Bat Guidelines


2020 – Fourteen and Under

My son Blake turns thirteen at the end of the year and he has spent the past couple of years in 12U Leagues getting comfortable with drop 10 USSSA and USA bats. He is only 4’10” and 100 lbs.

Using the “Bat Sizing Chart” it recommends 30 inch length.

However, he has been having a lot of success using a 31″ 21 lb. (-10) so moving to the heavier bats is going to be a big adjustment.

To use the bat size chart below, all you have to do is follow these simple steps: * Move the top slider on the chart to the player’s height range * Move the bottom slider on the chart to the player’s weight range Click here

I’ve reached out to my network and most coaches replied, “it depends on the league”. Also, it was pointed out that the “increased bat weight is offset in significant part by the increased distance from the pitching rubber to home plate. The 12U game at an advanced level can be more challenging than the 13U due to the infield dimensions.”

From the Desk of Matt Tyner, Head Baseball Coach, Towson Tigers

“Age 13 is big field time. The transition is the great equalizer. It’s the separation mechanism that makes young players play a different sport. Very seldom does a young player dominate on the big field, Bbcor bats etc. if there is one that does, he’s easily identified. Take it in stride. Speed is the key.”

Convoluted Needs of 13U Players

Getting the right bats for a 13u player is far more complicated than any other age. Not only do a variety of bat standards apply depending on context, but BBCOR bats are looming in the near future for players who hope to continue playing in high school.

Nearly all 14u travel ball tournaments require players to swing BBCOR bats. So let’s say you turn 13 in April of 2018. Starting August 1, 2018, you’ll be using a BBCOR bat in travel ball games. Some 13u players are required to start using BBCOR earlier than that as part of a middle school baseball program or if playing on a 14u team.

It is much, much easier for players to swing a light bat than a heavy bat. At the younger ages, many players have poor hitting mechanics, and the quickest fix for that is to switch to a bat that is so light that it can be used to good effect in spite of poor mechanics and/or lack of strength.

Some kids who never develop good swing mechanics continue to use a light bat until they are forced to switch to BBCOR at the age of 14. I see some players on my son’s 13u and 14u PONY division swinging drop 10 bats. Switching to BBCOR (combined with better pitching) from a drop 10 bat is so drastic that typically, mechanics change for the worse and hitting results plummet. The switch to BBCOR contributes to some players deciding to quit the game.

The local coaches with whom I’ve discussed BBCOR have all said that it’s very helpful to practice with increased weight for many months before BBCOR bats are required. So it might look something like this:

January through May of 13u year: Use a drop 8 bat for games, drop 5 off the tee. Even better if a player is big/strong enough to start with such heavy bats at an earlier age, but many players won’t be big enough until they’re 13.
June and July: Use a drop 5 bat for games, BBCOR off a tee
August: Begin using BBCOR always as a 14u.
Also helpful is to regularly do calisthenics such as pushups, pullups, crunches, planks, and squats.

It’s very important to maintain good mechanics when switching to a heavier bat. It can be helpful to practice with the heavier bat off a tee, being careful to focus on good mechanics, rather than just at batting practice and games where the player will focus more on hand eye coordination than mechanics. Read more

BBCOR (Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution) is something you’ve probably heard a lot about; it’s the standard currently governing adult baseball bats used in High School and Collegiate play. Rather than measuring the ratio of the ball exit speed to pitch and bat speeds, BBCOR measures the trampoline effect of the bat.

-3 is BBCOR. That’s high school and college. USSSA is what we used this year. They should allow USA also.

I think 14U is usually BBCOR. 13U leagues are sometimes BBCOR.

14U & Below: You may use either a 2 5/8″ or 2 3/4″ barrel diameter with a maximum allowed length of 36 inches. Your bat must feature either the USSSA 1.15 BPF certification or the BBCOR .50 certification.

All bats must be stamped BBCOR. Wood bats allowed. 19u: To be considered a wood bat, a bat must be made of a single piece of wood. All other bats such as bamboo or two piece must meet the BBCOR standards and have the BBCOR stamp

Adult baseball bats must have a -3 length to weight ratio and 2” barrel. In high school and collegiate sanctioned leagues, bats must be 31″-34″ long to be legal.

BEST BASEBALL BATS FOR HIGH SCHOOL
  • Easton Beast (X Speed BBCOR)-High School/College (-3 Drop)
  • Marucci MCBC7 (Cat7 BBCOR)
  • Louisville Slugger Omaha (517 BBCOR -3)
  • Rawlings Velo (Hybrid Balanced BBCOR) High School /College.
  • Louisville Slugger Solo (617 BBCOR-3)

Read more

Additional References

2019 – Twelve and Under

In 2018, many league requirements forced players to purchase new, and expensive, bats that complied with the USA Bat Policy (i.e. bats stamped with the “USA Baseball” logo). However, this year they have reversed course so now the “old” USSSA bats will once again be permitted for league play along with USA Bats.

Bats come down to personal preference, so if your player is happy with a USA bat, he can continue to use it. However, most kids prefer the older, big barrel (2 5/8″) USSSA bats as they have more pop which results in the ball travelling farther when hit. Right now, you can find tons of quality used bats USSSA bats on e-Bay at a fraction of their original cost and most are lightly used and come with new grips, making them feel like new bats. Another option would be to search local, used sporting goods retailers but that takes more leg work than shopping on-line. Please note that while 2 5/8″ barrels are approved, 2 3/4″ barrels are not approved for HCTB play; however, some tournaments may permits the use of those bats.

Be sure to check your individual league website for updates and information on bat restrictions.

