Home Run List Not Like It Used To Be
• Only the mighty few will see their names on the legendary Panorma home run list.In August 2015, USA baseball announced that it would change its bat requirements, effective on Jan. 1, 2018.
Many youth organizations, including Little League, now use new metal bats that perform like wood bats, that is, with less power.
Real wood bats are still approved for play.
Palos Verdes Little League players use the smallest Majors field (Valmonte) on the Hill. In the 2017 season, 39 PVLL players, some of them at Intermediate level, hit a combined 114 home runs.
Home runs are a part of Palos Verdes baseball tradition. PVLL tends to dominate the home run stat compared to other leagues on the Hill. But that isn’t the same picture this season. So far this season there have been only 11 home runs hit by a combined four batters. All of the home runs have come from Majors players.
The bat change has definitely affected the home run stat, but is it the only reason?
A few years ago, Little League International lowered the age requirements, leaving very few, if any, 13-year-old players. Meaning that there are younger kids playing in all divisions. There are no older 12-year-olds bombing the ball anymore. Could that be a reason for the dip in home runs?
The age change has affected all divisions, not just Majors. Minors used to have a pair of home runs a year. Unheard of anymore. Last season, there were a handful of Intermediate home runs. None so far this season.
There are no longer older Intermediate players They are now younger Majors players. This is because of the age change. Some league 12-year-old players won’t actually turn 12 until after Championship Saturday. Under the previous age requirement they would have had another year of Little League.
Rolling Hills Little League has a few beasts that hit huge home runs, making it look like they are hitting with old bats. Why can they do it at a bigger field (RHLL Majors Field)?
Is the lesser power in the bats the reason for the dip, or is it the age change? Will players grow into the new bats, or will the number of home runs stay low for awhile?
Those questions shall be answered over thousands of Little League games in the future.