Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Common Baseball Bat Questions

Purchasing a baseball bat?  Looking to purchase a bat?  What are the bat rules and what can you use?
These are the common bat questions that come up each year.  Although slight rule changes do happen from time to time, there have been very few major bat changes especially for the younger age groups in some time.  Despite this, check the written rules from the sanctioning organization that you will be playing before you purchase that new bat!

Travel Team Bat Rules
Included below are the references from Baseball Players Association (BPA) and Perfect Game (PG) rule books. Look them over and be familiar with them. Pay special attention as players go from 14u to 15u where the (-3) or drop 3 rule and BBCOR rules apply.  The drop 3 rule is the numeric difference between the length of the bat and the weight of the bat.  BBCOR stands for Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution and it represents the ratio of the ball exit speed to the pitch and bat speeds or the trampoline effect of the bat.  A BBCOR stamp or mark on the bat ensures that a non-wood bat performs comparably to a wood bat.

The selection of the bat at the youth level is typically only restricted by the 2 and 3/4 inch barrel size (big barrel) and the certification that the bat is manufactured meeting BPF (1.15 or less) restrictions. BPF or Bat Performance Factor measures how fast the ball comes off the bat.  A stamp or mark on the bat will show that the bat meets this restriction.  For youth ages, the numeric difference between the bat length and weight will vary greatly and is not restricted to the drop 3 rule.

Those are the basics of the bats in today travel ball games.  Your in-house league, non-sanctioned tournament or tournament not sanctioned BPA or PG may vary so always be aware of the rules that you are playing.  These rules are in place to promote safety and a level playing field.  So choose your bat wisely and there will not be any problems when your player steps into the box.

Baseball Player Association (BPA) Bat Rules (pg 14-15)

The official bat shall be a smooth round cylinder with a knob that is permanently and securely fastened and shall not exceed more than 2 ¾ inches in diameter at the thickest part and not more than 36 inches in length. There shall be no devices, attachments or wrappings that cause the handle to become flush with the knob. Molded grips are illegal. Only bats and devices designed to remain part of the bat, such as weighted bats, batting doughnuts and wind-resistant devices are legal at any location. A non- wood bat must have a safety grip of cork, tape or composition material. The grip must extend a minimum of 10 inches but not more than 18 inches. Slippery tape or similar material shall be prohibited. In the 15 and under age divisions and above the bat shall not weigh numerically more than three (3) ounces less than the length of the bat. Example: A 33 inch bat cannot be less than 30 ounces. NOTE: It shall be a State Director option to enforce in the 14U age division. If the Director uses option in 14U, Director must post its use on all tournament information. World Series Directors have the same option and obligation to post the rule to be used in all tournament information.15 NOTE: In the 15U and above age divisions non-wood bats shall meet the Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) or BBCOR performance standard, and such bats shall be labeled with a silk screen or other permanent certification mark. NOTE: All legal bats are permitted to be used which includes the use of the big barrel bats in all divisions of BPA play.

SECTION 4 No laminated or experimental bats shall be used in the BPA Baseball Program, until the manufacturer has secured approval from the BPA Baseball National Office of its design and methods of manufacture. NOTE: Any bat designated by the manufacture for sports other than baseball may not be used.

SECTION 5 CUPPED/BROKEN, CRACKED BATS An indentation in the end of the bat up to one inch in depth is permitted and may be no wider than two inches and no less than one inch in diameter. The indentation must be curved with no foreign substance added. Bats that are broken, cracked or dented or deface the ball (tear the ball) shall be removed without penalty. A bat that continually discolors the ball may be removed from the game with no penalty at the discretion of the umpire.

SECTION 6 The bat handle, not more than 18 inches from its end, may be covered or treated with any material or substance, which improves the grip. A bat choke may be used on the handle of the bat which would not make it an altered bat. Any such material or substance, which extends past the 18 inches limitation, shall cause the bat to be removed from the game. PENALTY: If the umpire discovers that a bat does not conform to Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 above until a time during or after which the bat has been used in play, it shall not be grounds for declaring the batter out, or ejected from the game. PENALTY: Please refer to Rule 7, Section 8(f) to an addition penalty(s) regarding a batter using an altered or a tampered bat.

SECTION 7 No bats will be allowed to stay in the area outside the batter’s circle.

Perfect Game Super 25 (PG)
Select Rules and Age group at

9u through 13u - 5.03 The official bat shall be constructed of wood or aluminum or any other material or combination of materials.  Max of 2 and 3/4 barrel and manufactured meeting BPF (1.15 or less) restrictions.

14u through 17u -5.03 The official bat shall be constructed of wood or aluminum or any other material or combination of materials.  All non-wood bats must meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) standard.