2017 Rawlings Velo Review

Updated:  12/14/2016

Bat Tested:  33” BBCOR

The Rawlings Velo has become a mainstay in the high end bat space with good performance and a patented sound.  In a world that leans more and more towards multi-piece composite bats every year, the Velo has held its ground.  The low MOI one piece aluminum construction has been a popular choice among the masses for some time.  Not new for this year, but the addition of a composite end cap has helped the Velo swing even lighter by removing weight from the end of the bat.

Graphics / Cosmetics

Overall the 2017 Velo is a pretty sharp bat.  Rawlings went with a maroon base color that isn’t very prevalent in the bat space, but they definitely made it work.  They used the neon accents along with their new Tru-View Technology as compliments to give it a little pop.  While they aren’t the first company to show the bat’s true material through a graphic package, I’m a big fan of the look.  The sleekness of the pure polished aluminum and variation of composite in the Quatro show the truth of the technology being used, hence the name Tru-View.  They also did a nice job with making the Silver Comp Lite end cap stand out by having the composite cover the top inch of the barrel and integrate right into the end cap.  

Knob / Handle Taper / Grip

There isn’t anything that stands out about the Velo knob as it’s circumference and width are both pretty standard. A fairly thick handle taper is used underneath the grip to give it a really nice feel in your bottom hand.  By using the taper, it has taken away a large part of the knob that would otherwise rub on the bottom of your hand.  Rawlings uses what feels like a fairly thick grip with designs cut out to give it a great texture.

Sound

If we had to pick one thing that the Velo was famous for, it’s definitely the sound. Rawlings brought back the beloved “ping” from the pre-composite days and seemed to make it even louder by using their Acoustic Alloy.  When designing bats, manufacturers are always looking for ways to differentiate their models and make them stand out among competitors.  This type of differentiation helps the bats market themselves when they are being used on the field.  Aside for performance speaking for itself, bat companies tend to use graphics (color) and sound to do this.  This allows players, parents and coaches to be able to recognize what bats are being used from a few fields over.  What’s the bat that looks like a #Glowstick and can be seen from space, that would be the Rawlings Quatro.  What’s the bat that makes everyone stop in their tracks to check out because it’s so loud, that would be our Velo!  Love it or hate it, you know exactly what bat it is and who makes it.  Goal accomplished, Rawlings.

Swing Weight

One of the biggest reasons for the Velo’s success is its swing weight.  It has been one of the lowest MOI bats since it was released, which is a big deal.  Bat speed has been proven to be the number one way to add distance to ball flight.  The lower the MOI, the faster you will be able to get the barrel to the ball, assuming your swing mechanics are on point.  Usually when manufacturers try to cut weight and MOI, they thin the aluminum walls out which can result in lower durability (more denting).  The Velo has achieved a low swing weight while retaining good durability throughout the season.  During our testing the Velo swung extremely smooth.  It took almost no effort to get the bat through the zone and also allowed us to wait a split second longer for better pitch recognition.  

Feel

One of the trade offs to swinging a single piece aluminum bat is some of the vibration that you get in your hands on balls hit away from the sweet spot.  While a lot of younger players have grown up only swinging composite bats, they don’t want anything to do with excessive feedback in their hands.  On the flip side, many older and advanced hitters like and prefer a little more feedback from a bat to let them know exactly where impact was made on a given hit.  That information allows a good hitter to make in-game adjustments on the fly with more confidence.  The single piece aluminum Velo also provides a stiffer feel on impact in “transition” area of the bat where deflection takes place.  Some hitters prefer stiff while others like a little bit of flex, it all comes down to personal preference.

Performance

Rawlings uses what they call Precision Laser pOp 2.0 which creates a lasered groove through the sweet spot that increases flexibility and trampoline effect. With that being said, remember that most high end performance bats will test near the legal limit.  In my field testing, the Velo performed very well when the ball was barreled up and was a favorite among the group I hit with.  The low MOI produced easy line drives in the gaps with almost no effort.  While the actual barrel profile isn’t the biggest around, there wasn’t a time that it ever felt small.

Conclusion

The Velo once again, will most likely be a very popular choice for the 2017 line.  The combination of light swing weight and good performance will be appealing to a lot of players.  The good looking graphics and solid pedigree will also contribute towards its popularity.  If you’re looking for a low MOI, single piece aluminum, be sure to give the Velo a try.  You can pick one up over at Rawlings.com.

 

Available Lengths / Weights

BBCOR:  31/28, 32/29, 32.5/29.5, 33/30, 33.5/30.5, 34/31

2 ¾ -10:  27/17, 28/18, 29/19, 30/20, 31/21

2 ⅝ -10:  28/18, 29/19, 30/20, 31/21

2 ⅝ -5:  30/25, 31/26, 32/27

 

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