Marucci, once known as a wood-bat brand, wants to tie to those roots with the latest release of its new 2018 BBCOR aluminum bat line. With that release comes, for the first time, a Posey28 Pro Metal bat, along with an update to the award-winning CAT7 line and the fresh F5.
The Posey28, tied to San Francisco star Buster Posey, takes the CAT7 technology, but gives it a change of pace in terms of cosmetics, says Ryder Dupuis, product category manager for aluminum/composite bats. "Being a baseball brand that grew from a wood bat-only company to now being the number-one bat in the big leagues," he says, "we felt like paying homage to our roots, the wood bat."
The Posey28 Pro Metal has the obvious aesthetic tie to a wood bat the pros would swing, but comes with the technology found in the CAT7. Using AX4X Alloy, Marucci's strongest to date, the tensile strength allows the brand to offer a larger sweet spot than other brands by thinning the walls out farther down on the taper and closer toward the end cap. With an anti-vibration knob to dampen the vibration also serving to bring more weight below the players' hands, Marucci says the design allows players to generate faster bat speed and increase performance.
The award-winning CAT7 Connect version retains the same seven-variable wall, ring-free design with no rings or governors within the barrel walls to limit performance, but adds Shock Dissipation Connection (SDX) threaded technology that isolates the handle and the barrel. The threaded connection helps to retain a stiff connection while decreasing vibrations, a design geared toward players who want a heavier, end-loaded bat.
Marucci says they have never added rings within the sweet spot, what Dupuis calls a "cheap and easy way to pass league certification tests."
"Placing anything that limits the barrel walls from flexing and generating that ever-satisfying trampoline effect is just not what you want," he says. "Using the high-grade aluminum alloys that we develop allows us to create barrel walls that vary in wall thickness without using any internal rings and help to expand the actual sweet spots."
Dupuis says the mechanical lock in the connection helps retain stiffness while dissipating large volumes of sting at contact. "We found that most other two-piece bats are comprised of a handle glued to the barrel and have a very flimsy feel at contact," he says. "From our testing, we found that players really like to feel the ball at contact but just don't want extra sting. The SDX helps accomplish both of these requests."
Marucci revamps its aluminum and composite lines once every two years, meaning 2018 gives aluminum its time to shine. "It allows us to take feedback, reengineer, retool, redesign, retest and then truly launch a new bat that is better than its predecessor," Dupuis says.
Along with the CAT7 line, including the Connect and Posey28, Marucci has debuted the F5, a one-piece aluminum bat with a traditional feel within the ring-free, multi-variable wall design. The F5 has a five-variable wall. "The player that picks up the F5 is looking to get the most bang for their buck," Dupuis says, "and F5 accomplishes just that."
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.