A pitcher is in a pretty vulnerable spot on the baseball field: right smack dab in the middle of the action, straight in the line of fire. Easton-Bell decided that because of that potential danger, there was need for a new pitcher helmet that could absorb some of the potentially violent contact.
The goal was to protect scary situations like Gunnar Sandberg, a high-school kid who got hit in the head with a line drive and had to be put in a medically induced coma to reduce brain swelling, from happening again. Thankfully Sandberg is fine now, and is completely on board with a new pitcher helmet, telling people, "Wouldn't you rather wear this than be in the hospital for two months?".
I, for one, think it's an awesome idea. Plus, it looks cool, like something you'd imagine future baseball players to wear. It's meant to be worn over the hat and the helmet is made from expanded polystyrene, which is super lightweight and good at absorbing energy. Old fogey baseball purists will probably disagree with me, but a pitcher helmet is at least a great idea to implement in the lower levels of baseball (little league, high school, etc). [Mercury News via Wired]