DeMarini has gained quite a following with the CF line of bats, including the incredibly popular CF7 which saw ample play at diamonds across the nation. The CF8 has also been a fan favorite, and I recently had the chance to swing both the 2016 and 2017 versions. I’m quite excited for the season to start so I can break out the CF8, as I was crushing balls in batting practice. DeMarini seems to have really gotten things right, and it will be interesting to see what else they can come up with as we move forward.
A Bit About DeMarini Bats
DeMarini has had a lengthy history with manufacturing baseball and softball bats, but their market seemed smaller compared to larger companies like Easton, Louisville Slugger and Miken. Still, they had a good fanbase with their EVO line as well as more recently, The One. The Juggernaut also made great waves with being one of the best endloaded bats released that year, and it was incredibly well-received in the baseball and softball community.
Where DeMarini has really shone is with the CF line of baseball bats, as the demand for youth, little league, and BBCOR baseball bats is ever increasing as more and more kids are getting into baseball. They have done a great job of adapting the technology formed in the early days in order to bring forward huge technological advances to the most recent crop of baseball bats. A great example is the weighted flat cap barrel, which goes back to the days of the Juggy. This is still found in the CF8 today and it creates a wonderful balanced feel but still gives the hitter a slight endload, all the while enlarging the sweetspot as much as possible.
Another example is the use of layered composite construction in the barrel design, which gives the barrel a trampoline effect that has been common in DeMarini bats ever since the early single-wall design of the White Steel. This double-walled barrel design not only improves durability but also gives the batter more pop and distance on their hits. DeMarini’s attention to detail in the barrel construction of their bats looks to be a key defining feature which, in my opinion, can serve as a competitive advantage over other manufacturers.
A Closer Look At The CF8
My first introduction to DeMarini bats was with the EVO, a great ASA approved softball bat in the late 1990s. It actually has many similarities to the CF8, which was partly why I was so pleased to pick it up again and try it out. Both bats are incredibly hot out of the wrapper, but also seem to open up even more as you get more and more hits on it. During our BP session with the CF8 we were regularly putting them over the fence, and the bat swings very easily and freely.
The two-piece barrel construction results in a very light-swinging, well balanced bat. The barrel is constructed using a premium paradox +plus composite material, which we will describe a little later. Not only is the construction top notch, but the elongated barrel will help you make better contact with the sweetspot. Of course, it also features the same D-Fusion 2.0 handle that is now a staple with all new DeMarini bats - this year’s version has a carbon core which offers even more improvement over prior versions.
A Look At The Features
The biggest feature of the CF8 has got to be the Paradox +Plus barrel, an all-composite design that maximizes the sweetspot but also increases both power and pop off hits. The bat, as mentioned earlier, seems to be hot out of the wrapper and has a very short break-in time when compared to other older models. This is especially helpful and useful to players who do not have the luxury of a long break-in period, in particular those who are looking for a bat to use in the upcoming season.
The barrel also seems slightly longer than the CF7, and with this new longer barrel the sweetspot is a bit bigger and easier to find. Previously shots that were closer to the handle would have been mishits and stung a bit; now these shots were still finding their way to the outfield grass. Not bad for players who are still learning to get their timing down on their swing, as this bat can be fairly forgiving during the learning process.
Generally I do enjoy balanced bats, but if I had to make one comment on something I didn’t like about the CF8 it would be that I think the bat would be even more powerful with a bit more of an endload. Now this is subjective and each player will have a different preference, but I feel that the longer barrel could benefit from a bit more weight on the endcap to really pull the bat head through the strike zone and generate a bit more whip and power. This could potentially result in further hits and hotter shots.
Overall though it does seem to swing fairly true to the posted sticker weight, and we were able to get some very good results with it. Lengthwise you will have the option to go anywhere from 30 to 34 inches.
- Premium Paradox +Plus barrel with unique (DeMarini’s very own) double stacked barrel technology, which I believe is the main reason this bat performs so well with so much pop.
- D-Fusion 2.0 handle, DeMarini’s well received technology for getting the best out of transferring energy and power from handle to barrel.
- Longer barrel, making sweetspot easier to find and larger than prior versions.
- Could benefit from a slight endload, but again, this is just personal preference.
- High price tag
A very fine choice in my opinion, we were having a great time testing out this bat on the ball fields. Teammates will be surprised at how much pop you can generate using this bat, and it doesn’t hurt that the design looks terrific as well.
Others Worth Consideration
Some other bats that you might consider:
The Prime 915 from Louisville Slugger is gaining a lot of popularity and it’s easy to see why. It features a 3-piece construction, which is a bit rare in today’s bat market. The sweetspot is comparable to the CF8, but the handle and grip are very nice, perhaps even better. The handle is stiff, which I tend to like, and this served as a nice contrast to the barrel, which seemed to flex a bit more than the CF8.
- TRU3 construction (3-piece bat).
- Slightly tapered handle, allowing for better grip - handle was incredibly stiff in my opinion, which some users may love while others may hate.
- Very light swing weight, large sweet spot.
- Warranty is only 30 days.
A nice stick, but with a 30 day warranty you are really testing the waters and hoping that you’ll like it enough to keep it. Handle will not be for everyone, as more traditional players will prefer the non-tapered feel. Still, hard to argue with performance, as this bat has some very nice results.
Hard to make any list without at least taking a look at the Mako, a long fan-favorite and perennial contender for best bat on any top list. You’ll know all about the TCT (Thermo Composite Technology) barrel and the Hyperskin bat grip, one of the very nicest grips in the market. Truly a worthy competitor and a great option - if you can afford it.
- Good sized sweet spot, TCT barrel composition gives it good flex and great power.
- Lovely bat grip (Hyperskin), likely the most comfortable grips you can get anywhere.
- CXN (Connection) technology transfers energy from handle to barrel.
- Minimal stinging on mishits.
- Very high price tag.
Good sized sweetspot and it swings very easily, it is hard to find many things to dislike about the Mako. A great option for you if you can afford it, as it always comes with a high price tag. CXN technology did not seem to transfer energy as well as what we saw in both the CF8 as well as the 915.
All three are great choices for the upcoming season but it is hard to not get especially excited for the CF8. Where Easton and Louisville Slugger stood relatively still and didn’t make any major changes to their bats, DeMarini continues to improve but not only giving us a bigger barrel, but also improving on the handle-to-barrel transfer. This is the bat I’ll be trying out this year and I’m sure many will be joining me on the diamonds with the CF8 in their arsenal.