The Major Changes in the USA Baseball Bat Standard 2018

If you are still not aware of the changes on the Little League bat standards starting January 2018, this post contains all the significant changes that you need to know. There are several reasons why they need to change some of the rules. It is not yet complete like the actual testing protocol, but the changes will take effect this January 2018.

Who Will Be Affected by the Latest Change

Not as many players will be affected by the changes. Since it is for Little League, then it is the 14 years old, and younger players will be affected. The BBCOR standards are not at all affected. Also, players in leagues ruled by the following national baseball group will experience the changes:

  • AABC (American Amateur Baseball Congress)
  • Little League Baseball
  • Babe Ruth Baseball/ Cal Ripken Baseball
  • AAU (Amateur Athletic Union)
  • Dixie Youth Baseball
  • PONY Baseball

Other recreational league groups that are affiliated with the above groups do not implement bat standards. Also, the USSSA groups will not apply the changes yet, and there is no indication that they will do.

Little League Baseball Bats Two Significant Changes

The significant changes will be in the trampoline effect and the barrel diameter of the Little League baseball bats:

The Barrel Sizes

The old ruling in Little League is that the bat’s barrel size should be restricted to 2 ¼. Now, they allow up to 2 5/8. But since there is a particular limitation on the pop and need to have a low swing weight for smaller players, achieving the full 2 5/8 diameter will depend on the engineers to adjust. You will see a lot of single piece composite bats in the market that complies with the diameter requirements as well as in the swing weights and swing-able standards.

Trampoline Effect

Because of the changes in the barrel sizes, the pop that is measured at 1.15 BPF (Bat Performance Factor) will be limited to 0.50 Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) standard. The BBCOR baseball bats have the same trampoline effect as what the wood bats provide. But do not expect that these bats are total duplications of wood bats. The new bats will be made of aluminum and composite. It will have lower swing weights, and longer sweet spots. With regards to sweet spot hits, the current youth bats are much better as compared to a wood bat.

Reasons for the Change of USA Baseball Bats

The USA baseball is focusing on the integrity of the game that is why they are making these changes. There is nothing more important about little kids than to hit home runs that goes against the honesty of the game.

Some of the changes are done because of the following reasons:


The Little League remains to be one of the safest sports for youth players, but still, they continue to focus on it. The little kids can hit a pitch with 65 mph speed and bat with speed of 75 mph, back to the pitcher who is 48 ft away from them. It is quite dangerous. If the ball accidentally hits the kid, this is not good and may cause injury, and you would not want this to happen mainly during a championship Little League World Series game.


Many vendors are not happy about the change, particularly when it comes to inventory. We all know that they are making baseballs bats enough for a year, with these changes they can lose a lot of money on unsold items. The latest bat standard will destroy the value of thousands of secondary market bats. Instead of money flowing to players and parents who have invested a lot on the bats a few years ago, it will flow to the makers and vendors who are manufacturing the new bats that comply to the latest standards.

On our point of view, the vendors and manufacturers had no choice. They are just following what the Youth Baseball requires. And based on what we learned the vendors and manufacturers are worried about the change. If the manufacturers and vendors were able to navigate the 2018 bat standards change, they could improve more than to have no change at all.

Boxing Out

It may not be considered as a reason for the change, but a consequence and its effect is that there will be no smaller sellers. Big organizations are capable of creating baseballs bats that comply with the latest fast. It will force the smaller companies to produce new bats to cope with the most recent standards. If they do not do this, they will not be able to have their share in the market.

However, because of limited sources and cost, the smaller vendors might not be able to contend in the latest USA bat standard right away. And because of this, only the big name will lead and dominate the market.

Kevin Eaton

Hello! I’m Kevin – an openly biased Baltimore Orioles fan; a youth baseball parent; an obsessive-compulsive scorekeeper; a travelling ballpark tourist and a taste tester of defiantly unhealthy ballpark culinary offerings. In this space I share my love for the game of baseball and in doing so, connect with other really great people who love the game as much as I do.

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