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Effective on January 1, 2018, Little League Baseball® we will adhere to the new USA Bat standard. No bats previously approved for use in Little League play (T-ball, Coach Pitch, Minors, Majors) will be permitted to be used in any Little League game or practice, or other Little League function, event, or activity.
What this means for local Little Leagues and Little League baseball players is that all current Little League-approved bats can no longer be used starting in 2018. All of Little League’s current bat regulations will remain in effect until December 31, 2017.
Frequently Asked Questions about the USABat standard:
1. What is the definition of Bat Standard?
A “bat standard” is a measuring tool used within the bat manufacturing industry to ensure that all commercially available bats perform at an acceptable level.
2. Why is USA Baseball involved?
Several 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.
3. Which national member organizations are implementing this new standard?
Along with Little League Baseball®, the following organizations are participating (in alphabetical order): American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, and PONY Baseball.
4. Does this change effect all divisions of Little League Baseball
No. T-Ball, Coach Pitch, Minor Division, Major Division, Intermediate (50/70) Baseball, and the Junior Baseball divisions will use the USABat Standard. The Senior League Baseball Division will continue to be governed by the BBCOR bat standard.
5. Will there be a new USABat Standard for softball bats?
No. Only baseball bats will be effected by this new standard.
6. Will 2017 models, and older baseball bats still be allowed to be used in the younger Little League® baseball divisions, or during any other Little League activities, including practice or games?
No. Starting on January 1, 2018, all bats must be marked with the USABat label in order to be used in Little League Baseball®. All bats marked with the previous BFP 1.15 will not be permitted to be used in any Little League activities, including practices or games.
7. How will a consumer know that a bat is approved for Little League play?
All new bats that bear the USABat licensing mark will be permissible for play in the leagues and tournaments of the participating youth baseball organizations. In Little League, the new bats will be used in the T-Ball, Coach Pitch, Minor, Major, Intermediate (50/70), and Junior League Baseball Divisions.
8. How is the USABat standard different from the BBCOR standard?
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.
9. 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. However, 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.
10. Does this change mean that Little League® will no longer be using BBCOR bats in the Little League® Junior League and Senior League Baseball Divisions?
Yes and no. The Senior League baseball division will be the only division of Little League Baseball to continue to use the BBCOR bat standard. The Junior League Baseball Division will use the new USABat standard.
13. Is safety the reason for the change?
No. Youth baseball continues to be one of the safest of all sports for youth participants.
14. What will be the barrel size of the new bats?
The bats approved using the USABat Standard will be made in 2 1/4 inch and 2 5/8 inch dimensions. Little League will allow the larger 2 5/8 inch barrel bats with the USABat standard starting in 2018.
15. Will it matter if the new bats are composite or alloy barrel?
The USABat Standard will apply to both composite and alloy barrel bats.
16. Will Little League® continue to have an approved bat list on the LittleLeague.org website?
There will be a USABat-approved bat list on the USA Baseball website. This same information will be accessible through a link on the LittleLeague.org website.
17. When will the bats be available for purchase?
Bats branded with the USABat Standard are anticipated to be available in retail stores beginning in September 2017. The majority of youth baseball organizations in the United States that are USA Baseball members have agreed to abide by the new standard.
Bottom line is that a new bat purchased without the “USABat” label will not be allowed starting January 1, 2018.
More information can be found here: http://www.littleleague.org/learn/equipment/baseballbatinfo.htm