Tee-Ball bats are for ages approx 5 thru 7. The barrel of the bat will say T-ball on it. Typically these bats are thin walled and should only be used for T-ball.
Little League bats are for ages approx 7 through 12. There are changes being made this year in the manufacturing of Little League bats. Neenah Baseball will allow the use of any bat with USSSA 1.15 BPF stamped on it or any bat with a USABat stamped on it. Any bat larger that 2 3/4" may not be used. Bat weight is measured in weight drop*, which varies between brands and models. Heavier bats are around minus 7 weight drop, lighter bats are around minus 13.
* Weight Drop = Length of bat minus the weight.
Example = 30in., 20oz. bat is a drop 10 or referred to as a -10.
USSSA League bats are for grades 7th and 8th. They are used in certain travel and tournament leagues. The bat barrel is available in 2 5/8 inch (high school regulation), and 2 3/4 inch (Big Barrel). Bat lengths range from 28 inch to 32 inch. Bat weight is measured in weight drop, which varies between brands and models. Heavier bats are around minus 5 weight drop, lighter bats are around minus 11.
Our Neenah Baseball USSSA league allows 7th and 8th grade to use a drop -8.5 or -5 but nothing lighter(-10,-12 is not allowed)
USSSA 1.15 BPF, USABat, or BBCOR must be stamped on the bats. Larger than 2 3/4" barrels are not allowed.
High School / College bats are for ages approx 14/15 and up. They are used in most High School and College leagues. The bat barrel is 2 5/8 inch in diameter. Bat lengths range from 30 inch to 34 inch. Bat weight is measured in weight drop, which must be -3. All leagues require an approved BBCOR stamp on the bat (ball-bat coefficient of restitution).
Composite Baseball Bats
A word about Composite Baseball Bats
Composite Baseball Bats, are fairly new to the Baseball scene. They have been used in softball for many years. Early on, there seems to be some mixed reviews on the Composite baseball bats. I believe this is because the baseball world is not fully educated on these bats, and don't realize how to make a composite bat work for them.
To start off with, composite bats have a much longer break-in period than aluminum bats, and hitting jugz balls will not do it. If you plan on breaking in these bats in the cages, you need to use real baseballs. Another common complaint in some reviews is the poor durability of these bats. But, what players and coaches must realize is that they are not just swinging a hunk of metal anymore. Composite bats should not be used in cold weather; temperatures less than 70 degrees they can easily break, as many are finding out. Another common complaint is the cost. Yes, they are expensive, but if broken in correctly and used correctly, you will get so much more out of your bat than the aluminum or hybrids of past years.
There are several Pros and Cons (and misconceptions) about composite bats, but players and coaches need to have the correct information before making a judgment. At first, the ball will sound like it came off a wooden bat, which was another complaint in many reviews, but with proper effort and care you can break them in to the point where it sounds more like a rifle than wood. Players, coaches and parents need to know what they are buying. Without proper knowledge, they are just buying a $300 or $400 Bat, but with the correct knowledge they could be buying $300 Lightning Rod. Composite bats give a whole lot more forgiveness for the imperfect swing, and have the potential to make the average hitter a clean-up hitter.
Composite Baseball Bat FAQ's
Q. How do I break in a composite bat?
A. It usually depends on the bat, but commonly you just need a lot of good BP with the bat. You have to have between 100 to 200 hits to break it in. Some bats take longer than others. You need to be hitting goods balls, leather cover solid baseballs. Hitting off a tee will not break it in very effectively. You need to be hitting live balls thrown 40mph or better. A machine works good if it is set up to throw real baseballs. Each time you make good contact you need to turn the barrel about 1/8 turn so you break in the bat evenly.
Q. What do you recommend for proper care and maintenance of composite bats?
A. If there is a problem with the bat while it is under warranty, you will need the receipt when you send it to the manufacturer. Here are a few tips for proper care and maintenance:
1) Never leave any bat, especially a composite bat, in cold weather for an extended period of time. Cold weather is very bad on composites. So make sure when you get home you take it with you into your warm house. Never hit a composite bat in weather below 65 degrees or it will have a greater chance of breaking.
2) Try not to hit off the handle - this is where most breaks occur. Composite bats have flex to them in the handles, so a good impact blow off the handle can cause them to break.
3) Only hit leather cover solid baseballs.
4) Avoid having it become a team bat.
