Starting in 2018, USAbat bat standards are required in several leagues. This standard replaces the 1.15 BPF 2 1/4 youth barrel bat. The new USAbat standard dampens the pop of bats to perform more like BBCOR. However, barrels on USAbats will be allowed a wider diameter (up from 2 1/4 to 2 5/8). This change, as well as the age change in Little League, creates the biggest bat adjustment in amateur baseball ever.
USAbat vs USSSA: Home Run Derby Edition
USAbat League Effects
The following chart shows the differences in bat standard from 2017 to 2018 by league.
Easton, without surprise, offers the largest selection of USAbats in 2018. They have released a full line of drops and price points to fit every player. See the Easton USAbat performance lineup here.
This is not surprising considering they had the largest share of youth baseball in the 2 1/4 space. We fully expect them to continue their dominance.
Axe is making a serious play in the 2 5/8 USAbat space. They delivered 3 bats at release that should include 4 by the time the season rolls around.
Very much worth a look. See our 2018 Axe USAbat lineup review here.
To get a full breakdown of each Rawlings USAbat check our specific Rawlings USAbat lineup review here.
There are 4 models in a USAbat line for Rawlings. Their 5150, and its entry level price point, is one to watch.
Although still on the outskirts of most aluminum or composite bat conversations, Mizuno opens the September 1 bidding with a few USAbats of their own.
As more information rolls in about these expect full reviews up soon.
In what we might consider the biggest head scratcher yet, neither DeMarini or Louisville Slugger delivered a USAbat at release. If this is some strategic planning on their part or an inability to deliver on the standards we simply don't know. But, rumor has it, expect some of their stuff to be released in October.
As of now, we know of a few companies that have released information on their 2018 USAbat bats.
- DeMarini will make a USAbat in their DeMarini Insane and One. Some of these bats will be made in a 2 1/2 inch diameter barrel. As well, they will produce some on the less expensive versions of their bat too. (See our DeMarini Voodoo Insane Review)
Do You need to Buy a new USAbat?
In short, it depends.
You will not need to buy a USAbat if you…
- Are at least 12 years old at the moment (2016)*
- Don’t play in the leagues whose national affiliate requires AND the local league enforces the new standard
It is possible you will never be in a league where USAbats are required. The standard will be implemented while you may be going into 14 year old baseball (2018) and most 14 year old baseball is BBCOR. BBCOR is not being replaced by USAbats.
The National Affiliations are: American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, Little League Baseball and PONY Baseball.
It is possible many local leagues will not enforce the bat rules until a later date than January 2018. This will give many of those BPF 1.15 bats a chance to live their useful life.
You will need to buy a USAbat if you…
- Are still young enough to play in the Little League World Series for 2018
- Play in a league that is affiliated with a USABats national association AND the local league enforces the rules on day one
NOTE: Many local leagues have a lot of liberty in terms of what rules they enforce. If you want to play in the national or state tournaments sponsored by these associations, then you will need the new USAbat starting 1/1/2018.
More USAbat Videos
When to buy a 2018 USAbat?
This is the question of all questions and has many vendors and manufacturers a bit worried about 2017 sales volumes. But, we are not so sure it will be that big of a deal for most.
No USAbat bats are available for sale until September 1st, 2017.
For many, the USAbat standard simply won’t apply. As we discuss above, lots will be in leagues that either don’t follow the standards, aren’t affiliated with the association or are using BBCOR. We’d venture to guess this grouping makes up at least 80% of the aluminum and composite baseball market.
Further, lots of elite players plan on buying a new bat each year anyway. So, if they happen to fall into that 20% of players that are under the new standard, they simply buy a 2017 BPF 1.15 bat and then a USABat for 2018.
Some, on the other hand, will get the shaft-o-matic—in particular, current 9 and 10 year olds who will fall under the standard and still end up purchasing a BPF 1.15 bat in the late spring and early fall of 2017. Additionally, families that have a at least two kids close in age who end up using the same bat may be forced to pull the trigger on a usually not-so-cheap-baseball bat for a *reason that has yet to be explained satisfactorily.
Closeoutbats take on the USABat standards
We got a take on USABats from the famous Mad Max of YouTube Fame and closeoutbats. The following is a short Q&A from him.
JBR: What are USABats and, more importantly, why should we care?
Max: The USA Bats will become the new bat standard for American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, Little League Baseball and PONY Baseball. in January 2018. We should care because these will be the new bats people will buy if you are playing in those leagues.
JBR: Who will this new standard affect?
Max: The new bat standard will affect kids that are age 12 and under playing in American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, Little League Baseball and PONY Baseball.
JBR: From an offensive production standpoint, how effective will this new standard be in dampening ball speed?
Max: The way these new USA bats will perform will be more like a “wood bat”. The ball will not come off with the same exit velocity. It will not come off as hard and go as far.
JBR: When can we buy USABats?
Max: The idea is to have the new USA bats out in fall of 2017.
JBR: Will my BPF 1.15 bat be legal in my league after 2018?
Max: That is the most important question. If your league is adopting the new USA Bat standard, you can not use them. If you play on a club team and go to different tournaments that answer might be yes or no. It would be suggested to check before.
JBR: If I am in a USSSA 1.15 2 1/4 Little League league in both 2017 and 2018, what will be the best strategy for making sure I don’t have to buy two bats in a matter of weeks from each other?
Max: If you are looking to buy one bat. I would wait for Fall of 2017 when the new bats are due to come out.