They’re the next wave in the aluminum bat battle. Starting in January, 2011, any and all aluminum baseballs that are used in NCAA baseball will have to carry a seal of BBCOR approval.

BBCOR stands for “Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution” and it focuses on how much of a trampoline effect the barrel of a bat has on a ball. Bat manufacturers will have to, in effect “deaden” the trampoline bounce that pitched balls experience when a batter makes contact. Basically, aluminum bats will theoretically be the same as wooden bats.

Then, starting in 2012, all HS baseball bats will follow in the same way; that is, they will all need at BBCOR stamp on each bat.

Will this work? No one, of course, knows. Will aluminum bats become just as dull as wood bats? Well, many years ago, when aluminum bats were first introduced in the early 1970s, the original aluminum models were heavy and the ball did not jump off them. The only real advantage of using a metal bat in those days was that they wouldn’t break on an inside pitch; batters benefitted by getting cheap dink hits to the outfield instead of having to deal with broken bats.

So are the new BBCOR bats going to be like the old ones from 40 years ago? Probably not. Instead, I imagine the new bats will continue to be light-weight, easy to swing, and feature a very large sweet spot. At least that’s what I think.

And who knows? Maybe the aluminum bat manufacturers will come up with some way to give the BBCOR bats a stronger trampoline effect after repeated usage – -just like many of the composite bats do now. This past June at the College World Series in Omaha, more than 30 composite bats were thrown out of competitive play because their barrels were too springy. The irony is that these bats were legal when they were first purchased, but after repeated use, the resins in the bats became springier and thus gave batted balls greater exit speed off the bat.

Confused by all of this? Well, I am too. There’s only one simple answer that gets rid of all this nonsense — just tell kids that they’re only allowed to use wood bats. After all, that’s what they use in pro ball, and the game seems pretty good to me.

  • William

    I agree. Just use wood. What “wood” be wrong with that? If these bats are not as lively, I predict a lot more pitchers will be coming inside instead of staying away as they are taught in college now, increasing the risk of injury from being hit by a pitch.

    • mike

      They don’t use wood bats because then it would be way too expensive for colleges to buy wood bats for a 30 man roster for 40 to 50 games

      • Chris

        I agree. The idea of wood is good and I enjoy wood leagues even at the 17/18 level but a good bat costs $100+ and having to replace them through even a 18 game season has gotten expensive. You have to have three to carry because I have seen two break in a weekend of double headers. I had to purchase 6 bats for my son this fall season. One manufacturer makes a bat with a composite handle and wood barrel. This bat seems to hold up well since the handle is usually the area the break occurs. Obviosuly I do not have the answer.

  • norm

    Okay, the bat manufacturers are reluctantly promoting the BBCOR bats as “regulation performance” bats. So the question is, not that it matters- How much less distance will these BBCOR bat hits compared to the soon-to-be illegal BESR (composite barrel) bats? Are we talking 20, 30, 50 feet average? Maybe the bat companies will lower their suggested retail price as those $300-$400 brittle bats were ridiculous, including the 1 year to 400 day warranty? Maybe the bat review of over-zealous fathers will finally cease- bragging how their 12 year old son hit 400′ bombs and had 5 hits in their first 4 ABs with their hot-out-of-the-wrapper bat? Finally, back to the purist form of baseball!

    • norm

      Agree that with BBCOR bats, there will probably be less pitchers & 3rd basemen struck by hit balls, however the number of hit batsmen, from inside pitching, will rise exponentially. What’s next from Easton/DeMarini/Louisville- ballistic batting-side body armor (breathable, shatter-resistant and school colored options for sure)?
      How about highly compressed wood-particle bats reinforced with “wire” technology to keep bats from jagged shattering? Crazy times.

  • JJ

    Stop, stop, no more metal means, — less pitchers getting arm trouble, they now pitch to contact and they throw fewer curves and fewer pitches per inning and fewer dings back at them.
    And, umpires get hit less as they have few fouls.
    Pretty stupid huh!

  • adam

    i think the idea on just banning aluminum bats is the best idea in this whole thing. all you have to do to not break your wooden bat is have the label of the bat facing you when you hit the ball. ive had one wood bat for 2 years made by viper bats and it just now broke last week on an OUTSIDE pitch. so it doesnt always matter if its an inside pitch.

    • D1ballplayer

      Man, wooden bats break, bottom line, idk what level you play at, but at the D1 baseball level, pitchers are throwing upwards of 90+, with better secondary pitches, inside and outside pitches can break bats. But the too expensive theory is false, because at any college baseball program, there is some form of equipment sponsorship, so the equipment is free.

