Little League International and PONY baseball changed the birthday cutoff from May 1st to August 31st. Within Little League this rule is gradually implemented starting from 2016 through 2019. PONY baseball implemented the change in 2018. See the official announcement via ESPN.

Baseaball Age Cutoff Changes

Age Cutoff Following By League

League Age Cutoff Bats Pricing
Pony* August 31st USA Bats Check
Little League* August 31st USA Bats Check
Cal Ripken April 30th USA Bats Check
Babe Ruth April 30th USA/BBCOR Check/Check
USSSA April 30th USSSA Check
Unaffiliated Travel Ball Depends USSSA Check

*Although both Pony and Little League baseball plan to adjust their baseball birthday cutoff dates, the current plan is to implement the plan on a different time schedule. Pony baseball will implement the rule entirely starting in 2018. Little League has a grandfathered scale which you can read about below. There appears, still, to be some discussion around Pony’s wholesale change, but we have yet to hear anything but a full scale change come 2018.

Other major leagues, including Cal Ripken, Babe Ruth, USSSA and AABC have stated they are NOT changing the age cutoff.

See the entire USA Bats lineup.

As Little League is such an influential body, many leagues have followed suit and even more parents have been wondering how it will affects their child’s league. Below we attempt to answer the who, what and why of the baseball age change.

Age Division by Age and Year

Little league is using a graduated schedule to change leagues. Below are the applicable charts for 2018 and 2019.

Little League Age ChangesLittle League Age Change

2018/2019 Baseball Age Change Sources

A number of serious publications have covered the age change rules and implications for Little League. Little League’s second announcement on the age change rule is the most authoritative. They are, after all, the group creating all the hubbub. Among other dominant publications, ESPN put together an announcement on the matter, too.  This makes sense considering their Little League World Series is a flagship presentation on ESPN’s late summer broadcast.

We also exchanged emails with a couple different folks at USSSA corporate offices.

2018 Baseball Age Change Rules

The rule change is simple enough. Age birthday cutoffs for a given year will change from May 1st to August 31st. This rule goes into effect beginning 2018. In the first year it will not apply to 12U, or said differently, those born May 1st to August 31st 2005 can play 12U baseball. Otherwise, expect summer birthday boys to become the youngest on Little League team, rather than the oldest.

In short, this makes it so no one playing in the Little League World Series, or other major baseball tournaments sponsored by Little League, are 13 years old in a 12U tournament.

The claim Little League makes is that the age birthday change puts them more in line with international age birthday cutoffs. Although wreaking havoc in some circles, the idea does make some sense.

2018 Baseball Age Change Fallout

If Little League International was the only governing body on the planet, this shift would be rather simple. Summer birthday kids could simply expect to find or create a new team for 2018 and beyond. At a maximum this would be irritating and inconvenient.

But the problem extends beyond this because Little League is not the only governing body on the planet for youth baseball. Indeed, USSSA, PONY, Babe Ruth and a host of other competitive baseball groups, including Triple Crown and Perfect Game, use the May 1st birthday cutoff. When teams are created at a neighborhood level, it is not uncommon for teams to play across multiple associations as they are not tied to a governing body. As such, it will now be possible to put together a team that is ineligible in some leagues.

On a somewhat humorous note, there was a petition on gaining signatures against the age change. Apparently this was even handed to the Senior Vice President Of Operations of Little League International.

On the whole, we are not opposed to the change even if we think it is much ado about nothing. But the numerous organizations that follow their own set of rules, and the fact many players cross over leagues often, makes keeping track of it and planning for the coming years difficult.

Unaffiliated Travel Ball Teams Age Cutoff

Many unaffiliated travel ball leagues are struggling to find a solution, especially as major non-Little League organizations have been rather quiet on the matter. Considering we no less than 10 months out, and many teams formed now are also based on next year’s run, you can expect some anxious coaches and parents.

Babe Ruth Age Cutoff Change

Babe Ruth will NOT be changing their age cut off dates. They made that public on their social media as well as on their age chart.

USSSA Age Cutoff Change

We sent two emails to different people up the chain of command in the USSSA administration. The first, our local Rocky Mountain office, said there has been no official announcement. The second, a national administrator for USSSA baseball based in Phoenix said, “USSSA will not be changing our current age cut off for baseball.

However, they also have nothing on their website.

Cal Ripken Age Cutoff Change

Cal Ripken‘s webiste (here) are a place we look often. You can also find them on twitter for updates too. The fact they have made no official announcement makes us think they are simply not changing.

PONY Age Cutoff Change

We have been told that PONY baseball is also changing their age changes to August 1st for the 2018 season. They have yet to put any information on their site, but through the grape vine we were told they announced it at a meeting during president’s day.

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Posted by Just Bat Reviews

Dedicated to the notion that it is possible to wade through the minutia of industry hype and vendor bias to determine your best bat.

  1. How does Aug. 31st make sense. Most leagues are done by mid August. So a child with a birthday of Aug. 30th, 2011 will play the whole season as a 7 yr old but even though he will be 6 for the entire season?

  2. I have to agree with bneva. It makes no sense at all for PONY rec ball? players with those birthdays will never be the age of the age division until the 2nd year! A player should at-least turn into the age for the division they play in the first spring season.

  3. Calendar year age cutoff made more sense.

  4. My son was born August 22, 2006. In 2014 he played Little League as an 8 year old. In 2015 Little League changed the “little league age” and he suddenly was 10 years old even though he was only 9 years old the entire season. He made the all-stars and all the players on the team were actually 10 or 11 year old. He again made the all star team the following two years and played the ENTIRE 2018 season as an actual 11 year old little boy but was “Little League” 12. Consequently this year he had to play and compete as an 11 year old against boys that were up 16 months older than him. Is this right? Absolutely not, my son NEVER had an opportunity to compete against boys his own age so had Little League had grandfathered 2006 as they did 2004 & 2005 NOT ONE BOY would have been screwed. But Little League is perfectly okay with screwing little boys and they have ignored my emails and requests to grandfather one more year since my any boy like mine THAT WAS ALREADY IN LITTLE LEAGUE IN 2014 lost an entire year of little league and never had an opportunity to compete against boys their own age.

  5. July 2005 BD league considered 12 for 2018
    July 2005 BD League considered 14 for 2019

    what happened to my kids 13 year old season.


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