A radical shift is occurring in the way baseball bats are made for collegians and high schoolers. With its line of Power Brigade bats, prime mover Easton is attempting to stay ahead of the game. How players will receive them is yet to be determined, but those who opt for the bats will have two options.
With a release date of Nov. 1, Power Brigade offers the S and XL series, each of which has three models—the S1 and XL1 [all composite, $399], S2/XL2 [composite handle/aluminum barrel, $299] and the S3/XL3 [all aluminum, $199]. The bats were constructed to fall in line with the Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution [BBCOR] measurement adopted by the NCAA on Jan. 1 of this year. [The National Federation of State High School Associations plans to officially adopt BBCOR January 1, 2012.]
In layman's terms, BBCOR ensures that non-wooden bats perform similar to their wooden counterparts. All bats must meet a negative three length-to-weight ratio. For example, a 34-inch bat cannot weigh more than 31 ounces. Since all bat makers must follow this regulation, they have to use other features and benefits to lure consumers.
Easton's Trevor Anderson, product manager of the baseball bat division, explains that creating lighter swinging bats became the emphasis for Power Brigade.
The S series, available in black and yellow, is built for bat speed, on the premise of a low Moment of Inertia [MOI], referring to the weight of an object, its balance and how fast it can be swung. Anderson says weight distribution was critical to the S series to ensure its MOI was light enough to increase bat speed.
The XL series, available in white, black and yellow, is centered around barrel size. Anderson says XL series barrels are two inches longer than the S series, to help players hit the ball with power for more distance. "It's a fine line of pushing the limits of how big a barrel can be without it becoming a tree trunk," Anderson says.
More than two years in development, the Power Brigade bats were tested in the 2011 College World Series by Cal-Berkeley and tournament runner-up Florida. Next, they'll be in the hands of the many high school and college baseball players who must begin following the BBCOR guidelines set by their respective associations.
Want to learn more about BBCOR guidelines? Check out "BBCOR Bats Underscore Value of Defense."