Changes to Youth Baseball USABat Standard (Read before buying a new bat)

Demarini Voodoo USA Stamp

Many of you have heard about the upcoming USA Baseball bat regulations that will be affecting youth baseball.  The primary goal of this new rule is “making our game more uniform at the youth level and ensuring the long-term integrity of the game.”  This new standard will make youth bats similar to BBCOR in the sense that they will create wood-like performance.  All performance tests will be based on coefficient of restitution from a bat-ball impact just like BBCOR.  This means that they will limit the amount of rebound the bat provides when it hits the ball.

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On January 1, 2018, the new USABat standard will become effective and all bats used in AABC, Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken, Little League, Dixie and PONY leagues will require the USABat stamp.  All bats that were previously purchased and do not have the stamp, will not be allowed to be used in a game.  This regulation will affect both 2 1/4 in & 2 5/8 in barrel sizes for the leagues mentioned above.  The above photo of an upcoming DeMarini Voodoo -10 bat shows that stamp.

USABat Stamp - Light

It is important to know that USSSA WILL NOT be adopting the new standard.  This means that USABat marked bats will be approved for USSSA, but they will also still allow USSSA stamped (1.15 BPF or “Bat Performance Factor”) bats as well.

OUR TAKE

While safety has not been specifically named, changing the bats to have more wood-like performance will reduce batted ball exit speeds and presumably make it safer for fielders.  First and foremost, we are big fans of anything that will improve safety for the kids playing.  Baseball is an amazing game and we hope that all kids can enjoy it as much as we do in a safe & fun atmosphere.

Setting that component aside for a moment, this rule change is going to be a mess for many manufacturers, retailers and most importantly the players.  Even though the new regulation has been public for a while and many different entities have done a great job of communicating the upcoming changes, there are still going to be thousands of players and parents that are going to get caught off-guard by this.  Those not educated on the rule changes will end up spending hundreds of dollars on bats that their kids can’t use in a game, which is a huge problem.  

If a bat can’t be returned or exchanged, WPW partner JustBats.com offers a bat trade-in program and plans on increasing the number of eligible models over the coming months.  

There are pros and cons to this decision, with the big con being that it will cost all parties involved millions of dollars and a lot of headaches.  Check out this quick USABat overview video that JustBats created as part of their regulation education.

NEED TO KNOW

         All bats used in AABC, Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken, Little League, Dixie and PONY leagues after January 1, 2018 will require the USABat stamp (pictured above).

         All leagues that were previously required to use 2 1/4 in barrels, will now be allowed to use 2 5/8 (always confirm with your local league).

         USABat will not have any weight drop restrictions (EX. -10, -8, -5)

         USSSA IS NOT adopting the USABat regulations.  You will be able to use all USSSA stamped & new USABat marked bats, 2 3/4 in barrel included.

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         USABat DOES NOT affect BBCOR bats (-3).

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If you’re in the market for a new bat, BE SURE TO CONFIRM it has the new USABat stamp if you participate in one of the leagues mentioned above.  If you’re purchasing online and it isn’t clearly stated, pick up the phone and call them!  Be sure to also contact your local league to see what regulations they will play by.  Being sure on these can potentially save you from losing out on hundreds of dollars!

If you have any questions about the new standard please hit me up on @thebatscout!