What You Need To Know About The USABat Standard For Youth Baseball

What You Need To Know About The USABat Standard For Youth Baseball

AxeBat US Admin |

Over the past year, we received a lot of questions about the new bat-performance standard that took effect in youth baseball last season. The "USABat" standard as it has come to be known continues to have broad ramifications for manufacturers, retailers, coaches, parents, and players.

Below, we’ve compiled answers to some of your most common questions, so that you can better understand what has happened and identify the right bat for your child in 2018-19.

Q: What changed?
A: USA Baseball, the sport’s national governing body, adopted a new performance standard for youth baseball bats, effective Jan. 1, 2018. You'll see and hear this referred to as the USABat standard, or simply, USABat.

Q: What does this mean?
A: The USABat standard replaced the 1.15 Bat Performance Factor (BPF) standard. Both standards establish limits for barrel performance, but the USABat standard mandates a more wood-like performance than 1.15 BPF.

Q: Which organizations adopted the USABat standard?
A: If your child is 14 or under and playing recreational baseball in one of the large, national member organizations of USA Baseball, he or she likely has been affected by the change. To date, the following organizations have adopted the USABat standard. However, you should confirm this by contacting the local league in which your child will be playing.

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

Q: Did USSSA change, too?
A: No, USSSA did not adopt the USABat standard and continues to allow bats certified to the current 1.15 BPF standard. You can read USSSA’s full statement on the matter here.

Q: Why did the standard change?
A: USA Baseball said when announcing the standard that its national member organizations “believe that a wood-like performance standard will best provide for the long-term integrity of the game.”

Q: Can I use my 2017 youth baseball bat next season?
A: No, not if your organization was among those that adopted the USABat standard. All bats used in those organizations as of Jan. 1, 2018, were required to perform to the new standard and be stamped with the USABat mark, shown below.

USABat Stamp

Q: Were there any other changes besides barrel performance?
A: Yes, players in organizations that adopted the new USABat standard also are now allowed to swing certified bats with barrel diameters up to 2-5/8″ (from 2-1/4″).

Q: Is Axe Bat currently making bats certified for the USABat standard?
A: Yes. You can view all of our current USABat-certified models here.

Q: When is the earliest I can buy a bat certified to the new USABat standard?
A: Youth baseball bats with the USABat mark, including Axe Bats, are available now. You can view and purchase our current models here.

Q: Is Youth BBCOR, or YBBCOR, the same as the USABat standard?
A: The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. BBCOR refers to the performance standard governing baseball bats used in high school and college play, while USABat is the name of the standard governing bats used only in youth baseball. Both standards are tested the same way and have the same goal of creating a more wood-like performance. But if you’re buying a youth bat for use in a league that has adopted the USABat standard, you should look for one with the USABat mark shown above.

Q: Which drops will be offered on bats certified to the new standard?
A: We currently offer models ranging from drop-10 to drop-5 certified for USABat. We also have a drop-11 tee-ball bat with the USABat stamp.

Q: Will all youth baseball bats now perform the same?
A: Barrel performance already was regulated under the 1.15 BPF standard. So the USABat standard simply re-calibrated that limit. Barrel performance standards say nothing about other factors influencing the bat’s performance, however, notably the handle. In fact, we think there’s never been a better time to switch to an Axe Bat. Our Axe Handle, because it is made to support the biomechanics of the swing, helps maximize bat speed with better barrel control. The result is harder, more consistent contact no matter what type of barrel is being swung (wood, alloy or composite).

Still have questions? Email us at info@axebat.com and let us know, or leave a comment and we’ll do our best to answer.