Archive

Category Archives for "Featured Equipment"

Best USA Bats – 4 Choices for 2019

Were you caught off guard by the most recent to the youth bat standards?

best usa batsI’m right there with you! And I imagine there are many others.

If you have not heard, feel free to take a look here, and come back.

To help you out, i’ve tried to compile the most information possible based on what vendors are saying should be the best USA bats for youth leagues across the country.

Obviously these changes are a bit disappointing for those that purchased new bats last summer. For that reason, i’ve tried to focus on models that should provide excellent durability.

You’ll also notice that I have still included a few non-USA approved bats as well in case those still have interest for some leagues/organizations.

Let’s get started!

 USA BatRating (/5)PriceUSA approved?SwingLatest Price
Demarini Voodoo5$$YesBalanced
Louisville Select 7184.5$$YesEnd loaded
Easton Ghost X4.5$$$YesBalanced
Rawlings Velo5$YesBalanced
Demarini CF Zen5$$$NoBalanced
Easton Mako Beast5$$$NoBalanced
Demarini Vexxum4.5$$NoBalanced
Easton XL34$$NoEnd Loaded

I believe the USA bats listed above make great choices for anyone who needs the new stamp of approval. For those players that don’t need the stamp of approval (15 and older), you may want to check out the best BBCOR baseball bats page that we’ve put together.

Reviews of the best USA bats

I’m not sure if that was strange but I always liked to try various kinds before ultimately deciding which bat was my favorite. When I look at things now, I just can’t believe how far these bats have come. This section provides you with an overview for these excellent new USA approved choices.

1- Demarini Voodoo USA

One of the more popular bats (if not the most popular) over the past few years has been the Demarini Voodoo. Consistently providing a high level of performance at an affordable price, there is no doubt why the Voodoo has reigned supreme over the past few seasons. The brand new 2018 model (approved with the new USA logo) is the next evolution which should continue to allow youth players to launch homers to all sides of the field.

If you are familiar with Demarini products then you’ve probably heard for the X12 and X13 alloy versions from previous versions. The 2018 version of the Voodoo has been upgraded with the brand new X14 alloy which according to the product specifications contains a great amount of strength and better weight distribution. This will help ensure that you have a nice, smooth, and consistent swing all of the time. One of the worst things about a bat is feeling like you need to put extra effort in order to generate more power in your swing. The Voodoo should avoid this issue allowing you to focus on technique and consistency instead.

In addition to the X14 alloy, both the handle and end cap for the Voodoo have been fitted with 3Fusion technology. This should benefit you as a hitter as it also provides additional control and better swing optimization. In addition, the handle promises to reduce ball sting immensely.

Price is obviously an important decision as well when it comes to choosing your next bat. What is great about the Voodoo is that although it is not the cheapest bat, it certainly is nowhere close the most expensive either. For an elite bat made by a well known manufacturer, this one should be considered at the top of the list.

2- Louisville Select 718 USA

If power is your game then the Louisville Slugger Select 718 might be your ideal choice. Whereas most regular players prefer more of a balanced swing, there are young players out there that are simply stronger and can swing a heavier bat with ease. This 2-piece hybrid constructed bat should add a lot of pop to your swings when compared to the others featured on this page.

Although the Select 718 series is a brand new offering by Louisville you can rest assured that you are receiving a high quality product.
After all Louisville has been in the business for numerous years and is considered the pioneer in baseball bats (their history traces back to the 1880’s). Construction wise, the Select 718 uses a newer ST 7U1+ alloy barrel. This barrel, according to the specification sheet, is supposed to provide a great amount of durability so you don’t have to find yourself replacing it any time soon. In addition to its high level of durability, it also contains a large amount of pop which hopefully helps turn your ground-rule doubles into homers.

There looks to be quite a bit to like with the handle area on the Select 718 as well. With its composite base and TRU3 technology, vibrations on bad hits should be minimal. The handle is also lined with brand new Lizard Skin grip which should provide a hitter with better feel and control of their swings. Lastly, the end cap (which is also new) has been re-designed to increase swing speed and provide more consistency when launching all of those homeruns.

3- Easton Ghost X USA

If you have never heard of Easton before then you have probably been living under a rock. Just about any team or field will have something with the Easton name attached to it. Probably one of the most influential brands right now, the Ghost X certified by the USA baseball stamp has all the makings to be a highly sought after bat.

So what is so exciting about the Ghost X other than the interesting name choice? For one thing while most models try and specialize for the type of hitter (i.e. power vs contact), the Ghost X has tried its best to provide benefits for both hitter types. Using a newer EXACT carbon composite material in the barrel the barrel provides new performance improvements along with a reduction in ball sting so mis-hits don’t hurt nearly as much. Although this technology is brand new for Easton, I am guessing it will be great with all of the testing and innovation they do.

But what about the “X” in “Ghost X”…what does that stand for? With this model, Easton added what they call an “X-Tended” barrel which is believed to be the longest composite barrel available right now. With a larger surface area, more hits should come as well. One of the other great aspects is the amount of grip applied to the handle of the Ghost X. With a 1.4 mm length, this grip should keep your hands comfortable and provide a nice fluid consistent swing.

As always Easton seems to come out with exiting products each and every year. I am guessing the Ghost X will continue in that path.

4- Rawlings Velo USA

The next brand new USA-approved youth bat we think will increase your performance is the Rawlings Velo. This model itself has been around for a while but has been modified to meet the brand new USA stamp of approval. In addition, for those looking for a less expensive option, this one might fit the bill and is the lowest priced when compared to the others.

The Velo is a 1-piece bat which is some player’s eyes makes it more durable since it is not fused with two different materials. If you’ve ever watched any sort of youth or little league game, you can always tell by the noise of the ball hitting the bat when a good swing has been made. That “ping” noise is supposedly more prominent in the Velo than other models and hence they have nicknamed the barrel “acoustic alloy”. Now even though it promises to make a great sound when smacking a liner, it is also backed up by the high performance pOp 2.0 technology. This innovative barrel should provide a bit more flex and help to make harder contact.

Although power hitters may not like this feature as much, the end cap in the Rawlings Velo sounds quite interesting. Instead of generating additional power, the end cap has been made to be a bit lighter allowing a hitter to generate quicker swing speeds. This helps quite a bit when you face flame throwing pitchers on the other side.

