We've reviewed and evaluated every available hybrid youth USA bat currently eligible in all USA Baseball organizations. (We've also reviewed and evaluated every bat available on the market for 2018, see here.) Based on our accumulated data and the substantial feedback provided by our roster of youth volunteers, we are certain that some hybrid bats offer hitters a better chance of achieving optimum performance more so than composites or aluminum youth bats this season.
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During our evaluations, some common reactions among our hitters arose no matter which brand, length/weight ratio, or barrel composition. The most common reaction involved many volunteers uncontrollably hacking at pitches trying to compensate for the noticeable lack of pop. As most youth baseball parents already know, the new USABat standard WILL decrease the amount of pop potential young hitters reached in past seasons. We believe this phenomenon might cause kids to push their swing too much leading to an off-balanced energy transfer.
If your youth player has ever experienced the unique feel of a hybrid bat, we strongly discourage them to start now with this year being the inaugural USABat standard season. We believe players should to stick to a more familiar bat structure unless these same familiarities aren’t translating into positive at-bats this season. If this should occur, utilizing a bat with an unique feel and grip like a hybrid might just be the solution. Below we've listed our top 3 hybrid USA bats we believe will benefit players the most this season.
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#3. Easton Beast X Hybrid
Taking our third place spot for the best hybrid USA bat (but not by much) is the 2018 Easton Beast X Hybrid. This bat will definitely provide that special unique level of comfort that hybrids are known to possess. The composite handle wrapped with Easton’s Hyperskin Grip offered our volunteers a traditional composite feel as they figured out how the USA bat standard will affect the swing. It encompasses a great blend of newly developed technologies combined to deliver optimum performance and comfort for your slugger. One major reason why it made our top 3 was its protection against unwanted shock vibration to the hands. Not only did the Beast X Hybrid receive the highest scores for Vibration Control when compared to the rest of the hybrid USA bats available, it also ranked high among the best USA bats overall in for this category.
The Beast X Hybrid is a very safe buy this upcoming season especially for contact hitters between the ages of 9-12 or any youth player who needs to improve on creating line drive consistencies. Read our more in-depth review on the Beast X Hybrid here...
#2. DeMarini Voodoo
After our evaluation of the 2018 Demarini Voodoo USA Bat, our staff ranks it #2 (by the slightest of margins) among all hybrid USA bats and definitely in the top 10 compared to the entire overall pool of available USA bats.
When our staff sat down to analyze and discuss the data we obtained from the evaluation, we summed up this bat's impact on hitters in two words, “CONFIDENCE BUILDER”. It possesses one of the most balanced swing weights of any USA bat and comes in a bit lighter than the given weight indicates. After our roundtable discussion, our staff was very impressed with how this hybrid stacked up against composite 2 5/8 big barrel USA bats this year in terms of pop, durability and especially vibration control.
We highly recommend the 2018 Demarini Voodoo for any player between the ages of 8-12 who consider themselves contact or complete hitters as it possesses a bit of pop potential. It also tremendously assists players struggling to locate pitches in the strike zone. Read our more in-depth review on the DeMarini Voodoo here...
#1. Louisville Slugger Select 718
Louisville Slugger's Select 718 takes our #1 ranked spot for best hybrid USA youth bat. Believe us when we say, it was a very close call. Both the Select 718 and Voodoo (shown above) performed so well it changed some players’ negative outlook on hybrid youth baseball bats. Both were able to generate quality impacts on the baseball from a wide range of kids varying in size and skill set. Both USA bats allowed very balanced transfers of weight and energy which we believe is vital in maintaining a level swing. From our vantage point during both evaluations, we consistently noted how fluid the swing was no matter what type of hitter was up at bat.
Ultimately, the decision to give the Select 718 the #1 spot came down to two main factors. The first factor was that it comes in a -10 drop which is utilized by most youth players and also a -5 drop for bigger and older youth players getting ready for Junior ball. (The Demarini can only help those swinging a -10.) The second factor involved its average mass ratio vs. the Voodoo. Here is what we mean; sometimes a youth baseball bat’s actual precise weight in ounces is marginally different than the weight indicated upon the barrel. Some youth bat models show a tendency to lean a bit heavier while others a bit lighter. With the Louisville Slugger Select 718 bats in our possession, they came in a bit lighter than advertised on the barrel. This could be a common factor among all Select 718 bats or just the ones in our possession. This information suggests that the Louisville Slugger Select 718 could positively impact more youth hitters than the Voodoo by a slim margin. Simply put - the lighter the bat, the easier it is to attain a quick and level swing.
We highly recommend the Select 718 for kids ranging in age 8-13 of any stature and any swing style (contact, complete or power). If your slugger seems to be having difficulties finding comfort swinging other two-piece composite constructed bats or can’t generate the pop and vibration control with a single piece alloy construction bat, consider the Select 718. This youth bat will definitely be featured in our top 10 “pound for pound” best USA bat blog post with even more information to detail. Read our more in-depth review on the Select 718 drop -5 and drop -10 here...