Makos is undoubtedly the patented   TCT™ Thermo Composite Technology. Every Mako bat is comprised with this formulated material which produces quicker swing speeds, an enlarged sweet spot, and a more impactful collision with the ball. The 2016 Mako also showcases Easton’s Two-Piece ConneXion which utilizes a special hinge between the barrel and handle keeping them separated yet securely connected. This allows for max energy transfer and the elimination of irritating shock vibrations to the hitter’s hands.

            2016 easton mako youth bat

OUR REVIEW: Upon concluding our evaluation of the 2016 Mako youth bat, we can confidently state that the overall performance definitely ranks among the best youth bats we have ever examined.  The Mako received high scores in all five categories we analyze along with a 100% approval rating from our youth hitters. The feel for the new HYPERSKIN handle coupled with the Two-Piece ConneXion™ proved to provide our hitters with a smooth transition of energy and a comfortable grip. During the observational portion of the evaluation, this bat showcased a perfect blend of pop, speed, and fluidity. One particular hitter’s Scorecard stated “This is the best Mako I have ever used. I only go Mako!!”  Simply put, the 2016 Mako is one of the best bats on the market and comes highly recommended by our team.

    2016 easton mako xl youth bat

SUMMARY: The 2016 Mako XL utilizes many of the advanced technological features found in a standard Mako except for the end loaded barrel. The XL edition encompasses an end loaded variation designed to provide an unmatched level of pop for hitters that can handle an off balance weight distribution. Similar to the standard Mako, the Mako XL utilizes Easton’s TCT™ Thermo Composite Technology.  This specialized innovation offers hitters increased bat speed, stronger durability, and an enlarged sweet spot which significantly intensifies the trampoline effect on the baseball. This bat also incorporates Easton’s patented Two-Piece ConneXion that applies a special hinge technology to the barrel and handle keeping them attached without touching.  This design maximizes energy transfer while simultaneously eliminating any shockwave vibrations to the hitter’s hands. As mentioned earlier, the main difference between the Mako XL and a standard Mako is the end loaded barrel. The XL carries an uneven distribution of weight placing more weight in the sweet spot region which delivers additional pop. Alternatively, a standard Mako provides a balanced weight distribution throughout the entire length of the bat making it much easier to achieve a fluid level swing.

OUR REVIEW: Parents, if you find yourself at a crossroads between purchasing a standard Mako or Mako XL for your child, there are some crucial factors one must consider:

  1. Throughout the entire evaluation process, my staff and I were thoroughly impressed with the added pop of the Mako XL vs the standard Mako. Pending your child has the skills and abilities to operate a bat with uneven weight distribution, the Mako XL will add distance and power to a swing.
  2. Parents, please don’t underestimate the effect an end loaded barrel has on a hitter’s balance and overall level of comfort.  Since this model comes equipped with a more top heavy design, we only suggest using this bat for advanced hitters strong enough to maintain a level swing with top heavy barrel. After reviewing our volunteer hitter’s Scorecards a significant portion mentioned feeling a bit off with their swing.The Mako XL was designed for skilled players looking to hit for power with every swing. Contact hitters should shy away from this bat and try a standard Mako that offers a balanced swing weight. That being said, if your child possesses the size and ability to operate an end loaded barrel, we highly recommend the 2016 Mako XL.   

SUMMARY: The 2016 Easton S2 was designed to increase bat speed for hitters that prefer hybrid bats. The main feature of the S2 involves its special hybrid composition of alloy and composite. The barrel is comprised of Easton’s signature HMX Hyperlite Matrix aluminum giving the bat a significantly higher “pop value” compared to most alloy bats on the market. The handle features Easton’s SIC black carbon composite material providing a firm and solid grip. The S2 also utilizes with the company’s patented Two-Piece ConneXion™ technology that merges the barrel and handle. This innovation optimizes energy transfer and reduces shock vibrations upon the hitter’s hands. 

              2016 easton s2 youth bat

OUR REVIEW: During the 2016 Easton S2 evaluation process, we centralized our efforts on bat speed, shock vibration, and overall comfort. The design of this bat was never intended for power hitters. Our team felt the best way to gage the S2 involved utilizing volunteer hitters who emphasize contact hitting vs slugging power.  When the Scorecards were reviewed, the majority of “contact” hitters gave the S2 high scores in Grip/Comfort and Shock Vibration. Not many hitters mentioned a noticeable increase in bat speed, yet the majority of our hitters stated the felt loose and comfy when swinging the S2. This information tells us that the S2 is a great bat for players who might struggle locating the pitch vs driving it. It is definitely a great bat for less experienced or smaller contact hitters transitioning into higher divisions of baseball.

               2016 easton s3 youth bat

SUMMARY: The Easton 2016 S3 line of fully aluminum bats serves a singular yet vital purpose. Its design is centralized on maximizing hitter’s bat speed. From knob to barrel, these bats come equipped with Easton’s patented HMX Hyperlite Matrix aluminum alloy which enhances the sweet spot and provides stronger durability compared to older Easton models aluminum bats. The one piece barrel to handle composition produces an open and direct channel of power transfer from the hitter’s hands to the point of contact.  With its super lightweight design and stiff grip, Easton created the S3 line specifically for young contact hitters or any player who struggles with locating pitches.

