In this review, we’ll look at the 2020 remake of the Rawlings 5150. Rawlings has limited the release to the BBCOR and Youth Big Barrel Models. The Youth Big Barrel is only a USSSA model, so if you’re in a USA league, you won’t be able to use the 5150.
What to expect from both models?
The 5150 gets its name from the alloy that is used to make the bat. The 5150 Alloy is considered to be aero-space grade metal. It’s designed to maximize performance and durability. Both models carry a pOp 2.0 technology which offers a larger sweet spot than the competition. They’re also both one-piece alloy barrels designed with a Hyper-Lite Speed Cap.
These materials are key in decreasing the swing weight of the bat. The Hyper-Lite cap is also a key contributor to the bat’s end-loaded feel.
One of the key benefits to a one-piece alloy is that you don’t have a “break in” period. That is, the bat is hot out of the wrapper. With a composite bat, the break in period is the time it will take before the bat really comes to life. With the one-piece alloy, the 5150 will be at its peak the day you open it.
What we like about the 2020 5150:
Rawlings is sticking with what works. The 5150 has a single-alloy barrel which means that the entire bat is made from one piece of metal. This is a great benefit for players who are already power hitters as the single piece takes away the flex of the bat.
Redesigned barrel & handle
The key change in this year’s model is that Rawlings opted to lengthen the barrel. The larger barrel increases the sweet spot and should make it easier for the hitter to make quality contact. As part of that redesign, the handle is a bit thinner. All of this creates an end-loaded feel making it the ideal bat for power hitters.
Rawlings is also claiming that the barrel is flatter than ever before. I don’t really see the difference, so it may be on such a small level that it’s difficult to detect. They’ve change the handle to make it thinner as well. The theory is that using a thinner handle should increase bat speed.
Rawlings has consistently offered reasonable pricing on the 5150 over the years. The pricing has increased over time, but it still competes with all of the best aluminum BBCOR bats on the market. The BBCOR model will run about $250 which is middle of the pack. The Youth Big Barrel is around $100-$120 which is definitely on the cheaper side. We’ll dive into how those numbers rank in a bit.
The BBCOR model is considered to be a balanced swing weight, but most players find that it’s a bit more end-loaded than Rawlings is advertising. The 5150 offers a range of sizes starting at 29 inches (26 ounces) and going up to 34 inches (31 ounces). That variety makes this bat a great fit for most high school players.
Earlier we mentioned the price as being around $250. That ranks 12th out of 21 bats. It’s a pretty middle ground price. Considering previous models have listed for about $200, Rawlings is losing some of its value compared to previous years. It’s still a great product, but I’m not sure why the price is going up by 25%.
In order to compare this model with other options available for 2020, check out our reviews of the best BBCOR bats.
Youth Big Barrel
In most ways, the Youth Big Barrel model is the same as the BBCOR model but a bit smaller. It does seem like this model is more balanced than the BBCOR model. You’ll find the YBB model only comes in a -10. With that, the model starts at a 26 inches (16 ounces) bat and tops out at 31 inches (21 ounces). We want to re-emphasize that the YBB model is only approved for USSSA leagues.
As for the pricing, Rawlings opted to make the Youth Big Barrel model a great value. It ranks 24th out of 31 models in its class. That seems pretty consistent with their past pricing and makes the YBB model a much better value than the BBCOR option. Also, make sure to check out our list of the best USSSA baseball bats.
Other improvements this year
In years past, the sound of the 5150 has been a consistent topic of conversation. Rawlings hasn’t publicly commented on any significant changes that would impact the sound, but it seems that the issue is gone with the 2020 version. Sitting in on a number of practices and games, I’ve found that the 5150 has what would be considered a “typical” ping sound.
As we mentioned above, changing the shape of the barrel and the size of the handle are considered improvements. Realistically, I don’t think the changes have been significant enough to push the bat toward the top of the list.
Rawlings made it a point to comply with the new USA bat standards when it first came out. For some reason, they opted not to have a USA model for the 5150 this year. If you’ve gotten used to using the 5150 in your USA league, you’ll have to look elsewhere this year. Check out our reviews of the best USA baseball bats to find the right bat for your needs.
What we don’t like about the 2020 5150:
Vibration has always been an issue when looking at the 5150. Using a one-piece alloy barrel significantly increases the vibration in a hitter’s hands. Surprisingly, Rawlings has never focused on cutting down vibration. It would be nice to see Rawlings add a special knob or end cap. But, that will have to wait at least another year.
You may notice that bat speed was a key term in this writing. It seems that Rawlings focused on making this the lightest alloy bat on the market. The downfall to that is that they forgot to address the vibration a hitter deals with on a mishit. In the end, the BBCOR model is a solid buy, but the Youth Big Barrel model is one of the best values on the market.