Despite BBCOR bats being a staple in collegiate and high school leagues, there is still a lot of confusion regarding this standard. We often hear the question, “What is BBCOR?” or “Is my bat certified?”
This article will help break down this standard, why it was implemented, how to know if your bat is certified among other questions we’ve heard over the years. Hopefully, this clears up any confusion.
What is BBCOR?
BBCOR stands for “Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution”. This is a standard that is enforced by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
It requires non-wood bats (metal and composite baseball bats) to mimic the performance of wood bats by regulating how much energy is lost when hitting a baseball. Higher numbers in the test mean a greater trampoline effect.
The NFHS and the NCAA settled on 0.50 as the highest value a BBCOR baseball bat should reach, with this number only being slightly higher than that of a wood baseball bat.
Furthermore, barrel diameter must not exceed 2 5/8 inches, the bat’s drop mustn’t exceed 3 and the bat should be no longer than 36 inches.
BBCOR vs BESR
BBCOR was implemented as a change from the Bat Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) standard.
In 2011, the NCAA switched over from BESR (Bat Exit Speed Ratio) to the BBCOR bat standard as of January 2011. And as of January 1, 2012, the NFHS made the transition as well and soon enough, BBCOR bats were the only bats available on the market for high school and collegiate baseball starting in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
BESR measured the speed of the ball as it comes off the bat. It wasn’t uncommon for bats under the BESR standard to hit balls as fast as 115mph.
At such speeds, the count of the home runs and the runs scored went up. The safety of pitchers and fans in the foul zone was also brought into question.
The BBCOR standard, on the other hand, measures the energy lost as the ball comes off the bat. This is also known as “trampoline effect”. The greater the trampoline effect, the faster the ball comes off the bat.
The switch had a significant impact on offenses compared to the previous BESR standard.
Why Was This Standard Created?
The decision was guided by the need have non-wood bats mimic the performance of wood baseball bats.
Because of this switch, the ball comes off the bat slower than it did during the BESR days – 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 ball comes off the bat slower so that pitchers, infielders and fans alike are safer since they have more time to react to batted balls. In addition, offensive statistics are down owing to the reduced trampoline effect
Do You Need a BBCOR Bat?
Every bat used in high school and collegiate baseball must adhere to
the BBCOR standard set by NFHS and NCAA.
These bats can also be used by players set to begin High School in a year or two (e.g. 11-14 years old). Youth baseball leagues such as Little League, Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken, USSSA, PONY, and Dixie have begun adopting the standard.
Under USA Baseball, bats used need to bear a USABat stamp on them to prove that they are youth BBCOR certified. USSSA, on the other hand, will not adopt these changes.
Giving youth players an early start with BBCOR bats allows younger players to get used to hitting with bats that have less pop. This, in turn, improves your hitting mechanics and your technique since hitting as far requires a little more muscle.
USA certified bats have been on sale since September, and the standard was effected on January 1, 2018.
What about wood baseball bats? Wood bats made from a single billet of wood (excluding Bamboo bats) DO NOT need to be certified.
Composite wood bats (made from a combination of woods) or Bamboo bats, will need BBCOR certification.
Is My Bat Certified?
Before shopping for the best BBCOR baseball bat, make sure that the bat you’re eyeing is BBCOR certified. If not, you risk buying a bat that is unusable in high school or collegiate baseball.
As shown below, the baseball bat you buy should bear the BBCOR certified mark on it.