You may have heard about a new USA Baseball Bat Standard (USABat) that will take effect January 1, 2018. Before you buy a new bat, here's what you need to know:
For starters, the rule change does NOT go into effect until January 1, 2018, so all current youth baseball bats, which are marked with a 1.15BPF stamp, will continue to be legal.
On January 1, 2018, USA Baseball will be implementing a rule change to the bats. If you are 14 years old or younger and play Little League, Babe Ruth & Cal Ripken, PONY, Dixie or AABC, you will need to use a new bat marked with a new USA Baseball stamp:
Frequently Asked Questions about the New USABat standard:
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.
Unlike the -3 length to weight ratio restriction that is required for BBCOR bats, USABat will not have a drop weight limit. With the creation of the new standard, players within the affected organizations will also now be allowed to use bats with either a 2 1/4 inch or 2 5/8 inch “big barrel” diameter (as long as they carry the new USABat stamp).
Which national member organizations are implementing this new standard?
To date, the following organizations are participating (in alphabetical order): American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, Little League Baseball and PONY Baseball.
Why the change to a wood-like standard?
USA Baseball's national member organizations believe that a wood-like performance standard will best provide for the long-term integrity of the game. The new standard will not have a drop-weight limit, so young players can use bats made with light-weight materials.
Why not just use wood bats?
Wood is a scarce resource. The new bats will be designed to perform much like wood, where its performance will be limited to the highest performing wood.
When can I buy the new bat?
It is the intention of the bat manufacturers to make the new bats available September 1, 2017.
What about tee ball bats?
Tee ball bats (lengths 26" and shorter) must feature the USA Baseball mark and accompanying text that reads Only For Use With Approved Tee Balls. USA Baseball will make a sticker program available that will allow individuals to purchase stickers to mark personal tee ball bats that were purchased prior to the implementation of the USABat Standard.
Currently Approved Bats Until December 31, 2017:
8-12 (RIPKEN) BASEBALL DIVISION
The bat may not exceed 33"in length, and the bat barrel may not exceed 2¼" in diameter. Only 2¼" barrel non-wood bats marked BPF 1.15 will be allowed. Wood 2 ¼" barrel bats are allowed.
13-15 BASEBALL DIVISION
The bat may not exceed 34" in length, and the bat barrel may not exceed 2 5/8" in diameter. All aluminum/alloy barrel bats and all composite handle (only) aluminum/alloy barrels are allowed. Only composite barrel bats certified and marked BBCOR .50 will be allowed. Wood barrel bats conforming to the specifications of Official Baseball Rule 1.10 are allowed.
16-18 BASEBALL DIVISION
The bat may not exceed 34" in length and the bat barrel many not exceed 2 5/8" in diameter or be greater than a -3 length to weight ratio. Only metal/composite bats certified and marked BBCOR .50 are allowed. Wood barrel bats conforming to the specifications of Official Baseball Rule 1.10 are allowed.