The aptly-named S100, which retails at $99.99 on the company's official online store, uses the same polypropylene found in bicycle helmets to offer more resistance than other batting helmet models, most of which are designed to be dent-resistant at speeds of up to approximately 70 mph.
"Our position is to offer the safest helmet on the market," Mike Thompson, Rawlings's vice president for marketing and business development, told the New York Times.
Despite providing extra protection for batters, the helmet's bulky design could make it a tough sell for those Major League players who value comfort and appearance as much as safety.
"No, I am absolutely not wearing that," Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur told the Times after seeing a prototype model of the S100. "I could care less what they say, I'm not wearing it. There's got to be a way to have a more protective helmet without all that padding. It's brutal. We're going to look like a bunch of clowns out there."
Mets third baseman David Wright offered far less resistance to the change in gear, telling the newspaper he was in favor of the added protection.
"I'm not worried about style or looking good out there," Wright said. "I'm worried about keeping my melon protected."
While Wright is likely in the minority opinion among current Major Leaguers, the company is hoping that the S100 will gain a foothold in youth leagues and high schools, where many of tomorrow's big leaguers are playing today.
Ed Eagle is a reporter and producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less