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Trend-Spotting Early in 2016: Warstic, Axe Usage Up, Brett Lawrie’s Soccer Boots

Mike Moustakas Franklin Powerstrap Batting Gloves

WPW 2016 is the best it’s ever been thanks to everyone who hits us up on Instagram, Twitter, WPW gear forums, or e-mail, to tell us what they’re seeing on the field.  We definitely can’t be watching every game, so its so critical to have that community aspect to it.  The WPW forum, and specifically the “MLB spotting 2016” thread, is a great way to tell me (Mike) about some new gear you’re seeing or if a guy changed gear, or whatever it is.  I check it daily, and I also put gear in there that I don’t show on the main site.  We’ve got 212 forum members so far and would love to have more.  Please join at the link if you think you can contribute.

Here’s some interesting stuff we’re seeing around the league early on in 2016.

Josh Donaldson Warstic Bat

Warstic Bats are being swung by George Springer, Josh Donaldson, and Ian Kinsler so far that we’ve seen.  I’m sure as soon as Bryce hears about ’em, you’ll see him swinging them too.  I checked out their site yesterday, and my first impression was a good one.  The site itself might need a little work (so does ours) but the products were what I am impressed with.  There is a very obvious baseball-mindedness to it that we love to see.  They have a laser focus on baseball products, and they seem to be thinking outside the box—like these batting gloves:

Warstic Batting Gloves

They call the style “Workman,” and the gloves definitely look like work gloves.  Not sure I’d enjoy the leather, but a couple things to notice… one, the thick wrist strap that closes backwards so you can tighten it “much tighter than conventional batting gloves” and create the taped-wrists feel that many players enjoy.  Also, the Warstic logo on the back of the hand is thick rubber to protect the hand on a hit-by-pitch.  Maybe you don’t like these batting gloves, but you’ve got to like the creativity and the effort to create better baseball products.

Carlos Correa Victus Axe Bat

The Axe.  Its not a fad anymore.  Here are the guys currently swinging the Axe by Victus.  Read more about the Axe in a piece we did last year.

  • Jake Lamb, ARI
  • Jimmy Rollins, CWS
  • Avisail Garcia, CWS
  • Carlos Correa, HOU (thought we saw him with Chandler as well)
  • Mookie Betts, BOS
  • Collin Cowgill, CLE
  • Xander Bogaerts, BOS
  • Dustin Pedroia, BOS

I ran into Jimmy Rollins getting some pre-game hacks in at Top Flight Academy in Oakland when the White Sox were in town.  Rollins was the first guy to ever get a hit with an Axe bat, so he’s basically the foremost authority on them in baseball.  He saw mine and had some interesting things to say about it… he said that he only uses it from the right side.  He said he’s tried it on the left and it just hasn’t worked for him, which is interesting when you consider that everybody on the above list is right-handed except Lamb.  (I’m also a righty)  It will be interesting to keep track of that and see if there is any tendency towards right-handers.

Rollins also said that he doesn’t even use his axe in BP, just the games.

On a related note, we’ve also seen a heck of a lot of Victus out there.  Victus estimates at least 30 guys have swung their bat in 2016.  Bryce was swinging it early on, but as Bryce does, he switched off recently, and his 100th came off a Marucci CU7 Maple:

Bryce Harper Marucci Bat

The CU7 is one of the 17–last we checked—variations of the CU26 bat that Chase Utley has made with Marucci, and it is a favorite of Harper’s.  The CU26 is available.

Josh Donaldson, before the year, was hyped on some custom Swingman Legend cleats that Nike did up for him.

Josh Donaldson Swingman Cleats

He posted this on his IG and we posted it too.  The reason its notable is that Donaldson isn’t wearing them.  He’s wearing the Trout 2.

During Spring Training, we were at Jays camp and noticed a pair of Lizard Skins batting gloves belonging to Russell Martin.  Lizard Skins, better known for their bat grips, will be launching a batting glove line “in the near future,” according to the company, and Russell, as well as Kike Hernandez of the Dodgers have been seen wearing them.  We asked Lizard Skins for a photo but haven’t heard back.

Brett Lawrie Nike Tiempo Cleats

Brett Lawrie is wearing soccer boots, Nike Tiempos to be exact, on the baseball field.  Lawrie likes a low-profile shoe—he wore the Vapor Pros last year with Oakland—and he’s taken it to a new level this year.

B. Lawrie

B. Lawrie

We heard from former D-Back, current White Sox power-hitting prospect Matt Davidson, and he told us why Lawrie is wearing soccer boots:

(Lawrie) wears them because they are the most low profile.  You know the whole barefoot movement that’s going on?  That’s why… Cleats are the number one reason why guys get plantar fasciitis.  The toes can’t move in cleats and the foot doesn’t work like it does barefoot.

Tremendous insight from Davidson here.  Lawrie is clearly a gym-rat and takes his preparation very seriously, so this makes perfect sense.  We’ve also asked Lawrie, too.  If we hear from him on it, we’ll let you know.

Leonys Martin Franklin Powerstrap Batting Gloves

Leonys Martin

Lots of guys seem to be liking the Powerstrap BG’s from Franklin, which will be available to the public this year.  Not sure exactly when yet, but stuff tends to release in July (just speculating).

Francisco Cervelli Franklin Batting Gloves

Francisco Cervelli

Hanley Batting Gloves

Hanley Ramirez

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