Archived reviews for non-USA youth bats

As a former little league player I always have a fond recollection of when I was young and having my parents take me to the baseball field near our home. I remember the trips we’d take to various tournaments and just having a good time with my friends. We certainly weren’t the most talented bunch – you wouldn’t see us on TV at the Little League world series – but we really enjoyed ourselves!

Want to know a little more detail on what we think are the best non-USA approved little league bats on the market today? If so this section provides you with a quick review on each bat outlining some of its top features.

5- Demarini Vexxum

For many hitters, I feel like the Demarini Vexxum NVS would be the perfect fit. One of the main reasons for this assertion is the price point of under $150. The premier bats that we describe further below like the CF8 and Mako are quite a bit more expensive and are typically reserved for more advanced, competitive players. So other than price, why do I believe that the Vexxum would provide you with the most benefit?

For one it features a -12 drop so it is quite light to swing. For younger players this is quite important and when you start getting into the -11 and -10 drop your performance may suffer unless you have ample strength. In fact Demarini has indicated that the Vexxum is their lightest swinging aluminum alloy based bat in their line-up.

Another great feature or attribute that might resonate with players is the fact that it is a two-piece model consisting of an X12 alloy barrel and a C6 composite based handle. So how does a two-piece bat help a player? Although somewhat debated in baseball circles, many believe that a two-piece bat provides a hitter with more flex on contact therefore providing more of a trampoline effect when making good contact. Two-piece system has also been known to provide less sting on mishits.

One final point to make about the 2016 Vexxum related to performance is the larger sweet spot that is now included. Keeping the same barrel length, the barrel has been made slightly longer providing you with a larger hitting surface. It doesn’t take a rocket science to realize that the larger the hitting area, the more success you’ll have. Read our full review.

6- Easton Mako Beast

The Easton Mako Beast is the most expensive choice in our list and is primarily suited for competitive players due to the cost. But my guess is if you can get your hands on this one, you’ll notice an immediate improvement in your swing and distance. Although marketed as a balanced bat, it is still heavier to swing as it features a -10 drop. Therefore heavier and stronger youth players would be able to do more damage with this one.

So what are some things that make the Mako Torq stand out from the others besides price? Arguably the most advanced feature is how the bat has been built. Since the Mako was invented, Easton has used TCT Thermo Composite as the basis for both the barrel & handle components. The technology provides a few main benefits including a larger sweet spot, a more efficient swing speed, and more comfort on contact (even on mishits). The barrel and handle are then fused together using Easton’s own 2-PC Connexion technology. This technology in itself helps in transferring the most amount of energy possible towards the end of the barrel almost creating a launching effect of sorts.

Another point that I should mention about this model is TORQ 360 degree rotating handle technology that is used. This is quite the innovation! As hitters we always try to rotate our hands during the swing but are often hampered by a stiff handle. This technology allows you to shorten up when needed or lengthen your swing when you get the perfect pitch to take for a ride. It really is quite the innovation not seen on any other bats. Read our full review.

7- Demarini CF Zen

Year after year, a model from Demarini always makes our list. The CF series itself is a long time member going back all the way to the CF5 version used 5 years ago. Since then this incredible bat has gone through four additional iterations and still remains a must own for youth players. Similar to the Mako mentioned earlier, the price point is a bit higher than average and hence is typically reserved for more competitive players. One of the main differences between this premier bat and the Mako mentioned earlier however is that the CF Zen features a -11 drop making it lighter and easier to swing.

So what makes this years CF Zen version so popular and sought after? One of the main benefits is that the barrel includes the newest Paraflex composite material as its base. This barrel has been extended ever so slightly to provide the hitter with a larger more responsive sweet spot – hopefully giving you more opportunities to crush the ball over the outfielders heads. The Paradox Plus+ composite material also promises to provide a quicker break in time and be ready to perform right after purchase.

Another newer feature to note in this years CF Zen version is the handle. There are a couple of great benefits provided to hitters when using Demarini’s own D-Fusion 2.0 handle system. The first is the amount of extra flex it will provide. This additional flex aids in transferring all of the energy you’ve generated and transfers it right out to the barrel. At the same time, the handle has also taken care of the dreaded ball sting that can occur on mis-hits by reducing vibrations substantially.

In short, if you are looking for a more trusted bat to put your money towards there may be no better choice than the CF8. While the Mako Beast has additional bells & whistles, it is still relatively new which could factor into your decision making process. Read our full review.

8- Easton XL3

The next of your youth bat reviews takes a quick look at the Easton XL3 which outside of the Mako was quite a popular choice last season. One of the main reasons for its popularity was the amount of power a hitter could generate despite it being a -11 drop bat.

First and foremost unlike most of the other bats we’ve looked at so far, the XL3 itself is a one-piece bat. AS you can imagine a one-piece bat would provide very little flex when compared to its two-piece counterparts and therefore would be feel stiffer to swing. Because there is far less flex than a two-piece bat, less energy is lost and therefore more power is generated straight out of the barrel. As a pre-caution however, most one-piece bats are typically meant for stringer players largely due to the fact that they are so stiff and feel heavier to swing.

Another difference when compared to the other youth bats we’ve looked at is the material used. While most in our list use a Composite base, the XL3 uses an aluminum alloy called the Hyperlite Matrix. This alloy features an expanded sweet spot with a longer barrel giving you the hitter a larger hitting surface. Another key component to this alloy is that is promises to be more durable than ever before. As a parent, one of the biggest concerns is your child only being able to use their bat for a season or two. Hopefully with careful maintenance, the XL3 can last your child much longer than that. Read our full review.

Our Recommendations

It’s quite hard to make a recommendation that fits well for each single player, especially when it comes to youth bats. For instance players in the 6 to 9 year old age group may not get as much benefit from the ones we have highlighted above as they simply aren’t strong enough or swing with enough velocity to make a huge impact. However those in the 10, 12, or 14 year old age groups may be looking at the more experience competitive models to take their game to the next level.

