Rawlings likes to think it has created a little something for everyone by expanding its array of BBCOR bats to three distinct lines. This summer, all three took on a new iteration, including what turned out to be the semi-surprise success of the brand-new Quatro.
Launched this year, Rawlings offered the Quatro as the brand’s first composite BBCOR bat. Kyle Murphy, head of the Rawlings bat category, said Rawlings previously remained focused on aluminum because it performed better early in the composite game, but after years of research and development, the design team developed a technology that made Rawlings comfortable enough to release the composite design.
“You have to start composites so low so, as they break in, they never go over the (BBCOR) limit,” Murphy said. “The intricacies are very challenging.” To combat the composite breakdown the Quatro technology includes an inner barrel that governs performance and is covered by an outer barrel with far more flex.
BBCOR regulations require bats stay within the .50 limit for the life of the bat, but composites can break down in as little as one month and create a hotter product that falls out of compliance.
Rawlings went through a bevy of different compositions, finally settling on a carbon fiber and resin blend.
With its carbon fiber mix, the Quatro design offers a flexible outer shell and a stiff inner barrel. The outer barrel acts as a trampoline, with a high degree of flexibility for more performance off the sweet spot, even for high school players who won’t see the velocity a college player sees.
Rawlings also created a hinge system in the Quatro to connect the barrel with the handle that serves as a vibration-dampening collar. The connecting joint allows the outer shell to never touch the handle, instead connecting to urethane that dampens vibration coming off the barrel for improved player feel, Murphy said.
While the Quatro proved a quick study and took over about a quarter of Rawlings’ BBCOR bat sales, the Velo remains the workhorse of the line. While in the line for years, the release marked the second year of the Precision Laser Pop technology with a laser groove design to optimize the size of the sweet spot while reducing weight.
Along with thickening the walls where the BBCOR test is done and then pulling weight out via the groove in other locations, the Velo now includes a composite end cap to further reduce swing weight.