Kids Sports News Network

What is BBCOR?

The classic “ping” noise that signals the connection of baseball to bat is as synonymous with youth baseball as peanuts and crackerjacks are with Major League Baseball.

These bats used by youths are mainly composed of aluminum, which batters use from their first days in T-Ball to their last days throughout college.

Historically, these bats were significantly different than the ones used by professional ballplayers; professionals use bats made up of different types of wood such as maple rather than the metal ones used by lower levels.

Overtime, officials from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and high school athletics noticed that these aluminum bats were giving hitters unfair advantages while not sharing enough similarities with the wooden bats used by professionals.

Thus, the BBCCOR standard and certification was established for bats. These regulations have even trickled down to some youth baseball leagues as well.

What is it?

Put plainly, BBCOR is known as “Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution.”  In simpler terms, this regulation standardizes the amount of energy that is lost during the process of a bat hitting a baseball.

The higher the number that is measured on the BBCOR scale, the more trampoline effect the bat has.

This is essentially what the federations overlooking high school and college baseball do not want. The trampoline effect gives the hitter an unfair advantage against the pitcher due a baseball bouncing back at a much higher velocity after initial contact with an aluminum bat rather than a wooden bat, which has a normal trampoline effect.

Regulations

In 2011, the NCAA established the use of BBCOR certified bats in games, moving away from previous BESR (Ball Exit Speed Ratio) bats completely. With the move to BBCOR, the NCAA hoped for play to mimic professional baseball while also evening out the advantages batters had over pitchers when balls were hit into the field of play.

High school baseball soon followed suit as two governing bodies of play, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) and the National Federation of State High School Federations (NFHS), made BBCOR bats the only ones available for hitters starting in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The effect that the newly certified BBCOR bats had on collegiate offenses were noticeable compared to the previously used BESR bats.

According to justbatreviews.com, home runs in the 2013 collegiate season were less than half they were at the peak of the 1998 season. Runs were down too compared to their peak in the 1998 season, as they fell from 7.12 to a 5.27 low in 2013.

What does this all mean?

Pitchers are not striking out more batters but have lower earned run averages thanks in part to BBCOR standards, since balls are not flying out of the park and are not hit too hard for fielders to handle.

Offenses are down but not thanks to any unfair advantages pitchers boast; rather, BBCOR standards have lowered the trampoline effect in bats, mirroring lower level baseball with professional baseball.

The Main Difference

The main difference between BBCOR bats and previously used BESR bats are regulations on the trampoline effect.

Blogs.justbats.com list the maximum value a BBCOR bat can possess which is at 0.50 while all barrel diameters must not be greater than 2 5/8 inches. The bat’s length to weight ratio must not exceed a -3 and its overall length must not be longer than 36 inches.

These measurements keep the trampoline effect under control and take away any unfair advantage a batter has with balls hit into play.

Moving Down?

With BBCOR certified bats being used in collegiate and high school play for several years now, lower levels of baseball such as Little League and Pony have begun adopting this.

USA Baseball, which governs Little League, Pony, Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth, AABC, AAU, and Dixie baseball will mandate youth BBCOR bats for all hitters starting this year. These bats will need a USABat stamp on them to prove their youth BBCOR certification.

Unlike USA Baseball, USSSA which governs a big portion of travel baseball around the country, will not adopt these changes.

USA certified bats went on sale last fall and are out on the market now according to blog.cheapbats.com.

While offenses have suffered thanks to the adoption of BBCOR certified bats, lower level baseball has taken away any unfair advantages batters had over pitchers. With bats now mirroring professional wood bats while regulations are intact to prevent higher trampoline effects, pitchers are put on an even playing ground while also in safer positions.

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