New Rules for Baseball BatsUpdated Wednesday January 4, 2017 by NBSL.
NEW BASEBALL BAT RULES take effect 1/18/18:
Effective January 1st, 2018, USA Baseball, the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States, will adopt a new method for measuring bat performance in the testing of youth baseball bats.
Although there will be no immediate change for the 2017 calendar year to our organizations' bat rules, our league understands and appreciates that many of our parents may wish to purchase bats for their player, the league however is advising all parents to hold off on purchasing a bat for their children until full understanding of new rules is clearer
What Will the USABat Standard Change and Why?
Similar to the NCAA and NFHS BBCOR standard that was implemented in 2011, the new "USABat Standard" will create wood-like performance in youth baseball bats, or as USA Baseball's Executive Director / CEO Paul Seiler stated, help "take another step forward in making our game more uniform at the youth level and ensuring the long-term integrity of the game".
Like the NCAA bat performance tests, the USABat standard is based on the coefficient of restitution from a bat-ball impact. But in order to address the varying levels of play between youth and high school / collegiate players, the USABat test will use different test balls and test speeds to scale the results.
Anyone familiar with the BBCOR regulation will know that those bats are limited to a maximum value of .50 in the NFHS / NCAA test. Currently, the maximum value that these new youth bats will be allowed to achieve, or how that value would exactly compare to the trampoline effect achievable with a BBCOR / current youth baseball bat / wood bat, is not known.
But unlike the -3 length to weight ratio restriction that is required for BBCOR bats, USABat will not have a drop weight limit. Instead of simply requiring the use of wood bats, which are often found with a -8 length to weight ratio at the lightest, younger players will still be able to use bats made from light-weight, highly engineered materials.
With the creation of the new standard, players will also now be allowed to use bats with either a 2 1/4 inch or 2 5/8 inch barrel diameter (as long as they carry the new USABat stamp)
In order to maintain the integrity of youth baseball, the USABat standard will create wood-like performance in youth bats while allowing younger players to use lightweight bats that could not be achieved with wood bats.
These organizations will be affected by the USABat rule change:
AABC, AAU, Babe Ruth / Cal Ripken, Dixie, Little League, and PONY