To even the playing field and provide better safety for players, the BESR (Bat Exit Speed Ratio) standard was abandoned.
The BBCOR bats are more like wood bats. The pinging sound heard with the BESR bats is pretty much a thing of the past.
As it did in the NCAA last year, the switch should significantly lower offensive production, with fewer home runs and extra-base hits.
"From a pitcher's perspective, it's awesome," Penn Charter righthander Kenny Koplove said. "It exposes the weaker hitters. You have to make solid contact with the ball. It takes away a lot of the 'cheap' hits.
"With the old bats, you could get jammed and still be able to drive the ball. There's no room for error now. You have to hit it squarely."
When playing for the Philadelphia Senators, a team that showcases amateur prospects, Koplove, a 6-foot-1, 160-pound senior who doubles as a shortstop, uses a wood bat.
On Tuesday, in an Inter-Academic League opener at Haverford School, Koplove, the Quakers' No. 3 hitter, thought for a moment that he had cracked his first homer of the season.
"It ended up being caught at the warning track," he said. "That's going to happen a lot this season. Balls that used to be homers are going to end up as deep fly balls."
While on the mound, Koplove, projected to be a shortstop and closer at Duke, said he is seeing "a lot more bunting from teams."
In practice sessions last season, Fili, a former centerfielder at Upper Darby and Villanova, said "an average of five or six balls would be hit over the fence." And this year? "We may lose one or two balls."
Matt Schram, Council Rock North's second-year coach, says the BBCOR bats "make the game more legit. Pitchers don't get cheated now."
Most players have their own bats. A BBCOR bat costs, on average, from $200 to $400.
"Every bat that we owned last year is gone," Fili said. "We've had to restock a little. As a school, we bought four new bats."
In the NCAA, batting averages dropped from .301 in 2010 to .282 last year. Home runs dipped from 0.94 to 0.52 per game.
Before joining head coach Rick Mellor at Penn Charter this season, Jon Cross was an assistant coach at Penn for four seasons.
"You'll see the power numbers go down, scores will be lower, and as a coach, you won't have to go to your bullpen as early," Cross said. "On offense, there's going to be more of a small-ball approach."
While not a fan of using the BBCOR bats, Koplove sees the pitching benefits.
"On an 0-2 pitch, you can take a chance," he said. "You can throw a fastball in on the hands and you don't have to worry about a player getting jammed and still getting a hit with a flare over the third baseman's or shortstop's head."
Baseball Players to Watch
Listed alphabetically. Statistics are from last season.
Corey Baiada, La Salle. In Catholic League action, Baiada, a senior backstop, hit .464 with 21 RBIs. He was a first-team Red Division pick.
Nick Bateman, Malvern Prep. Bateman, a senior outfielder and Winthrop recruit, batted .449 with 23 runs and 20 RBIs.
Joey Casselberry, Methacton. A senior third baseman, he hit .494 with 30 RBIs and 15 runs. On the mound, he went 7-3 with a 4.13 ERA and 42 strikeouts.
Chris Coia, Central Bucks South. The senior shortstop, a Radford recruit, batted .426 with 25 runs and eight RBIs.
Jesus Colon, Phelps. The senior righthander's fastball has been clocked in the low-90-m.p.h. range. He will play at Marshall.
J.T. Crits, Wissahickon. For the Trojans, Crits, a senior first baseman and La Salle recruit, hit .482 with 13 runs and 19 RBIs.
Joe DeCarlo, Garnet Valley. The smooth-fielding senior shortstop will take his talents to Georgia. He batted .460 for the Jaguars.
Brian Donnelly, Council Rock South. Donnelly, a senior pitcher and outfielder, batted .409. He is ticketed for Rider.
Jake Drossner, Council Rock North. The senior lefthander, headed to Maryland, went 6-0 with a 2.57 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 30 innings.
Kyle Gillen, St. Joseph's Prep. Gillen, a senior second baseman, hit .373. He was a first-team all-Catholic selection.
Joey Gorman, Neumann-Goretti. The senior, a lefty pitcher and outfielder, helped lead the Saints to the Catholic League title.
Kevin Jewitt, West Chester Rustin. The senior shortstop and third baseman, who batted .549 with 28 RBIs, will play at Villanova.
Kenny Koplove, Penn Charter. Koplove, a hard-throwing senior hurler and shortstop, is bound for Duke. He hit .412 with 23 RBIs and 16 runs.
Alex Kowalczyk, Downingtown East. The senior backstop, bound for Old Dominion, batted .368 with 27 RBIs and eight homers.
Bill Krebs, West Chester East. The Vikings' catalyst, a senior pitcher and rightfielder, will play at Wingate.
John Laprise, Devon Prep. The senior shortstop, who hit .500 with 21 runs and 26 RBIs, is committed to Virginia.
Chas McCormick, West Chester Henderson. The junior centerfielder, pitcher, and first baseman batted .362 with 19 RBIs and 14 runs.
Augusto Ortega, Frankford. A senior centerfielder for the Pioneers, Ortega hit .494 with 33 runs and 17 RBIs.
Scott Williams, Conestoga. The senior catcher, also a hard-throwing closer, batted .492 with 20 RBIs. He is bound for Virginia.
- Rick O'Brien
Contact Rick O'Brien
or @ozoneinq on Twitter.