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2019 DeMarini CF Zen Review: Elite Pop; Can It Hold Up?

In 2019, DeMarini continues to lead the pack. The 2019 CF Zen is more comparable to the CF8 than the recent models.

DeMarini still has its quirks that it hasn’t quite figured out how to overcome, but overall, the bat will perform well for you.

CF Zen Series Overview

The CF Zen series is known for being one of the best in the business.

They were late to the USA standard bats last year, but still had a reputation as being an elite bat within the scope of the new rules.

You’ll find more of the same with the 2019 option. DeMarini covers all the bases (BBCOR, USSSA, and USA) again this year.

You’ll find that the early DeMarini bat reviews show that, for better or worse, they’re continuing everything that they’re known for.

Understanding the Terminology

DeMarini is using a lot of special terminology to make their bat sound fancy. We wanted to break down what they’re trying to tell you.

Full Composite

These bats are 3 separate pieces; the barrel, the handle, and the “3fusion” connection.

The barrel and the handle are both made from composite material (a mix of metals).

In theory, this make the metal stronger, which would increase the pop.

Paraflex Plus Composite

The claim is the DeMarini “cures” their bat for the perfect time and temperature. They claim that this make the bat “the most dependably responsive barrel imaginable”.

I’m not sure how they would have determined that, but it sounds great.

X-lite Knob

The knob has a different design than normal. Where you see most knobs are shaped like an oval, the X-lite knob has a bit of the bottom taken out, so it’s shaped more like a dome.

It may not seem like much, but that makes the knob about 25% lighter.

Mass Index

This is a popular measurement to help determine swing weight.

A lower swing index (600 is the lowest) means a bat is designed for a lighter, more controlled swing.

A higher swing index (1200 is the highest) means that a bat is designed for a heavier swing that generates more momentum.

CF Zen BBCOR Bat Review

  • Full composite
  • 3Fusion system
  • D-Tak grip
  • MOI range of 640-985
  • -3 (30 inch to 34 inches)

The BBCOR model is a known commodity in the baseball world.

Early results show that the 2019 CF Zen will continue to be a hot BBCOR bat for players across the country.

CF Zen Balanced (-3) BBCOR
2019 DeMarini CF Zen Balanced BBCOR Bat (WTDXCBC)

It features the full-composite design made from Paraflex+ composite materials. This increases the pop as it’s claimed that the Paraflex is cured perfectly for maximum power.

DeMarini has been making great claims about their 3Fusion technology. The connecting point between the barrel and the handle looks different when compared to the average bat.

DeMarini is saying that it decreases the vibration while redirecting energy back into the barrel to make the ball jump off of the bat.

CF Zen vs CF Insane (BBCOR)

While most of this review is on the Zen series specifically, we wanted to offer a quick look at another BBCOR option that DeMarini is putting out.

The Insane runs parallel to the Zen series. It has the same Paraflex+ composite and the 3Fusion system. The key difference is the Motion Index and the size variation.

As mentioned above, you can find the Zen in -3 from 30-34 inches. The Insane is a -3 but only available in 31-34 inches.

CF Insane (-3) BBCOR
2019 DeMarini CF Insane BBCOR Bat (WTDXCIC)

Comparing the Motion Index at each side is where you’ll see the difference.

CF Zen vs CF Insane (chart)

Based on the chart, you can see that the Insane model is definitely designed with the power hitter in mind.

Looking at the 33 inch model, the Insane offers almost 6% more power in the same swing. That may not seem like much, but when you’re talking about a 300 foot fly ball, 18 feet could be the difference between an out and a homerun system.

The Zen and the Insane offer the same price point of about $450, so the difference between the two comes down to hitting profile.

If you’re buying for a power hitter, I’d consider purchasing the Insane. If you’re looking for more of a contact hitter, I’d opt for the Zen.

