Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at Outfielder Niko Hulsizer

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Continuing along with our winter prospect profiles, we drift back to the outfield, where there is plenty of talent to be found, especially on the lower levels of the farm.

Whenever the scouts of the Dodgers notice pure athleticism, they never hesitate to snag the best available players regardless of how deep they are at any given position on any level.

Outfielder Niko Hulsizer is definitely one of those pure athletes the Dodgers couldn’t resist.

During his college days at Morehead State, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder found some quick fame on Twitter when he showed the world he could easily handle 545 lbs. on the dead lift.

Despite the impressive feat, it was four months before the deadlift when he flashed to the world his true baseball power.

At the 2017 College Home Run Derby in Omaha, Hulsizer captured the first-place crown, defeating fellow sluggers Chandler Taylor of Alabama and Tristan Pompey of Kentucky in convincing fashion.

Hulsizer rocketed 19 long balls in the first round, 16 in the second, and blasted 17 in the final round to secure the trophy. While his intentions were surely winning, he noted that one of his goals was to give Morehead State a little bit of face time.

“It felt great. I really came out here to compete and put my team on the map and spread the word about our school. It’s amazing. I’m still in shock that it happened,” Hulsizer said.

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During his college days, Hulsizer’s offensive numbers were completely off the chain.

Scouts began to notice him as a sophomore at Morehead when he was voted the 2017 Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year after setting conference records for home runs (27), total bases (193) and being named to five All-American teams. Additionally, he sported a .349 average and drove in 82 runs.

Hulsizer, a Pennsylvania native and a product of Governor Mifflin High School, saw his stock diminish a bit when he suffered a broken hand during his junior campaign in 2018. Still, he hit .320 with 11 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs, 38 RBI and a 1.049 OPS, leading Morehead State to the NCAA Tournament.

Following the season, the Dodgers selected the right-handed hitting Hulsizer in the 18th round of the draft.

Niko said that he knew Los Angeles had a some interest in him before the selection was actually made. Marty Lamb, a senior scout for the Dodgers, scouted 2003 first-rounder Chad Billingsley and knew the Reading, PA area well.

“They’re one of the teams I wanted to play for,” Hulsizer explained shortly after being drafted. “When I was younger, I always could picture myself wearing their uniform. I’ve been compared to Yasiel Puig, who’s somebody I really like and follow.”

Hulsizer might not have the arm strength of Puig, but all of his other tools are comparable. He’s quick on his feet, has exceptional range, and can handle his glove. Obviously, he has the ability to hit for both average and power.

Immediately after being drafted, Hulsizer was ushered to the Pioneer league in Ogden, foregoing time in the AZL League, which is often the norm for first-year farmhands. For the Raptors, he put up an impressive .957 OPS, slashing .281/.426/.531 with nine homers, 13 doubles and 32 RBI in just 48 games.

He also swiped 12 of 14 bases.

Defensively, the 22-year-old Hulsizer is currently being groomed as a right fielder, but there’s no reason to think he couldn’t handle duties at any of the three outfield spots. Last year for Ogden, he played 33 games in right and six games in left.

Looking ahead, although Niko’s still listed on the Ogden roster, there may be a reasonable chance he begins his 2019 campaign with Low-A Great Lakes.

 

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21 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at Outfielder Niko Hulsizer

  1. I identified Nico as someone I wanted to keep an eye on when we drafted him. Sounds like he has a lot going for him. I’ll be interested in seeing what progress he makes this year.

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  2. Never heard of the guy! Didn’t see him in any of our prospect rankings but he sounds like he has some serious potential. Thanks Dennis. Always fun to hear about our young guys. Go Rams!

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  3. Like everyone else, never heard of the kid, but he seems to have some serious tools. Seems to be a couple of years ahead of Starling Heredia who is #26 on the prospects list at 19 years old. He has been in the system a couple of years. Kendall, who played for the Quakes last year is #10 and only 22 years old.

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      1. He did not have a very good year at Rancho. I saw him play once, and I was not really impressed with his approach at the plate. I know he was good in college, but so far it has not translated to pro ball. It has only been one year, but unless he makes a huge leap this year, I think he is farther away than the 2020 he is expected to make LA’s roster.

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      2. If Kendall doesn’t start getting on base, he may not ever have an ETA. What a shame for such a wonderful talent. At Rancho, all he needs to do is put his bat on the ball consistently, and the rest should take care of itself. The ball usually jumps there. If I’m not mistaken, he only hit like .210 in over 100 games there last season.

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      3. Kendall has never been good at making contact. I heard those comments even before the draft. The Dodgers decided to take a chance and so far, just like Kendall, they’ve struck out. Maybe RVS can have some time with him in ST and steer him in the right direction. Otherwise, he’ll never see Dodger Stadium.

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    1. I agree Alex, and I’m a Rams fan. As Gurley goes, so go the Rams and Gurley was nowhere to be found tonight. Brees vs. Brady would certainly have been a more entertaining game.

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  4. Hey guys, I do not watch the NFL, so I was not as bored as you. I watched Star Wars and Terminator! I did watch the show that came on after the STUPOR BOWL< the Worlds Best. Pretty entertaining stuff. There was a Korean Tae Kwan do team that just did some awesome stuff. 3 young boys from the Philippines who sang their asses off too. Interesting stuff. No news on the Dodgers front and 9 days til they report. Lots of guessing about where Harper and Machado, and Realmuto will end up. Now that football is over there should be some movement somewhere. Only way the Dodgers make additions is by trade or releasing a few guys.

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