  • John

    I’m believe that the switch from aluminum/composite to wood should occur when players are strong enough to swing a -3 bat, ie HS. Before this I would let them play with other material but restrict the BBCOR to 1.05. This will allow small players that have not gain strength to swing a -10, -7, or -5 bat.

    Also, I got to say, I’m loving my bamboo bat.

    • norm

      @ John- Sounds reasonable but there’s one problem. If we’re talking NCAA or NFHS rules, who will be the judge of “small” players who get to use a -5, -7, or -10? I’m sure you’ve seen some kids who are 1/2 the size of the the largest kid but can hit the bejesus out of the ball. Imagine how much of an advantage, hitting-wise, these small guys with already quick bats, will have if they get to swing lighter bats than the rest of the team? Just saying.

    • Old_Timer

      Why is it that when I played in the ’50s there were no metal bats and everything was ok? If the manufacturing technology was out-of-date but I can only remember a couple of broken bats. Maybe the older wooden bats were simply made better. With computer manufacturing I don’t really understand why the cost has gone through the roof.

  • Ben

    I have mixed feelings on the new rules. I am against it because that means the kids that want/use expensive bats have to buy new ones. I am for it because I am a Third baseman and I have come close to being hit by liners several times and it is super scary.

    • D1ballplayer

      wood isnt going to stop that, nor is BBCOR, a barreled up ball is still gonna be a piss rod, there is not changing that

  • Bob Schaefer

    I believe that we will have BBCOR bats until they are saturated and the baseball industry will lobby for the next greatest thing.. It’s all business and nothing more.

  • Richard K.

    Here’s another Idea. Why not have aluminum/composite from the trademark to the cone part of the
    bat if the batter’s are so concerned about breaking the wooden bat (100% wood). I feel that it will
    solve the problem(s) for these students/athletes in baseball. Or just make it 100% wooden bats.

  • Chase

    If they take away the offense of the college and HS game they will loose fans. They went from one extreme to the other. There should have been some ground in the middle. The amatuer game will suffer.

  • Ryan

    Is it possible to send my BESR bat in to the manufacturer and them send me back the BBCOR version?

    • Rick Wolff

      Well, it’s certainly worth making a phone call to the bat manufacturer, but I must tell you that I’d be surprised if they would do that. Remember — they’re in the business of selling bats – not swapping them. But if you do find success in doing this, please let me know so I can get the word out to other sports parents. Cheers – Coach Wolff

    • norm

      Easton was nice enough to send me a BBCOR replacement for a BESR Synergy Speed bat. If you call their customer service number and purchased a bat within 1 year, they may offer you a “one time” replacement. Their customer service people are courteous, but their inventory was very limited and I had to wait for 4 months before they sent me the right bat (they first sent me a new BESR Synergy Speed and I had sent it back on their dime). Ultimately, they agreed to send me a Surge BBCOR which performs exactly like a BBCOR (sucks, compared to BESR) and is more durable than their Omen composite. At least I didn’t have to spend another $250 for a new, lower performing legal bat. My son likes the balanced feel but there is a definite performance drop.

      • Rick Wolff

        Glad to hear that Easton did the right thing for you. As you well know, those woods are very expensive. And of course, there’s no question that a BBCOR bat is going to have less pop than a BESR. But of course, none of the bat manufacturers would ever admit to that. Coach Wolff

  • LegionDad

    All bats should be either wood or solid alloy. Eliminate the composite bats. As stated in the article BBCOR composite bats actually increase the trampoline effect as they get broken in, meaning they exceed the BBCOR performance limits. I’m was very much a proponent of going all wood but after my kid’s first wood bat tournament I moved back towards alloy bats being OK. In four games he broke a $90 maple bat and $80 bamboo bat. You can buy a decent BBCOR solid alloy bat that would last a full season for $50. My kid really liked the bamboo bat but they aren’t as unbreakable as advertised. As for people having wood bats that last for an entire season, they are either: not getting a lot of ABs, Not facing good pitching or extremely lucky. A wood bat lasting more than 8 games of HS Varsity level ball is the exception rather than the rule.

  • daniel

    kids in high school will go through tons of wooden bats a year. If you buy a 400 dollar bbcor bat it will last you and save you more money than using wood year round. Unless your buying a wal mart big stick that cost you 20. BBcor will make power hitters become average hitters and everyone will have to do the same to be a good hitter. Its a good idea to use bbcor. When i played in high school it was BESR and i coach and bbcor are dead compared to those.

  • http://barnstablebat.com Tom Bednark

    Wooden bats will last if they are of good quality. Please go to “checkswing.com” home page and on the right side click on Barnstable Bat ,then click on the bat selection video. Do not buy “Big Box” store bats that are colored dark without checking the grain in the handle.

