Lately Combat has been releasing a number of models that boast the longest barrel and largest sweet spot, and these bats carry a price tag similar to that of other high end composites. For 2016 Combat has released a model that has a more traditional profile (although the barrel is still plenty long) with a more traditional taper, and a list price below $200 for the BB/SL model (pretty unique in this day and age, in which bat companies seem to keep escalating prices with each new model year). We got our hands on the brand new Vigor recently, got some cage and tournament time with it, and let’s see if it lives up to the performance standards set by the Combat bats that have come before it.
Simple, cool design and graphics. The matte silver finish makes it almost look like an alloy bat, and the yellow and white graphics and logo are simple and understated as well. Our experienced travel hitters liked the simple design, and thought this bat looked pretty serious. It looked like they were bringing some new kind of Combat alloy bat to the plate, which led to some interesting looks from opposing players and coaches.
1-piece full composite.
Size tested was a 31/26. Actual weight: 26 oz.
It’s a Combat, therefore it has a balanced swing weight. Although balanced like most all Combats before it, the Vigor felt like it had a bit more mass in the barrel than the Maxum. Like so many Combat -5’s that have come before it, the Vigor would make an excellent choice for boys making the transition down in drop weight. Boys who had already been swinging -5’s got it around with ease, and those moving down from -8’s said it felt like the transition would be quick and easy. Combat has definitely established themselves as the flagship brand when it comes to balanced composite bats, and it’s a pretty safe bet that any model they release will be very accurate in terms of sticker weight and swing very balanced.
While not as long a barrel as the Maxum or the Portent G series, there is definitely plenty of barrel length on this bat. One of the things that’s quickly apparent to experienced Combat users is the fact that the taper on the Vigor is more traditional and not as thick as that on the Maxum or Portent G series. That obviously won’t affect balls that are barreled up, but will have a bit of affect on balls hit off the hands. But again, the barrel is more than long enough to give hitters ample opportunity to launch balls off the sweet spot.
Like all new Combats, the Vigor sports the very popular Lizard Skins grip, with no flare at the knob. If a bit of flare is desired, a knob cuff quickly takes care of it. Nice that more bat companies are following suit and adding a Lizard Skins grip as factory equipment on their higher level bats, as having to replace the grip on new/newish $200+ bats seems a bit silly.
For those who know the brand, the performance is very ‘Combat’. Right out of the wrapper this bat was very hot, was introduced into tournament play with a minimum of hits on it, and performed as well as any high level composite bat we’ve used. Nice ‘crack’ sound on well hit balls, very nice distance when hit off the sweet spot, and not too much different than the performance we’ve seen firsthand with the Maxum and G Series Portents. Probably the only difference you’ll likely see with the Vigor is a drop in forgiveness/performance on balls hit off the hands, due to the thinner/more traditional taper. Balanced swing weight and perfectly accurate actual weight make this bat easy to swing and to get some serious bat speed going, and make it a great choice for any hitter.
No issues, and just a couple of scrapes and ball marks from use. The very simple matte silver finish is doing a great job of holding up, and not showing too much in the way of signs of use. Yellow Lizard Skins grip is looking good and dirty, the way our hitters like their gameday bats to look… this bat looks like it will just look more serious, with more use.
With the Vigor, Combat has put all of what we’ve always liked about the brand in a less expensive, more traditional profiled bat. Barrel is certainly long enough to find the sweet spot easily, swing weight is very balanced, actual weight is right on the money, sound is great, and performance/pop is top notch right out of the wrapper. Bottom line, if you’re a fan of Combat you’re gonna like this bat. Everything we’ve always liked about the brand, but at a more friendly price point. The question now is if this is going to usher in a new era of budget friendly high end composite bats, and reverse the trend of stretching bat prices closer to the $500 mark with each new model. Only time will tell…