(If you just want to read the new 2018 Youth Baseball Bat Standard simply scroll to the bottom of this article or click here!)
Baseball, America's favorite past-time, has made many progressive changes throughout its long history. The game has produced some of the biggest and most influential names in America including Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Nolan Ryan, Mark McGuire and Hank Aaron. Since its inception, the sport has gone through numerous changes especially when it come to wood and metal bat regulations.
Little League Baseball is the adolescent version of the Major Leagues. Officially known as the Little League Organization, this nonprofit organization controls and organizes youth baseball/softball leagues in the U.S. Little League Baseball started out in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and was founded by Carl Stotz in 1939. The league is annually chartered and is home to hundreds of thousands of kids across America.
Early & Humble Beginning
The sport of baseball wasn't always as advanced as it is today. Back in the 1800s, the game had little to no regulations and improper equipment. Bats were made from wood, which came in hickory, maple, bamboo and ash woods. Players of this time had to make do with whatever batting gear were available. They even went as far as to making the bats themselves before its popularity gained attention
Wood bats came in at long/slender or short/bulbous designs. Some bats were somewhat flat, in a sense. Their barrels ranged in sizes as well as their lengths. By the time the little leagues came along in 1939, most of the frustrating (trial & error) phase had passed and kids could all play on the same level of play.
Progression & Current Standards
As of today, the majority of youth baseball players have never used a wood bat. Newer aluminum bats have dominated the scene for quite some time, which has created a competitive war between the manufacturers. Injuries are another factor for baseball in-general as metal bats tend to have a larger sweet spot. When hit, the sweet spot thrusts the baseball at higher velocities, putting pitchers and other players at risk.
Another concern of modern day little league baseball is that the kids haven't built a solid foundation for proper batting. Unlike metal bats, wooden youth baseball bats do not have a higher room for error. The sweet spot is much smaller, but this small area teaches better mechanics when batting. Hand/eye coordination is one of the biggest benefits with wood bats because it unconsciously trains the player to swing properly. Composite barrel bats have to be approved by Little League International. Current standards are very strict in most cases as BBCOR dictates performance standards of all composite barrel youth baseball bats.
Though youth baseball bats have always had the potential to injure players, the issues aren't too prevalent in Little league Baseball but regulations continue to get stricter on metal.
2018 Youth Baseball Bat Standard
“Starting on January 1, 2018, the new USA Baseball Standard will be implemented across all Little League baseball divisions and Little League-approved bats will no longer be acceptable for use in any Little League game or activity”
- Aluminum & composite youth baseball bats that are approved by the USA Bat Standard will be 2-1/4 through 2-5/8" inch dimensions.
- This will be at 1.15 or less BPH.
- There will be no drop-weight limit.
- BBCOR Bat Standard will continue to be used by the Senior League Division.
- The new USA Bat Standards will be mandatory for the Minors, Majors, Intermediate & Junior League Divisions.
Having a wood-like feel is the goal, which provides better safety and better players in today's game.
WHY is USA Baseball Setting This New Standard?
According to USA Baseball, “…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.”
Wood bats represent real baseball. MLB will forever require the use of wood bats so if you aspire to ever get to the Big Leagues then you better get on board with wood bats. With all of these new 2018 bat regulations that essentially mean manufacturing metal bats that FEEL like wood bats why not make the jump to wood today? After all, practicing and playing with a Wood Bat MAKES BETTER PLAYERS!
Are Wood Bats Allowed in Little League and Youth Baseball?
YES! Single-piece (one piece, non-composite) wood bats are automatically legal for all Little League and Youth USA baseball. This includes the new 2018 youth bat regulations. As long as size regulations comply, all single-piece wood bats are legal are do not require a sticker or stamp.
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