Baseball bats, at least to the uninitiated, might seem nothing more than a simple slab of wood, metal, or composite that’s been cut into a specific shape. However, when you start getting into the game and getting your first looks into different bat designs, you’ll realize soon enough – there’s a lot more to it than meets the eyes.
Now there are many amazing brands out there who manufacture truly top-of-the-line baseball bats. As an enthusiast and a coach, I like picking up a baseball bat from a brand that I don’t already have in my collection from time to time. And I know many of you share the same hobby as me.
But one thing that I often get asked about by my fellow baseball enthusiasts is – What Does CAT Mean in Baseball Bats? And whenever I hear this question, I immediately come to the conclusion – you’re probably thinking of buying a Marucci baseball bat.
You see, while it might seem like an acronym for something sinister, “Cat” is actually a pretty simple thing. It’s the name for one of the most popular lines of baseball bats that Marucci manufactures. And they have a lot of different versions of the CAT baseball bat that you can look at.
Don’t worry: I will expand more on this topic so that by the time you get to the end, you’ll have a clearer picture of what “Cat” means for baseball bats. So, let’s hop in.
Table of Contents
What Does CAT Mean in Baseball Bats? The Evolution of Marucci Cat Baseball Bat Line
The Marucci Cat line of baseball bats made its debut in the baseball world relatively recently, with the first model being the Marucci CAT5, introduced in 2009. Known for its exceptional durability and performance at the time, the Marucci CAT5 alloy bat quickly became one of the most popular youth baseball bats of the generation.
The first iteration of the CAT5 featured an alloy barrel and a sleek, balanced design that provided an excellent experience. This is the bat that started it all. And while it might seem a bit lacking in terms of today’s standards, it’s still a classic that holds a special place in many players’ hearts.
Since then, Marucci has come up with CAT6, CAT7, CAT8, and many other variants over the years. Let me give you a short overview of what changed with different models so that you can get a clearer picture of this baseball bat series.
· CAT6 Baseball Bats:
The next entry into this series was the CAT6 baseball bat. Now, keep in mind the CAT5 was an extremely popular model, and it lasted for around five years until Marucci decided to revamp the design.
The first CAT6 was manufactured in 2014, and it brought with it several nice upgrades. First off, the alloy barrel was refined, which resulted in a larger sweet spot. And like the first CAT model, the CAT6 also offered a balanced weight distribution.
· CAT7 Baseball Bats:
The CAT6 had a nice three-year run from 2014 to 2017, and it saw a lot of popularity in the youth baseball leagues. But around the year 2017, Marucci decided to go for an upgrade once again.
That’s when they came up with the infamous CAT7. Constructed with advanced AZ4X aluminum alloy, this bat offered superior durability, enhanced feel, and amazing power. Its large sweet spot and responsive barrel quickly earned this bat a spot as one of the best baseball bats.
· CAT8 Baseball Bat:
With the success of the CAT7 baseball bat, it became obvious that Marucci isn’t a brand you should overlook when you’re looking for a top-tier bat. But for those who still doubted them, Marucci came up with the CAT8 just one year after the production of the CAT7.
But they didn’t just stop there. The CAT8 baseball bat, produced in 2018, also had a couple of variants that featured small but pronounced differences that could impact the player’s experience drastically.
The first one was the original CAT8, which was made with AZ105 alloy. This material is even better than the AZ4X alloy and offers higher strength and durability.
You could also go with the CAT8 Connect, which is a two-piece hybrid bat made with an alloy barrel and a composite handle. For those who want the responsiveness of composite bats and the durability of aluminum ones, this is still a great choice.
In 2019, the CAT8 Composite hit the market, which is another hybrid model but offered an improved performance over the CAT8 Connect. The swing weight was also improved with this model.
· CAT9 Baseball Bat:
The CAT9 baseball bat came to the market in early 2020 and, similar to the CAT8, had several different iterations. In fact, the CAT9 baseball bat has a lot more variations to offer compared to the CAT8 model.
The original one has an AZR alloy barrel and a multi-variable wall design that offers better compression of the barrel when you hit the baseball. You also have the CAT9 Connect and Composite variants, which are pretty much on the same thought train as the CAT8 ones.
But Marucci also manufactured specific CAT9 models for different baseball organizations so that you don’t have any legal issues with using the bat for your leagues. You have four options here – the CAT9 Connect Senior League, the CAT9 BBCOR, The CAT9 Connect BBCOR and the CAT9 Composite BBCOR.
Make sure you know the difference between different bats that are legal for different organizations before you get one of these bats, though. I recommend reading up on the differences between USSSA and USA baseball bats first.
· CATX Baseball Bat:
The most recent entry in the CAT line of baseball bats by Marucci is the CATX. This line only came out in 2023, but it’s already the most popular among all CAT series of bats. And looking at the improved specs it offers, it’s really not that surprising, if you ask me.
While it’s made from the same material as the CAT9 models, the improved barrel diameter drastically enhances the bat’s performance and offers a larger sweet spot. In addition, the liquid-gel anti-vibration technology in the CATX baseball bat also absorbs shock better and reduces sting on a mishit.
Similar to the earlier models, the CATX has two main variants – the CATX Connect and the CATX Composite. But there might be others down the line. It’s still too early for us to speculate anything about the CATX.
Frequently Asked Questions
By now, you should already have a decent idea about the Marucci CAT baseball bat series. But I understand if you still have some questions about it. So, let me address some of the questions that I often get asked by the people around me about this very subject.
If you don’t find your answers here, though, going through my blog might help.
Is Cat 8 or Cat 9 better?
Well, the answer to this question is complicated. You see, the CAT8 and CAT9 bats are made with different materials and also feel pretty different. While the CAT9 is the newer entry to the series, some might still prefer the feel and response of the older CAT8 models.
I would recommend trying out both of these bats before you settle on one if you have that option. Testing the bats out yourself should give you a clearer answer than anything that I tell you.
What is the difference between Cat 7 and Cat 8 bat?
There are plenty of differences between the CAT7 and CAT8 baseball bats. The most notable difference between the two is that the CAT7 is made with AZ4X alloy, and the CAT8 features the stronger AZ105 alloy. In addition, the CAT8 baseball bat has the AV2 Anti-vibration knob to reduce hand sting while playing.
Is the CAT9 USA approved?
Yes, the Marucci CAT9 baseball bat series is approved for the USA baseball organization. These bats are suitable for tournaments organized by USA Baseball as they have the appropriate barrel size and weight drops. The BBCOR rating of these bats is also perfect for USA baseball leagues.
In fact, I would recommend going with CAT9 if you are looking for a truly high-end USA baseball bat.
Some Words of Advice
When it comes to baseball bats, there are no dumb questions. I strongly believe that every new question offers a new opportunity to learn and grow as a ballplayer. So, though some might laugh at you for wondering if CAT has something to do with the design of a baseball bat, I won’t judge you for it.
With that said, the CAT series of baseball bats are the pride and joy of Marucci. This is the series that put Marucci on the map for many players as a top baseball bat brand. And the way they upgraded their models year after year speaks volumes about how much they care for this series of baseball bats.
I hope my in-depth discussion on what cat means for baseball bats could help shed any confusion you had about it. Cheers!