Travel Ball News
Frequently Asked Questions about the USABat standard:
Which national member organizations are implementing this new standard?
To date, the following organizations are participating (in alphabetical order): American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, Little League Baseball and PONY Baseball.
Why the change to a wood-like standard?
USA Baseball’s national member organizations believe that a wood-like performance standard will best provide for the long-term integrity of the game. The new standard will not have a drop-weight limit, so young players can use bats made with light-weight materials.
Why not just use wood bats?
Wood is a scarce resource. The new bats will be designed to perform much like wood, where its performance will be limited to the highest performing wood.
How is the USABat standard different from the BBCOR standard used by the NCAA and NFHS?
Both the USA Baseball and NCAA bat performance tests are based on the coefficient of restitution from a bat-ball impact. The scale of results is different, however, since they use different test balls and test speeds. The testing difference is necessary to address the various levels of play in the respective age groups.
Why is USA Baseball involved?
The national member organizations asked USA Baseball as the national governing body to take the lead in this process to establish a new standard. Many other national governing bodies set and enforce standards for the equipment in their respective sports. To that end, USA Baseball established a Bat Study Committee of leading scientists and conducted theoretical modeling, field testing and lab testing. The committee shared its findings with the national member organizations, who then endorsed the new USABat standard.
Who were the scientists on the USA Baseball Bat Study Committee?
Alan Nathan, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Illinois
Dan Russell, Ph.D. Professor of Acoustics at Penn State University
Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D. Research Director of American Sports Medicine Institute
Why wait until 2018?
The implementation date of 2018 will allow bat manufacturers sufficient time to conduct the appropriate research, design, testing, manufacturing and shipping needed to get new bats into retail outlets. This date also allows the participating national member organizations adequate time to educate their memberships of the USABat standard.
Is my current bat good for league play?
Yes. Current league-approved bats can be used through December 31, 2017.
Is safety the reason for the change?
No. Youth baseball continues to be one of the safest of all sports for youth participants.
How will I know which bat to buy?
All new bats that bear the USABat licensing mark will be permissible for play in the leagues and tournaments of the participating youth baseball organizations.
When can I buy the new bat?
It is the intention of the bat manufacturers to make the new bats available in the fall of 2017, in sufficient time for the 2018 season.
PHOENIX—A full slate of games on Thursday at the Peoria Sports Complex, home of the Mariners and Padres spring training facilities, kick-started the 19th annual Arizona Senior Fall Classic.
The 65-team field is primarily filled with teams from the West Coast and Canada. The event brings players from hard-to-reach locales for scouts and college coaches, such as Montana righthander Gage Hinsz last year, who signed for a third-round bonus ($580,000) with the Pirates after being selected in the 11th round in June.
Two teams from the Team Hawaii program, Gold and Blue, squared off in the most heavily-attended game of the event, with more than 60 scouts present, including multiple scouting directors. Scouts got to see almost all of the top arms from Hawaii, as the pitchers rolled out for one-inning stints.
The outing by righthander Ian Kahaloa (Campbell High, Ewa Beach, Hawaii) ensured that scouts will again travel to Hawaii next spring to see pitching talent one year after Kodi Medeiros became the highest-ever-drafted Hawaiian and Jordan Yamamoto signed for fifth-round money ($330,000).
The scene to watch Kahaloa pitch was reminiscent of Jupiter, Fla., (sans the legions of golf carts) as the waves of scouts went rows deep, leaving some scouts in the back simply hoping to see a radar gun reading.
Kahaloa popped 88 mph on his first pitch but then began to ramp up his velocity, sitting 88-93 with a quick arm from a three-quarters arm slot.
“I normally hit 91 or 92 but I felt good today,” Kahaloa. “I have been working hard and doing a lot of long toss and band work recently. It has helped me loosen up my arm. I long toss every other day.”
There was some disagreement among scouts about the top velocity Kahaloa touched. As many as five guns had him up to 95 on a pitch he airmailed to the backstop, while multiple other guns had 93.