Based on the reviews above, we believe that the Demarini Vexxum will be perfect for most players regardless of the league they play in. Less expensive than the Easton Mako Torq and the Demarini CF8, we believe that the Vexxum could be considered as a premier choice for the average youth players.

That being said, the Easton Mako Torq, and Demarini CF8 would make fantastic choices for slightly experienced youth players or players that really want the newest and greatest in bat technology. I’ll be honest, the 360 degree rotation handle found in the Mako Torq sounds absolutely incredible!

How to choose the right sized youth bat

Nothing is more important than choosing the correctly sized equipment when you play baseball. A glove that’s too small, a helmet that’s too big, or a bat that just doesn’t feel right, are enough to insure you never play to match your ability. Youth bat sizes generally fall into the 26 inch to 32 inch range, with a 2 ¼ inch barrel and a drop weight from -7 to -13. Sizing a bat correctly is probably one of the easiest things you can do, and if you can’t figure out one method, don’t worry we included three.

Measuring bat length

Although there are many different ways to measure for the best baseball bat length, the best way is to choose what you feel comfortable swinging. A general rule to follow is never go up more than an inch at a time. This makes it easier to adjust to your new bat without drastically changing your swing. If you’re new to the game or want to re-size yourself, follow the steps below to learn how to properly measure yourself:

  • First and easiest way to make the measurement is by standing up with your arm stretched straight out to your side, then have someone measure from the center of your chest to the tips of your fingers.
  • Second way, and also easy, is put the end of the handle in the center of your chest, straight out in front of you. If you can just reach the barrel, you are in the right range of length.
  • Third way is to hold the handle let the bat hang down beside you. If the tip just touches the ground you have a decent length for your height.

  • The fourth and fifth quick guideline if you don’t have the youth handy for measurements is that if the child is between 3’ and 3’4” tall, you should start with a 26” bat. Each 4 to 5 inches they are over the 3’4” mark should increase the bat length by 1 inch. If you don’t know the height, but know their weight, less than 60 pounds should have a bat between 26” and 29”, while more than 70 pounds should increase the bat length to between 26 and 29 inches.

All five of these ways are great approximates, and take your height and reach into account, but they are only guidelines, and really don’t take into account your preferences and other factors like drop weight.

Drop weight

Drop weight is a measurement of weight for your bat and the lower the number the higher the weight, the higher the weight the more power behind the bat. Once again, the weight preference is personal, but the best way to measure it is with the following formula; bat weight minus bat length. So as an example, a 20 ounce bat with a 30 inch length would give you a -10 drop weight, and a 20 ounce bat with a 32 inch length will give you a -12 drop weight. Easy right?

Finally, remember to check all the rules and regulations for your league. You don’t want to show up ready to play like a pro just to find out the equipment you have isn’t allowed!

Composite or Wooden bats?

When deciding on the best youth baseball bats for your swing one consideration that should be made is wooden vs composite material. The debate between the use of wooden bats and composite ones has raged on for ages, and while there are pros and cons for each there are a lot of people who feel that wood bats are the only way to really enjoy the game, and to insure its fairness composite bats should be banned from the sport. Purists would have you believe that the only way to show the skill of the batter is with a level playing field of similar branded wood because when a composite bat is introduced it says more to the bat makers skill and design than the batters ability. But the truth of the matter is that as you improve your skill the style of bat only matters as far as fit and weight preference. But before you get to the MLB level of play, which should you choose, a composite or a wooden bat?

Personal Preference

First things first, personal preference plays so much in this choice that apart from states that mandate wood use only, people play with what they are comfortable with. If the feel of the wood and taped handle is what they like, you can go blue in the face telling them why composite is better and they won’t even care. Similarly, people who prefer a more scientific hit, and want to insure their hits are as accurate and unaffected by natural and environmental factors, will refuse to acknowledge the feel of a bat and its warmth as a contributing factor to game play.

More on Composite bats

While generally speaking composites are preferred by youth and little league players for their balance and additional “pop” caused by the larger sweet spot and literally millions of dollars in research and development by some of the finest minds and engineers around the world, are they really that much better overall?

Given that a bat made from composites can be balanced to the hundredth of an inch, and end loaded for maximum hitting power what does wood have to offer? Wooden bats can be used right at purchase, as soon as you unwrap your bat, you can start to hit with it, where a composite requires up to 200 hits to become broken in, and suitable for play. Remember to rotate the bat for each hit as well to evenly break it in, and not overly stress a single side or spot.

More on Wooden bats

Wooden bats have no real temperature constraints beyond what you would normally play in as they are generally kiln dried and have no moisture to weaken them in freezing temperatures, while composites require a minimum of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower temperatures and the fibers start to crack and fray weakening the bat immensely and generally causing irreparable damage.

Generally wooden bats are a lot cheaper than composites of higher quality and tend to be favorites of families not looking to invest hundreds in a quality composite bat, though some of the newer composites are coming down in price, and soon may be comparable. But a little bit of a sway back to the composite happens when you realize the cheapest wooden bats do crack or suffer when mishit and the sting in your hands is a real reminder of one of the biggest pros of a composite bat. What is this big difference? Composite bats have little to no sting when your hit is off center, with a designer sweet spot; it’s a lot harder to do.

That is a general breakdown of the differences, and covers the major pros and cons, but once again its almost solely a matter of personal preference. Play with what feels right to you, and you will always play your best!

Big Barrel or Small Barrel – Which should you go with?

It seems that people who are getting started in baseball always have the same question; what should I get? A big or small barrel?

Well, in all honesty it depends what you are gunning for. Are you looking for power or finesse? Is your goal to become an exceptional accuracy hitter, or simply a powerhouse? While this is really oversimplifying things, it brings the main points into play.

Advantages of Larger barrel

Generally people looking for a bigger barrel are also looking for a weighted end that, if swung well, can connect with the full weight behind the ball giving it an exceptional pop and sending it to the deep field more often than not. One of the negatives that comes from starting a player out with a big barrel though is a lazy hitting style. With a larger barrel, there is a much bigger chance of connecting. But with a smaller better, a new player learns from the beginning how to finesse the bat and not simply swing for the bleachers every time.

