By Robert Nelson
Louisville has a long and respected history in the baseball bat industry, but they've falling behind in the composite segment of the market. They're 2009 entry into the high end composite category, the Triton, was met with a tepid reception. For 2010 they've changed ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to their line-up except for cosmetics. They didn't even make an attempt to fool us into believing they made any changes. The verbiage for their 2010 bats is identical to the verbiage for their 2009 bats. They even changed the name of their second tier composite bat for the third year in a row without changing anything about the bat. This is extremely disappointing from what most consider the holy grail of baseball bat manufacturers. On a positive note they have adjusted their pricing policy to align the price (except for the EXO) to the material of the bat.
Here's the breakdown of the Louisville line-up:
Louisville Composite Bats
- TPX Triton - A 3-piece bat made with 100% composite material with Louisville's stiff handle and a balanced design. The 2010 Triton is the exact same bat as the 2009 model except for a putrid blue/yellow color change that makes it look cheap. This bat has by far the largest barrel I've seen on a baseball bat. As I've stated in the past, it would be in Louisville's best interest to either call this a multi-piece bat or stick to a true 1-piece design. Instead they continue to market it as a three-piece bat bonded together as a one-piece bat. I've hit with the Triton and seen high school kids use it in games and it seems to be a quality bat, but it just hasn't caught fire. You will rarely see it in a high school games and almost never in College. Even on a College teams using Louisville bats the players choose the Exogrid, Omaha or H2 (in that order) and not the Triton. The retail price remains at $399.99 for the Adult -3 model. If you like this bat you'll save about $100 by picking up the 2009 model on the discount rack (and have a bat that looks good). I recommend the Easton Speed for experienced players who want a 100% composite bat.
- TPX Dynasty Composite - This 100% 7C composite, one-piece bat has the Louisville stiff handle and a balanced design. This bat is the same bat as the 2009 Omaha Comp and 2008 Catalyst. Louisville seems to be playing musical chairs with the name of this bat and decided the old Dynasty name would make sense for 2010. I believe this bat is an excellent second tier composite bat choice for two reasons. First, it has a great price at $259 for the Adult -3 model. Second, it has a proven track record being a Catalyst/Omaha Comp. An excellent choice for those looking for a lower priced composite bat.
Louisville Hybrid Bats:
- H2: The 2010 model is the exact same bat as in 2009 but with one major difference, they've adjusted the price to what a hybrid bat should be! Do you believe in miracles? It looks like the H2 did not sell well in 2009 and they were forced to price it correctly. It's a two piece bat that bonds the pieces together to make the claim that it's a one piece bat (we've already covered this). The 100% composite handle is Louisville's stiffest which is saying something. The barrel is a 100% ST+20 alloy barrel and a balanced swing weight design. The Adult -3 model retails for $299 in 2010 $70 less than its retail price in 2009. You can also find the 2009 model for even less.
- Exogrid: The EXO continues to chug along! It's been one of Louisville's best selling bats and the 2010 model is identical to the 2008 and 2009 models. Clearly their going to milk this golden goose for as long as possible because it continues to retail for an amazing $369. In my opinion this bat is closer to a 100% alloy bat then a hybrid but with the carbon sleeve cut into the handle it's in the hybrid category. I believe the price of this bat is way too high and I can't recommend it when for an additional $30 I can get the 100% composite Triton. Don't get me wrong, it's a good bat but I just can't recommend pulling the trigger at $369. If you love this bat find the 2008 or 2009 model. It's the same bat and will cost you a lot less money. As mentioned no change to the design it's still a one piece, 100% alloy bat with some metal cut out of the handle and replaced with composite material. It comes with Louisville's stiff handle and a balanced design. As mentioned earlier, most players on College teams who use Louisville bats swing the Exogrid.
Louisville Alloy Bats
- TPX Omaha: The Omaha also continues to chug along. It' a one -piece, 100% alloy bat with the Louisville stiff handle and a balanced design.. The 2010 is the same bat as the 2009 model and is priced at a reasonable $199.99 for the Adult -3 model. It's a great choice for those who are not looking to break the bank to purchase a baseball bat. Many players on College teams with Louisville contracts prefer to use the Omaha instead of the Triton or H2.
- Omaha XT Stiff: This bat has apparently been out since last year but I've not seen it anywhere except on the Louisville website. I don't know if it's a hybrid or an alloy all Louisville says is it has ST+20 alloy and extra stiff composite reinforced transition. Seem odd to call this bat the Omaha Stiff when all Louisville bats are known for their stiff handles and the H2 has the stiffest handle of all.
Louisville makes quality bats but they need to decide if they're going to jump into the multi-piece bat market or not. If you're coming out with a multi-piece design tell me it's a multi-piece design and why that makes sense. Don't tell me it's bonded to be a one piece bat.
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