OUR REVIEW: What the S3 lacks in raw power, it more than compensates with quicker swings and durability.  If you are in the market for a bat that amplifies power, the S3 isn’t for you. It may seem counterintuitive for players to swing a bat that intentionally places little emphasis on pop, however not every hitter benefits from heavy power bats. Players who exert difficulties seeing and timing pitches should consider the S3. While the S2 also aims to raise bat speed, it’s a bit heavier making it not as quick as the S3. During evaluations, a hitters between ages 5-7 who characterized themselves as “contact hitters” gave the S3 high scores in Grip & Comfort. Parents, we strongly urge you to please purchase a bat that best compliments your child’s style of play. We highly recommend this bat for young players demonstrating a difficult time seeing the ball. Also, we wouldn’t suggest using this bat in a division where pitchers average pitch speeds of 50MPH and higher.

SUMMARY: IIn 2015, Louisville Slugger launched their most innovative line of youth baseball bats entitled the Prime 915 which eventually became one of the highest rated composite bats of that year. The 2016 Prime 916 comes equipped with the same technological advancements but features a slightly larger barrel. The 916 utilizes Louisville Slugger’s patented TRU3 connection technology that syncs the handle and barrel without the two physically touching. By keeping both pieces separate yet still securely fused, any stinging shock vibrations gets absorbed before reaching the handle allowing for a smooth transfer of energy to create the maximum potential for power. Both the barrel and handle are composed of Louisville Slugger’s patented FCS (Fused Carbon Structure) composite which provides an enlarged sweet spot and enhanced durability with a balanced swing weight.

2016 Louisville Slugger Prime 916 Youth bat

OUR REVIEW: To no one’s surprise, the Prime 916 received tremendous feedback from our volunteer hitters. Many players notated delivering significant pop off the bat and feeling very little discomfort upon the grip. One hitter notated that the Prime 916 had “super comfy feel” when clenching the Lizard Skins Grip. The bat’s FCS composite makeup coupled with Louisville Slugger’s TRU3 connection technology definitely produced a noticeable power and bat speeds.  Another hitter mentioned on his Scorecard “every swing I felt more confident!” The Prime 916 is definitely a bat we recommend for all types of hitters especially those who prefer heavier composites over lighter alloys.     

2016 Louisville slugger Select 716 Youth bat

SUMMARY: The 2016 Louisville Slugger Select 716 is specially designed to administer a powerful delivery on the ball while being one of the lightest hybrid bats on the market. This bat features the company’s TRU3 connection technology that secures the alloy barrel and composite handle. This unique 3 piece construction provides incredible pop while eliminating shock vibration. Both of these attributes combined with the durable and lightweight AC21 alloy barrel greatly increases power and speed on the baseball. The 100% fully composite handle with the Lizard Skins Grip delivers a stiff and comforted feel.

OUR REVIEW: After evaluating the 2016 Louisville Select 716, the most popular aspect of this bat involved the number of recorded “solid connections” achieved by our contact hitters. This information tells us that the 716 does a great job of providing a fluid swing generating a good blend of pop and speed. Normally, baseball bats that feature a light weight structural design tend to sacrifice some degree of pop to compensate for the increased speed. In the case of the Select 716, our team observed an impressive amount of power.  The TRU3 dynamic socket technology proved effective in providing a comfortable feel according to the near perfect scores from our Scorecards in the categories of Grip/Comfort and Vibration Control. Parents, it’s worth mentioning that the overall barrel size of this bat is smaller than Louisville Slugger’s other line of 2016 bats called the Prime 916. That model is fully composite and offers more pop potential than the Select 716. However, if bat speed is a key area of improvement for your child, the Select 716 is a great option.

SUMMARY: Due to an overwhelming amount of positive feedback for the 2015 Nighthawk softball bats, Mizuno has decided to produce a version for youth baseball players. The 2016 Nighthawk youth bat encompasses a hybrid design with a -13 drop. The alloy barrel and composite handle are tightly connected using Mizuno’s patented 2- Piece LINK construction which eliminates any shock vibration on the hitter’s hands and provides a comfortable grip. To further enhance the pop off the barrel, Mizuno included their MZ3000 wall design. This feature creates 6 specific thickness zones that increases the overall barrel size, enlarges the sweet spot and strengthens durability while also producing lower swing weights. Typically, if a player aims to accelerate his or her bat speed, they would consider utilizing fully aluminum bats which open more channels for shock vibration to the hands. The 2016 Nighthawk allows young hitters to swing a quick bat without sacrificing comfort.

        2016 mizuno nighthawk youth bat

OUR REVIEW: Going into our Blackhawk evaluation, our team was very curious if the bat would deliver the same performance from softball. Just because it proved effective in one sport doesn’t guarantee a similar result in another. Much to our delight, the Mizuno’s 2016 Nighthawk received high ratings from our volunteer hitters. The aluminum barrel combined with its unique wall design distributes crushing power at the Pop station delivering a loud sound as well. Many Scorecards specifically mentioning the “ping” sound as one of the loudest they have ever heard. The black onyx composite handle meshed with the leather grip provided our players with a pleasant grip that one particular child notated as “a super comfortable feel”.  In fact, the Mizuno received near perfect scores in the categories of Grip/Comfort and Shock Vibration proving Mizuno’s 2 Piece LINK construction to be supremely effective. The 2016 Nighthawk youth bat is perfect for youth players to work on bat speed without losing much pop. We highly recommend this baseball bat for contact hitters looking to make a consistently solid connection.