The CAT 7, earns only accolades in the broader baseball bat arena. In the drop 8 space, particularly after the USSSA’s ban on the DeMarini Zen, the CAT 7 shines as a top choice. Marucci’s CAT series, known for its smooth swing and significant power, mimics a wood bat’s feel effectively, with the latest versions boasting an expanded sweet spot. The bat is a great pick.
2018 CAT 7, CAT 7 Silver Video
2017 CAT 7, CAT 7 Silver Models
Marucci’s 2017 CAT 7 is, without argument, one of the best bats on the market. It runs in a number of sizes, has considerable upgrades from the Marucci CAT 6, and comes in at a more palatable price point than other marquee bats. In 2021 the bat was resurrected as a “silver version” but the bat hasn’t changed since its 2017 inception. This review entails both the 2017 and 2021 versions of the CAT 7.
The 2018 CAT 7 is the same as the 2017 CAT 7, the bats were just carried for two years so a few vendors changed the year on their listing—although the bat never changed.
Generally speaking, those looking for a mid-price range performance bat, who prefer an aluminum barrel, want a true balanced swing weight and can appreciate the feel of a single-piece stick should seriously consider the 2017 Marucci CAT 7. Others who prefer composite, want an ultra-light swing weight, would rather have an oversized barrel, and/or prefer two-piece bats should keep on looking.
We played 12 games with the 2017 Marucci CAT 7 at players’ disposal, and many took us up on the proposal to take the new bat to the plate. We also spent at least 3 hours in the cage hitting with the BBCOR, drop 8, and drop 5 to come up with our 2017 Marucci CAT 7 Review.
Reviews By Model
The CAT 7 is in a unique class of light swinging single piece aluminum bats with an oversized barrel. The VELO from Rawlings is one similarly designed bat but even it has some exceptions. In particular, the VELO uses an extended composite end cap to drive the weight down. But both bats:
Although unique in its own right, the 2016 Axe Hyperwhip is also similar in the sense of a single-piece aluminum with a tapered wall and a light swing weight. That bat, however, has an asymmetric knob and end cap.
Other bats in the light swinging class are of composite construction and those left in the single-piece aluminum space are at best mid-range swing weight (MOI) bats.
No other bat on the market has the sting dampening mechanism found in the knob like the Marucci CAT 7. (That’s because Marucci owns the patent). So, if the lack of that feature is a deal-breaker, your decision appears made.
- Are mostly an aluminum alloy
- Use a similar tapered inner barrel design to expand the sweet spot
- Have a loud ping on the contact
- Are built for the hitter who likes a light swing.
On the whole, we surmise the bat belongs with those who prefer the stiff power of a one-piece aluminum bat and its accompanying wood-like experience, but also want a light swinging stick—which is a combination often impossible to find.
The bat also boasts sting dampening on mishits (more on this later) and we’ve found, like the CAT 6 before it, that this is a legitimate claim. In essence, the CAT 7 swings like a light swinging two-piece composite but keeps the integrity of a wood bat feel. The ping is clean and loud and they look immaculate. Durability should be outstanding. The expanded sweet spot over the CAT 6, made possible by some inner barrel tapering, is noticeable and appreciated.
2017 CAT 7 vs 2015 CAT 6
Compared to the 2016 CAT 6 there are a few notable changes. On the top of the list is the expanded usable sweet spot on the CAT 7 made possible by a new tapered barrel design. To be clear, the inside of the barrel is tapered to allow for more pop (flexibility) outside the center of the barrel. The idea isn’t new in the industry but it is new for Marucci who claims the design feature expands the sweet spot by double. It would be impossible for us confirm that metric, but we can confirm the sweet spot is bigger. This larger sweet spot when compared to the CAT 6 makes the CAT 7 a very worthy upgrade.
Additionally, Marucci claims to have retooled and improved the anti-vibration feature of the bat in the knob. From the outside looking in, although painted red, the piece looks similar. Any claimed improvement is only good news. We love this feature since the CAT 5 Squared some 6 years ago. How much improved we won’t be able to tell, but we know the new knob, like the old one, works.
The anti-vibration insert in the knob addresses the age-old ‘numb thumb’ problem for which single-piece aluminum bats are infamous. That is, the vibration created from a mishit on a traditional single-piece aluminum bat actually travels unimpeded from your barrel directly into your hands and then up your arms to your mouth where curse words are forced to form. It’s true. We’ve verified that many times.
The anti-vibration feature in the CAT 7 addresses this. It is a piece of composite rubber that sits inside the bottom of the handle and knob and helps absorb much of that vibration so as not to reverberate all the way to your mouth. Other companies have addressed this problem by creating two-piece bats with sting dampeners built within the transition. But, the argument goes, that two-piece bats disregard the value a real hitter gains from a bat with accurate feel and stiffness to the ball. Marucci would claim the CAT 7 and its predecessors keep the integrity of the swing while diminishing the vibrating consequences. Their argument is legit.
Like the CAT 6, the CAT 7 uses the same tacky and cushy grey grip, and from a color standpoint, not much has changed but some highlights here and there. The end cap is the same.
If you don’t live where there are hurricanes, the CAT name may not ring a bell. Those who do will recognize the CAT is in reference to hurricane categorizations. A Category 5 hurricane, for example, is the highest-rated, most damaging hurricane. Winds are rated at more than 200mph. A CAT 7 is reserved only for the movies. Or, in this case, the ball field.
- Like previous years’ models, the 2017 CAT 7 will come in a variety of sizes for a number of different hitters. BBCOR, Senior League (2 5/8) in a drop 8 and drop 5, as well as a Junior Big Barrel, drop 10.There is a special limited edition CAT 7 released too. This bat has a black base color with gold accents. It is flat-out beautiful. That bat will come in a drop 8, drop 5, and BBCOR version. They are very limited in quantity so good luck finding one!The CAT 7 does not come in a traditional Drop 10 in the Big Barrel or Senior League space. Nor will it be released, at least as of this writing, in youth (2 1/4) barreled size.
Our Parting Pitch
If we’re being frank, we think the drop 10 loses too much weight to keep the same smooth feel as the drop 8 and drop 10. The loss of the extra mass really removes a lot of the confidence players have in the drop 8 and drop 5. However, those with slower swing speed that saw slower pitch speeds still really liked the drop 10. But, once pitch and swing speeds got faster the CAT 7 Drop 10 lost its appeal. We would suggest most serious players stay with the light swinging drop 8 if they can swing it.