Contrary to what people think, even though we are a rankings website based on winning, we also believe that development is paramount. The problem with letting kids struggle is most parents cannot handle it. Then it becomes a problem for the coach. Parents-IT IS NOT THE COACH... It's Baseball! Sometimes coaches would rather just give parents what they want, than a big dose of reality.
14u should swing BBCOR. Tournaments at 14u shouldn't even offer drop 5 as an option. There are a few reasons:
Have you seen some of these kids at 14u? Yes, 330 bombs are a real thing at 13u, with drop 5 bats. These bats are hot...move them up a year with a pitcher throwing harder and using the same bats. Yeah not smart. The exit velo off these bats are unreal and just not realistic for the kids. Half the kids may not be big enough to swing them and that is okay. They will grow into it.
Is This Travel Ball or Not?
Travel baseball is supposed to be the best of the best players. Obviously, it has been watered down substantially, but there are still a lot of talented players on most teams. Many coaches sell travel baseball as playing the best competition, yet delay the BBCOR transition as long as possible. Rip off the Band-Aid.
We Are Coddling Our Kids...
I realize chicks dig the long ball, however, is the point of youth baseball to develop players or to win? Developing players involves getting them ready for the next level. If they are swinging a drop 5 as an 8th/9th grader, it is doing them a disservice. The ONLY certainty in this game is that they are going to struggle, and that is okay. Failure allows for growth.
False Sense of Security
It makes players think they are better than they are. Swinging a BBCOR is a big learning curve. It is essentially a glorified wood bat. Once they get into high school or 15u, it will be that much more difficult for them to adjust if they have been swinging a drop -5. Who cares if they aren't strong enough, get them ready. A little humbling goes a long way in this game.
Pitching and Defense
Using a BBCOR puts more of a focus on pitching and defense, which is essential to youth development. Balls that are routine pop flies with a BBCOR are sailing over the fence with drop 5s. It also forces the hitter to become an actual hitter, not someone who just swings for the fences.
It may take a few years to grow and get used to swinging the BBCOR, but the sooner the better. We also realize that many tournament companies allow drop 5s at 14u and most D1/Major type tournaments do not. We hope to see more tournaments organizations move to BBCOR for 14u. All 14u TBR tournaments are BBCOR.