Advantages of Smaller barrels

Learning to be accurate is so much easier with a lighter more slender bat, as it is harder to get a exact hit on a smaller surface. But once your body has trained to hit with a thinner bat, it is so much easier to build up the size and weight to gain power. Going from a small barrel that you are accurate with, to a big barrel is like hitting with a chopstick and moving up to telephone pole, while a little exaggerated, the thought is that once proficient with a small surface, a large surface is easier to hit with. Once proficient with a smaller surface, the accuracy on a large surface should be high enough to take you from a decent batter to a near pro powerhouse and insuring you have the skills to control the hits.

Regardless of which you choose though, practice is the key. If becoming the perfect hitter is your goal, practice, and if being the homerun king is what you strive for, practice some more. So go out, pick the bat that you feel comfortable with, and start hitting. No matter what you use, the more you do it, the better you will get.

Well there you have it. We hope that you have enjoyed our look at the best bats for youth and little league players.

Best Baseball Gloves – 5 Great Options for 2019!

So you are looking for the best baseball gloves and have no idea where to start?

best baseball glovesThis is quite common, and my hope is that this page provides you with all the insight you’ll need.

Baseball gloves aren’t easy to figure out and largely depends on the players needs.

For instance, a first baseman has much different needs than an outfielder when it comes to a glove.

In addition – a competitive player normally looks for a high quality constructed glove, whereas a non-competitive player could be looking for the most inexpensive option available.

Although we can’t cover every single scenario, we do think the 5 gloves we’ve included for 2019 should cover most.

Let’s start shall we?

ImageGlove NameRating (/5)PriceSizePositionLatest Price
Wilson A2000 DP15GM5$$$11.5"Infield
Mizuno GMVP Prime5$$12.75"Outfield
Mizuno Classic Pro Soft4.5$$$12.75"Outfield
Mizuno World Win 1st Base4.5$$12.5"First Base

1- Wilson A2000

best baseball gloves 2019Wilson A2000 DP15GM: Made by Wilson, but designed by World Champion Dustin Pedroia, the Wilson A2000 DP15GM is arguably the best infield model in the world. This model is an excellent glove with many features to make you one of the slickest fielders around the diamond. Dustin was tired of having to break in a glove over and over to meet his needs. So with the help of Wilson, they came up with a model that meets all of his needs, provides exceptional comfort, and performs well on the field. With a superior fit around you hands, and quality leather this should be a glove that lasts you through many seasons. Read our full review.

2- Mizuno MPV Prime

Mizuno MVP gloveMizuno MVP Prime GMVP1277P: Value wise, we love all that the Mizuno MVP Prime series has to offer and think it deserves serious consideration as a top of the line choice. Although it is the least expensive on our list, there are still many features to help bring your game to the next level. With exceptional control, you’ll always feel in command and have no issues making the difficult plays often required in key outfield positions like center field. Another great feature of the MVP Prime series is that it is lined with an incredibly soft liner. In fact, I would guess that you’ll have never placed anything more comfortable around your hand before. This glove also has “fatter” lacing than others which although also makes it look better, it also provides more durability and strength to handle some of the faster hit balls that comes your way. Read our full review.

3- Rawlings Gold Glove Gamer

Rawlings Gold Glove GamerRawlings GG Gamer G601B: For outfielders, we really like everything that the Rawlings Gold Glove Gamer series has to offer in their G601B model. The series features many different popular models so you know it’s a quality made right from the get go. Additional strength has been accomplished when compared to other models by using a unique trapeze web, also named “Six Finger”. This pattern acts as an extension of the Gamer and actively shifts the main pocket to the center. With the incredibly deep pockets that have been sewn in you’ll have no trouble reaching for those liners or balls in the warning track.

4- Rawlings HOH Dual Core

Rawlings Heart of the HideRawlings HOH Dual Core 1st base: The only first base specific glove in our list is the Rawlings Heart of the Hide Dual Core series. The “Dual Core” technology used for this model in particular adds carefully placed break points throughout to give you a better catch. Being made from USA Horween leather not only gives the Heart of the Hide incredible strength and durability, but it also allows you to have a quicker break in time and focus your efforts on the field. If you are a first baseman, trusting the Rawlings HOH series is an easy choice!

5- Louisville Omaha

Louisville Omaha Infield gloveLouisville Omaha Flare: The next infield specific glove on our list belongs to the Louisville Omaha Flare. What many infielders like about this one in particular is it feels a bit wider than others. Although still the regular 11.5 inches in length, many feel that the web pattern provides a little bit of additional area which provides just a little bit of extra help when fielding those hard grounders. Weighing in at less than 2 pounds, you’ll barely feel the weight on your hands during those hot summer days. Made with top grade leather, you’ll be able to shape the Omaha Flare easier and have a glove that will stand the test of time. For the money – this one is a great choice!

How to find the Best baseball gloves

Compiling and putting together a baseball glove list is not an easy task at all. Just like with baseball bats, there is no one size fits all when it comes to choosing a glove.

Because of the plethora of options it can sometimes be very difficult to find the right one.

There are so many things to consider even after looking at price. With this quick guide I am going to go over 5 other very important factors you should consider when buying the best glove possible for you:

  • What Type Of Material Do You Want?
  • What Web Style Do You Want?
  • What Type Of Backing Do You Want?
  • What Field Position Do You Play?
  • What Size Should You Get?

Material

A quality model will be made from leather. However, there are a variety of different alternatives you can choose from. There are three main materials used to create the best baseball gloves: Synthetic leather, oil treated leather and premium leather.

Synthetic leather is great for younger players as it is very affordable and does not require a great deal of break in time. However, the one big problem is synthetic leather does not conform to the player’s hand like other materials do.

Oil treated leather is leather that has been pre treated with oils. This softens up the leather and makes it easier to break them in. The last material gloves can be made of is premium leather. Those made with premium leather are not cheap.

While premium leather does take a long time to break it, it will eventually conform to your hand.

Web Style

baseball glove web styleThere are two primary web styles: Open and closed.

Open webs are great for infielders as it allows dirt to easily fall through the glove. It prevents the infielder from scooping up a hand full of dirt while trying to get the ball. Pitchers usually prefer closed web as it helps them better conceal the type of pitch they are about to throw.

Outfielders also like the closed web as it helps them block the sun when chasing down fly balls.

