New Bat Standards for 2018

Updated Tuesday January 26, 2016 by Los Banos Little League.

Little League Baseball has decided to adopt the new bat standard for mandated use effective January 1, 2018. All national members of USA Baseball, including Little League, are encouraged to adopt this new standard. Little League-approved bats can be used through December 31, 2017, and our current bat regulations will be in effect until then. That includes the moratorium prohibiting the use of all 2 ¼ inch barrel baseball bats constructed with composite material in the barrel, unless approved.

There will be no immediate change to Little League bat rules. All bats, currently accepted for Little League, remain permissible through December 31, 2017.

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.

How is the USABat standard different from the BBCOR standard used by the NCAA and NFHS?

Both the USA Baseball and NCAA bat performance tests are based on the coefficient of restitution from a bat-ball impact. The scale of results is different, however, since they use different test balls and test speeds. The testing difference is necessary to address the various levels of play in the respective age groups.

Why is USA Baseball involved?  

The national member organizations asked USA Baseball as the national governing body to take the lead in this process to establish a new standard. Many other national governing bodies set and enforce standards for the equipment in their respective sports. To that end, USA Baseball established a Bat Study Committee of leading scientists and conducted theoretical modeling, field testing and lab testing. The committee shared its findings with the national member organizations, who then endorsed the new USABat standard.

Why wait until 2018?

The implementation date of 2018 will allow bat manufacturers sufficient time to conduct the appropriate research, design, testing, manufacturing and shipping needed to get new bats into retail outlets. This date also allows the participating national member organizations adequate time to educate their memberships of the USABat standard.

Is my current bat good for league play?

Yes. Current league-approved bats can be used through December 31, 2017.

Is safety the reason for the change?

No. Youth baseball continues to be one of the safest of all sports for youth participants.

How will I know which bat to buy?

All new bats will bear the USABat licensing mark.

When can I buy the new bat?

It is the intention of the bat manufacturers to make the new bats available in the fall of 2017, in sufficient time for the 2018 season. 




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