Middle and high school baseball is a great time in every player’s life. Sadly the middle and high school bat regulations are pretty confusing and there are some major things you need to pay attention to.
This is why I wrote this blogpost in order to help you navigate the jungle of rules and I tried my best to answer some of the most asked questions there are regarding middle and high school baseball.
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Can you use wood bats?
For high school players the short answer is yes. You are totally allowed to use wood bats in your league games. Nevertheless you are most likely to use a BBCOR bat during your games, as they are far more durable and have been especially developed to mimic wood bat performance.
Wood bats will most likely be used for practice sessions, but BBCOR bats are preferred for actual games.
For middle school players, the question is not as easy to answer. It is best to ask your coach here, as he will most likely know the specific rules for the league you are competing in.
Generally middle schools are allowed to use bat standards approved by Little League Baseball or also use BBCOR bats. So as long as you use BBCOR bats, the middle and high school bat regulations will not be a problem.
What is BBCOR?
If you have searched the web for a bit, you will have read “BBCOR” most likely everywhere. But what exactly does it mean?
BBCOR stands for “Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution” and is supposed to make non-wood bats perform similar to wood bats.
BBCOR measures the trampoline effect a baseball bat has. Bats that are not BBCOR certified will most likely have a much greater trampoline effect than wood bats, which results in further hits and an unfair advantage. The idea behind this certification is to be able to use non-wood bats, that perform similarly to wood bats, without having the risk of bats breaking all time. At the same time the performance of a player with a BBCOR bat can be compared to players with wood bats, which is great, as the MLB only allows for wood bats.
BBCOR bats must have a drop weight of -3 or above. The lower the drop weight (meaning -4, -5 etc.) the lighter the bat will feel.
Moreover BBCOR bats need to have a barrel diameter that does not exceed 2 ⅝”.
You can forget about these exact specifications, as all BBCOR bats are required to have the below shown certification mark printed on them.
You need to consider that even though BBCOR bats are non-wood bats and do not break, they will lose their pop over time. So if you notice that your hits do not fly as far as usually anymore, it might be that your bat is just old and lost its power. Make sure to buy a new bat once in a while to be able to perform at your highest level.
What is a BPF bat?
BPF is the certification by the USSSA. It stands for Bat Performance Factor and measures how fast the ball comes off the bat after you have hit it. BPF 1.15 is the standard for these bats.
It is best to not go and buy a BPF bat, as even the Little League banned these kinds of bats from 2018 onwards.
If you are looking to buy a new bat, check if it has a BBCOR certification. This is an absolute must!
Can you use pine tar?
Pine tar is a sticky substance that was formerly used in maritime businesses as a sealant for leaks of any sort.
It also has a long history in baseball as MLB players are only allowed to play with wood bats which can be slippery. That is why pros are allowed to add up to 18 inches of pine tar to their bats in order to make it sticky.
If pros are allowed to do that, you should be allowed to do the same, right? Absolutely correct. You are allowed to use pine tar. The question is, if you want to use it. You are most likely using a BBCOR non-wood bat, so pine tar does not really have the same effect as it has on a wood bat.
Long story short: You are allowed to use pine tar, but it does not really make sense to do so.
Get home safe,