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In this particular setup, the 12-year-old loved the feel of the CAT 9 Connect when compared to the CAT 9. The barrels are exactly the same. While the CAT helps remove sting on the bottom hand, we found the connection piece on the Connect felt better on both hands.
If the price is no issue, we recommend the Connect over the CAT 9, especially for this age group. Drop 10 players need a light swing, big barrel and a ton of confidence to swing hard. The 2021 CAT 9 Connect checks all those boxes.
In terms of exit speed comparisons, it appears the CAT 9 Connect did better across the board when compared to the CAT 9 in USSSA. Will that the same for every player? We can’t tell. But, for this particular player on this specific day, they were more likely to hit the CAT 9 Connect harder. Take from that what you will.
The player here is a bigger boy, no doubt. At 5’0 135 he is big a tough. In truth, he should probably be swinging a drop 8 or even a drop 5 bat at those sizes. But, it is what it is and, like most kids this age, are just trying to figure out how to get the ball on the bat.
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.
For this comparison, we ranked each hit by exit velocity. Then, we took looked at the 15th best hit. The CAT 9 Connect was 66.4 mph while the CAT 9 was 65.0. 1.4 mph on a perfectly angled ball could be about 10 feet of difference.
We don’t believe the bat’s barrels are any different. They are made exactly the same. But, we do think the confidence the player had to swing harder due to a better feel made it more likely to hit the ball faster.
Swing weight is a measured number that takes into account the bats scale weight, balance point, and pendulum period. We found the CAT 9 Connect to swing a tiny bit heavier than the CAT 9 in USSSA. That 200 point difference is likely not noticeable by most players.
Connection stiffness is measured by the hitter. This is a subjective number they report to us while hitting. We ask, how stiff does that bat feel when you mishit a ball on a scale from 1 to 10. They give us a number and we report that on the card.