Backing

The backing is the part of the glove that rests on the back on your hand. It can either be opened or closed.

An open back is more flexible and is preferred by infielders and catchers.

Closed back is preferred by outfielders and first basemen as it helps stabilize the wrist.

Position Consideration

first base gloveThere are 5 main positions in the game of baseball: Catcher, first baseman, infielder, pitcher and outfield.

The type of model you choose to purchase will ultimately depend on the position you play. These days many are made for specific positions. Each will have a specific design and a certain set of qualities for that position. So its always a good idea to look for ones designed for your position.

Sizing consideration

Baseball gloves come in a variety of different sizes and can accommodate just about any hand size. To get the right size you will need to measure your hand or have it measured by someone at a sports store. To properly measure your hand you will go from the highest point on your index finger to the heel of your hand. Always use a flexible measuring tape to measure your hand. Typical sizes range from 9 inches all the way up to 12.5 inches.

We hope you have enjoyed looking at what we feel are the best choices of baseball gloves available for the 2019 season. We hope that you will bookmark this page, and share with your friends as well. I hope this page helped you make the glove selection process an easier one. For younger players, we also have a specific page dedicated to the best youth baseball gloves that you may want to check out instead.

Best Baseball Cleats – 4 Choices for Increased Performance (2019 Upd.)

So…you are in the market for cleats but have no idea where to start?

best baseball cleatsYou aren’t alone…finding the best baseball cleats is not easy!

I mean if you head to any store and pick up two similar sized pairs of shoes, you’ll have a tough time figuring out which are lighter and/or better.

So what makes one pair better than the other? And of course – this question can vary between two very similar players with different needs.

In this article, i’ve tried to pick out the top models for cleats over the past few years.

I also explain what you should look for in the event you find yourself in the situation where you have no idea which to choose.

So let’s being with the updated 2019 list right off the top:

ImageCleatsRating (/5)PriceWeight (ounces)SizesLatest Price
Mizuno 9-Spike Swagger 25$$14.07 to 16
New Balance 3000v24.7$$$12.47 to 16
Adidas AdiZero 5-Tool 2.54.7$$$10.56.5 to 14
New Balance L40404.6$$13.57 to 16

1- Mizuno 9-Spike Swagger 2

One of the most popular sets year after year is the Mizuno 9-Spike series as it blends a nice combination of affordability, quality, brand, and performance. On this page, we have featured the 9-Spike Swagger 2 metal mid-sized cleats as we feel they are priced very well and still offer players quite a bit of advanced features to take their game further. Right of the bat, if you’ve ever played baseball before, you’ll feel quite confident in the Mizuno brand. They have been producing top level equipment for many different sports since 1906 and the cleats and other footwear they make are easily one of their specialties.

The Swagger 2 series features the ever popular 9-spike outsole that has been used for many years in Mizuno’s cleats. The outsole is all metal and provides the runner with a great amount of stability, and acceleration all over the field whether you are an outfielder trying to run down balls in the gap or are primarily a base stealer.

The 9-Spike Swagger 2 series uses Mizuno’s own ProFlex technology which provides additional flex for the front of your foot through numerous multi-flex zones. In other words, unlike in other cleats where you notice a slight delay in pivoting, you’ll experience this much less frequently using this model. For even more comfort, the Swagger 2 series also uses a fully padded tongue so that your feet are secure and comfortable as much as possible. Although some of the other cleats on this page may have additional advanced features, we feel the 9-Spike Swagger 2 series is perfect for the average player.

2- New Balance L3000v2

If you want speed and efficiency then the New Balance L3000 might be the right cleats for your game. As described on New Balance’s website, many athletes that have used the L3000 model feel like they are running shoes on spikes. As you are probably already well aware of, New Balance produces fantastic running shoes used by all levels of runners. Therefore it is quite a statement when you won’t even notice the cleat component when catching flies in the outfield or trying to achieve a quick stolen base. If you’ve ever used cleats before, you’ll often notice the feeling of the cleats digging into the ground so this is a substantial statement to make.

The L3000 cleats use a laser etched spike plate containing MLB-compliant 8-spikes on the outsole which in turn provides great grip and acceleration that is typically reserved for players at the higher levels. Outside of the great exterior what sets this cleat apart from the others is the use of New Balance’s FantomFit mesh and Nubuck upper. This combination allows for a nice snug fit feeling (almost like your foot is locked in place) but still allows for a higher level of breathability than expected. If you’ve ever played baseball in the dog days of summer, you’ll notice a huge difference when your feet have additional cooling. The form fitting tongue also helps keep your foot in place and provides a good amount of flexibility so you can make many quick moves in the field.

Although more expensive than the average baseball cleats, the NB 3000 series has many pro-level features that will surely improve your game. In addition, if you have wide feet or are purchasing for a player that has wide feet, the L3030 series are probably your best bet as they have many sizes like E and 2E available. You can check out our review for more.

3- Adidas AdiZero 5-Tool 2.5

On this website, we have provided overviews of the AdiZero 5-Tool series of cleats before. For the 2019 season, we have updated our list to include the 2.5 version of these excellent performing baseball shoes. Using MLB players in the design process, the Adidas AdiZero 5-Tool 2.5 baseball shoes are a blend of style, and innovation.

At 10.5 ounces, the AdiZero 5-Tool 2.5 series are the lightest from the table you see above. This is largely due to the SPRINTFRAME technology that Adidas has added to these cleats which modified the shape to ensure it was light but still effective on the field. Whether you are a base stealer or a defensive player having a lighter cleat could mean the difference in stealing the base, or making the ever important catch to save the game for your team.

Despite its lightweight there should not be any concerns about the quality. Adidas has a huge backing and constantly delivers in high-quality products from many sports. On the outsole, the 5-Tool 2.5 cleats use a PROTRAX 5×3 design to provide the runner with better traction against different surfaces. This design also helps in allowing the runner to accelerate easier and quicker and catcher up to those sharply hit liners. These cleats also promise to be comfortable as they include synthetic leather on the upper sole and an adjustable hook and loop strap for a more secure fit.

Available in many colors, they cleats should help you become faster and become a better player. Based on the reviews so far it seems like these are the top choice for players with flat feet. Click here to see a more detailed review.

