BBCOR (Batted Ball Coefficient Of Restitution) is a baseball bat performance standard created by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). This standard was created to certify the performance of composite baseball bats. Effective January 2011, the NCAA and the NFSH both require composite baseball bats to comply with the BBCOR standard to be eligible for MLB games.
This law has made it compulsory for all composite bats, especially those used in NCAA competitions, to fulfill the BBCOR standard. The standard is applicable for “all baseball bats made from resources other than one piece of solid wood.”
Let’s take a deeper look at what BBCOR is and why the NCAA is demanding all composite comply with the standard.
What is BBCOR?
The Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution or BBCOR measures the “trampoline effect” of the bat’s barrel. It evaluates the role of the composite material in the exit speed of the ball. The more “bouncier” the trampoline effect is, the faster the ball will come off the bat.
The main idea behind the BBCOR standard is the need to make the functioning or “play” of non-wood bats closer to the wooden bats. Compared to wooden bats, composite bats are bouncier and can deliver extremely fast exit speeds. The speed allowed by composite bats is considered an unfair advantage as it relies more on the material’s bounce than the player’s skill.
The aim of the BBCOR standard is to sustain players with skills, minimize the exponentially rising offensive statistics (specifically home runs), and keep the fielders safe. Moreover, all BBCOR baseball bats should not surpass a length-to-weight ratio of minus three (-3), the length of the bat should not go beyond 36 inches, and should not have a barrel diameter that crosses 2 5/8 inches.
Types of Baseball Bats
The need for the BBCOR standard arose when wooden bats began to be replaced by alloy and composite bats. These newer bats were more lightweight and stronger than wooden bats. Moreover, the average bat costs way less than a high-quality wooden bat, making it a preferable choice for ball players.
Here are the following baseball types apart from the original wooden baseball bat:
Aluminum Baseball Bats
1-piece design bats made from aluminum. These bats are lighter in weight and provide a firmer grip than composite bats. Moreover, they are affordable but present less power than other bats.
Composite Baseball Bats
Composite bats are made from reinforced carbon fiber polymer. They offer better performance, with less vibration that even decreases sting due to mishit or cold season. Although composite bats require a break-in period, are temperature-sensitive, and can even crack if used during freezing weather, they are still preferred over wooden or alloy bats. The reason? Lightweight, higher bounce, and cheaper price point.
Hybrid Baseball Bats
Hybrid bats, as the name hints, mean the fusion of two or more materials. These types of bats contain the qualities of both aluminum and composite bats. They have lighter swing weights, just like the composite bat, and their performance and durability match that of the aluminum barrel. So, hybrid bats could be the best choice as compared to aluminum and composite bats.
Alloy vs. Composite Baseball Bats
A 1-piece design is always preferred for aluminum or alloy baseball bats. The barrel is built for improved pop by making the walls thinner and more responsive. On the other hand, a 2-piece design is suited for composite BBCOR bats, rendering them flexible and light in weight as compared to 1-piece bats that are relatively hard.
Composite bats are convenient for players who want to improve their bat speed. Nowadays, baseball players prefer hybrid baseball bats more. They have an alloy barrel and composite handle, featuring a 2-piece design providing a lightweight handle and a longer, more receptive barrel.
Both these types of bats are different in construction and have their own pros and cons of performance. Let us see these differences in detail:
|High cost due to the expensive technology and materials used
|Low cost because of the cheap material used
|Break In period
|Break-in time of a few hundred hits for maximum performance
|No break-in period required
|Suitable for the warm season, it can crack in cold temperatures
|Favorable for all seasons
|Less sting due to the vibration-absorbing composite material
|More sting except for the vibration-absorbing connection piece used in a two-piece bat
|Softer ‘thud’ sound
|High ‘ping’ sound linked to baseball
|Rely on the quality of the bat
|Once broken in, may have higher ‘sweet spot’ and more pop
|Layered design offers more flexibility
|Weight is generally distributed equally
|Usually short, especially if used in cold weather
|Normally long, due to the pliability of the metal used
Having gone through the differences in detail, both types of bats have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it ultimately depends on the player which type of bat facilitates him/her the most.
BBCOR Drop 5 And Drop 3
As mentioned above, BBCOR is an ellipsis that states the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution. It is basically a measure of the trampoline effect of a bat. To be considered a BBCOR-certified or acceptable baseball bat, a baseball bat must be BBCOR drop 5 or Drop 3.
“Drop” is a term used for the weight-to-length ratio of BBCOR bats. The present-day BBCOR standard entails an extreme drop of -3. In simple words, the importance of the bat should not be greater than three ounces smaller than its length in inches.
What Does Drop 5 Mean?
Drop 5 means that the difference between the length and weight of the bat is -5. If a bat is 30 inches long, it will weigh 25 ounces. This bat is used by junior players. Baseball players are required to switch to a BBCOR bat or a drop 3 bat when they start playing high-school baseball.
What Does BBCOR Drop 3 Mean?
BBCOR drop 3 means the difference between the length and weight of the bat is -3. In simple words, a drop 3 BBCOR bat, which is 33″ long, would weigh 30 ounces. Drop 3 bats are heavier, whereas drop 5 bats are easier and lighter to swing. All BBCOR bats must be a drop 3.
Conclusion for What Is A BBCOR Baseball Bat?
BBCOR is an essential standard developed by the NCAA to ensure that composite bats do not give an unfair advantage to players. It helps control the exit speed of the ball and protects players from getting hurt. It also helps sustain the skill of baseball players; if hits start coming easy, no one will work hard on developing their technique!