Your little slugger will need a new slugger soon, USA Baseball changes bat rules

USA Baseball changes bat rules for youth players. (KBOI Photo)

Starting this New Year's, your little baseball star will have to start hitting with bats similar to wood bats.

"For the most part all youth leagues in Idaho will be affected by this," said David Alvarado, vice president of East Boise Baseball.

Alvarado says starting Jan. 1, all youth baseball including Little League, Babe Ruth, and Cal Ripkin will have to follow a new USA baseball bat rule.

The rule requires youth to use bats that perform like wood bats.

"It will change the nature of the game, especially at the youth level, you're not going to see as many hard hits or it might drop off batting averages but, it's a good thing in the long run because it teaches the children to hit properly," Alvarado said.

Currently, youth are allowed to use metal bats that are made of alloy or composite materials.

Alvarado thinks these type of bats help children perform better and hit the ball farther without necessarily having the proper skills.

"As you can see between the two bats, the composite bat is going to have a substantially larger sweet spot than the wood bat, the wood bat typically the sweet spot is around here, but you'll see boys hit the ball and miss and hit off the very end of the sweet spot here and still be able to drive the ball to the fence, so it's a lot more forgiving," Alvarado said.

By switching to wood-like bats, Alvarado thinks it will even the playing field more.

It won't necessarily matter if a child has an expensive bat because it will still perform like wood.

He says the rule wasn't made for safety reasons but rather to prepare children for when they move on to high school, college or even professional baseball and are expected to play with wood-like bats.

"I think it's a good thing, especially for kids who are looking to move up the ladder and play along the line at the higher level, it's going to teach them properly the skills they need to hit and it's going to translate across the board when they move up," Alvarado said.

This rule only applies to baseball not softball.

The bats will start to go on the market at the end of this year and will have a USA baseball stamp on them to show they abide by the new standard.

Though these new bats will hit like wood, they will still be made up of different materials including metal.

Alvarado says even though parents will have to buy new bats, there will still be affordable entry level options.

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