Kahaloa offers a four-pitch mix but did not use his curveball in this one-inning stint.
“The changeup wasn’t working as well today,” Kahaloa said. “My slider was pretty good today. I have a curveball that I didn’t throw today. They all work well, but my slider is my go to pitch.”
Kahaloa is working to sharpen his changeup.
The thought of entering his Baseball Performance Academy (BPA) DeMarini Elite squad in last weekend’s Perfect Game/EvoShield Underclass National Championship was never considered by head coach Jared Sandler.
Despite the fact that 70 percent of the team’s roster spots are filled with high school sophomores (class of 2017), Sandler had no doubts the team belonged at this weekend’s PG/EvoShield Upperclass National Championship. The group has always performed well beyond its years.
“We want to play the best competition all the time,” Sandler told PG early Sunday afternoon. “As much as it’s nice to win tournaments, we always try to play ‘up’ and compete as hard as we can.”
Thanks to three dazzling starts from three of its ultra-talented 2017 arms and a “quality” start from one of the few 2015s on the roster, BPA DeMarini Elite zipped through pool-play with a 3-0 mark, earned the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye in the 21-team playoffs and then cruised to a comfortable win in a second-round playoff game Sunday.
Only a quarterfinal contest against No. 5 GBG Orange County (Anaheim, Calif.) late Sunday afternoon stood between BPA DeMarini Elite and a date in Monday morning’s semifinals.
“We’re young and we’re just trying to take it game by game, but we’ve played well so far,” Sandler said before his team took the field against the 20th-seeded CBA Bulldogs in that second-round playoff game on a Cleveland Indians’ spring training practice field at the Goodyear BallPark Complex.
“We have four really good 2017 pitchers so, really, we just try to take it game by game, get a quality start (and) take care of the ball the best we can.”
BPA DeMarini Elite, based in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., reached the quarterfinals thanks in large part to three suburb starting pitching outings:
2017 left-hander Jack Owen (Laguna Hill, Calif.) threw five innings of two-hit, shutout ball in a 5-0 win over Canyon Thunder Purple (Phoenix) in the team’s first pool-play game; 2017 right-hander Hagen Danner (Huntington Beach, Calif.) threw a complete game, two-hit shutout in a 4-0 win over Slammers North-Malkin (Broomfield, Colo.) in the second pool-play game; and 2017 righty Hans Crouse (Dana Point, Calif.) scattered five hits and allowed one run over six innings while striking out 10 in a 7-1 playoff win over the Bulldogs (Temecula, Calif.).
“This is a lot of fun with the really good competition we’ve been playing,” Danner said Sunday. “We’re the four-seed but we’re going to have to play some tough teams to get through this. … We play such good teams and every player we see are mostly top-line high school players, and it’s great playing such good competition.
“We’re very hard-working,” he said of his own team. “We work together – we’re really good team players – and that’s how we get it done.”
As good as the 2017 arms were through the first four games, a lot of the heavy lifting at the plate was being done by a couple of 2015s. Infielder/outfielder Jay Schuyler (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) was 6-for-10 (.600) with three doubles, two RBI and six runs scored; third baseman/right-hander Zach Wolf (Dana Point, Calif.) was 5-for-8 (.625) with a pair of doubles. Wolf also pitched eight innings in two appearances, allowing four earned runs (2.62 ERA) on 11 hits with 11 strikeouts.
Owen, Danner and Crouse are three of six BPA DeMarini Elite 2017 prospects ranked in the top 162 nationally: Danner, a right-hander/catcher, comes in at No. 2; left-hander/outfielder Nicholas Pratto (Huntington Beach, Calif.) at No. 10; Crouse at No. 37; catcher/utility Tyler Lasch (Lake Forest, Calif.,) at No. 48; shortstop Isaiah Parra (Stanton, Calif.) at No. 66; Owen at No. 162.