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By Bat Digest | Last Updated November 17, 2022
We hit the 2021 Marucci CAT 9 Connect in both BBCOR and USSSA drop 5, 8, and 10. In short, we love it. We think it’s a fantastic bat with a reasonable end load in both lines. The connection is less stiff when compared to other hybrid bats, but we preferred that. Our hitters especially liked the USSSA Drop 10 and believe it will be one of the best in that space for 2020. The only thing the line is lacking a USA version. Otherwise, there’s nothing we’d change.
Our hitters liked the less stiff connection on the 2021 Marucci CAT 9 Connect. Most two-piece hybrid bats with an end load try and make the connection as rigid as possible. The hitters who want a smoother feel, as you’d find in a two-piece composite, really liked the CAT 9 Connects feel. As well, we went head to head on several other bats, and the hitters liked their exit speeds.
In BBCOR, the CAT 9 Connect is an end-loaded bat. Those looking for a lot of weight will like it. Those who are not, won’t. In USSSA, the CAT 9 Connect swings just a bit heavier than the CAT 9–but both should be considered between balanced, or middle of the road swing weight bats.
The CAT 9 Connect has serious competition in The Goods and the NOX. As well, Easton makes a Hybrid Fuze, and Slugger makes the Select PWR. All compete well with each other and have very similar exit speeds.
The 2019 Marucci CAT 8 Connect was also an end-loaded two-piece hybrid bat built with the big hitter in mind. For 2021, a drop 10 and 8 to complement the Drop 5 Connect from 2019 are great additions.
The BBCOR version has an upgraded barrel that uses horizontal grooves to help lower the swing weight, improve durability, and expand the sweet spot. In practice, it all means about the same as the CAT 8. But that isn’t a bad thing. And it is good to see Marucci not get complacent and continue to make the bat better–even if it is only marginally.
The 2021 Marucci CAT 9 uses variable wall thickness to extend the length of the usable barrel and lower the swing weight. As well, in the BBCOR version, there are grooves along the length of the barrel that bring down the swing weight.
Unlike the CAT 9, the CAT 9 Connect dampens sting by removing vibrations in the connection piece. The CAT does it in the knob.
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.