The new year is nearly upon us, but before ringing in 2017, let’s pause for a brief look back.
So much happened at Axe Bat in 2016. We signed our first pro player, launched a new website, and became a separate business division of our parent company, Baden Sports. We added key members to our team, expanded our on-site lab, and advanced the next generation of technologies for one-sided hitting.
At the same time, players at all levels of the game were switching, then ditching their old round-handled bats in record numbers.
In the major leagues, player usage more than tripled as more than 30 players, including MVP runner-up Mookie Betts, swung bats with Axe handles during the regular season.
What’s in store for 2017? We can’t wait to find out.
#10. Minnesota’s Kurt Suzuki drives in a career-high six runs with a pair of doubles and a home run in the Twins’ 14-10 victory against Philadelphia on June 21. Suzuki finishes the season hitting 78 points better with an Axe handle than a round handle.
#9. Houston’s George Springer hits the 100th regular-season home run with an Axe-handled bat, driving a 1-2 pitch into the seats in right center and leading the Astros to a 12-2 win at Baltimore on Aug. 20.
#8. Boston’s Dustin Pedroia rips a double to the left-field corner for his 1,500th career hit against Tampa Bay on April 21.
#7. Boston’s Mookie Betts, Houston’s Carlos Correa, and Arizona’s Jake Lamb all hit Opening Day home runs, the perfect start to the first season in which multiple players begin the year swinging Axe-handled bats.
#6. Betts, batting with the bases loaded, smacks a 2-1 pitch over the Green Monster for the first grand slam ever hit with an Axe-handled bat, leading Boston to a 9-1 win against Cleveland on May 21.
#5. Correa crushes one to straightaway center at Yankee Stadium on April 6. Statcast has the blast traveling 462 feet, with an exit speed of 113.6 miles per hour, making it the longest home run ever hit with an Axe-handled bat.
#4. Baltimore’s Hyun Soo Kim, pinch-hitting in the ninth inning with the Orioles down a run, delivers a full-count, two-run homer off Toronto closer Roberto Osuna to keep the Orioles’ postseason hopes alive in dramatic fashion on Sept. 28.
#3. Pedroia comes one hit shy of tying the major league record for consecutive at-bats with a hit, tallying 11 straight between Aug. 25-27.
#2. Betts homers three times and drives in a career-high eight runs against Arizona on Aug. 14, joining famed slugger Ted Williams as the only other player in Red Sox history to record two, three-homer games in the same season.
#1. Betts hits five home runs in seven at-bats in back-to-back games against Baltimore on May 31 and June 1, becoming the only player in major league history to homer in the first and second innings of consecutive games.