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Dear Bat Guy,
Our summer league gives the option of USA Bat or BBCOR. If weight is not the deciding factor. Is there a difference in ball speed between the two in general?
(This is adapted from our advice section).
This is a fun question so thanks for that.
We’re going to break your question a bit but then we’ll try and put it back together again. The answer is BBCOR not because they have better trampoline effect (they are in fact the same). But, BBCOR bats have much greater mass as they are required to be drop 3 while USA bats are not that heavy. Bat’s with a higher swing weight (as almost all BBCOR bats do compared to USA bats) will hit the ball father.
You can find BBCOR bats that swing lighter than USA Bats. For example, Slugger’s Solo comes in a 29/26. That bat’s swing weight is considerably less than an end loaded drop 5 USA bat like the Axe Elite in a 32/27.
Assuming we could find two bats of the same swing weight….
USA and BBCOR bats are both meant to replicate wood bat performance. So, in that sense, the bats won’t perform differently. However…
The question that gets thrown around on bat forums often is what BBCOR score would a USA bat get. It’s helpful to understand how BBCOR is calculated which we discuss in depth in our BESR bat article. In short, BBCOR is a measurement of how flexible the barrel of a bat is in relation to the ball at impact. During collision both the bat and the ball change shape as they compress together. The more the bat compresses, and hence less the ball will, the higher the exit speed. The BBCOR standard requires the bat compress no more than that of the ball. When they compress equally than the BBCOR rating is .500.
USA uses a similar test but deals more with exit speeds that replicate wood bat performance than the actual compression of a baseball. There’s likely some internal company data used to measure a USA bat during the BBCOR test but no one has yet to make it public. Our educated guess it the BBCOR test results on a USA bat would be so close to .500 that it wouldn’t make an inch of difference. (Okay, maybe an inch, but no more than 6 in one way or the other on a perfectly hit ball).
In any event, thanks for the question and we hope that helps settle the dispute as to which one works better. The answer: the one with the higher swing weight (assuming they can swing it as fast).