Bat Tested: Easton Mako Beast 33″ BBCOR
Ever since its launch, the Easton Mako has become one of the most anticipated releases of the year. The combination of a light swing weight combined with great performance makes for an extremely popular bat for the masses. With the release of the 2017 Mako Beast, I got my hands on it as soon as I could. Along with the same great performance and low MOI, Easton has also increased the barrel length 1.5” compared to the original Mako.
I’ll be honest, when I first heard the reports of the Beast having a barrel 1.5” longer than the original Mako, I took it with a grain of salt. Not because I didn’t believe that it couldn’t be done (adding 1.5” is huge by the way), but because of how the whole claim is phrased. I wondered why they would make a comparison to the original Mako barrel when there have been 2 other model years released since then that they should be comparing to. Unfortunately I don’t have access to every Mako to measure the barrel length difference from year to year if there were any before the Beast. Regardless of their reasoning, I can say with 100% confidence that the length is real. This thing looks like a monster.
The 2017 Mako Beast continues its evolution of the previous 3 generations. Once known for the striking highlighter like color, this year the Mako sports a classic dark look with chrome accents. While it is a departure from earlier versions, it feels like the right move. The base paint is almost a gun-metal grey with speckle in it that makes it shine when the light hits it and the chrome areas definitely pop off of the dark background. One of the more interesting aspects of the graphic package is the addition of the MOI (moment of inertia)/ Swing Weight Index on the end of the barrel towards the end cap. The index starts at 9.0 (where the Mako Beast lands) and goes to 10.0. More on this in the Feel / Swing Weight section below.
Easton has carried the same knob or one that’s very similar forward for a while now, so this will be short. They have one of the smaller knobs on the market in terms of profile thickness. In my experience, it has always felt pretty good and held up well on my batting gloves by not creating a lot of friction on my bottom hand.
The Mako Beast sound is textbook composite bat. If you’re looking for that ping, you won’t find it here, at least not very often. I know a lot of people judge performance based off of the sound a bat produces, but don’t let the sound fool you, this bat is full of performance.
Continuing the swing weight comments from above, by creating the swing index, Easton uses visuals on a small area on the bat otherwise ignored to explain what type of swing weight or MOI a specific model has. Many players and parents simply don’t understand that not all same length / weight bats (EX. 33/30) swing the same way due to the weight distribution. A higher MOI (moment of inertia) bat will have more of an end loaded feel or feel like all of the weight is towards the end cap and swing heavier. A lower MOI bat will have a more balanced feel where most of the weight is distributed towards the handle and swing lighter. With the Mako rating a 9.0 on their swing weight index, it is the lightest swinging bat in the Easton line and one of the lightest you will find amongst all of the 2017 bats on the market. The bat is very balanced and actually swings lighter than it looks with the new longer barrel.
When swinging a multi piece bat, there are usually a couple of different points where you can distinguish how a bat feels: in the transition and the actual barrel impact. The ConneXion transition has been tried and tested over multiple years since its introduction. It kills most of the bad vibration, but still allows for optimum feedback in your hands on contact. It actually gives off a little more feedback than most multi-piece bats, but never crosses the line as being too much. To me, the ConneXion is a really interesting advantage for Easton. It’s a patented technology that’s so simple and more importantly, so light. Without having to add a lot of weight in the transition area, it flat out allows Easton to make their barrels bigger. While it could very well be that their materials and composite are superior, I think the weight savings thanks to the ConneXion plays a big part. In comparison, many manufacturers have to add more grams in the transition to achieve similar results. When it’s all said and done the bats with a heavier transition won’t have weight to spare for adding barrel length unless they remove layers of composite which would affect durability. On the flip side, they do create somewhat of a mid-load that helps put a little more MOI into the swing.
At contact on the barrel, you can actually feel the barrel walls deflecting and it seems like the ball sits on there forever before firing back. It is definitely an interesting feeling if you’ve never felt it before.
As for the grip, the Hyperskin also feels pretty good in your hands, no complaints on this end. With Lizardskins coming on strong the last few years, more manufacturers are putting more time and money into development instead of treating the grip like an afterthought.
As with most high end bats, the performance of the Beast was very good. During my testing session it produced both stinging liners through the infield and also some deep flies with nice backspin. I will say that what seemed to set the Beast apart from other bats was its ability to produce better contact along a longer part of the barrel, especially as impact moved towards the handle. This can for sure be attributed to the Mako’s improved barrel length. In the marketing copy, it said that the TCT Thermo Composite barrel was redesigned with the added 1.5″, but I’d be interested to know if it was adjusted to add length or if the sweet spot area was also tweaked.
The Mako Beast is most likely going to be one of the most popular bats of the season because of its low MOI and great performance. While it won’t be for everyone, it will still reach a mass audience. The $449.95 price tag will turn some people off, but it places the Beast in the premium bat category. One side note, the Mako Beast Torq is also available for sale at the same price point. Easton doesn’t seem to be pumping the technology very hard this year and also didn’t add an additional cost for the Torq handle. Something to keep an eye on for future models.
If you’re ready to give the Mako Beast or any other bat a shot, check out our friends over at Closeoutbats.com, they always have a great selection with good pricing.