Disclaimer: This site uses affiliate links. Learn More.
For 2021, DeMarini’s The Goods and Marucci’s CAT 9 are among the most popular BBCOR bats. We took The Goods vs. the CAT 9 head to head and found, without any surprise whatsoever, their results are the same. It is not hard to imagine a world in which the laws of physics and a governing BBCOR standard apply to engineers in Washington (DeMarini) and Louisiana (Marucci).
For starters, these bats aren’t for anyone. Both bats have a swing weight for heavy hitters in mind. The majority of high school players will prefer something with more balance.
Suppose the decision comes down to the CAT 9 vs. The Goods, we have a hard time making up our minds. On one hand, this hitter preferred the feel of The Goods but their parent preferred the price of the CAT 9. They both performed equally and have the same swing weight (plus or minus a few points). We don’t believe any other BBCOR bat could do any better. As such, it comes down to preference.
The player hit each bat 43 times, and HitTrax recorded exit speeds. The player swapped bats every five to ten swings (as to help with fatigue). After the 43 hits by each bat (off an overhand pitching machine with a plate speed between 50 and 60mph), we sorted the exit speeds from highest to lowest. The average of the top three velocities was almost identical, with a 0.3 mph gain for the CAT 9. We do not consider that difference significant or conclusive.
It’s fair to say, for this hitter on this day, the CAT 9 and The Goods top-end speeds were identical.
The player who hit in this CAT 9 vs. The Goods comparison is an 18-year-old senior. He is 5’11” and weighs 175 pounds. He is a good to great baseball player with a smooth swing and top-end exit velo in the low 90’s.
NOTE: We’ve measured thousands of bats over the years. We’ve found, in large measure, bat results are very hitter dependent. Most comparisons we do are very, very close. The 1 or 2 mile per hour difference is hard to attribute only to the barrels performance. We think the hitter determines upwards of 70% of the exit speeds. The other 30% is the bat.
Like we did with the top three exit velocities, we averaged the top ten as well. Both CAT 9 and The Goods had identical exit velocities on the top 10 hits (89.6 and 89.6). Meaning, for the top 25% of this hitters swings, the CAT 9 and The Goods have identical performance.
Meaning, there is nothing about handle stiffness, barrel size, hybrid vs single piece, variable wall thickness, colorways, perception and rubber knobs, which made a difference in performance.
Swing weight indicates how difficult it is to swing a bat. The higher the number the more end loaded it feels, the lower the number the more balanced it feels. There is no industry qualification required for a company to claim how a bat is loaded. The average 33-inch BBCOR bat is around 9200. Both the CAT 9 and The Goods for 2021 should be considered at last slightly end-loaded bats.
The 200 point difference is negligible and so small any given hitter wouldn’t be able to tell the difference just by holding them. As well, a 2 to 3% difference among bats is common even within the same model and size. Manufacturer tolerance allows for a certain variance from one bat to another. Or, said differently, it possible we can find a CAT 9 that is 200 points heavier than The Goods.
The only real difference between these bats is how the player felt they did. They thought both bats felt great but gave the edge in perceived performance to The Goods. In reality, though, The Goods did no better than the CAT 9.
One could argue that confidence in the bat is what matters. Therefore, they’d say, choose the one you think you’ll do better. But, in terms of actual data, it doesn’t appear that The Goods is any better even though the player thought it was. We might devise a better experiment to consider how such subjective bat ratings affect actual in-game performance. But, in terms of exit velocities, as measured in a bat lab, your confidence in a bat appears to make little to no difference.