Mattingly’s Ask the Expert: BBCOR vs. BESR

As you can imagine we here at Mattingly Sports get a ton of questions about our products and about baseball in general, from rules and regulations to specifications and suggestions.  In order to address these questions for the general public we’ve decided to collect all the questions about a certain topic and when we have enough we pass them along to our Lead Bat Designer and Head of Research and Development for him to answer.

Welcome to the first entry of our new “Ask’s The Expert” series!  
This week:  BBCOR vs. BESR

One of the biggest stories in amateur baseball this season is the switch from the BESR standard to the BBCOR 0.5 standard for High School.  Below, we attempt to answer some common questions surrounding this change. 

First, what are BESR and BBCOR anyway? 

BBCOR and BESR are both methods of testing and scoring a bats performance.  BESR stands for Ball Exit Speed Ratio and BBCOR stands for Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution.  The tests are actually very similar.  The primary difference is the calculation used to determine the “score”.  Simply changing to the BBCOR system did not require a change to the design of the bats.

But BBCOR bats are lower performing than most of the old BESR bats, right? 

Yes, in general that is true.  More important than the test method is the maximum allowable “score” established on either scale by the associations.  In the case of BBCOR, a maximum score of 0.5 is allowed for high school bats beginning in 2012.  If you “converted” the old BESR limits to a BBCOR value, they would be higher than 0.5.  For an everyday example, consider driving speed limits.

60KM/H Speed limit sign in Australia.

Whoa! Slow down buddy!

We can measure highway speeds using both Miles per Hour (mph) or Kilometers per Hour (kph).  Most cars have both scales on the speedometer.  Let’s say the speed limit on your local highway is posted at 65 mph.  Then let’s suppose your local government changes the posted limit to 104 kph.  Guess what?  No big deal because 104 kph is roughly equal to 65 mph.  But, what if they changed from 65 mph to 80 kph?  Well, you would have to slow down because the new limit not only uses a different scale, but also has a lower relative value.  The new 0.5 limit chosen on the BBCOR scale was low enough that most bats had to be redesigned.

So, if the limit is designed to be like wood, could I just use a wood bat?

Of course, most associations allow you to use a wood bat if that is your choice and Mattingly has a great selection of wood bats.  However, non-wood bats still have advantages to consider.  First, the BBCOR 0.5 limit is designed to perform
like a very good wood bat.  Wood bats tend to be much less consistent than non-wood bats.  Wood, being a naturally occurring material, has more variation than either aluminum or composite man-made materials.  While BBCOR bats tend to have a heavier swing weight than BESR bats, they still generally have a lighter swing weight than wood bats.  Non-wood bats typically have a larger perceived sweet spot and have better feel.

Mattingly Adult Ash MB110

There is a guy on the internet who says he can make my BBCOR bat better.  Is this a good idea?

No.  Be wary of the Snake Oil Salesman.  The new rules and testing methods take into account most of these “services”.  For example, to be BBCOR certified, a bat must still be under the limit after repeated rolling.  If a bat gets better by rolling, it can only get better up to the maximum allowed BBCOR value.  Therefore, if rolling improves it, it has to be a lower performing bat to begin with.  More importantly, any tampering with the bat aside from normal use is considered illegal by every major association and could be a violation of trademark law.  Bottom line – save your time and money.  There is no substitute for hard work.

– Chuck from Mattingly

Chuck is the current VP of Operations and Research & Development for Mattingly Sports.  He holds multiple degrees in both engineering and business and is the resident guru of all things technical at Mattingly.  

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One response to “Mattingly’s Ask the Expert: BBCOR vs. BESR

  1. Pingback: Mattingly Sports “Four BBCOR” Giveaway! | Mattingly Sports

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