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August 26, 2020 | by Brian Duryea | @BatDigest
We used HitTrax to compare the 2019 Marucci CAT 8 vs 2020 DeMarini CF
The Marucci CAT 8 and CF are the most popular series of USSSA bats on the market. (Now that the CAT 9 is released, we are sure it will take the place of the CAT 8 on the popularity rankings. We hit both bats head to head in an exit speed comparison and found the CF to outperform the CAT 8 for this particular hitter. They had better maximum exit velocities as well as average exit velocities. Still, though, the 13-year-old player we used preferred the feel of the CAT 8. That is entirely preference.
The 13-year-old hitter used each bat thirty times. They alternate bats every 5 to 10 hits, and we measured exit speeds on HitTrax—only counted fair balls. The average exit velocity for the CF was 3.5 mph faster than the CAT 8. Most of our head to head comparisons have results that suggest the bats are no different in performance. However, a 3+ mph difference on 30 hits is a considerable difference. For this particular hitter, it is safe to say the CF performs better in a drop five than the Marucci CAT 8 in a drop 5.
Is that due to actual barrel performance or something else (like the player’s desire or ability to swing it harder), we do not know.
The hitter for the CF vs CAT comparisons was 13 years old, 5 foot 2 inches and 110 pounds. They play comp baseball and have low 80mph max exit speeds. That is way above average for most 13-year-olds.
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 average exit velocity, maximum exit velocity also proved a significant increase with DeMarini’s CF. A 3.1 mph different, on the perfectly hit ball, could mean a difference of up to 17 feet. Most hits aren’t at the perfect angle, but anything from 5 to 10+ of difference could make all the difference in results.
HitTrax helps reports a predicted batting average. That is, for every hit, it decides if it was or was not a hit and then reports that stat line. We are not sure how accurate that data point portrays barrel and bat performance, but it might be fun to look at anyways. The player using the CAT 8 and CF in a drop five on 30 hits came out with a .333 and .419 batting average, respectively.
Player rating is a subjective measurement where the player answers the question, “On a scale from 1 to 100, how much do you like the bat.”. They responded, for the CAT 8 drop 5 in a 32/27, with 90. For the 32/27 Drop 5 DeMarini CF, they rated it an 85. They didn’t give much reasoning as to why one was more than the other. But the actual score provided is a function of their general sense on how much they like the bat, how well it performed and how it makes them feel when they swing it.