CF Zen USA Bat Review

  • 2-piece composite
  • 3Fusion system
  • Paraflex+
  • D-Tak Grip
  • -10

You’ll find that the USA standard has all of the same features the others do – it comes with the 3-Fusion, Paraflex+ and D-Tak that you’ll find on the BBCOR.

There are two key points that seem a little odd:

  1. First, it seems like the USA style hasn’t really been touched since last season.
  2. Second, it seems like this model is difficult to find as DeMarini doesn’t even have it listed on their site. (Last checked on December 10, 2018)

DeMarini was late to the USA style last season. While they made a late appearance, several players said that the Zen was their favorite USA proved bat.

It seems like DeMarini took the time to ensure the best bat on the market before putting a product out.

Given that knowledge, it’s not a bad thing that they didn’t change the new model – why mess with what works?

2018 CF Zen (-10) 2 5/8″
2018 DeMarini CF Zen (-10) USA Baseball Bat

What is concerning is that the new version is difficult to find on the market.

Given those two pieces of information, it may be better to opt for the price break and take the older model.

CF Zen USSSA Bat Review

The Big Barrel bats have been a point of contention for years when it comes to the Zen. For some reason, durability is a concern.

In recent history, DeMarini has added a ring inside the barrel to make it more durable, and it’s still failed.

Every year DeMarini runs into problems with their USSSA option. The bats are very hot to the point that they are almost dangerous.

Adding significant power is great, but the bat has been deemed illegal multiple times over the past few years.

This was due to a mix of how hot the bat was and how frequently it broke down.

Despite the warning above, while this model functions, it’s fantastic. As mentioned above, it’s very hot and offers great pop.

The USSSA model also comes in -5, -8, and -10 models. DeMarini does a great job of offering a strong variety to cover every hitter.

CF Zen (-10) 2 3/4″ 2019 DeMarini CF Zen (-10) Senior League Bat (WTDXCBZ)
CF Zen (-8) 2 3/4″ 2019 DeMarini CF Zen (-8) Senior League Bat (WTDXC8Z)
CF Zen (-5) 2 5/8″ 2019 DeMarini CF Zen (-5) Senior League Bat (WTDXCB5)

The USSSA model comes with the expected features. It has the Parflex+, the 3Fusion system and even features the RCK Knob to drop the weight a bit.

It’s a great bat if you can get one that is going to last.

All of this is said to offer a warning. It is our opinion that if you buy a USSSA model you must get a warranty with it.

While the warranty covers damage to the bat, there is no recouping your money if your league decides to ban this model.

You’re playing with fire, and I’m not sure that it’s worth the risk.

CF Zen Black

As you continue to do research, you may find that there is a “special” model of the Zen called the CF Zen Black.

CF Zen Black (-10) 2 3/4″ CF Zen Black drop 10 Senior League Baseball Bat
CF Zen Black (-8) 2 3/4″ CF Zen Black drop 8 Senior League Baseball Bat
CF Zen Black (-5) 2 5/8″ CF Zen Black drop 5 Senior League Baseball Bat

In all the research that we’ve done, there isn’t any difference compared to the other models.

It seems like this is the same model with a different color to give options to the people who are focused on aesthetics.

Comparable Bats

If you’re looking for something that compares to the 2019 CF Zen, you could also look at the CAT series of composite bats from Marucci.

The Ghost X Evolution is also a good option.

If you’re willing to try something new, Axe is a growing brand and you could look at the Axe Avenge.

Conclusion

Overall, DeMarini is one of the best bat companies in the business. They consistently offer great options.

If you’re willing to foot the price tag, the BBCOR model is absolutely worth the cost. I’ve recommended it to several players. It’s arguably the best 2019 BBCOR bat.

If you’re in the market for the best USA baseball bat, I’d look at the 2018 model to save a bit of money, but still get a high-quality bat.

If you’re in the market for a big barrel (USSSA) bat, I’d suggest you look elsewhere. The durability concerns are a little too daunting for my liking.

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