Testing and evaluating of youth baseball bats has evolved into a science. So much so that the standard has also evolved to where USA Baseball, the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States, is adopting a new method for measuring bat performance in the testing of youth bats that will go into effect on January 1, 2018. The new USA Baseball bat standard (USABat), was developed by a USA Baseball committee of scientific experts.
Effective on January 1, 2018, Little League Baseball® will adhere to the new USABat standard. No bats previously approved for use in Little League Play (Junior League Baseball and below) will be permitted to be used in any Little League game or practice, or other Little League function, event, or activity.
What this means for local Little Leagues, and Little League baseball players in the Tee Ball through Junior League Divisions, as well as Little League Challenger Division®, is that all current Little League-approved bats can be used during the 2017 Little League regular season and throughout tournament play, but can no longer be used starting in 2018. All of Little League’s current bat regulations will remain in effect until December 31, 2017. Be aware that this new bat standard effects Little League Baseball only. There are no changes to the bat standard or regulations for Little League Softball®.
Easton Ghost X 30/20 Decertification
Little League Baseball and Softball
Dear Little League Parents and Volunteers,
Receiving a notice that a bat has been decertified, especially in the middle of the season, is challenging, inconvenient, and disappointing for everyone. On Thursday, May 3, USA Baseball informed Little League and other youth organizations about the decertification of the Easton Ghost X 30/20 5/8. We are committed to sharing that information with all of you as soon as we received it. According to the official notice from USA Baseball, “official compliance testing determined that the Ghost X 30/20 exceeds the performance limit set by the USABat Standard. Per the USA Baseball Youth Bat Performance Test Protocol as well as (USA Baseball’s) contracts with Easton, these results constitute a non-compliant bat that must be decertified.”
For any family or league that is impacted by USA Baseball’s decertification of the Easton Ghost X 30/20 5/8, we strongly urge you to read Easton’s release, which includes information about how to return your bat to receive a $500 voucher for Easton.com.
How Certification and Decertification Works
For the USABat Standard, bat manufacturers are required by USA Baseball to have their bats certified by following the protocols set out by the standard. Once a bat is certified, additional compliance testing is done to make sure that the bats remain complaint with that standard. Little League® International has no role in bat testing or compliance testing.
Once a bat that is currently in the marketplace and available for purchase fails to meet the performance standard, it is decertified, and pursuant to Rule 1.10, is an illegal bat.
What Little League® Parents and Volunteers Need to Know
Little League does not decide whether a bat meets, doesn’t meet, or no longer meets the performance standard. Bats used for Little League play in all divisions must remain compliant to the applicable bat standards, as explained in the current year’s rulebook (Rule 1.10).
Through LittleLeague.org/BatInfo, as well as Little League’s social media and email efforts, we are committed to sharing any information about the decertification of bats as soon as possible, so that all our families and volunteers know which bats are permitted and which bats that may have already been sold are no longer approved for play.
What are the Standards?
There are three bat performance standards that Little League International uses for its various divisions of play:
USABat: Overseen by USA Baseball and used by most youth baseball organizations, USABat Standard bats must be used at the Little League Baseball® Tee Ball, Coach/Machine Pitch, Minor League, and Major League (Little League) divisions. USABat Standard or BBCOR bats must be used at the Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division and Junior League Baseball Division. USA Baseball reserves the right to select any USABat product for compliance testing. At that time, the bat is sent to Washington State University for additional testing. If the bat is found to be out of compliance with the standards set forth in the USA Baseball Performance Test Protocol, the bat becomes decertified.
BBCOR: BBCOR-approved bats must be used in the Senior League Baseball Division. Either BBCOR or USABat Standard bats must be used at the Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division and Junior League Baseball Division.
BPF: For all divisions of Little League Softball®, all non-wood bats must be printed with a BPF of 1.20.
Again, we apologize for any inconvenience, and we strongly encourage you to visit LittleLeague.org/BatInfo for complete information about how bat standards impact all divisions of Little League and resources on which bats are approved for Little League use. For all information pertaining to the USABat Standard, visit USABat.com.
For those parents and leagues who purchased the Easton Ghost X, 30″ -10 USA Baseball bat (model #’s YBB18GX10 30/20 & LL18GHX 30/20 Japan model), we, again, encourage you to read Easton’s release and contact them as soon as possible at 1-844-531-7079, or firstname.lastname@example.org, to return your bat and receive your $500 electronic voucher.
Patrick W. Wilson
Senior Vice President, Little League Baseball and Softball
We hope that you will find this page very informative and that it will answer many of your questions.
Q. What about tee ball bats?
A. Unlike standard youth baseball bats, tee ball bats (lengths 26″ and shorter) are not required to undergo lab testing to receive approval under the USABat Program.
However, to be approved for play within the participating National Member Organizations, tee ball bats must feature the USA Baseball mark and accompanying text that reads Only For Use With Approved Tee Balls.
- Approved tee ball bats (26″ and shorter) under USABat will feature the USA Baseball mark.
- USA Baseball will make a sticker program available that will allow individuals to purchase stickers to mark personal tee ball bats that were purchased prior to the implementation of the USABat Standard.
For more information regarding the Little League bat rules 1.10 please click here