BATTED BALL COEFFICIENT OF RESTITUTION
Starting in January of 2011, all NCAA baseball teams had to begin using BBCOR certified bats. Starting in January of 2012, all high schools must conform to these new baseball bat regulations also. Many youth baseball organizations are also planning on going to the new rules.
This new rule replaces the old, which was called the BESR (Bat Exit Speed Ratio) rule. The BESR rule has been determined to not accurately measure the actual performance of certain baseball bats.
BBCOR AND BESR RULES COMPARED
What is BESR?
The BESR baseball bat regulation simply measured the speed of the ball after it was struck by the bat. No “brand new” baseball bat could have an exit speed of more than 97 miles per hour. The problem with that rule came a little later, after many composite bats began to surface.
Composite bats, after a lot of use, actually begin having a “trampoline” effect on a baseball. The composite baseball bat, after compression, will literally bounce the ball faster and farther. I have heard reports of 115mph exit speeds after a composite bat became compressed. To gain an advantage, many baseball players would purchase a composite bat and then find someone with a compression machine to compress the bat for immediate benefits.
Obviously, safety became a big concern for fans, pitchers, and infielders with these bats, basically, shooting rockets all over the place. This is the main reason why the NCAA and NFHS decided to come up the new B.B.C.O.R. baseball bat regulations.
What is BBCOR?
The Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution rule actually measures the “trampoline” effect of the baseball instead of exit speed. When a bat hits a baseball, the ball actually compresses, or deforms, by up to 1/3.
A pitched ball holds lots of energy. When a hitter hits the ball using a wood bat, much of that energy is lost when the ball compresses on contact. With hollow-core aluminum or composite bats, the thin walls flex slightly, the ball distorts less, which retains its pitched energy and adds to it the power of the bat speed. Hence, non-wood bats hit balls faster and farther.
The loss of energy at impact is what BBCOR measures. The less energy lost, the faster the ball speed after it gets launched off the bat. The BBCOR regulation will help keep those “launched” speeds much lower than the BESR rules.
An easy way to explain BBCOR is to have your jump up and down on a hard surface. You have to work hard, and takes a lot of energy, to get your legs off the ground. The hard surface does not help you. In contrast, jump on a trampoline… With a very minimal amount of energy, your body will bounce high because your energy isn’t getting absorbed by the trampoline. Instead, the trampoline is “flexing” with contact and then “bouncing” back to it’s original state, which then launches you higher.
It’s that “trampoline” effect off the bat that we are looking to get rid of for safety reasons. BBCOR certified bats will be much similar to wood bats which will keep youth baseball players much safer.
In my opinion, I think this is great and it will take us back to the way baseball is supposed to be played. Kids will learn more about the actual game of baseball instead of always trying to hit home runs. Maybe they will learn how to bunt and hit and run… I love it!
B.B.C.O.R. EQUATIONS AND CALCULATIONS
For all of you math geniuses out there, I have placed the actual formulas for the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution:
Bat performance is specified by using the B.B.C.O.R., which for mathematicians is calculated using the inbound and rebound speeds of the ball:
where vI and vR are the ball inbound and rebound speeds respectively, r is calculated using the equation below, and Cball is the measured correction factor for each baseball. See NCAA BBCOR Testing Protocol for more information.
The technology in some of the new baseball bats over the past few years has increased home runs across the country. Home runs are much easier to hit over the past few years than ever before!
According to NCAA Division I baseball statistics (on NCAA site), in 2007 the per-game average of home runs hit was 0.68. That number increased to .84 in 2008, and .96 in 2009. The runs scored per game have also increased steadily since 2007 when it was 6.10 runs per game. In 2008, there were an average of 6.57 runs per contest and that rose to 6.88 in 2009 and 6.98 in 2010.
The goal of this baseball bat regulation is for college, high school and youth baseball bats to the same performance as the top wood bats that are used in professional baseball. This will help with safety concerns that arise due to faster exit speeds off of current bats. According to the NFHS, “the new standard ensures that performances by non-wood bats are more comparable to those of wood bats. It’s also expected to minimize risk, improve play and increase teaching opportunities”. NFHS also states, “After working with the NCAA and having access to its research, we’ve concluded it’s in our best interest to make this change. B.B.C.O.R. includes the BESR standard, so we’re actually expanding upon our current standard, which will be more appropriate for our age and skill level.”
WHO WILL NEED TO MAKE THIS CHANGE?
If your team plays under NCAA or NFHS rules, you almost certainly will need a new bat. Baseball bat companies have adjusted their designs and you will hardly notice a physical difference (you simply won’t hit the ball as hard as often).
Look for the compliance mark which will be on all bats that meet the new standard (see below). The BBCOR must be less than or equal to .500.
B.B.C.O.R. REGULATION – JUST GIVE ME THE FACTS
If you don’t want to know all of the specifics about the new BBCOR Regulation, but simply want to know what you should do, read my article that covers the basics and some recommendations.
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