2018 USA Baseball Bat Standard - New USA Bat Rules Overview
New 2018 USA Baseball Bat Standard
USA Baseball, the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States, along with the help of several national baseball organizations, are implementing a new standard for youth baseball bats starting January 1, 2018. The new USA Certified Baseball bat standard (USABat) has been put in place in an attempt to reach a wood-like performance standard across youth baseball.
“Beginning with the launch in 2018, we will take another step forward in making our game more uniform at the youth level and ensuring the long-term integrity of the game.” - Paul Seiler (CEO of USA Baseball)
What is new about the USA Baseball bats?
The development, testing, and evaluation of baseball bats has evolved into a science over the years. Along with these advancements, the standards for these bats have also continued to evolve. This new standard in youth baseball was developed by a committee of scientists working for USA Baseball.
The new USA Baseball certified bats have been designed to perform more like wood bats. USA Baseball and the national organizations involved believe this wood-like performance standard will be best for the future of the sport. The barrels of the new USA certified baseball bats have have been designed to minimize the amount of trampoline effect in the bat. The best way to understand the trampoline effect is to compare jumping on concrete versus jumping on a trampoline. The USA certified baseball bats will be more like concrete than a trampoline.
Rules regarding barrel size have also changed. Previously, many youth baseball organizations did not permit the use of a bat with a barrel over 2 ¼” in diameter. Now, as long as the bat is USA certified, 2 5/8” barrels will be allowed for use in organizations following the new standard. Thus, 2 ¼” and 2 5/8” barrels of USA certified bats will be legal under the new USA Baseball bat standard. Both Easton and Rawlings have lead the way in taking advantage of this new rule on barrel size.
Why has USA Baseball implemented this new standard?
According to USA Baseball, the goal of this new standard is to make the game “more uniform” and ensure “the long-term integrity of the game.”
This new change in baseball bat standards is very similar to the transition from BESR to BBCOR that was done to high school and college bats in 2011 to increase the safety of the sport. In 2018, a change in bat standard has finally found its way down to the younger levels.
While the main objective of this change does not directly speak of safety, the changes to the performance of the bats will certainly have a positive impact on the safety aspect of youth baseball. Under the new standard, batted balls will be coming softer off of the barrel, thus limiting the damage a baseball can inflict.
“Youth baseball continues to be one of the safest of all sports for youth participants.” – USA BASEBALL
Along with the impact on safety, a wood-like performing bat will put an emphasis on talent rather than technology. Using bats with less ‘pop’, will give the players an opportunity to refine their skills. There will be less focus on the bats and more focus on technique and strength under the new standard.
It is very valuable for youth baseball players to be swinging bats that perform less like metal, and more like wood. Getting used to swinging bats with wood-like performance will prove useful as they progress in their baseball career.
While this change may affect parents and players some in the short-term, in the long-term it will benefit the game and its players greatly.
What national organizations will be affected by the new bat standard?
Beginning January 1, 2018, only bats marked with the USA label will be permitted for use in several youth baseball organizations. The affected national organizations include:
- Little League Baseball
- Babe Ruth League
- PONY Baseball
- American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC)
- Cal Ripken Baseball
- Dixie Youth Baseball
- Dixie Baseball (Boys & Majors)
Any bat that is not certified by the new USA Baseball bat standards, will not be legal in the above organizations.
- USSSA and AAU bat standards will not be affected under this new rule change.
- USA baseball bats will be eligible for use in all organizations below the high school ranks.
Do Tee ball bats need to be certified under the new standard?
Yes. Tee ball bats (lengths 26” and shorter) will need to be marked with the USA sticker in order to be legal for use in organizations adhering to the new standard. Although tee ball bats are not required to undergo the lab testing that youth and adult baseball bats undergo, they are still required to feature the USA sticker on all bats. You can find a wide selection of USA certified tee ball bats at BaseballMonkey.com.
What is the USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program?
The USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program is designed to allow for the continued use of tee ball bats that were manufactured prior to the implementation of the new USABat standard. The program allows individuals to buy USABat approved stickers to place on bats that were manufactured/purchased prior to the new standard taking effect. The stickers are 1.25” X 2” and feature the USA Baseball logo with text below reading: ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS. These USA Baseball approved stickers can be purchased directly through USA Baseball. The following image represents the official Tee Ball sticker and it’s approved placement according to USA Baseball.
Which tee balls are legal for use?
Along with USA certified tee ball bats, USA Baseball has also released a list of low compression baseballs that have been approved for use. In organizations following the new bat standard, these USA approved tee balls must also be used.
What does all of this mean?
If you play Little League, Babe Ruth, PONY, AABC, Cal Ripken, or Dixie baseball:
- You will need a new, USA certified baseball bat for 2018 and beyond.
If you play USSSA or AAU baseball:
- You can continue to use your current bat OR use a new USA certified baseball bat.
If you play tee ball:
- You will need a new, USA certified tee ball bat for 2018 OR you can purchase a USA sticker from the USA Baseball tee ball sticker program to place on your current bat.
The new USA Baseball bat standard is quickly approaching on January 1, 2018. Moving to bats with a wood-like performance standard will prove valuable for the future of the sport. Players will focus more on their individual talents, and less on the technologies used to improve performance. While youth baseball is already a very safe sport, the safety of the sport will continue to improve under this new standard. Overall, the change to USA certified baseball bats will be good for the sport of baseball.
If you have any questions regarding the new USA Baseball bat standards, feel free to contact Baseball Monkey customer service at (888)-771-3111.