Effective January 1, 2018, Little League International will transition to the new USA Baseball bat standard. You can read the new bat rules here or review Little League’s USA Baseball Bat FAQ here.
What will this mean for McKinney Little League Baseball?
As McKinney Little League Baseball is a member of Little League International we will adhere to the new bat standards. For returning players that means a new bat purchase may be considered between the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 seasons. USA Baseball Bat standard bats are ineligible for the Fall 2017 season so there is not an immediate need to make a purchase. However, teams will need to have USA Bat standard equipment before their first games in the Spring 2018 season.
Will wood bats be allowed?
Sold, one-piece wood bats that adhere to Little League regulations will be allowed for play regardless of if they bat carries the USA Baseball mark. Multi-piece wood bats will require the USA Baseball mark. This includes two-piece wood bats, composite wood bats, laminated wood bats, bonded wood bats, bamboo bats, and any wood bat that could be defined as an ‘experimental’ design.
What changes with the USA Baseball bat standards?
USA Baseball has engineered these new bats to simulate the effect of a wood bat in many regards. What this means is the in many cases the bat relies more on the player’s contact and placement of the ball on the bat rather than the actual engineering of the bat to drive the ball. This could lead to a batter adjustment as learning to make contact with the bat’s “sweet spot” will be important in driving the baseball far and deep. The USA Baseball bat standard allows Little League to now move up to a larger 2 5/8” diameter barrel and for some batters they should find they will make better contact with the ball in the next couple of seasons.
What about our current bats?
As of January 1, 2018, any prior Little League approved bat that does not carry the USA Baseball bat standard seal will be ineligible for play in games and tournaments. While prior bats are ineligible for Little League play you may not want to get rid of your bat especially if your child plays in travel or select baseball leagues where that bat may still be legal.
What is the bat drop number?
The drop of a bat is the length to weight ratio of the bat. It is displayed on the bat as a negative number and the larger the negative number the lighter the bat. Thus a bat with a drop -13 will be noticeably lighter and easier to swing compared to a drop -8 bat.
How much are USA Bat standard bats?
A quick online search will show that USA Baseball standard bats have a wide range of cost from many different vendors. There are models as cheap as $29.99 and models that can cost a couple of hundred dollars. As with the prior range of bats there are many models to address the different types of players and family budgets.
Will the league provide bats in the Spring?
The league will look to see if a sponsor can provide teams with the new USA Baseball bat standard equipment. However, if a sponsor is unable to afford the expense then each team will be responsible in securing at least one USA Baseball standard bat in order to legally compete in games starting in the Spring season.
If you have any further questions about the new USA Baseball bat standard please contact MLLB President Will Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org or Umpire in Chief Joey Broussard at email@example.com.