  • http://yahoo.com Hojo

    Do freshman in high school have to use BBCOR bats this year or can they use BESR bats? Because the freshman coach for my son says that they do not have to use a BBCOR. Is his coach correct?

  • http://yahoo.com Hojo

    http://www.justbats.com/product/demarini-maple-wood-bat–dx110-adult/6539/
    this is the best wood bat and it is nearly indestructable. At a baseball practice the seniors in high school tried to break one by slamming it into a cinder block. It didnt dent nor scratch it. this is the most durable bat. Probably even more so than the metal bbcors.

  • http://yahoo.com Hojo

    Please answer this question ASAP
    Do ninth graders on the freshman team in high school have to use BBCORs?

    • Rick Wolff

      Yes, my understanding is that all public high school varsity, junior varsity, and freshman teams will be obligated to use BBCOR bats this coming spring. Coach Wolff

      • http://yahoo.com Hojo

        Thank you, but one more question is it the same in all states.

        • Rick Wolff

          Yes, I believe this is mandated for all 50 states.Coach Wolff

      • http://bbcbaseball.com JR

        It is mandated by the National Federation of State High School Associations. So any high school league playing with those rules (almost every high school in the U.S.) will be using BBCOR bats in 2012 and beyond, Until they change the rules again. Other non high school leagues around the country are using USSSA cert as well as the BBCOR bats, but that is league by league, so check your particular area.

        • http://www.SportsDrool.com Steve

          I agree with you. Why can’t the leagues end all the nonsense and use only wooden bats from now on? After all… We don’t see BBCORE or aluminum being used in the Bigs.

          • norm

            In a one word answer: “Money.” One side (the fan, pitchers, parents, and parents of teen pitcher prospects) will say that using wood throughout is the fairest way to access talent and keep the game equal and “safe.” The other side (sports equipment manufacturer sales directors, good contact hitters, parents of good hitters) will say composite / aluminum (BBCOR) will offer more “safety” because their bats not only last longer but don’t splinter or shatter like wood bats could, thus keeping the game “safer.”
            Either way, the answer is still money.

          • Jaime sanchez

            Makes lots of sense, Very well explained, very informative. Thanks coach wolf

  • John

    http://bplowestprices.com/

    I just bought my son the new Exogrid 2. He likes it better than his old exogrid!

  • Jerry VanSickle

    Just my two cents. I think aluminum is fine. My son is a small 12 year old and only weighs 80 lbs. He played in the Little League World Series this year. I bought him a wooden bat this year and he couldn’t hardly swing it. Unless the kids have hit puberty and are well over 125 lbs, I don’t think they will be able to swing a -3 bat. I say you save that until college or something. Maybe Varsity HS baseball, but how many families really want to go out and buy four or five bats during the season. I think that’s too much to ask.

    • Rick Wolff

      Jerry — I respect your response but just want to warn you that there’s tremendous danger inherent with kids swinging aluminum bats – not so much for them, but for the pitchers and infielders who may get drilled by a line drive (see the tragic Stephen Domalewski or Brandon Patch cases). And even though your son hasn’t gone through his adolescent growth spurt yet, lots of kids his age are 5’8 or taller and weigh close to 160 lbs. They can put a real charge into a pitch with an aluminum bat. All best, Coach Wolff

  • Travis

    Im a 200lb power hitter, and i swear i hit harder and further using wood bats, then using a bbcor aluminum. I use a demarini composite wood, which i have for three years, nd before that i used both easton stealth and demarini vexxum. both metals were -5. I cracked my demarini on a pitch straight down the middle. haha. I think wood is a good idea, but as others have said wood should only be used in highschool- year 10 upwards.

    • norm

      It probably means that your hitting mechanics are that much better than before. Everything else being equal, it’s doubtful that the wood bat or BBCOR generates more power & hits than a BESR bat. Trust me- the old BESR bats made my son look like he was hitting on steroids! Good luck to you.

  • Josh

    I am 13 years old and i play travel ball. Even playing 13U, we still have tb use BBCOR bats. They have way less power than wood bats. During BP I hit 2 bombs on a 280′ fence with a wood bat. With a BBCOR, I can’t even get close to the fence. I think wood bats should be used in all leagues. High School, and College.

    • norm

      @ Josh: The problem is… money. Easton, DeMarini, Worth and the rest of the bat company gangs have too much money invested in and too much money to lose if they lobbied for wood. Wood is classic, fairer and makes game sense. But the bat companies would not make any money on these new “performance” composite bats that promise great performance and great graphics (and about $300 of your money, per bat). 3 years ago “BESR” bats were truly hot (and dangerous for some). If you look past the advertising hype, the BBCOR is just an expensive way to mimic wood bat performance, except it costs about 3-4 times more than wood. That equates to lots of profit and money. Sorry, money talks.

  • TexasJake

    .