Q. You say not to hit a composite bat in cold weather. What about the heat (90+ degrees)?
A. Basically, the warmer it is, the bigger your sweet spot becomes. Keep in mind that in some areas, such as Coastal areas or certain areas in the Midwest, with the heat there is usually higher humidity. So, although the bat is warm, the air is heavy. This doesn`t affect the bat, but can affect the ball and its flight - you may notice a difference, especially on high flies.
Q. Are half & half composite handle bats also bad in cold weather?
A. Half and Half typically do have some problems in cold weather at the handle, however it is not in performance but durability. To be safe, try to avoid using them in cold weather (below 65 degrees).
Q. Is a Composite bat better than Aluminum?
A. It is basically a matter of opinion and manufacturer. It is my opinion that in most cases, a full composite bat is better than aluminum and is the best technology available today. There are pros and cons to each bat however. Which is better for you depends on what you are looking for in a bat, such as durability, sweetspot, break-in time, warranty, flex, and other factors.
Q. Will a Composite bat hit the ball farther than an Aluminum bat?
A.Given that contact is made on the barrel of the bat, not on the handle, research and testing suggest that the composite bat does have more pop. However, this is only after the composite bat has been broken-in. Straight out of the wrapper, the aluminum bat will be equally as effective, but after break-in period, the composite will surpass it.
Q. What is Half & Half technology?
A. Half & Half technology, in most instances, is where the handle is composite and the barrel is aluminum, alloy, or a hybrid material. These bats incorporate "two piece" technology. With the handle being composite, it allows for flex or whipping action. With the barrel being aluminum, alloy, or hybrid material, it gives the bat more durability. The main advantages of this technology are the durability of the barrel and the whipping action. These are typically very good bats and cost less than full composites, however, they will usually not have the pop of a full composite.
Q. What is Hybrid technology?
A. Basically, it is the process of combining two different materials to create the bat, such as combining SC900 aluminum with carbon, or combining different alloys of steels and aluminums.
Q. If bats are regulated by BPF what advantage do the alloys make? I understand stronger alloy allows for thinner walls therefore a lighter bat, but why not just find a light bat at a good length and buy the cheapest? Or do stronger alloys make a difference as far as performance?
A. Stronger alloy bats and composite bats usually have better performance for the imperfect swing. Composites allow for mistakes to happen during the swing and still give you a little more pop. A lot of it has to do with how the composite material or alloys are formed to the bat shell; some bat manufacturers braid, weave, string, or float the alloys to make the shell of the barrels. All have their advantages and disadvantages. There are some composites that are great in some areas such as POP, but poor in other areas such as durability. Some are the opposite. Also remember that BFP is a rating, some bats clearly make it, some just make it, some perform at it, and others do not get approved.
Q. A kid on my team has a bat marked with "Demo" on the handle. Are these demo bats any different than store bought versions?
Q. I was wondering how does a bat actually lose its "pop" and how would a person actually know the pop is gone?
A. Bats can lose their pop several different ways - cracks, end cap separation, sometimes you can just get a bad bat out of the batch. Every bat will start to break down in time and eventually will crack or start losing pop as the material breaks down. How long this takes depends on many factors, including proper care and use of the bat. You can usually tell when a bat starts to lose its pop by the sound. It won't have the same solid sound and will sound a little flat. Sometimes you can tell by the feel of the bat at impact, where it does not feel the same as it previously had, and you may notice the velocity of the ball off the bat is not be like it had been.
Q. My new composite bat has a certain sound that I've never heard before. Does this mean that it is broken or is going to crack?
A. If the sound you're talking about is like a wooden bat sound, welcome to the world of composite bats. It's a hard sound to get used to, but the more you break-in your bat, the more Crisp the sound will become. If you're referring to another sound such as a rattle or thud, you may have an issue with the bat and should contact the manufacturer.
Q. If my bat breaks and I have my receipt what do I do?
A. Don’t take it back to the place you bought it from. You will need to find the manufacturers contact number, which is usually on the warranty information that comes with the bat, or you can find it online. Call them up and arrange an exchange - they will tell you what to do.
Q. If my bat breaks and I don't have my original receipt what do I do?
A. If you bought your bat with a credit card there is still hope. The company you bought your bat from should be able to look up the transaction and get you a copy of the receipt. If you paid cash or are unable to get a copy of the receipt, you are probably out of luck and will have to buy a new bat.
