Seth Rockafellow | Sioux City, IA SCHEELS Baseball Expert
Bat Regulations for 2018
Parents and players, the question has finally been answered. “What are the new bat regulations going to be?” For the parents of players that participate in USSSA youth leagues, your leagues will continue to use the same bats as previous years. The new bat rules are in effect January 1, 2018 and few of the well-known leagues across the country have decided to move forward with the USA bat standard. Any player age 14 and younger that plays in a Little League, Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth, Dixie Youth Baseball or PONY baseball youth leagues are now required to use the USA bat standard. The new USA standard allows players to use “big barrel” bats. A “big barrel” bat, is one that cannot exceed 2-⅝” in diameter. This is new to most youth leagues, as most have only been allowed to use a 2-¼ “ diameter barrel. Players 14 and older, including High School (NFHS), American Legion and Collegiate leagues will continue to use BBCOR certified bats.
What does this mean?
According to USA Baseball, “similar to the NCAA and NFHS BBCOR standard, which helped to eliminate discrepancies with different length bats and thus provide a more direct measure of bat performance, the new USA Baseball bat standard will allow youth baseball organizations in the United States to reach their goal of establishing a wood-like standard, a standard that will provide for the long-term integrity of the game.” The increased size of the barrel has a number of benefits for youth players. First, the increased diameter of the barrel is going to help with ball contact. This does not guarantee a player is going to hit the ball, but it does give them more surface area to increase their chances of making contact. This will also give players more confidence when stepping up to the plate. All of the years I have spent coaching and playing baseball, the youth players always want to use a “big barrel” like the pros!
Some may ask, “Why not use wood bats?”. Wood bats tend to break, crack, or splinter. This causes a safety concern for youth players as well as a financial concern for parents and teams. Using wood bats costs money, whereas using aluminum and composite bats that perform like wood, much safer and more cost effective. Baseball can be an expensive sport. By investing in a quality aluminum or composite bat, it will save parents, coaches and teams from spending more money.
How do I know if my bat is legal?
As a rule of thumb, always refer to your league home page. There is typically a list of eligible bats for each league. Bat companies have printed/stamped their approval somewhere on the bat for many years now. This year, they have also included tags or stickers to make it easier for parents, players and coaches to know what bat standard they are buying. The USA stickers will be GREEN with the USA logo and the USSSA stickers will be RED. The link for eligible bats for USA leagues is: https://usabat.com/.
If you have any more questions about what bat is right for you, or your child, make sure to stop in store and talk with one of your local SCHEELS Experts.