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By Bat Digest | Last Updated June 14, 2022
Marucci continues to be serious about breaking into the fastpitch market. For 2020, Marucci closes the gap between the top echelon of the fastpitch space and its offerings with the Echo and Echo Connect. After hitting with the bats, measuring their swing weights, exit speeds, and comparing them to other top-end fastpitch bats, we review the 2020 Echo and 2020 Echo Connect fastpitch bats here.
Our hitters preferred the two-piece Echo Connect over the Echo. Although the AV2 Knob in the single-piece composite Echo produced a better feel than other single piece composites like the Mizuno Carbon, the SDX EXT connection on the Echo Connect felt better. We could not pick up any better exit speeds on the stiffer single piece than we could on the Connect. The bat’s swing weight felt the same (and our measurements showed them within 2% of each other—which is an indistinguishable difference). But, our hitters were also 14 and 15-year-old nonpower hitting high school players. We’d guess, bigger players who know how to barrel it up and put their weight behind the ball will appreciate the single piece.
We think the Echo Connect, in particular, is a great swing weight option for those who find the Easton Ghost too heavy and the DeMarini CF too light. The Echo Connect has the same swing weight as the Slugger LXT (which sits right on the average line of 2020 fastpitch bat swing weights) and is the ideal weight for more fastpitch players than any other. As such, if you’re in the market for a bat that feels like the LXT (the market’s most widespread bat) but do not want the LXT for any number of reasons, then the Echo Connect is a recommendable choice.
The single-piece Echo is unique. Off the top of our heads, the 2020 Mizuno CRBN1 is the only other performance single-piece composite fastpitch bat. All others are two-piece composite bats with a few exceptions. The Echo, like the CRBN1, feels stiff and swings balanced. But, unlike the CRBN1, the Echo uses Marucci’s unique anti-vibration knob to help dampen sting. Although the Echo didn’t feel as smooth as the Echo Connect on mishits, the Echo does feel better than the CRBN1.
There is no shortage of two-piece composite bats. The Marucci Echo Connect competes directly with the LXT, CF, Ghost Advanced, Quatro, PWR CRBN, and Xeno. In terms of swing weight and feel, the Slugger LXT compares to the Echo Connect, while Mizuno’s CRBN1 compares well to Marucci’s Echo.
There is NO 2019 Echo. Marucci uses a two-year cycle for their bats and their last fastpitch bat is called the CATFX. Before that they produced one called the Pure.
The CATFX bats, too, comprised a single-piece and two-piece composite bat line. The CATFX line of bats never got significant traction, and it was hard to find a robust sample size that had enough experience with the bats to make general conclusions. As we stated earlier, the competitive fastpitch bat market is a tough nut to crack. The entire industry has coalesced around two-piece composite bats, and there is very little room at the top. The top two or three bats in the space haven’t changed in years.
Still, considering it was Marucci’s 2nd year in the fastpitch bat space, the CATFX lines did well enough. At least, well enough that Marucci continues to push the envelope for 2020’s fastpitch market.
The Echo has considerable changes compared to the FX lines. In particular, the bat line has an entirely new composite shell. Now, the Echo uses a multi-directional composite called MDX that could be all the difference they need to break into the shortlist of best fastpitch bats. The Echo Connect uses the same connection piece found in Marucci’s top-rated CAT 8 Connect.
The significant difference between the Echo and Echo is visible enough. The Connect uses a connection design (Marucci calls the SDX EXT) to combine a composite handle and barrel. The Echo (not Connect) is a single-piece bat with no connection piece.
The Echo implements Marucci’s anti-vibration technology in the knob. The Echo Connect does not need the anti-vibration tech because the hand sting is removed from the SDX EXT connection.
You can read about the differences in Marucci’s blog post about the two bats.
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.