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28

Jul, 2017

New Bat Rules: Please Read Before Buying a New Bat

All Little League players will be required to use a new USA Baseball approved bat (“USABat”) beginning with the Spring 2018 season. All new bats must bear the USABat licensing mark and are expected to be available in retail stores beginning in September 2017. 


Effective on January 1, 2018, Little League Baseball® will be adopting a new bat standard called USABat. No bats previously approved for use in Little League play will be permitted to be used in any Little League game or practice, or other Little League function, event, or activity after January 1, 2018.

All current Little League approved bats can be used during the 2017 Little League regular season, throughout all star tournament play, and continuing through our Fall 2017 season, but can no longer be used starting in 2018.

This change effects players in Tee Ball, Minor Division (A, AA, and AAA), Major Division, and the Junior Baseball divisions in all regions and countries. The Senior League Baseball Division will continue to be governed by the BBCOR bat standard, but BBCOR bats will no longer be permitted in the Junior Division.

All Little League players in the Tee Ball through Junior League Divisions will need a new bat, approved by the USABat Standard beginning January 1, 2018.

 
Why are the bats changing?
Testing and evaluating of youth baseball bats has evolved into a science. The new USA Baseball bat standard (USABat), was developed by a USA Baseball committee of scientific experts, and is being adopted by many of the major youth baseball organizations, including Little League and PONY Baseball. The new USABat 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.
 
What will be new about the bats approved using the USABat Standard?
The bats approved using the USABat Standard will be made in 2 1/4- and 2 5/8- inch dimensions and the standard will apply to both composite and alloy barrel bats. In other words, “big barrel bats” will now be approved for Little League play, provided they are stamped with the USA Baseball mark. The new standard will not have a drop-weight limit, so young players can use bats made with light-weight materials. 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.
 
Will 2017 models and older baseball bats still be allowed to be used in any Little League baseball divisions?
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 BFP 1.15 will not be permitted to be used in any Little League activities, including practices or games. The only exception is the Senior Division, which will continue using the BBCOR bat standard. BBCOR bats are not impacted at all by the new USABat standard.
 
How much will the new bats cost and when will they be available for purchase?
Sports equipment retailers that currently sell youth bats will begin selling the new bats in September of 2017. The new bats will also be available via online retailers and the bat manufacturers’ websites. Baseball bat prices can vary significantly. It is expected that bats using the USABat Standard will maintain the status quo in terms of pricing.
 
Does this impact Tee Ball players?
Yes. Under the USABat standard, certified tee ball bats used in the Little League Baseball Tee Ball Program will feature the USA Baseball mark and text which reads ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS. Tee Ball bats that were produced and/or purchased prior to the implementation of the new standard can be certified using an Approved Tee Ball Sticker via the USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program. The USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program is an initiative designed to allow for the continued use of tee ball bats that were manufactured prior to the implementation of the new USABat standard. This program will allow individuals and families to purchase approved stickers marked with the USA Baseball logo and language which reads: ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS. Stickers will be available for purchase online via USABaseballShop.com beginning September 1, 2017.
 
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