The Verdict: 4.4/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
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The 2017 Easton Z-Core Hybrid BBCOR is the latest model in the hallowed Z-Core line from Easton, and it follows a renowned tradition of excellence.
The Z-Core bats are widely regarded as the most popular in college baseball.
It has been used in more at-bats, it has produced more hits, and its use has resulted in more home runs than any other bat that was used in the 2016 US Men’s College World Series.
So what accounts for this sort of popularity?
Features of the 2017 Easton Z-Core Hybrid BBCOR Baseball Bat
Here are some things you can expect from this baseball bat:
This is BBCOR-certified, so you don’t have to ever worry if it’s allowed for high school and collegiate play.
The 2017 Easton Z-Core Hybrid -3 is definitely allowed. It has a 2 5/8-inch barrel and a -3 drop weight, with 4 available sizes from 31 inches (28 ounces) to 34 inches (31 ounces).
It’s a 2-piece design. That shouldn’t be surprising, since it was Easton that first introduced the 2-piece design for softball bats back in the early 1990s.
The basic principle behind this design is still sound—the dual piece is simply more flexible compared to single-piece bats.
It uses their HMX Hyperlite Matrix Alloy in its aluminum/composite hybrid design. Again, this alloy is just the latest from Easton, and the brand is famed for the quality of its alloys.
They were the baseball bat makers that were among the first to adopt aluminum bat technology, and their versions of the aluminum bat in those early days were more durable yet lighter than the other bats of the time.
Easton was the brand that created titanium bats, which were so good they were actually banned.
Easton then continued by making great strides in bat material research, including the weaving of aerospace-grade fibers into strong and light composite materials.
This alloy is combined with the Z-Core internal core technology, which results in one large sweet spot for the bat.
The sweet spot is the area of the bat that’s the best place to hit the baseball with.
When the ball hits this spot, the momentum and the energy of the ball is deflected back to the ball so that it goes the opposite way with as much force as you can bear.
In addition to the large sweet spot, the 2017 Easton Z-Core BB17ZH also offers the longest BBCOR barrel among aluminum bats.
What this means is that you can cover a lot more space in the strike zone. You can reach outside pitches that may not be reachable with other shorter bats.
That energy transfer is also made possible by 2-piece Connexion technology. And this also optimizes your “feel” with the bat.
It comes with a slight end-load. The end-load offers more weight at the end so you can get more force to bear on the baseball, just as a carpenter can pound a nail down harder with a hammer than with an evenly weighted steel rod.
At the same time, this end-load isn’t too much. You still get a nice balanced feel when it’s your turn to take a whack at the ball.
This balanced feel allows you to direct the bat more effectively, so you can make it go where you want it to go. It’s not like wielding a top-heavy sledgehammer that can be very difficult to guide through the strike zone.
The bat also addresses the issue of painful bat vibrations effectively. In baseball, when you hit the ball outside the sweet spot, the energy doesn’t transfer back to the ball.
Instead, the energy creates vibrations that travel through the length of the bat.
Every player who has tried a low-quality bat knows what this feels like. It’s darn painful.
How Does It Address Vibration?
But there’s also the SIC black carbon handle, which dissipates the vibration. You know how sometimes a mishit is like holding a kettle of boiling water when the metal handle doesn’t have insulation?
This handle provides that sort of insulation, so to speak.
The grip also features the 1.2mm Hyperskin grip. This material is famous, since it first debuted on the handles of dirt bikes and motor bikes.
It offers a tremendously secure grip, even if you tend to sweat through your hands. You can be secure in knowing there’s very little chance that your bat can slip from your grasp.
For those who don’t use baseball hitters’ gloves, it’s wonderful.
What Kind of Alloy Does it Have?
What About The Barrel?
Pros of the 2017 Z-Core Hybrid
Here are some of the things people love about this 2017 Easton Z-Core Hybrid BBCOR bat:
It’s quite affordable. Yes, it’s true that it’s one of Easton’s more expensive bats.
It’s an absolute steal. You can easily find other bats that cost $50 or even $100 more than this bat. And yet it can be very hard to argue that these other bats are much better.
Some Easton fans may even contend that these other more expensive bats aren’t even as good as the Z-Core. So at the very least, the value for money is amazing.
The slight end-load is great. For younger players, control is invariably more important. Since they’re smaller and weaker, they need the lightest bats and the balance has to be even.
Even a slight emphasis of the weight on the end of the bat can get them to slip when they swing.
That’s not exactly the case for high school and college players who use BBCOR bats. They’re bigger and faster, and presumably they’ve had years of experience at the plate.
So they have the strength and experience to handle a balance like this.
Great pop. That’s the result of the high quality material and the resulting huge sweet spot. You always want a huge sweet spot.
That’s the area that deflects the ball’s energy back to the ball, so the ball can go farther.
Lots of factors contribute to this.
The bat offers a nice trampoline effect and the end-load gives it a lot more force. Hitters will love this, and so will contact hitters who get greater distance with every contact with the ball.
The long bat also increases the chance of making contact with the ball. If you’re having some trouble with balls pitched low on the outside, this bat can offer you better reach.
The solution against the vibration is also a godsend. The risk of feeling the sting of vibrations after a mishit is very real, and sometimes it can be a very discouraging prospect.
You begin to worry too much about making contact properly, because you’re going to feel the literal pain of failure.
At least with this bat, the sting is pretty much negligible. So you can swing away. The large sweet spot reduces the chance of getting vibrations, but so what if you get a mishit?
The handle can protect your hands from the pain.
This can really add to your confidence at the plate, and confidence is a huge factor in hitting properly.
Finally, you also don’t have to worry about the security of your grip. The Hyperskin takes care of that issue.
This material is famous for providing superb grip, and its reputation is well-deserved.
How Much Pop Does This Bat Have?
The only problem with this 2017 Easton Z-Core Hybrid BBCOR bat is that it needs you to take care of it properly.
Sure, it offers a 1-year warranty, but that warranty may not apply if you break the rules:
You have to rotate the bat 1/4 of a turn each time you get to the plate.
You have to limit its use to just one person.
If it’s yours, then you don’t let others use it. That will add a lot more wear and tear than it was designed for.
You absolutely can’t use it in the batting cage. This will definitely not be covered by the warranty. That’s because the balls used here are denser than regular baseballs.
You also shouldn’t use it if the temperature plunges to below 50 degrees.
Again, the warranty may not cover this sort of use. The cold temperatures can also make the ball denser.
Verdict on The 2017 Easton Z-Core Hybrid BBCOR
Overall, this is a great bat at a reasonable price.
It’s not surprising why so many college players use it, as it addresses all the issues that players care about.
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