4- New Balance L4040

New Balance is a company which takes tremendous pride in the products that they provide athletes. When most people think of New Balance, they think of the great footwear they make for runners, and walkers. However they also numerous excellent baseball cleats including the L4040v2 series that we look at on this page. We feel that these cleats make a great choice as they come from a great brand and provide a baseball player with lots of great features.

First and foremost, this series of cleats have been endorsed by Dustin Pedroia – the great second baseman for the Boston Red Sox. You can in fact pick up the same camo colors that he uses as well. Outside of the great pro endorsement these low metals cleats provide great support and comfort by using a full length REVlite midsole. The goal of these cleats is to make you a faster runner and hence they have also designed the outsole to be lightweight so that you can steal bases with ease. In fact, weight in at only 12.9 ounces, these are some of the lightest available!

Another great feature of the 4040 series is the placement of the tongue. Using a low profile, this tongue provides great flexibility allowing you to feel very little effort when you run. After all, we all know how it feels to where heavier uncomfortable shoes where the tongue is rigid and provides very little flex. We feel that the 4040 series from New Balance is a great choice to go with if you are looking for a quality brand, with many advanced level features used to make the game feel easier. One thing I noticed when looking on the feedback around these cleats was that one user had noted that as a pitcher he uses this model as well so for pitchers reading this article – these might be the ones for you!

A guide to finding the best baseball cleats

When evaluating cleats, there are several things to look out for when determining what a good pair of cleats are:

  • Weight: Baseball is a game of speed. Whether on the defensive side or trying to steal a base, you need to get from one spot to the other quickly. Big bulky shoes make this difficult, but thankfully many of the top choices below feature incredible quick speeds.
  • Comfort: As mentioned in our introduction, what you have around your feet will be their all game long. So choosing a pair that provide extra cushioning and offer additional ventilation are key.
  • Price: We’ve tried to gear the comparison table below to include choices for all levels. For instance if you are a non-competitive player, you may not need a really expensive pair.

The different types of cleats

Baseball shoes have been used in the game of baseball for a very long time now. Their main purpose is to provide players with improved traction and grip out on the field. And as you can imagine, they have come a long ways. Thanks to technology they are not more durable, more comfortable and more position specific than ever before. When it comes to buying the best baseball cleats possible you will be surprised at the different options you have at your disposal.

It is very important you understand the advantages and disadvantages to using the different types of shoes available. So with this guide we are going to discuss the three main types which are metal, turf and molded. We will also talk about a less common type known as the interchangeable cleat.

types of cleats
Photo courtesy: homerunmonkey.com

Metal Cleats

Metal is by far the most popular type of worn by players at competitive levels. This is because they provide more traction than any other type. When you compare them to other types you will see they are the thinnest. Because of this they are able to penetrate the ground a lot easier. Metal cleats can be used on dirt and grass however you should avoid wearing them on turf and aren’t allowed in every league.

You will usually only see them worn in high competition leagues such as the major leagues, college and even some high schools. Check with your league to see if they allow players to wear metal.

Turf Shoes

Generally speaking baseball players will only wear turf shoes during practice or training. If you aren’t practicing on a field, you should be wearing turfs. This is because they are more comfortable and won’t tear up the training facilities like metal would. If you are playing in a slow pitch tournament style game, turfs are great for that as well. They give you the traction you need as well as the comfort to play all day during the tournament.

Molded

Molded cleats are made up of a variety of different materials. The material you get will depend on the price you are willing to pay. Low priced ones are for the younger players who will outgrow them rather quickly. They are also a little more forgiving which is great for players who aren’t that experienced. Higher priced molded shoes are usually made with rubberized plastic.

It is a lot stiffer than other forms of plastic. They are basically a step below the metal. Most players who wear this type of molded cleats are getting ready to transition to metal. Molded are more comfortable than turf or metal because they have a higher number of cleats that are spread out to different pressure points throughout the foot.

Interchangeable

Last but not least lets talk about interchangeable cleats. Interchangeable cleats are just a mix between molded and metal. They are great for players who play in different leagues. Instead of having to buy two pairs you can just have one that can be changed based on where you are playing.

As you can see on in this forum (for runners), many admit to using numerous pairs of running shoes. Although cleats won’t go through as much strain as running shoes, it is still quite important to look for a pair that can withstand the field and provide you with additional performance benefits.

We hope you have enjoyed our look at our list of the greatest choices when it comes to baseball cleats available for 2019. If you have any suggestions on ones you have used and like more, feel free to contact us to let us know what we are missing!

Best BBCOR Baseball Bats – 5 Top Choices on the Market (Updated 2019)

I’ll be honest, but don’t hit the Back button yet…

best bbcor baseball batsFinding the best BBCOR baseball bats for every single player is an impossible task.

Why?

Because it is extremely rare to find two players that have the exact same needs, swing speeds, and budgets.

So although we can’t absolutely guarantee you that the 2019 bats we review below are going to be perfect for everyone…I think they are the cream of the crop and would satisfy the majority.

Whether you are looking to add more pop, swing quicker, and/or turn swinging strikes into line drives then any of these choice below should help you!

First, let’s look at these choices and follow-up with some additional tips.

ImageBaseball BatReviewPrice RangeSwingBarrelLatest Price
Demarini Voodoo5$$Balanced & End LoadedThickness-Tuned X14
Demarini CF Zen & Insane5$$$Balanced & End LoadedParaflex Composite
Easton Mako Beast4.5$$$End LoadedTCT Thermo
Rawlings Velo4.5$$BalancedpOp 2.0

1- Demarini Voodoo BBCOR

Demarini Voodoo BBCORDemarini Voodoo: The Voodoo has been a favorite for many years…in fact I have heard some people say it could be the best ever. Where the first two above were perfect for increasing swing speeds, the Voodoo prides itself in the amount of power it produces. Demarini has built an X14 alloy into the Voodoo which is very strong and has the durability to last many seasons. With a balanced swing weight, and and a comfortable swing, this one remains a true winner. Read our full review.

