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Legal Baseball Bats for Middle Schoolers

by Mark
(Vermont)

QUESTION: Are 95-pound middle schoolers really going to have to swing a 27-28 ounce bat this year? I just don't understand the weight rule.


Dave’s Response


Mark, I cannot make a final ruling on your middle school baseball players and the bat rules you are asked to follow since I do not know the rules for your baseball league.

I do know that the trend is moving quickly to bring the aluminum bats more in line with the way wood bats behave.

The pendulum is swinging to the pre 1970’s era when baseball only knew wood bats. We have been wandering in the desert for about 30-40 years in the metal bat era. At least in the amateur baseball game that is. The professional baseball players have never deviated from the wood bats.


BBCOR Bat Standards


The weight to length ratios are going to continue to shrink closer and closer. The days of -10 and -7 differentials are quickly going by the wayside. High school and college baseball are almost all using -3 differential.

So, if you have a 32” bat then the weight would be 29 ounces. I would not be surprised to see the middle school baseball players make a move to the -3 BBCOR bats if they have not already.

Again, the youth baseball world is moving quickly to use baseball bats that simulate wood baseball bats. Metal bats will no longer be lethal weapons.


New Bat Rules
The latest move toward BBCOR bat standards started in the 2011 college baseball season. All the public high school baseball teams are using the BBCOR bat standards this 2012 baseball season.

What the consensus is throughout baseball is that the top hitters are still doing pretty well and putting up good numbers.

What is being exposed is the average and weaker hitters are not putting up very good numbers. The sweet spot on the bat is much smaller now. If you do not square up on the ball then there is little pop in the bat—very similar to wood bats.



Hitting Adjustments
Every baseball player in America has to do some hitting adjustments. The power baseball game is not happening as often as it was a couple years ago.

Now teams are having really play baseball. Hitters will have to be able to advance runners with more singles and hit and run plays. Games will be lower scoring and closer played games.

More pitchers will be able to have success without having the best ability. Hitter should ‘choke-up’ on the bat if the bat feels heavy. This will help them with better bat speed and more solid contact.


The New Bat Era is Here to Stay


We are Getting Back to the Way Baseball was Made to Be Played
Baseball was meant to be played with a wood bat. It took us awhile to figure this out but we are finally getting back to beginning in the history of baseball.

Bats will continue to ‘act like’ wood bats so we have to adjust, improvise and overcome. We will actually come to love the new bat rules.

One generation from now we will not know any different. Sad thing is we have had a couple of generations of baseball without ever hitting a ball with a wood bat—what a shame.

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