What is changing with the implementation of the USABat Standard?
Similar to the BBCOR standard that was implemented in 2011 for College and High School, the new USABat Standard will create wood-like performance in youth baseball bats.
Like the College and High School BBCOR tests, the USABat standard is based on the coefficient of restitution from a bat-ball impact (BBCOR). But in order to address the varying levels of play between youth and high school / collegiate players, the USABat test will use different test balls and test speeds to scale the results.
Anyone familiar with the BBCOR regulation will know that those bats are limited to a maximum value of .50 in the NFHS / NCAA test. The maximum value that these new youth bats will be allowed to achieve will be limited to .53 under the USABat Standard.
Unlike the -3 length to weight ratio restriction that is required for BBCOR bats, USABat Standard will not have a drop weight limit. Players will still be able to choose from a wide variety of weight ratios.
Players within the affected organizations will also now be allowed to use bats with either a 2 1/4 inch or 2 5/8 inch barrel diameter (as long as they carry the new USABat stamp). Although at this time, it seems unlikely that manufacturers will be able to product a 2 1/4" barreled bat that meets the USABat Standard. We should expect to see mostly 2 5/8" barreled bats with the USABat Standard stamp.
AABC, AAU, Babe Ruth / Cal Ripken, Dixie, Little League, and PONY will all be affected by the USABat rule change, but USSSA will not.
USSSA Baseball will not be affected by the USABat standard and Youth Big Barrel bats with 2 5/8 inch and 2 3/4 inch barrel diameters will still be produced with the USSSA BPF 1.15 certification. Currently, USSSA Baseball will allow the use of a bat that carries the new USABat stamp (as long as barrel diameter, drop weight, material specifications, etc. match the specific division's requirements).