Q. If my bat breaks and I send it in for a replacement can I get a different size?
A. It usually depends on the manufacturer, but typically the size and weight can be changed from the original. Keep in mind that sometimes you may not be able to get the same model. You may have an older model that is no longer available. In that case, they will usually send you a newer model of equal or higher value for the exchange.
Important Note on Bat Warranties
Each manufacturer has their own terms and conditions on bat warranties. Be sure to read the bat warranty policy for your particular bat before using it. Most bat warranties cover manufacturing defects from normal field usage. Most warranties do not cover bats used in commercial batting cages, altered in any way, or mistreated. Remember to save your original receipt. You will need to submit a copy of the receipt to be covered under the warranty.
- General Terms -
Weight Drop is a term used to describe the weight of the bat. Weight Drop is shown as a minus number, such as minus 3 or minus 12. It refers to the difference between the length of the bat (in inches) and the weight of the bat (in ounces). Weight drop varies between brands and models. For example, a Little League DeMarini F3 bat is minus 10. It is available in lengths from 28 inch to 32 inch. The weight of the 28 inch would be 18 ounces, the weight of the 32 inch would be 22 ounces. Weight drop for Little League bats range from approx minus 7 to minus 13. The higher the weight drop, the lighter the bat. High school and college bats must be minus 3.
This is the diameter of the largest part of the bat. Little League bats are 2 1/4 inch in diameter. Senior League bats are available in 2 5/8 inch and 2 3/4 inch (big barrel). High school and college bats are 2 5/8 inch.
The longer and larger the barrel, generally, the larger the sweet spot for hitting the ball.
Some players prefer baseball bats with smaller barrels and lighter weight, which allows for more bat speed.
Bat Taper (diameter of the bat's handle)
Standard baseball bats are tapered 31/32 of an inch but can be slightly larger or smaller depending on whether you want a lighter or heavier bat.
Some players like a narrower taper for the lighter weight and to rotate their wrists faster when hitting. Other players prefer the feel of a bigger bat taper, which can also reduce the sting when a ball isn't struck on the sweet spot.
Grip (covering on the handle of aluminum bats)
Baseball bats with leather or synthetic leather grips give a tackier feel for a surer grip.
Rubber grips absorb more of the shock.
Some bats come with a cushioned grip to decrease the shock even more.
- Choosing Youth Baseball Bats -
First, three words about bats: "Lighter Is Better"
Barry Bonds, who weighs 195 pounds, uses a 28 ounce bat! A light bat is easier to control, and, contrary to old-school thinking, you can hit a ball harder and farther with a light bat than with a heavy bat because you can swing a light bat much faster. As acceptance of this fact has grown in recent years, the overwhelming trend in both baseball and softball has been to lighter bats. In case you need convincing, consider that NCAA and high school reviewing sports bodies have rules prohibiting baseball bats from being more than 3 ounces lighter in weight than the length of the bat in inches. This was done for safety reasons-it was thought that big, strong players swinging ultralight bats hit the ball so hard that infielders were at risk.
In Little League, however, light bats are not considered to be unsafe for defenders, because the players aren’t nearly as big and strong as their older counterparts. Even using an ultralight 19 ounce Little League bat, a typical 90 pound kid won’t be able to make up for the disparity in size and strength between himself and a college player. In fact, to have any chance of swinging with proper technique, most Little League players need an ultralight bat.
It’s a bad idea to get a baseball bat that’s too heavy for your Little Leaguer with the thought that he or she will "grow into it". Instead, your kid will learn bad habits trying to swing a bat that is too heavy. When in doubt about two bats, go with the lighter bat.
LENGTH AND WEIGHT
Manufacturers typically print the bat’s length in inches on the barrel or the handle. They also print the weight, either in ounces, or as "- something". The "-" stands for weight in ounces less than length in inches. In other words, a 30 inch bat designated as "-10" weighs 20 ounces. Weight: In general, buy a bat that is "-10" or lighter.
The table below probably covers 80% of the players in a given division, but, as they say, "your mileage may vary". Some kids are bigger than others; some are strong for their size; some have already developed good technique. The best any article can give you is a rule of thumb.
Division (grade)..............Bat Length, Weight
Minors (1-2)............26" to 29", -10 or lighter
JR. LL (3-4)..........28" to 31", -10 or lighter
SR LL (5-6).............29" to 32", -9 or lighter