2- Demarini CF Zen BBCOR

Demarini CF Zen BBCORDemarini CF Zen and Insane: Building on the successful CF6, CF7, and CF8’s, Demarini has come out strong again with their brand new CF Zen and Insane brands. Using brand new ParaFlex composite throughout the entire construction, hitters will now feel a little extra pop without the extra weight experienced with others. A new 3Fusion handle and end cap have also been added to the CF series which promises no vibrations whatsoever. Read our full review.

3- Easton XL1 BBCOR

Easton XL1 BBCOREaston XL1: The most power packed bat in our list is the XL1 made by Easton. With an extended barrel and full composite construction, you’ll be taking pitches deep in no time! Although it swings slightly heavier than others in our list, it is a power hitters true best friends because when you make good contact with this one, you can instantly feel the extra pop that has been generated. The Easton XL1 is a great choice for high school players.

4- Easton S400 BBCOR

Easton S400 BBCOREaston S400: Most of the bats in our list range from the typical $200-$300 range. At less than $60, the Easton S400 has tremendous value. Although it won’t give you the amount of pop that the other in this list will, it still provides an adequate amount of power and a faster swing speed. More suited for those who are not quite at competitive levels, there is much to like about this one.

5- Rip-it Air BBCOR

Rip-it AIR BBOCRRip-it AIR: One of the most popular bats this year has to be the Rip-it Air. What many hitters enjoy about the Prototype Air is the incredibly quick swing speeds it produces. In fact, Rip-it believes that it has developed the quickest swinging BBCOR bat in the entire market. So far many agree! Many players are quickly noticing how much better their swings are becoming which in turns leads to better results.

Tips for finding the Best BBCOR Baseball Bats (2019)

This page in particular focuses on newer models fully approved by the BBCOR standard. The BBCOR standard, is now required standard for all high school and NCAA players. There are numerous different models with this stamp of approval so as you can imagine finding the right one is not easy. Further down below you will see some of our quicker reviews of our top choices. These choices have been updated recently so you’ll be all set for the 2019 season. We plan to keep this page updated before every new year.

While BBCOR bats have been used in both high school and college for several seasons now, there is still quite a bit of confusion in regards to what the BBCOR standard is. To help clear up some of the confusion I wanted to try and answer four of the most common questions asked when it comes to this certification.

Question #1 – What Does BBCOR Stand For and What Is It?

BBCOR stands for “Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution.” The BBCOR standard regulates the amount of energy that is lost when the bat makes contact with the baseball. Each bat will go through a series of tests. If the number registers high, that means the bat has a high trampoline effect. The maximum value of a BBCOR bat is 0.50. This number was decided upon by the The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

All BBCOR bats must have a barrel diameter of 2 5/8” or less, a length to weight ratio of -3 or less and an overall length of 36” or less.

Question #2 – Why Was This Standard Created?

The number one reason the BBCOR standard was created is for safety. As offensive performance has increased, the speed at which the ball leaves the bat has also increased. To help keep pitchers safe, the BBCOR standard replaced the old standard, which was the BESR, and reduced the batted ball speed by 5%.

If a bat has a composite barrel, it will more than likely have to go through an ABI (Accelerated Break In) test to ensure it meets the BBCOR standard.

Question #3 – Do I Need a BBCOR Bat?

The type of bat you will need will depend on the league you are playing for. If you play in a league that follows the NFHS or the NCAA rules, you must have a bat that meets the BBCOR standard. Other organizations may also require players to use a BBCOR certified bat.

Standards will vary from league to league. It is therefore your responsibility to ensure you know the standards the league you play for enforces.

Question #4 – How Do I Know If My Bat is BBCOR Certified?

All non wood bats that are BBCOR certified will have a mark or stamp that says “BBCOR certified .50”. For play in the NCAA and NFHS, wood bats that use one piece of solid wood are not required to be BBCOR certified.

Types of bats and their advantages

When you look at the overall landscape of the game of baseball, for the most part, it is a simple game. Especially when you compare it to other sports such as football and soccer. On the offensive end all you need is a baseball bat and you can go out and play the game of baseball.

As you start to mature as a baseball player you will start to realize not all bats are created equal. The type of bat you choose to play with will depend on several different factors including the type of league you play in, the type of hitter you are trying to be, and how much you are willing to spend on a bat.

While there are only 4 main types of baseball bats you can choose from, each one can be made using a variety of different materials. They can also be configured to suit any hitting style. Here are the main bat types that are found in any of the best baseball bats:

Hybrid

A hybrid bat is basically a combination of aluminum and composite. It offers the hitter strength with very little drawback. In almost all cases, a hybrid bat is made using an aluminum handle and an aluminum spine. The barrel on the other hand is made using plastic, graphite and titanium, all of which are pressure molded composite materials.

One thing that makes the hybrid bat so attractive is its durability. Unlike bats made using other materials, the hybrid doesn’t bend, dent, warp or ding over time. The one big downside to this type of bat is its price. It can be pretty pricey and is not allowed in some leagues. Be sure to check your leagues requirements before purchasing any bat.

Wood

Wood bats have been around since the game of baseball was first invented. It is the classic baseball bat and is used in professional leagues all over the world. There are some leagues, both minor and major, that use wood bats exclusively for both in game use and bating cage sessions.

Being that each league is different and has their own set of standards, the type of wood bat used can vary greatly from league to league. For example, there was once a time when Louisville Slugger used only white ash wood to produce bats for Major League Baseball. These days however maple wood is the preferred option as it is lighter. Bamboo and hickory wood bats have also become pretty popular.

Aluminum

Aluminum bats are most commonly used in by younger players, high school and college. When compared to wood, aluminum bats are lighter, more durable and easier to swing. This is what makes them a great option for younger players who are just starting out and don’t have a lot of strength.

Aluminum bats also have the ability to “pop” the ball off the bat with a high level of speed. This is yet another benefit for younger players as they tend to lack strength and accuracy.

Composite

When compared to aluminum bats, you will find composite bats are lighter. They are made using a combination of plastic, graphite, and in some cases, titanium. Because of its weight, it too is a great option for young players just starting out.

Composite bats do come with a pretty hefty price tag which is why many will avoid using them. They are also not permitted in certain leagues. Again, it is your responsibility to know which type of bats are permitted in the league you are playing for. If you are looking for a bat that is durable, opt for an aluminum bat as composite bats aren’t made using durable material.

