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DeMarini’s CF Zen and Slugger’s 917 Prime are similar bats. We have hit with both bat lines extensively, spoken to manufacturers about the lineup at length and discussed the bats with parents and players alike. In the BBCOR space, we personally prefer the 917 for no other reason than it simply feels better to us. However, both BBCOR bats are stellar. We give the edge in the Big Barrel space to the CF Zen series, despite any durability concerns. CF Zen Big Barrel bats are flat out rakers. Youth barreled bats are so similar to each other we struggle to find a preference. More details to follow in our DeMarini CF Zen vs Slugger 917 Prime head-to-head match up.
More details can be found on 917 Prime by reading our full length review on the bat. There we cover thoughts on the BBCOR, Big Barrel and Youth versions, as well as how that bat compares to the 2016 916 Prime.
You can also fin in depth information on our CF Zen review page. We discuss in detail the design features of the 2017 version and how it relates to the 2016 CF8.
Off this site we have yet to find any article that comparing DeMarini’s CF Zen to the 917 Slugger. Of course, you can always look at Amazon reviews and see if anyone there compares the two. On our first look we did not find any.
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Both the CF Zen and the 917 Prime are two piece composite bats built with a light to balanced swing in mind. The idea behind the two piece composite is that it offers a very large barrel for as little swing weight as possible. As well, the two piece design removes vibration from poor contact and offers a smooth swing on contact.
The CF Zen and 917 Prime should be considered balanced baseball bats. Balance is an esoteric term in the bat world meaning it is meant to swing light. Some companies adopt the terms speed, balanced and end loaded. If we use that nomenclature, then both the Zen and 917 are balanced.
In addition to being very similar bats functionally, both DeMarini and Slugger fall under the same parent company, Wilson. The brands are separate enough to not feel any marketing overlap, but their internal distribution and R&D come from the same warehouse. This makes these bats even more similar.
The Zen and 917 have very similar sizing. They both come in BBCOR and a 2 3/4 drop 10, as well as 2 5/8 versions in drop 5’s, drop 8’s and drop 12’s.
At least in terms of player feedback and online reviews, the big barrel versions of the DeMarini CF Zen, especially the 2 3/4, get remarkable performance reviews. We personally think the 917 Prime has very good performance, but there is something about that big barrel CF Zen that gets our blood moving.
The 917 does come with a premium grip that we prefer over the stock versions that come on DeMarini models. Specifically, the Lizard Skin agreement with Slugger makes for the best feel in the industry right out of the wrapper.