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What You Need To Know About The New USABat Standard For Youth Baseball

What You Need To Know About The New USABat Standard For Youth Baseball

Updated: Oct. 18, 2017

We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about the new bat-performance standard that’s coming to youth baseball next season. The so-called “USABat” standard doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2018, but it’s already having broad ramifications for manufacturers, retailers, coaches, parents, and players.

Below, we’ve compiled answers to some of your most common questions, so that you can successfully navigate the transition and identify the right bat for your child and when to buy it.

Q: What is changing?
A: USA Baseball, the sport’s national governing body, is adopting a new performance standard for youth baseball bats. You’ll hear this referred to as the USABat standard, or simply, USABat.

Q: What does this mean?
A: The USABat standard replaces the existing 1.15 Bat Performance Factor (BPF) standard. Both establish limits on barrel performance, but the USABat standard mandates a more wood-like performance than 1.15 BPF.

Q: Which organizations are adopting the USABat standard?
A: If your child is 14 or under next season and playing recreational baseball in one of the large, national member organizations of USA Baseball, he or she likely will be affected by the change. To date, the following organizations have said they will implement the USABat standard for next season. Ultimately, however, you should confirm this by contacting the local league in which your child will be playing.

  • American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC)
  • Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball
  • Dixie Youth Baseball
  • Little League Baseball
  • PONY Baseball

Q: Is USSSA changing, too?
A: No, USSSA is not adopting the USABat standard and will continue to allow bats certified to the current 1.15 BPF standard next season. You can read USSSA’s full statement on the matter here.

Q: Why is the standard changing?
A: USA Baseball said when announcing the standard that its national member organizations “believe that a wood-like performance standard will best provide for the long-term integrity of the game.”

Q: Can I use my 2017 youth baseball bat next season?
A: No, not if your organization is among those adopting the USABat standard. All bats used in those organizations as of Jan. 1, 2018, will be required to perform to the new standard and be stamped with the USABat mark, shown below.

USABat standard logo

Q: Are there any other changes besides barrel performance?
A: Yes, players in organizations adopting the new USABat standard will be allowed to swing certified bats with barrel diameters up to 2-5/8″ (from 2-1/4″).

Q: Is Axe Bat currently making bats certified for the USABat standard?
A: Yes. You can view all of our current USABat-certified models here.

Q: When is the earliest I can buy a bat certified to the new USABat standard?
A: Youth baseball bats with the new USABat mark, including Axe Bats, are available now. You can view and purchase our current models here or via the below links. Sign up for our email list at the top of this page to be notified about new models as soon as they’re available.

Element L139F

2018 Axe Element L139F (-8) USABat


Origin L135F

2018 Axe Origin L135F (-8) USABat


Elite L134F

2018 Axe Elite L134F (-5) USABat


Q: Is Youth BBCOR, or YBBCOR, the same as the USABat standard?
A: The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. BBCOR refers to the performance standard governing baseball bats used in high school and college play, while USABat is the name of the standard governing bats used only in youth baseball. Both standards are tested the same way and have the same goal of creating a more wood-like performance. But if you’re buying a youth bat for use in a league adopting the USABat standard, you should look for one with the USABat mark shown above.

Q: Which drops will be offered on bats certified to the new standard?
A: We currently offer two drop-8 models and one drop-5 model certified for USABat. We also have a drop-11 tee-ball bat with the USABat stamp.

Q: Will Axe Bat be offering anything lighter than a drop-8 for USABat?
A: Stay tuned. We launched with our Power Lineup in September, but anticipate adding at least one lighter model as part of our Speed Lineup soon. Sign up for our email list at the top of this page to be notified when new bats are available.

Q: Will all youth baseball bats now perform the same?
A: Barrel performance already is regulated under the 1.15 BPF standard. So the new USABat standard simply recalibrates that limit. Barrel performance standards say nothing about other factors influencing the bat’s performance, however, notably the handle. In fact, we think there’s never been a better time to switch to an Axe Bat. Our Axe Handle, because it is made to support the biomechanics of the swing, helps maximize bat speed with better barrel control. The result is harder, more consistent contact no matter what type of barrel is being swung (wood, alloy or composite).

Still have questions? Email us at and let us know, or leave a comment and we’ll do our best to answer.

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  1. So the premium ( expensive ) bats we bought our children this season will not be approved for Spring 2018? Like most parents we made the investments expecting two or three seasons between the two boys..
    I also see a lot of parents getting fleeced by internet sales of the older bats because they are not aware of the changes… I saw a kid just last week showing off his new Mako he got for his Bday.. How was his grandparents to know of these changes. Obviously the store made no mention…

    So we basically can throw this seasons bats in the trash after 2017???

    • It depends on what you purchased. Not all organizations are adopting the USABat standard – e.g., USSSA is not and will continue to allow 1.15 BPF bats next year. You should verify with the local league in which your children will be playing before making any decision.

  2. Please notify me as soon as your 2018 2 5/8 big barrel USAbats for new regulations are ready. Thank you.

    • We expect all of our 2018 USABat-certified models to be available on our website in September. We encourage you to sign up for our email newsletter at the top of this page so you always have the latest.

  3. What bat do you record my 9 year old I wanna get an ax bat

    • If your child is playing in a league that will be adopting the USABat standard next season, you’ll want to wait until September to purchase a youth bat certified to the new standard (look for the stamp shown in the above post). Which model is right for your child depends on a lot of different factors, including size, strength, and hitting style. We wrote a bit about how to pick the right-size bat in an earlier post, which you might find useful:

  4. Will the 2017 Avenge L150E (-10) Fastpitch in a 33 in ever be in stock been out of stock for months

    • Yes, we’re expecting more in mid-July!

  5. With the new USABAT standards will the 2-1/4″ barrel still be readily available? Will the more “uncommon” lengths of 26,27, and 28″ be available? We have several smaller players on our 7-8 team that have trouble swinging a 28″ bat, the only Axe option available to them is the 26″ Tee ball bat. I’m sure the tee ball bat doesn’t have near the performance as the hardball bats and hitting hard balls with it probably voids the warranty.

    • A 2-1/4″ barrel still will be allowed so long as the bat carries the USABat stamp. However, we anticipate the larger 2-5/8″ barrels being most common. We have many new models and offerings planned for 2018, some of which will likely address your concerns on length. All should be available on our website in September. Stay tuned!

  6. How does this affect youth wood bat?

    • Solid, single-piece wood bats are unaffected (provided they’re allowed in your league), but any other type of wood bat — e.g., composite or laminate — will need to be certified and stamped with the USABat mark to be permissible in games next season. As always, you should confirm this with the local league in which you’ll be playing.

  7. Does this effect high school play in any way, or is BBCOR still the standard for 2018 high school play?

    • No, only youth baseball. BBCOR will remain the standard for high school.