Top Brands of Baseball Bats

When it comes to baseball bat brands there is no shortage of supply. There are literally hundreds of different companies you can choose from at any given moment. Being that there are so many options, it can be very difficult to determine which one to use for your batting needs. While there are certainly more than 3 great brands you can choose from, below we are only going to discuss the top 3.

Louisville Slugger

During a baseball game many, many years ago, Pete Browning swung so hard that he broke his bat. A young man by the name of Bud Hillerich happened to be watching the game that day. He decided he was going to make Browning a new bat out of his father’s shop. With the help of Browning, Hillerich made the first baseball bat which was the start of something special.

Browning loved his new bat so much that he spread the word around the baseball community. As a result, baseball players from all over started to flock to the shop hoping Hillerich could make them a bat as well. In 1894 Hillerich took over his fathers shop and renamed it Louisville Slugger. And as the saying goes, the rest is history.

The Louisville Slugger brand has built itself into one of the most iconic brands in the industry. They are responsible for creating the first three piece bat technology that revolutionized the game. Legends such as Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth have used Louisville Slugger bats during their career. Today, baseball players from all over the world choose Louisville Slugger bats more than any other brand.

DeMarini

DeMarini was founded in 1989 by Ray DeMarini. Since the company started they have had a huge impact on the game of baseball. They launched the world’s first multi-wall bat, the Doublewall bat. The company is known for its innovative technology which is one of the main reasons they have such a loyal following. They are literally changing the game of baseball with the products they are creating.

Due to its unbelievable success, Wilson acquired DeMarini in 2000. Since then the company has continued to grow and develop some of the most innovative, high performing bats the game has ever seen. In fact what should be the top performing bat for the 2019 season is featured on this page: the CF Zen and Insane.

Easton

Easton Sports was founded in 1922 by Doug Easton. When the company first started they were manufacturing bow and arrows. It wasn’t until 1969 that the company started manufacturing baseball bats. In 1999 Easton expanded their product line yet again and started making wooden bats. They also acquired Stix Baseball, Inc. that same year.

Easton is known for developing several technologies including Integrated Matrix Technology and Carbon Nanotube Technology . There are well over 100 professionals who choose Easton as their brand of choice. The great thing is they have bats for every budget. You can get a bat for as low as $40 or as high as $500.

And there you have it. Three of the best baseball bat brands in the world. No matter what brand you choose, if you choose one of these you simply can’t go wrong. And that of course concludes our baseball bat reviews page. We hope that it has provided you with valuable insight to improve your game.

Best choices of gloves for Youth players

If you are looking for the best youth baseball gloves for the 2018 season then you have come to the right page. Like all other pieces of equipment, finding the right glove can be a huge factor in your success in the field. Many players actually wear their gloves far too long as they feel more comfortable with them and don’t want to start the feeling out process over again. This page in particular looks at what we feel are the top youth sized gloves available and provides a brief review on each. We look at the quality of the glove, the price, and other features the gloves uses to enhance performance.

What to look for when purchasing youth sized glove

There are several factors that go into choosing the right youth baseball glove. Some of which include:

  • Size – An improperly fitted glove can cause major defensive issues on the field. It will make catching the ball harder, and in general make you feel quite uncomfortable. For most youth players, the size of gloves will be somewhere in the range of 9 to 11.5 inches in length.
  • Position – In most cases a generic glove will be all that you will need. However, for some leagues if you play first base, or catcher you may require a specific glove made for that position. Although more rare, there are sometimes sizing differences between infield and outfield gloves, but you typically don’t need to worry about this until you are in more competitive levels.
  • Quality of Construction – There are several different items that a glove can be made of. In its most basic form (like the ones found for infants) you’ll find gloves made of plastic which are incredibly uncomfortable and cheaply made. Regular gloves however can consist of three different grades of leather: top grain, premium, and full-grain. The top-grain leather is the best of the best and is typically placed in the more expensive gloves. These gloves offer several advantages including a quicker break-in period and increased durability.
ImageYouth GloveRating (/5)PriceSizeOpen Back?Latest Price
Mizuno Prospect4.5$$11.5"No
Louisville Omaha Select4.5$$11.5"Yes
Akadema Prodigy5$$11.5"Yes
Nokona Buffalo Combo4.5$$$10.5"Yes

Youth Gloves we Review

Rawlings Gold Gamer – One of the most popular glove brands is Rawlings and for youth players their most popular glove is the Gold Glove Gamer. What sets this glove apart is its strength and durability. Where most gloves are built with the web separate from the glove itself, the Gold Glove Gamer’s web is attached. This and many more features make it one of the best for younger players.

Mizuno Prospect Series – For younger players, learning to play the game the right way with proper technique is imperative for long-term success. That is one of the main reasons why the Mizuno Prospect series makes such a popular choice among youth players as it used advanced features to help the player trap and catch the ball properly, just like the pros. Teaching these techniques at a young age will have great benefits for the young players future aspirations. Read our full review.

Louisville Slugger Omaha Select – The Omaha Select is a perfect youth sized glove for those players who are transitioning (or thinking about) to a more competitive level. When you first start off, you won’t need a glove with many advanced features. However at a more competitive level, you certainly don’t want to own inferior equipment. With further enhancements to bruise protection, comfort and advanced level patterns, the Omaha Select might be the perfect glove for your next competitive season. Read our full review.

Akadema Prodigy – The most versatile glove in our list is the Akadema Prodigy as it can be used for any position in the field. Akadema is quickly becoming one of the goto brands when it comes to baseball gloves and the Prodigy is no exception. Sized specifically for youth players with the smaller hand opening and thinner fingers, we feel it is a winner. Read our full review.

Nokona Buffalo Combo – The highest quality glove on our list is the Nokona Buffalo Combo. Crafted through a carefully handmade process, each Buffalo Combo is special. Using the best quality Buffalo leather, you’ll quickly notice a glove that provides amazing comfort and excels on the field. Although pricer than the average youth glove, competitive players should take an interest in this one.

We hope that this page has provided you with enough information possible in order to make the best possible choice when it comes to a new youth baseball glove. As we said earlier, finding a glove certainly is not easy especially with all of the factors outlined just above.