USA Baseball takes over bat-standard setting to preserve integrity of game
As the governing body of youth baseball, USA Baseball adopted a new bat standard for youth baseball ages 14 and under, effective January 1, 2018. USA Baseball assembled a bat study committee of leading scientists that conducted field and lab testing of bat performance to arrive at the new standard. The standard, known as USABat, has been adopted by its member organizations, including AABC, Babe Ruth/Ripkin, Dixie, Little League, and PONY. The purpose of the new wood-like standard is to protect the integrity of the game, not for safety reasons as “youth baseball continues to be one of the safest of all sports,” according to USA Baseball.
NCAA and NFHS BBCOR standard comes to youth baseball
USABat will follow the lead of the NCAA and NFHS in adopting the BBCOR standard with some minor modifications to account for differences in balls, bat lengths and pitching speeds in the younger age groups. Recent advances in technology and materials now allow manufacturers to produce bats that can perform at the wood-like level for youth baseball through the entire range of lengths and weights.
What about the 2017 season?
The USABat stamp will replace the existing 1.15 BPF stamp that is currently displayed on approved youth bats. The 1.15 BPF stamp will continue to be used throughout the 2017 season. However, effective January 1, 2018, approved bats must bear the USABat stamp.
Additional points of interest:
- The new standard will allow for bats to be made of the lightest weight materials since there will no longer be a drop-weight limit.
- The new bats will not be available for purchase until Sept. 1, 2017.
- The new standard will apply both to 2-1/4” bats as well as 2-5/8” bats.
- USSSA will not adopt the new standard.
As a member of the USA Baseball Medical/Safety Advisory Committee, I was privileged to observe some of the meetings with the various scientists who conducted the lab and field tests of the new bats. It was amazing to see how these professionals applied physics to arrive at their conclusions. The leadership at USA Baseball did an outstanding job of managing this project.