Player age, price, bat length, drop weight, bat materials – there’s so much to consider when picking baseball or softball bats. This article will be discussing bat stamps, which are yet another critical aspect when picking a new bat. In particular, we’ll be comparing BBCOR vs USSSA bats. What are the construction and performance differences between BBCOR and USSSA Baseball Bats?
What is Bat Performance Factor (BPF)?
Bat Performance Factor, often abbreviated as BPF, measures the “liveliness” of a bat. Basically a measure of how fast the ball comes off it. This standard has been adopted by baseball and softball organizations to determine if a bat is legal for play.
The BBCOR bats vs USSSA bat debate boils down to BPF.
BBCOR (BPF 0.50)
BBCOR, which stands for “Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution“, regulates the performance of high-school and collegiate bats. These bats have a BPF of 0.50, so a baseball moving at 100mph ricochets off the barrel with about a 5% to 6% performance decrease. This 5-6% change evens out the game a lot more. It keeps the trampoline effect in check, eliminating any unfair advantage batters had.
The NCAA switched from BESR to BBCOR around 2011. The change was necessitated by safety since BESR speeds were much higher than BBCOR. Also offensive numbers kept rising due to bats being too hot. As a result, the NCAA moved toward a wood-bat like performance.
USSSA (BPF 1.15)
USSSA (also known as U-trip) is Travel Ball’s governing body. These bats have BPF ratings of BPF of 1.15 BPF, 1.20 BPF or 1.21 BPF.
If we take youth baseball’s BPF 1.15, for instance, a baseball moving at 100 mph ricochets off the barrel with an exit speed 15% faster than its initial speed, 115 mph or more.
BBCOR Bats vs USSSA Bats – How Are They Different?
BBCOR vs USSSA – Performance
With BPF numbers in mind, there is a noticeable performance difference between the USSSA and BBCOR bats. USSSA bat performance is much better, with BBCOR being very toned down compared to USSSA.
NCAA’s switch from BESR to BBCOR dampened down BBCOR bats’ performance, with BBCOR’s 0.50 stamp rebounding the ball at 50% of its initial velocity. Additionally, most BBCOR bats use a ‘restrictor ring’ inside the barrel to control pop, with some manufacturers using thicker barrel walls in their construction.
USSSA bats, on the other hand, are an absolute blast and are much less restricted. There is a noticeable difference between the distance traveled with USSSA vs BBCOR. USSSA bats have thin, unrestricted barrel walls, which results in a lot more trampoline effect and springiness. The barrels aren’t as thick either, making a loud, hollow sound when solid contact is made.
BBCOR vs USSSA – Construction
BBCOR bats are used at the high school and collegiate levels. They have barrel sizes no larger than 2 ⅝” and drop weights of -3. Lengths will typically range between 31, 32, 33 and 34 inches but cannot exceed 36 inches.
USSSA youth baseball bats have barrels that are a minimum of 29 inches and a maximum of 36 inches in length. Drop weights are between -12 and -5, and barrel sizes of 2 ¼”, 2 ⅝”, or 2 ¾”. Youth leagues use a 2 ¼” barrel, and Big Barrel leagues allow for 2 ⅝” and 2 ¾” barrels for players aged 14 and under.
USSSA did not adopt the new USA bat rules, and only bats that feature the USSSA 1.15 BPF “thumbprint” stamp are allowed in U-trip leagues.
However, USSSA sanctioned leagues allow USA bats if barrel diameter, drop weight, and materials adhere to the division’s rules. It isn’t advisable, though, since USA bats are much lower on power than U-trip bats and won’t give performance at the plate.
Despite USSSA bats having a higher BPF, which makes for much better performance, they are used in youth baseball, where younger players won’t fully maximize their performance. However, they’re used at the youth level to give younger, less experienced players a performance boost.
BBCOR bats have a lower BPF but are used by older, stronger, more experienced players who can still harness decent performance from them despite the dampened performance.