Best Youth Baseball Bats for 2018
Looking for the best bat to get after the new USAbat® rule changes? You've come to the right place!
In 2018, Little League© baseball changed their bat standards shifting away from high-exit velocity alloy bats to a safer alternative that more resembles the performance of a wood bat. This transition left players, parents, and coaches tasked with the responsibilities of re-educating themselves on not only what bat is legal to use for the up-coming season but what bat is the best for their youngster moving forward?
Traditional youth sized metal bats were made from the largest allowable dimensions possible (Depending on the league up to 2 5/8”) while having anywhere from a -8 to -12 weight differential and as technology improved so did the performance. The new standard still allows for large barrels and light weight drops but will have a level playing field when it comes to pop so let’s start with what the new USABat® standard says a legal bat is:
"The new USABat® standard will allow youth baseball organizations in the United States to reach their goal of establishing a wood-like standard, a standard that will provide for the long-term integrity of the game."
"Solid, one-piece wood bats that adhere to Little League’s© regulations will be allowed for play with or without the USA Baseball mark. Multi-piece wood bats must have the USA Baseball mark to be approved for play. This includes two-piece wood bats, composite wood bats, laminated wood bats, bonded wood bats, bamboo bats, and any wood bat that could be defined as an ‘experimental’ design."
This means getting a new alloy bat would require it to have the correct markings to verify its legality but if you were to get a standard wood bat it would not. This leaves the question of what’s better: metal or wood? The answer can be quite subjective but the pro’s all use wood; and if you can hit with a wood bat you’ll be a good hitter with a metal bat, but not vice versa, making wood the superior option.
Now that we’ve decided on a wood bat, we need to find which one is right for your child. But with all the different options how do you know which one is the best? When you’re looking at a wood bat the biggest concerns for youth players will be the weight and durability. Typically, the lightest bat possible in wood is the best option because most kids aren't strong enough to swing heavier alternatives without jeopardizing technique. Yet the lighter the bat the easier it is to break so we want to make sure it is made from a durable material. Maple and birch are dense woods and are the superior choices in this regard. Either will work great and the differences between them are subtle.
The last steps are narrowing down the size and model. For size, we recommend kids stay at the same length as their previous metal bats so it’s similar in weight. If they are not as strong, consider dropping down a size. You can reference our sizing chart to get a better idea of what other kids that size and age are swinging or email us and we’d be happy to help. The 271 model is what we recommend for slightly smaller kids who are more contact hitters, the 243L would be for your stronger power hitters, and if you’re looking for the traditionally sized 2.25” youth bat, the L10 model is the go-to choice.