By Brian Duryea
Old Hickory makes an impressive line of wood bats. At least guys like Mike Trout, Yasiel Puig and Paul Goldschmidt would tell you so—and I don’t see anyone disagreeing with them. Their wood bats are good and will continue to be.
Recently, Old Hickory released a BBCOR aluminum alloy bat: the 9914 BBCOR Aluminum Old Hickory Bat. You can read the full review on the Old Hickory BBCOR bat here. The Bat is $300.
I’m not trying to make any enemies at Old Hickory, but a $300 bat for a one piece aluminum alloy does not seem like a serious attempt at the metal bat space. There are dozens of attractive one piece aluminum alloys at considerably lower prices. I suspect, and this a perfectly fair approach, Old Hickory wants to capitalize on the brand recognition the previously mentioned demi-gods of baseball have created in their wood bats. Surely more than just a few metal BBCOR users want the same brand as Mr. Fish Shoes. In other words, I just don’t take Old Hickory’s one-piece alloy bat for $300 as a serious foray into the metal bat space. If it is then, quite frankly, I think its a serious swing and miss.
As a reference point, take another new comer with a familiar name who makes their first foray into the metal bat world: Adidas. Adidas released a one piece aluminum alloy for $199 and a two piece hybrid for $299. Respectable and proven price points from a brand that also appears positioning themselves for the youth bat market as well. I think Adidas has a ton of work ahead of them and still needs to consider getting a composite barrel (especially in the youth space) but their attempt into the space at least appears, to me, a serious one.
Any other familiar name brands taking a plunge into metal bats? If this Instagram picture means to you what it means to me, then expect EvoShield to put their hat in the ring. EvoShield says there is an announcement on Sunday. Maybe its just another Wood bat so it might be a false alarm. But release date? Youth? BBCOR? Something is going on and we’ll know more on Sunday. Hopefully all soon to be answered–and hopefully it’s not a $300 one piece aluminum bat.