Starting on January 1, 2018, Little League Baseball® requires that all bats adhere to the new USA Baseball Standard. 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.
Since this requires all of us to buy new bats, we are providing as much information as possible to help everyone understand this change and to give everyone as much information as possible.
Testing and evaluating youth baseball bats has evolved into a science. So much so that the standard has also evolved to where USA Baseball, the national governing body for the sport of amateur baseball in the United States, is adopting a new method for measuring bat performance in the testing of youth bats that will go into effect on January 1, 2018.
Additionally, USA Baseball's national member organizations believe that a wood-like performance standard will best provide for the long-term integrity of the game.
Little League has stated that the change was not driven by an increase in safety. “Youth baseball continues to be one of the safest of all sports for youth participants.” However, since the standards ensure that bats perform like wood bats, balls will not achieve the same exit velocity as they previously did.
The new USA Bat Standard ensures that all bats perform more like wood bats. This may mean that we will not see as many home runs as we did in previous years. However, players may make more contact for two reasons.
First, the maximum force of the ball coming off the bat will be standardized. At the same time, the barrel size is allowed to be larger. The previous barrel size of 2 1/4” is still available, but now a larger barrel of 2 5/8” is allowed. A larger barrel means increased surface area and as a result a larger sweet spot.
Yes, everyone will need to buy new bats, including CRLL. As a league that follows the rules and requirements that our charter mandates, we have no choice but to follow and enforce the new bat standard.
New bats will have the USA Baseball “stamp” on the bat. If this logo is not visible, the bat is not legal. The picture below shows you what to look for.
The only exception to this are solid, one-piece wood bats that adhere to Little League’s regulations which will be allowed for play with or without the USA Baseball mark. Multi-piece wood bats must have the USA Baseball mark to be approved for play. 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.
Regulation 1.10 states that the bat must be a baseball bat which meets Little League® specifications and standards as noted in this rule. (See complete explanation in the current year’s Little League Baseball® Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Policies). If rule 1.10 is violated, the batter is called out and one coach is removed from the game. On second offense, the batter is out and the manager is ejected from the game.
We don't ever want this to happen so we are again providing as much information as possible and have been doing so frequently on our website and facebook pages. If there is ever a question about a bat’s legality, please ask a league official.
If you currently have a Tee ball bat, they can continue to be used in tee ball provided there is no coach pitch integrated and if they are in compliance with the Tee ball sticker program. Applying a USABat Tee Ball Sticker to a tee ball bat (26” and shorter and designed for soft baseballs) will make the bat compliant under the USABat Standard for tee ball. New tee ball bats featuring the USA Baseball mark do not need to be stickered. A sticker can be purchased at USA Baseball for $2.00 here
Here are links to help you navigate this new rule.