What You Need to Know about 2018 USABat Standards

Posted on April 4, 2018 by Phoenix Bats

You’ve probably heard the news from USA Baseball about bat standards for Little League Baseball, AABC, Babe Ruth / Cal Ripken, Dixie, Little League, and PONY leagues, but if you haven’t, you might want to sit down – effective January 1, 2018, metal bats without USA Baseball certification mark are no longer allowed on the field for those organizations. NOTE: USSSA has not adopted the USABAT requirement.

What Has Changed?

According to USA Baseball, the reason for the change is to make metal bats perform more like wooden bats. According to the USA Baseball's site, "USA Baseball’s national member organizations believe that a wood-like performance standard will best provide for the long-term integrity of the game." Of course, players can still use any one-piece wood bat with or without the USA Baseball Certification mark (composite wooden bats must be certified). However, USA Baseball still encourages metal bats because "wood is a scarce resource,” which we know isn’t the truth.

USA Baseball insists that player safety was not the main reason for the change, saying that "Youth baseball continues to be one of the safest of all sports for youth participants." But at the same time, we’ve seen many articles about young player injuries resulting from the exit speed of metal bats. Over the years, metal bat standards have reduced the exit speed of bats significantly.

What Bats are Allowed?

With this change, we've heard from many parents shocked that their kid’s $300 to $400 metal bat is now obsolete. They're calling us to learn more about wooden bats as an option (which under Rule 27, our wood bats are a viable, legal option). Many parents are also going this route because the benefits extend well beyond safety- by building a better swing, batters using wood are driving the ball farther than they were before.

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