In baseball, I’ve seen many brands come and go over the years. Back in the olden days, Louisville Slugger was the brand of choice for most of the pro hitters because of their high-performance wood bats. However, if you look at the MLB games now, you’ll see a noticeable shift in brand preference.
Marucci reigns supreme these days, claiming the top spot as the king of the plate in MLB year after year. And as much as I love Louisville Slugger, there’s just something about Marucci that I can’t get enough of. Marucci is for baseball bats, and Rawlings is for baseball gloves – that’s the best way I can put it.
It’s not that Marucci is popular only in MLB, though. You’ll see many youths and casual players look towards Marucci when they need a new bat for the coming season. The Cat line of baseball bats they manufacture has earned legendary status among players of all age groups. And as it turns out, it’s often a heated debate between Marucci Cat 7 Vs. Cat 8 Baseball Bats whenever someone wants to go with a Marucci baseball bat. These two bats are the most popular of the bunch. But which one is better?
I will give you a thorough comparison between the Cat 7 and Cat 8 baseball bats to answer that question once and for all. So, let’s get started!
TL; DR: If you just want to take a quick look, here’s a comparison table for Marucci Cat 7 Vs. Cat 8 Baseball Bats!
|Cat 7 Baseball Bat
|Cat 8 Baseball Bat
|SDX EXT Connection
|Base, Connect, Composite
|2 5/8 inches
|2 ¾ inches
Table of Contents
What is the Marucci Cat 7 baseball Bat?
The thing I love the most about Marucci is that they constantly improve their design. I mean, the Cat line is their pride and joy. When the Cat 5 first came out, everybody thought of it as the best baseball bat. But the Cat 6 released later on was even better. Now, they could have simply named the newer model Cat 7 without really changing much.
But in 2016, when they launched the Cat 7, they completely revamped the design to ensure the players get a new and improved performance from their new baseball bat. In fact, the Cat 7 launched with two variants – the Cat 7 basic and Cat 7 Connect.
The Cat 7 baseball bat features an improved AZ4X alloy, which was the strongest aluminum alloy at the time, boasting a higher tensile strength and flexibility. It also featured their trademark, AV2 anti-vibration handle, to minimize hand sting and improve the bat’s responsiveness.
With the Cat 7 Connect, Marucci adopted a two-piece design using a composite handle while keeping the AZ4X alloy barrel. The connection point used its SDX technology to give the bat a flexible yet responsive feel while offering a larger sweet spot.
What is the Marucci Cat 8 Baseball Bat?
The Marucci Cat 8 baseball bat was the successor to the popular Cat 7. In 2019, despite the extreme popularity of the Cat 7 as one of the best youth baseball bat of the time, Marucci decided it was time for an upgrade. And that’s when they decided to launch the Cat 8 baseball bat.
Similar to the Cat 7, they launched the Cat 8 basic, which is a one-piece alloy bat, and the Cat 8 Connect, which is a hybrid bat featuring an alloy barrel and composite handle. But this time, they also launched the Cat 8 Composite, which is the first all-composite baseball bat in their Cat line.
But that’s not all that they did with the newer model. They also revamped the construction material. The AZ4X alloy was a great material, there’s no doubt about it, but the AZ105 alloy that they used for the Cat 8 was much stronger and offered significantly better durability.
In addition, they also improved the SDX connection technology. The one that they used in the Cat 8 Connect is dubbed the SDX EXT or Extended SDX technology. This improved the response of the Cat 8 and also improved its overall feel. The AV2 anti-vibration system, however, remained the same.
Similarities between Marucci Cat 7 and Marucci Cat 8 Baseball bat?
Marucci, as a top-tier baseball bat brand, always tries to bring innovation and new designs with their newer models. And they took a huge leap forward when they switched from the Cat 7 to the Cat 8 baseball bat.
But there’s a saying – if it doesn’t need fixing, don’t fix it.
And it appears that Marucci understands exactly what that means. That’s why, while they added a couple of new features, they kept a lot of the things the same across both models.
Now, I know this is a comparison article, but before I pit the two bats head-to-head, I figured it’s better to give you a rundown of the similarities. So that’s what I’ll do in this section.
· Barrel Design
Though the barrels are made with different materials, the overall design of the barrel itself is pretty much the same in both Cat 7 and Cat 8 baseball bats, along with their variants. And frankly, I don’t think there’s any room for improvement here anyway.
So, the Cat 7 and Cat 8 are both one-piece baseball bats with a ring-free barrel design. That means there are no internal governors or rings inside the barrel, which gives both of these bats a bigger sweet spot and doesn’t put any restriction on the overall flex of the bat.
As for the Connect variant of the two bats, they both feature a two-piece construction with an alloy barrel and a composite handle. The Connect variant generally boasts higher durability, better barrel flex, and a much better bat response.
