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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
Our feedback on the 2017 Marucci CAT 7 connect is derived from 3 hours of use among several different hitters
We’ve also spent some time discussing the bat with it’s manufacturers and reading everything the internet has to offer on the bat this early in the game. On the whole, this new balanced hybrid was preferred by hitters who appreciate the ring of aluminum at contact, want a slightly more end loaded bat (when compared to the 2016 CAT 7) and prefer the forgiveness of hand ring found in a composite barrel. We can confirm Marucci’s claim about a larger sweet spot when compared to the 2015 CAT 6.
Mid to heavy swing weight hybrid bats, like the CAT 7 Connect, have some serious competition. The 716 Select from Louisville Slugger is what we would consider the CAT 7 Connect’s most serious competitor. Both are stiff transition hybrids with good durability and a considerable sweet spot. The 716, as we write elsewhere, is as well received a hybrid as the bat world has ever seen.
From a design perspective, the Mizuno NightHawk is quite similar in it’s two piece hybrid design with variable wall thickness to expand the sweet spot. Swing weights are also similar.
Other mid to heavy swinging performance hybrid bats that are worth a look are the DeMarini Voodoo Raw, the Easton Z-Core Hybrid XL and, although a bit off the beaten path, the 2016 Axe Elite.
The CAT 7 Connect is a hybrid bat. The aluminum barrel is massively upgraded from the 2016 CAT 6’s barrel and is thinned internally as it expands away from the center. This tapering creates a greater trampoline effect away from the barrel’s center which, in turn, makes a longer sweet spot. Other bat companies (like the Rawlings VELO and Mizuno NightHawk) have used this technique before with very good reviews.
The composite handle is riveted into the Connects barrel through a threading process. The insert, at least as claimed by Marucci, helps dampen sting and keep the vibration on mishits in the barrel instead of your hands. Our experience appeared to confirm this.
The overall rating uses seven different weighted metrics to determine our overall score. Half of total rating comes from the player and our exit speed tests (Player Rating: 25%, Performance: 25%).The other categories are Relevance (20%), Demand (10%), Durability (10%), Resell Score (5%), and Tech Specs (5%).
*: When a bat is denoted by a star (*) it is a preliminary rating. Expect it to be updated as we learn more about the bat and gather more data.
(PlaRa) Player Rating: We measure player rating from user reviews. Those users include our own hitters that we test at the lab as well as reviews we find online.
(ExVe) Performance: Performance measures the exit speeds and distances we capture in our hitting lab with HitTrax using these bats.
(Relv) Relevance: We measure the number of sizes and the MOI of the bat. Bats with a wider range of options get a better score.
(Dmnd) Demand: Demand is measured by consumer sentiment and the buzz around the bat.
(Drb) Durability: A bat’s durability is measured by user reviews as well as feedback from manufacturers.
(ReSl) Resell Score: Based on the price the bats go for used. Higher prices mean greater user demand which means, generally, a better bat. A resell value closer to its original price means a higher score.
(Tech) Tech Specs: We rate the bat on its technological advancements from previous years and compared to the industry at large. This is our chance to reward companies who are trying to innovate.
MOI or Mass Moment of Inertia is a measurement of bat swing weight. This quantifies how difficult it is to swing a bat. The industry often refers to this as things like End Load or Balanced but those words have been overused to the point of meaninglessness. We measure the actual swing weights of each bat we test using the industry-standard pendulum period, balance point, and scale weight. You can read more about that here.
The price is the original MSRP price of the bat.
The types of bats are single-piece alloy (SPA), two-piece composite (TPC), single-piece composite (SPC), hybrid (Hyb.), and wood (Wood). Hybrid bats are made of composite handles and alloy barrles.
The estimated date the bat began distribution.