2018 Louisville Slugger Select 718 Youth Bat
Our Summary of the Select 718:
The Louisville Slugger Select 718 youth bat features a 3-piece hybrid construction and is setup to become the company’s leading USA bat heading into the 2018 youth baseball season. The Select 718 incorporates Louisville’s patented TRU3 technology which securely locks the alloy barrel with the composite handle providing hitters with a fluid swing, balanced transfer of energy, and decreased shock vibration upon a batter’s grip. The big 2 5/8 barrel comes slightly end-loaded and encompasses Louisville Slugger’s ST 7U1 alloy material with a composite end cap called the SBC (Speed Ballistic Composite). The combination of these technological features allows hitters to achieve quicker swing speeds, enhanced power, and ultimate balance when swinging through the strike zone. The ST 7U1 alloy is one of the strongest aluminum compositions Louisville Slugger has even produced. Lastly, this youth USA bat comes equipped with a custom Lizard Skins grip for unmatched comfort when gripping the 100% composite handle. The 2018 Louisville Slugger Select 718 comes in a -10 drop and a -5 drop.
Our Review of the Select 718:
Featuring a 2-piece hybrid design, this will be the fifth hybrid youth USA bat we have evaluated so far. Hybrids bats offer hitters a unique hitting experience. Batters receive the grip of a composite handle combined with the sound and speed of swinging an aluminum barrel. We strictly kept our data separately between hybrid-newbies and hybrid-experienced hitters. This made sure that our results were contingent upon youth batters who have swung hybrid bats in past seasons. Our staff was very impressed with the overall performance results and especially impressed with its lightweight design. By far, the it was the lightest hybrid USA bat that's hit the market. After 300 documented swings, below is our official review.
Evaluating the Pop of the Select 718:
It seemed to distribute relatively the same level of average distance per solid line drive into the outfield as many of the other USA bats. No matter what brand or barrel composition, we feel like the vast majority of the USA bats deliver relatively the same levels of pop as one another with a few exceptions. What makes the Select 718 unique, is its ability to achieve the pop it does despite having a supremely lightweight feel. While observing it from behind the backstop and in the outfield, our staff documented more significant line drive shots than weaker hits across the board from all the hitters who swung it. The alloy barrel dispelled a deafening sound, quick swing speeds, and delivered solid shots especially with those hitters who labeled themselves as “contact hitters." One of our volunteers commented, “This new Louisville Slugger is super light but it hits like a composite. I really didn’t see a difference between this bat and the Ghost X. It's fun and easy to swing.”
OFFICIAL SCORE: 9 / 10
Calculating the Vibration Control of the Select 718:
From our collected volunteer feedback scorecards, it did an exceptionally great job with deflecting negative stings. Out of all the players who officially tested out the bat, only 8% of hitters mentioned feeling any stinging sensations upon the grip of the composite handle.
OFFICIAL SCORE: 9.5 / 10
Assessing the Grip & Comfort of the Select 718:
One could argue the grip upon the handle and comfort within the swing is the essential reason why any youth baseball player would choose a hybrid baseball bat. The whole point of swinging a half composite/half alloy bat is to experience a different sense of comfort. The Select 718 received the highest scores from our volunteers when it came to grip and comfort. The unique feel combined with the ultra-light weight design seemed to give all hitters a confident and quick swing. All the individuals who used it during our evaluation gave it a perfect score in this category and we have to say, we were impressed.
OFFICIAL SCORE: 10 / 10
Measuring the Durability of the Select 718:
After the evaluation process, our test bat showcased minor scuffs and scratches which is typical among any youth baseball bat taking on hundreds of reps. Louisville Slugger has always been a staple of strength and durability in the youth baseball bat industry. We encourage youth players to consider getting a few years of use. After taking on 250+ solid connections, there were no cracks, dings, or dents.
OFFICIAL SCORE: 9.5 / 10
TLDR; Determining the Overall Experience of the Select 718:
As stated earlier, this was the fifth USA hybrid youth bat we have evaluated so far this season. Prior to our review of this particular hybrid, we reviewed the all-new Demarini Voodoo where we stated then that it was the best hybrid in terms of overall performance. After our analysis of this bat however, we can wholeheartedly state that both the Demarini Voodoo and the Select 718 are pretty much right on par with one another regarding pop, comfort, balance, and most importantly building confidence within a young hitter. The variance between results is too minuscule to determine an exact "better or worse" scenario. Of course, this unanticipated “tie” between both USA bats doesn’t seem to help our audience when deciding between one or the other. As a tiebreaker, we give the gold metal to the Louisville Slugger Select 718 on the bases that it delivers the same performance yet requires less swing weight to do so.
OVERALL SCORE: 9.5 / 10