Evolution of the Marucci CAT Aluminum Line
A new bat should be a new bat. Period. At Marucci, we don’t take shortcuts, we’re not interested in the easy way, and we don’t release a new aluminum bat just because everyone else is.
Some ask why we’ve only had four aluminum bats in eight years. Simple. We take the time, find out what the best hitters want and need, research the latest technology, work tirelessly to perfect our design, and deliver more than expected.
This dedication to quality, understanding of players’ needs, and relentless pursuit of excellence has been the driving force behind Marucci’s aluminum line since the beginning, and we don’t intend to change our approach now. With the launch of the 2017 CAT7 line, here’s a look back at the evolution of the Marucci CAT.
2009 was a much different time in amateur baseball. The BBCOR era had not yet begun, and BESR certified -3 bats were still thriving. It was in that year Marucci introduced its first alloy bat, the CAT5. Named for a “Category 5” storm, the strongest-grade storm classification, the CAT5 boasted the strongest alloy at the time, AX05, and featured our original anti-vibration knob.
Performance reviews were off the charts for the CAT5, validating Marucci as a viable aluminum bat producer to complement the sterling reputation of our wood bats.
The dawn of the BBCOR era brought with it huge challenges for every aluminum bat manufacturer, who would not only have to adjust bat designs to meet the new performance standard, but also repurpose thousands of units of obsolete BESR inventory to avoid massive losses.
The most cost-effective solution was to retrofit old BESR bats with internal rings or governors that would allow those designs to meet the new BBCOR standards. Slap on some fresh new colors, change the name, add the BBCOR stamp, and boom, problem solved.
But remember…Marucci is not like other bat manufacturers.
Being new to the aluminum bat market and the unprecedented success of the CAT5, Marucci found itself without much leftover BESR inventory, allowing a totally new design to emerge that not only met the BBCOR standard, but did so without creating any “dead spots” created by internal rings or governors.
Briefly speaking, rings inside the barrel are used to decrease the massive trampoline effect possible with thin, BESR-grade alloy walls, allowing older designs to meet new BBCOR performance standards. However, the tradeoff is those internal governors prohibit the spaces they occupy from bending, resulting in a “dead” feeling when contact is made on those spots.
With the innovation of the AZ3000 alloy, a stronger material than the previous AX05, Marucci was able to craft a barrel design that met BBCOR standards without any internal rings or governors. With the first ring-free BBCOR barrel and an upgraded anti-vibration knob, the CAT5 Squared took off as one of the hottest aluminum bats on the market.
The ring-free barrel design became the staple for Marucci bat construction, and the AZ3000 alloy was still the strongest alloy available in 2014. Marucci stayed true to what players wanted and needed, and released the CAT6 with an extended, optimized barrel with no dead spots, constructed from the durable, high-performing AZ3000 alloy.
With the optimized barrel wall thickness and the patented anti-vibration knob taking on two ounces of weight, the one-piece CAT6 had a more balanced feel, resulting in faster swing speeds. For two years, the CAT6 was on fire, spreading throughout the entire U.S., making Marucci aluminum a force to be reckoned with.
With all the success of the CAT6 over a two-year period, it may have been easier to just re-paint it and sell as new, right? Wrong.
CAT7 & CAT7 CONNECT
After years of research, testing, and consulting the game’s best players, not only did we improve the hottest bat in the game…we added another one.
The 2017 CAT7 and CAT7 Connect feature an upgraded, AZ4X alloy, the strongest in the Marucci arsenal. With the increased tinsel strength and higher response rate, the new alloy allowed a barrel design with up to seven variables of wall thickness with no rings or governors. More variables means a larger area of thinner wall, otherwise known as the “sweet spot.” In fact, the CAT7 barrels have a sweet spot that’s DOUBLE that of the CAT6. Talk about upgrade.
The CAT7 is still the same one-piece alloy construction as the CAT6, giving that hitter who loves bat speed and contact the balanced feel he needs. However, the AV2 knob features a finely tuned and upgraded harmonic dampening system for a better feel and less negative feedback.
To meet the needs of the hitter who prefers the feel of a two-piece hybrid bat, we created the CAT7 Connect with a carbon composite handle and power-balanced, AZ4X alloy barrel optimized with double the sweet spot of the CAT6. We also used the opportunity of a two-piece design to improve our SDX, or shock-dissipation connection technology that provides hitters a smooth, solid feeling by dismissing vibrations at contact.
At Marucci, we’re player-first. We are players. We consult the best hitters in the game who serve on our Player Advisory Board, and we take as much time as needed to put the best technology, research, and player feedback into our bats before they’re released. We’ don’t believe in shortcuts, and we don’t even know where to find the easy way. We’ve come a long way since 2009 and the CAT5, but one thing has, and always will remain the same: our dedication to quality, understanding of players’ needs, and relentless pursuit of excellence.