Friday, March 30, 2012

Japanese Officials with Eye on Metal Bat Performance

by Baseball Federation Japan

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Kazu TAWA, IBAF 1st Vice President, Koji Aso, IBAF Technical Commission, Ms. Megumi Kitta, IBAF Athlete Commission, Kazuhiro Tanabe, Director of Japan High School Baseball Federation and Masayuki Naito, Secretary General of Baseball Federation of Japan were guests of Mizuno’s Yoro Office in Gifu Prefecture on March 23, 2012 and inspected BBCOR (Bat-Ball Coefficient Of Restitution) Testing machine imported from U.S.A.

Japanese officials wanted to better understand the BBCOR mechanism which may well have impact on metal bats for use at the international tournaments of young players in the near future.

Following the success of new bat standard adopted college baseball games of N.C.A.A. in U.S.A. which showed metal performed more like wood, the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), which governs high school baseball in the U.S. will start using the same standard this year.

According to N.C.A.A., its Division I batting average, scoring and home runs per game in 2011 resemble the wood-bat 1970s more than they do recent years. Division I teams in 2011 averaged 5.58 runs per game, well off the record 7.12 in 1998 and below 6 for the first time since 1977 (5.83), which was just the fourth season of the aluminum bat in college baseball.

Home runs left parks at an average of .52 per team per game in 2011 compared with .94 last year and 1.06 in 1998 (also the peak year for that category). That resembles wood-bat days, too (.42 in the last year of wood in 1973, and .49, .50 and .55 in the first three years of metal).

Batting average in 2011 was .282, the lowest since 1976. Earned-run average, on the other hand, was its best (4.70) since 1980 (4.59) and the average game time went down.

For younger players, there are organizations like Little League, Pony League, etc.  They all full under the umbrella of USA Baseball (USAB). USAB is in the process of establishing new standards that will be adopted by all their daughter organizations (except USSSA, which will continue to use their BPF standard). the new standard specifies a maximum of 0.504 for 12 and under and 0.502 for 13-15.

IBAF is not considering BBCOR bats for use in international tournaments at the moment.