This story from NewOrleanssports.com deals with the impact of the new bat regulations at the college level, but I’m posting it because I suspect we’ll be seeing and hearing similar stories in the coming weeks as high school and youth baseball seasons get underway.
To sum up, college coaches quoted in this story say the new bats — which feature slower exit speeds to improve safety and emphasize pitching — have dramatically affected the game.
“I think you’re going to see a different style of baseball, as opposed to waiting for the three-run homer,” University of New Orleans coach Bruce Peddie said. “I think the stolen base is going to come back into play, the hit-and-run. I think it’s certainly going to affect the scores this year.”
Other coaches say the deader bats will encourage some coaches to call for bunts early in games, a practice which became almost unheard of in recent years.
A related story that appeared on BamaMag.com (reg. required) points out that Auburn failed to hit a home run over the opening weekend of play in the SEC, where conference teams combined to homer just 21 times on opening weekend under the new restrictions.
Some coaches have said they believe the restrictions will ease after this season as manufacturers come into compliance with new exit speed standards for composite-barrel bats, which have been at the center of the controversy.