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By Bat Digest | Last Updated June 15, 2022
We hit the 2019 CF Zen Fastpitch bat in a drop 10 several hundred times with a few different types of hitters. Exit speed, ball distance and the general feedback from hitters was recorded. As well, we spent considerable time discussing the bat with major vendors and reading any early report online reviews we could find. That data is put together in this 2019 CF Zen Fastpitch Review.
Our hitters loved the DeMarini CF with each of them ranking it in their top 3 bats. It swings light, has a good sized barrel and feels great on hits and mishits alike.
For starters, the bat swings light. The only bat that swings lighter than the CF Zen in the fastpitch drop 10 space is Louisville Slugger’s LXT. But, even then, the LXT is an imperceptible (1 to 2%) amount lighter than the CF Zen.
As such, the 2019 CF Zen is more for those who prefer or need a light swinging bat. The fact it only comes in a drop 10 and drop 11 for 2019 is proof of that too. If you need more gumption in your barrel then look to the 2019 CF Insane in fastpitch.
A light swinging two piece composite bat in the fastpitch space is epitomized by the CF_ series from DeMarini and the LXT Series from Slugger. Although other brands try and get some love in that space these two bats really dominate that niche in the market. And for good reason. Both bats feel great on hits and mishits, give a sound like the ball is crushed ever time and fit the perfect balance point for most players.
Deciding which bat is better, the CF Zen in fastpitch or the LXT in fastpitch is splitting hairs. The only technical difference, really, is that the LXT swings a bit lighter. Sure, the inside of the LXT uses some ring tech while the CF series is empty. But, practically speaking, both bats are quite good, get amazing ratings, and cost the same.
In terms of sizing, the LXT has the advantage as it comes in a drop 9, 10, 11 and 12 for 2019 while the CF Zen is only in a drop 10 and 11. (Granted, if you wanted a drop 8 or 9 in a CF Zen then you’d look for the CF Insane. Meaning, the only real different size the LXT has in 2019 is the drop 12).
To put it frankly, there is virtually no difference between the 2018 CFX and the 2019 CF Zen in fastpitch. Both bats have the same 3-fusion end cap, 3 fusion connective piece and use the same Paraflex composite.
This is not a bad thing. The CFX was the most popular bat in the market for the youth and High School crowd. There is no reason to think any changes needed to occur.
We also don’t think DeMarini should get flack for remaking the same bat and calling it the 2019 version. They only produce enough in 2018 for a particular season. The 2019 version, although the same in everything but paint job, restocked shelves and replenished inventory.
As such, if you can find a 2018 CFX or even a 2017 CF9 in stock at a better price with warranty then we save have at it.
The CF Zen fastpitch bat is a two piece composite bat built with a high tech connection point. The connection point removes most of the vibration on mishits as to not effect the hands. This works both in theory and in practice as we’ve hit with DeMarini’s two piece bats for years now. DeMarini’s connection pieces are top shelf stuff.
The barrel is built to a 2 1/4 standard legal for play in every league (ISA, USSSA, NSA, etc). DeMarini has used the Paraflex composite in their baseball and fastpitch bat lines for quite a while.
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.