· Anti-Vibration System
The Cat 7 bat, introduced in 2016, brought with it a couple of innovations that shook the industry. And perhaps the most notable of those innovations was the 2nd generation of the anti-vibration system – the AV2 bat knob. It’s a real game-changer that enhanced the quality of the bat significantly.
So what does it do? Basically, the AV2 bat knob is a finely tuned harmonic dampener that negates the vibrational feedback that you feel in your hands when you hit the ball with the bat. Additionally, its design makes the bat feel lighter and makes it easier to swing for the batter.
This same technology also makes an appearance in the Cat 8 baseball bat. The knob weighs a measly two ounces, and since it’s located under the hands when you grip the bat, it negates around two ounces of weight off the bat. Basically, a -10 drop weight bat feels more like a -12 drop bat because of this feature.
· Balance Points
Another thing that’s the same with both the Cat 7 and Cat 8 baseball bat is the balance point. In other words, if you love how the Cat 7 feels in your hand and its overall balance, you’ll also love the balance and feel of the Cat 8.
The base models of the Cat 7 and Cat 8 are both made of one-piece aluminum alloy. These two bats are perfectly balanced, making them a great choice for any contact hitter.
On the other hand, the Connect variants, because of their power-loaded barrel and composite handle, have a higher M.O.I. That makes these bats a bit better at generating higher energy on swing.
Differences Between Cat 7 and Cat 8 Baseball Bat?
As you can see, the Cat 7 and Cat 8 baseball bats share a couple of key similarities. And if you’re looking for the best alloy baseball bat, both of them are good contenders for it.
However, there are a couple of things that’s different about them. Remember, the Cat 7 came before the Cat 8. And with the newer model, Marucci came up with a couple of significant improvements.
· Construction Material:
The first thing that they improved, or rather changed, with the newer Cat 8 series baseball bat is the construction material. Now, the Cat 7 already had a huge material improvement with its AZ4X alloy barrel over the older Cat 6 series. But the AZ105 alloy construction of the Cat 8 series is another beast entirely.
Of the two materials, the AZ105 is much stronger, which presents certain opportunities for the manufacturer. Marucci, because of the higher tensile strength of AZ105 alloy, could engineer the Cat 8 baseball bat to have a higher performance at the sweet spot while thinning the wall near the taper and the end cap.
The Cat 7 had two main variants – the Cat 7 and the Cat 7 Connect. With the base model, you had a one-piece aluminum construction, and the Connect model had a two-piece hybrid design with a composite handle and an aluminum alloy barrel.
You’ll get the same Cat 8 and Cat 8 Connect with the newer Cat 8 series. But there’s an extra option for you to choose – the Cat 8 Composite. This is the first time Marucci came up with an all-composite variant in the Cat line of baseball bats. With the Cat 7, you don’t get an all-composite option.
· Connection Technology:
The SDX connection that Marucci used on their Cat 7 Connect baseball bat was a real game changer in the industry. This efficient shock dissipation technology ensures that the batter doesn’t feel any hand sting when hitting the ball. It also improved the overall response of the bat.
With the Cat 8 Connect, however, Marucci used an enhanced form of the same connection technology. Dubbed the SDX EXT, this connection technology eliminates any negative feedback, ensuring the player has a smooth and comfortable playing experience at all times.
· Barrel Diameter:
While the other features that I discussed so far are all design improvements of some sort, this one is not exactly an upgrade. The Cat 8 Baseball bat has a larger barrel diameter compared to the Cat 7 series. This is good news for some, while for others, this might not matter as much.
You see, the Cat 7 baseball bat has a barrel diameter of 2 5/8 inches, which is the maximum size allowed for USA baseball leagues. The Cat 8 is also available in this barrel size.
But with the Cat 8, you have an extra option to go with a 2 ¾ inch barrel. For youth players, this doesn’t mean much. But the option to go with a larger barrel makes it a great choice if you’re playing in the Senior USSSA Leagues, where this barrel diameter is legal.
Final Verdict: Which one is Better?
Honestly, if I had to choose between the Cat 7 and Cat 8 baseball bat, I would probably go with the Cat 8. Not only is it the newer model, but it also offers a better build quality, and the connection technology is significantly better.
However, the Cat 8 is a bit pricier than the Cat 7, and its slightly larger barrel diameter is not legal in all baseball leagues. So, if you’re on a budget and play in a league that has restrictions on the larger barrel diameter, you might be better off with the Cat 7. Frankly, both of them are amazing bats, and the same goes for any other cat baseball bats by Marucci – you’d be happy with any of them. And now that you have a clearer picture of the differences between them, you should have no trouble taking your pick when it’s a battle between Cat 7 vs. Cat 8 baseball bats. Good luck!