Next up in our series of equipment is a 2018 Louisville Slugger Prime 918 review.
Louisville is generally known for offering great pricing. However, this bat is at the high end of the market.
The price tag comes with the popularity as the Prime series has been one of the most popular on the market over the last few years.
Louisville Slugger is the premier company in the market for a three piece composite bat.
There aren’t many three piece bats out there, so let’s start by understanding what this means.
There is a special connection called an “elastomeric connection” between the handle and the barrel.
This connection is designed to minimize vibration even more than a two piece bat typically does.
As a result, players can focus on accelerating the bat through the zone without fear of significant pain or stinging in the hands.
Louisville comes from humble beginnings. A local prospect (Pete Browning) broke his favorite bat during a major league game and a fan offered to make a new one by hand.
Browning, known as “The Louisville Slugger” used the bat and broke out of a slump with 3 hits the next day.
Because all players are superstitious, he swore by his new Slugger.
Since then, the Louisville company has sold over 100,000,000 bats. So, you know that you’re getting a quality product.
2018 Louisville Slugger Prime 918 Review
- Larger barrel
- Light weight = better bat speed
- Minimal vibration
- Comfort for your hands
- No USABat certification
- Delivery Time
The Good of The Prime 918
Louisville is taking a step forward in customer service and allowing players to customize the bat to their liking.
This is something that DeMarini has done for a while. Louisville offers a surprising variety of color options.
You’re able to choose between matte and gloss finishing while also taking your choice of 16 different colors for the base and both decals.
The handle, grip, end cap, and knob are all also customizable.
What’s really impressive is that you can see what the different colors will look like as you change them.
You’re also able to choose the length of your bat and they tape the barrel based on which side you’ll be hitting from.
This is an awesome feature that should ensure players really enjoy their bats, but it adds about $100 to the price tag.
Louisville decided to focus on increasing hitting potential with the 918 prime.
This year, they increased the size of the barrel which should help with contact.
Some players have said the larger barrel is creating more backspin which lifts the ball more.
If you’re a fan of the launch-angle revolution that’s happening in the majors, you should like that idea.
You’ll find a lot of Louisville Slugger bat reviews mention a large barrel.
It seems to be something that Louisville is trying to embrace as a company.
The RTX Cap
This year, the 918 has a brand new endcap. The RTX end cap is designed to extend the barrel length and, in turn, make the sweet spot larger.
The sweet spot helps the ball jump off the bat. This also contributes to making the bat one of the most balanced in the Louisville series this year.
When you combine the size of the sweet spot with the increase in bat speed, you really create the chance for significant power.
TRU3 and The Goal of Zero Vibration
Louisville continues to use the TRU3 technology that connects the handle to the barrel.
The TRU3 minimizes vibration and makes the bat significantly smoother in your hand.
Multiple players have told me that the vibration and sting are minimal, even on bad hits.
This vibration technology is something that you’ll find mentioned in most Prime 918 reviews by customers.
A Durable Bat for Durable Players
A few players that I’ve spoken with said that they’ve been able to let teammates use the bat and have already gotten close to 1,000 swings with it and have had zero issue with durability.
At this price, durability is a must and it seems like Louisville is living up to the expectation.
The Prime 917 had some issues with durability at the connection point between the barrel and the handle. It seems like that’s been fixed.
This is something I’ve heard several players comment on. The Lizard Skin returns from the Prime 917.
Players love the feel of the grip because it has softness to it, but the tackiness also helps the batter maintain a good grip.
Some players I’ve spoken with have said that they’re comfortable using this bat without gloves.
The Bad of The Prime 918
The first issue that most people are going to run into is the price of this bat.
This bat is one of the most popular bats on the market (just like the 916 and 917).
It’s a great bat, but it’s priced like a great bat.
There are going to be a lot of players and families who can’t afford $450 for the BBCOR version.
The only version that comes at a somewhat reasonable price is the 918 tee ball bat that comes in at about $40.
The most significant issue that I’ve found with this bat comes from its certifications or the fact that it’s missing a key certification.
The only Prime 918 that meets the new USABat standard is the tee ball version.
That means that most leagues will not accept the non-BBCOR versions of this bat.
Little League Baseball, AABC, AAU, Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken, Dixie Youth and Pony are the most common leagues that this is banned in.
I’ve already had a few players state that there have been some concerns from their coaches.
The new USABat standard requires umpires to inspect bats before a game starts.
The reality is that you could spend $450 for a great bat that isn’t allowed in your league.
One of the first things that we discussed was the beauty of being able to completely customize your bat.
It’s an amazing feature that truly lets you make your bat your own. However, be mindful of the delivery time.
A standard bat will take about 2 days to ship. A custom bat says it’ll take about 5-10 days, but I’ve had some players wait even longer than that.
If you’re planning a custom order, I’d make sure you put your order in sooner rather than later.
In the end, it comes down to personal preference. There’s no arguing that this is one of the best baseball bats on the market.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a bat that has better pop or make up.
There’s good reason for this being so popular. However, it still seems a bit too pricy for my liking.
I understand the theory that you get what you pay for but this seems to abuse that concept.
We’ve reviewed multiple bats that would stand up fairly well to the Prime 918 for at least $200 less. I would probably reach for those.
What’s more, the only bat I would consider is the BBCOR version, it’s no doubt, one of the best BBCOR bats available.
In most cases, what bat a child uses in tee ball doesn’t matter all that much.
The senior league bats aren’t certified for USABat leagues, so there is a good chance that you won’t be able to use them.
Because of that, I wouldn’t look at the 918 unless it’s for a high school or college player.
As always, we hope you enjoyed our Prime 918 review. Feel free to give us your opinion.
Is this bat worth all the hype? Do you feel you get value despite the high cost?