Depending on who you are you might be wondering: what kind of bat should a slapper use? Is it different from other hitters?
This is a question comes up quite often as players begin to specialize more and more and develop a specific role on their team.
On this page you’ll find out what exactly they are, the role they play on a team, and the best fastpitch bats for slappers (which are different from other hitter needs).
Slapping in Softball
So what is a slapper? We’ve detailed all you need to know on our what is a slapper page, but in short a slapper is generally a left handed hitter. They tend to bunt and hit short as opposed to trying to hit the ball hard, and are a very useful weapon in the coaches offensive arsenal. Some of the best slappers around use a bat tailored to shorter infield hits, where the bat can also be used for the occasional surprise power stroke.
To think of this a bit further, the slapper generally sits at the top of the lineup card and acts as a table setter in that they try to get on base as much as possible for when the power hitters come to the plate.
Best Fastpitch Bats for Slappers in 2023
For bats, we believe based on our research that if you are a slapper that the Demarini CF is probably your best bet as it has been designed with many characteristics to make a slapper effective. We have outlined the top 3 choices on this page (updated for the 2023 season).
Demarini CF – Great choice for any Slapper
As you are probably very well aware, there aren’t too many bats made specifically for slappers.
Fortunately, Demarini (one of the best names in the business) makes a great one named the Demarini CF. Based on their successful line of CF model bats, like the one featured on our best fastpitch softball bats page, this one really is the ultimate choice for slappers.
The first thing a slapper needs is a long barrel, weighted more to the hands than the barrel to give optimal barrel control and manipulation. The 2023 DeMarini CF has that in spades with a 14” barrel providing maximum plate coverage. The stacked barrel construction gives 2 independent walls creating a superbly responsive hitting surface which extends the sweet spot further along the barrel than ever before.
One complaint frequently mentioned by slappers is that they typically experience more “mis-hits” than their power hitting counterparts. The CF has tried to reduce that uncomfortable, sting-like feeling on improper hits by designing a 3-Fusion handle. In addition to helping reduce ball sting, this handle should also provide great energy transfer, and assist in giving the ball a little more spin to keep catchers and the fielders guessing the direction.
The low pro end cap and -10 length to weight ratio allows the hitter to step in with power instead of a light drop and change up the defenders strategy on a dime. Finally the DeMarini CF has reversed the grip for longer lasting, better control.
Louisville 2023 LXT
Although not specifically marketed towards slappers like the CF version above, the LXT would still make a good choice if Demarini is not your thing.
The Louisville LXT comes with many different drop variations however I assume if you are reading this article that you are most interested in the -11 drop (lightest for LXT).
So you are probably wondering why you’d choose the LXT over the CFX Slapper?
For starters this one is a bit lighter as it has a -11 drop vs the -10 drop found in the CFX. As mentioned earlier however, the LXT also comes in -10, and -9 versions.
The LXT is also a 3-piece bat as opposed to a 2-piece. You might be wondering how a bat could possibly be a 3-piece. Although I am not the most technical person, this page on Louisville’s page explains it much more.
Last year the LXT was built using TRU3 technology explained in the link. This year that has been upgraded to a brand new VCX2 system. This system is named Vibration Control Connection and resides in the middle of the bat aimed at reducing vibration and ball sting in the handle while at the same time providing the barrel with more durability so you can use it for multiple seasons. From the sounds of things the handle and barrel and completely independent.
Another great feature is the brand new lightweight end cap that Louisville has named COPA. This is a good feature for any hitter as according to the specifications, it work hand in hand with the sweet spot to provide exceptional performance.
Overall, the LXT looks like a great bat and might be a good alternative if you aren’t a fan of the Demarini Slapper.
Easton Ghost Double Barrel – Can be used for Slappers
If the Demarini CFX or Louisville LXT didn’t excite you, the last high-quality bat I can think of is the newer Easton Ghost Double barrel.
Right off the top, I did want to mention that this bat can only be used in ASA, ISF, and NCAA. It cannot be used in USSSA, or NSA leagues like the previous two models can.
Now that the cat is out of the bag…what makes the Easton Ghost worthy of consideration?
For starters, the bat is supposed to provide a nice even balanced swing. This is important for slappers as it provides more consistency and less guess work. After all, the goal of a slapper is to get on base. Knowing your bat will provide a consistent, and even swing is a huge benefit.
One of the more interesting aspects of the Easton Ghost however is the newly designed double barrel. There aren’t any other bats around that feature this that I know of. So how does it work? Essentially:
- The inner barrel acts almost like an engine. This is where all of the power, and durability comes from
- The outer barrel itself is a bit softer than the interior barrel which allows the Ghost to be hot right out of the wrapper
Although I believe the previous two models we looked at would provide more benefits to slappers, it’s hard not to include an Easton bat in this list. They have such a great track record that it is hard to ignore.
What makes a bat good for slapping?
At this point you may be wondering what features a bat should have that makes it a good choice for a slapper in case you aren’t interested in the choices provide above. These include:
- Barrel length
- Weight distribution
- Sweet Spot size
Let’s break these down in order of importance.
One thing about being a slapper is once the opposing team knows your plan – they will try and adjust.
A slapper should expect more garbage pitches where the ball tends to be on the outside and inside of the plate to make it harder. That is where barrel length comes in. The longer the barrel, the easier it will be to reach pitches being thrown (especially on the outside).
Although it depends on your size and how heavy the bat is – I tend to believe a 14 inch barrel length makes a great choice.
One of the great debates in softball circles relates to whether or not a hitter should use a bat that promises a balanced or an end-loaded swing.
I won’t describe the physics behind this as this article does a great job, but in general end-loaded bats feel heavier than those that are balanced. Because they swing heavier they also produce more power. But in most cases that really isn’t what a slapper is after.
So what is the recommendation for slappers? A bat that promises a balanced swing all day!
This is quite similar to the point made on weight distribution.
In most cases an end-loaded bat makes a swing feel heavier and more difficult to turn around on pitches. As you know, the job of a slapper is to get on base, and to get on base often. After all the name of the game is scoring runs. Therefore, a slapper should look for a bat that is light and balanced so that they can produce consistent swings each time at the plate.
Sweet Spot size
You might be wondering why the size of the sweet spot would matter when choosing the best slapper bat.
After all – doesn’t the size of the sweet spot help more in power? While that is certainly true, the sweet spot size can help a slapper in a couple of different ways:
- Because a slapper is making a lunging motion toward the ball, it makes sense that the larger the sweet spot the more chance contact can be made.
- This was mentioned earlier, but sometimes slappers will also try and trick the defense with a nice powerful swing. Having a bigger sweet spot sure helps those situations.
The slapper is one of the more unique fastpitch players to exist. They certainly are a special breed, but when performing at their best, it could mean the difference between a championship and going home early. Other than the Demarini CF, there are not too many bats around that are specifically made for slappers. Outside of the CF, I believe that the Louisville LXT, and Easton Ghost could still provide slappers with increased performance than regular average bats.
Now get out there and slap! (The ball not people).