USA Baseball announced back in late 2015, that there would be new youth baseball bat regulations going into effect in 2018. With the change right around the corner, we thought you may need a reminder heading into the 2017 season.
We want you to be prepared for the rule change and make an informed decision on your next bat purchase, so here we’ve answered the USA Baseball Bat Standard FAQs.
USA Baseball Bat Standard FAQs
WHAT is changing?
USA Baseball and its national member organizations have developed and adopted a new standard method for testing the performance of youth bats. The USA Baseball bat standard (USABat) bats will perform similar to how a wood bat performs.
Like BBCOR certification has done for the -3 weight/length ratio at the NFHS and NCAA levels, the USABat certification will be the standard certification for bats with larger drop ratios (-5, -7, -9, etc.). Bats throughout the full spectrum of weight/length drop ratios will now be wood-like in performance.
In addition, participating member organizations will now allow the use of 2 1/4 barrel AND 2 5/8 barrel bats, as long as they are USABat stamped and certified.
This means that the commonly used BPF 1.15 bats that are currently approved in these member organizations WILL NOT be allowed for use in 2018.
HOW do we buy USABat bats?
Many manufacturers have now released USA Baseball approved bats that are available for purchase. There are many models and price ranges to choose from at this time, however, it may be wise to act fast. There is certain to be a rush of orders as the 2018 season approaches, which may limit supply!
You can browse the selection of USA Bats on sale at Amazon below. Notice that there are selections available in both small barrel and big barrel. The prices range from under $50 all the way up to $300 plus. Many also include free shipping.
WHY make a change?
According to USA Baseball, the new rule is “…another step forward in making the game more uniform at the youth level, ensuring the long-term integrity of the game.”
With ever increasing technology, metal bat performance has continually improved throughout the years. In recent years, performance levels of youth bats could vary widely. This rule is to ensure a level playing field in bat performance among youth players in the leagues who adopt the rule.
WHO is impacted by the change?
As of right now, the bat rules will only affect players who will compete within the following organizations and levels during the 2018 season:
- AABC (Nolan Ryan, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, and Roberto Clemente divisions)
- AAU (8U – 13U)
- Babe Ruth Baseball (Cal Ripken Baseball division)
- Dixie Youth Baseball (all divisions)
- Little League Baseball (Minors, Majors, Intermediate (50/70) and Junior divisions)
- Pony Baseball (Shetland 6U, Pinto 8U, Mustang 10U, Bronco 12U, and Pony 14U divisions)
WHEN does it go into effect?
The rule is effective January 1, 2018. All bats that are currently approved for the aforementioned organizations are legal for use until December 31, 2017. After January 1, all bats must carry the USABats logo and certification. Bats without the logo will no longer be allowed.
Does this impact middle school, high school, or college players?
This rule does not affect leagues and age groups that currently require the use of BBCOR certified bats. College, high school, and some middle school baseball players will not need to make a change.
*If your middle school does not require BBCOR certification, you should consult with your coaches about how this new bat rule may affect you.
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