2019 Bat Rules

Age Group Bats
8U-10U USSSA BPF 1.15 2 ¼” Barrel or USA Bat (No barrel restrictions)
11U-12U USSSA BPF 1.15 2 ¼” or 2 5/8” Barrel or USA Bat (No barrel restrictions)
13U USSSA BPF 1.15 2 ¼” or 2 5/8” Barrel, USA Bat (No barrel restrictions), or BBCOR
14U-19U BBCOR Only
Some of the best USSSA Baseball Bats
  • DeMarini CF Zen -10 Senior League Baseball Bat (WTDXCBZ-18)
  • Easton Ghost X -10 Senior League Baseball Bat (SL18GX10)
  • Marucci Hex Alloy 2 -10 Senior League Baseball Bat (MSBHA2X10)
  • Louisville Slugger Solo 618 -10 Senior League Baseball Bat (WTLSLS618X10)
  • COMBAT MAXUM -10 Senior League Baseball Bat (SL8MX210)

Effective January 1st, 2018

USA Baseball is introducing a NEW standard. Traditionally, rules were always based on age groups. For example, 12U players are allowed to use baseball bats up to thirty-three (33) inches in length and less than two and one-quarter (2¼) inches in diameter. Now the new rule requires that bat barrels up to 2 5/8 inch barrel diameter are REQUIRED to carry the new USABat stamp.

USSSA has had a stated 1.15 BPF Small Barrel (2¼” barrels) and Big Barrel (2⅝” and 2¾” barrel bats) baseball bat performance standard in its rule book for 6 years for its sanctioned programs up to and including its 14U program. Read more

Traditionally, there has long been some confusion on the specific weight/length ratio limits, as well as the composition differences between wood, metal (aluminium), composite and BBCOR. When you move up to 13U they can use thirty-four (34) inch bats, and composite is allowed if BBCOR barrel is no larger than 2 5/8. Read more | Bat Standards | Announcement

Youth Baseball Bats that feature a 2 1/4 inch barrel diameter and are often lighter, with a length to weight ratio between -8 and -13. Youth bats are sometimes referred to as small barrel bats or Little League baseball bats, and are used by players that play in leagues that mandate a bat with a 2 1/4 inch barrel. Most will be Little League approved bats and should also be legal in one or more of the following associations: Babe Ruth, Dixie, Pony, AABC, or USSSA. If you’re in search of youth baseball bat sales, check out our Closeout Youth Bats or Youth Bat Packs page for discount bats and great deals! Read more


The new USA Baseball bat standard (USABat), which will apply to bats that are classified below the NCAA and NFHS level of play, will be implemented on January 1, 2018, allowing the bat manufacturers sufficient time to bring these bats to the marketplace.

Similar to the NCAA and NFHS BBCOR standard, which helped to eliminate discrepancies with different length bats and thus provide a more direct measure of bat performance, the new USA Baseball bat 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.

There will be no immediate change to youth baseball organizations’ bat rules. All bats, currently accepted for the respective leagues, remain permissible through December 31, 2017. Each participating national member organization will incorporate the new standard into their rules for the 2018 season and will begin, with this announcement, to inform their membership of the USABat standard.

Frequently Asked Questions about the USABat standard:

Which national member organizations are implementing this new standard?
To date, the following organizations are participating (in alphabetical order): American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, Little League Baseball and PONY Baseball.

Why the change to a wood-like standard?
USA Baseball’s national member organizations believe that a wood-like performance standard will best provide for the long-term integrity of the game. The new standard will not have a drop-weight limit, so young players can use bats made with light-weight materials.

Why not just use wood bats?
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.

How is the USABat standard different from the BBCOR standard used by the NCAA and NFHS?
Both the USA Baseball and NCAA bat performance tests are based on the coefficient of restitution from a bat-ball impact. The scale of results is different, however, since they use different test balls and test speeds. The testing difference is necessary to address the various levels of play in the respective age groups.

Why is USA Baseball involved?
The national member organizations asked USA Baseball as the national governing body to take the lead in this process to establish a new standard. Many other national governing bodies set and enforce standards for the equipment in their respective sports. To that end, USA Baseball established a Bat Study Committee of leading scientists and conducted theoretical modeling, field testing and lab testing. The committee shared its findings with the national member organizations, who then endorsed the new USABat standard.

Why wait until 2018?
The implementation date of 2018 will allow bat manufacturers sufficient time to conduct the appropriate research, design, testing, manufacturing and shipping needed to get new bats into retail outlets. This date also allows the participating national member organizations adequate time to educate their memberships of the USABat standard.

Is my current bat good for league play?
Yes. Current league-approved bats can be used through December 31, 2017.

Is safety the reason for the change?
No. Youth baseball continues to be one of the safest of all sports for youth participants.

How will I know which bat to buy?
All new bats that bear the USABat licensing mark will be permissible for play in the leagues and tournaments of the participating youth baseball organizations.

When can I buy the new bat?
It is the intention of the bat manufacturers to make the new bats available in the fall of 2017, in sufficient time for the 2018 season. Read more


Other bat retailers I recommend include:

One thought on “Bat Guidelines”

  1. Brooks, I wonder why they don’t change the density of the ball instead of the bat? A massive argument could be made here… balls cost $5.00 vs $300.00+ for a bat. Is this indusrty driven: Easton, Marucci, etc. Also, not using wood b/c its limited resource is not a valid point. Composite materials are abundant + with the addition of: birch, maple, cherry no longer is everyone limited to ash trees. White and red oak, hickory, pecan and many other species have the specific gravity, density and flex for bats use. These are only a few of the domestic hardwoods.

    Like

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