The St. Louis based Rawlings company has been manufacturing sporting equipment since the turn of the 20th century and presently produces apparel for basketball, football and, of course, baseball.
They are even the official baseball supplier to the MLB and Rawlings’ baseball gloves are the most popular amongst big league players.
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Over the course of the last century and beyond, Rawlings has been instrumental in the evolution of the baseball glove.
From the “Sure Catch” model of 1912 to their present day baseball mitts, Rawlings has churned out innovation after innovation throughout the years that repeatedly revolutionized the industry.
Aside from their remarkable prowess in manufacturing baseball gloves, the Rawlings Company also produces wooden and metal baseball bats.
While the success of their bats is largely outshined by their vast lineups of baseball mitts, a couple Rawlings bats have garnered positive reactions from hitting experts.
Typically, their bats reach the realm of high performance bats, but with a more affordable price point.
Rawlings 5150 Baseball Bat Overview
The name of Rawlings’ 5150 metal bat comes from the type of alloy used in the bat’s construction. The 5150 series goes back to Rawlings’ 2012 lineup.
Over the past four years, it has been successful as a high performance bat, with some years being better reviewed than others were.
Its most well-received model, so far, was likely the 2014 5150. The following year’s model (2015) made the end cap from a composite material and fused it to the barrel, similar to the design of the Rawlings VELO bats.
While this reduced the overall swing weight of the bat, the Comp-Lite End Cap took time to adjust to, especially to hitters that were long-time users of the 5150 stick. Thus, it was not initially well received, but later caught traction.
The Rawlings 5150 continues to use the lighter, composite Comp-Lite End Cap, which lends towards a more balanced weight.
This can cause some confusion because the Rawlings VELO bats are also labeled as balanced. While the 5150 has a light swing weight, compared to the VELO bats, it actually fees more like an end-loaded stick because the VELO has a much lighter swing.
The Rawlings 5150 is also a single piece bat, which is favored among power hitters because of the stiffer feel.
The one-piece design of the new 5150 does deliver that stiffer feel, but also means balls that are not hit squarely can cause nasty bat sting.
There are ways around feeling the full impact of these unpleasant shockwaves (batting gloves, thumb guard, after-market grip), but catching a ball on the lower half of the handle may still pain your hands and diminish your confidence to swing freely at the plate.
The good news is the Rawlings 5150 has some seriously explosive potential. The 5150 alloy, from which the bat gets is name, is a durable, aerospace-grade mixture of metals that results in great response to batted balls.
This is further aided by Rawlings’ Precision-Optimized-Performance (pOp) Technology, which exists inside the actual barrel of the bat and aims to improve the balance and maximum trampoline effect of the 5150.
The Rawlings 5150 comes in several variations, including BBCOR, Junior Big Barrel, Youth and three Senior League styles (drop 5, drop 10 and a hybrid drop 10 that has a larger barrel diameter).
Overall, the Rawlings 5150 baseball bat delivers on what has become expected of it: an affordable, high-performance, one-piece bat.
There are few bats offering similar performance-enhancing features and a high-quality design and materials, at such a low price point.
New to the Rawlings 5150 this year is the hybrid Senior League bat, which strays from the regular one-piece design of the 5150, but offers a massive barrel and incredible pop.
The only drawbacks to the Rawlings 5150 lineup are the lack of vibration dampening (which can be remedied with other equipment, such as batting gloves) and the Junior Big Barrel model’s poor durability.