Dodgers Prospect Watch: Niko Hulsizer Rising Quickly

hulsizer
(MiLB.com photo)

The first time we took a look at Dodgers‘ outfield prospect Niko Hulsizer last winter, he had just completed his first year in the organization at Ogden in the Pioneer League, where he hit a respectable .281/.426/.531 with nine home runs, 13 doubles and 32 RBI over 160 AB. However, when considering his high school and college pedigree, we knew that he would continue to emerge through the 2019 season, especially in the area of the power department.

To say that Hulsizer is opening eyes would be an understatement. He won the Midwest League Player of the Week for the week ending May 26, then a few days later captured the Midwest League player of the Month honors for May.

During the month of May, the 22-year-old, right-handed hitting Hulsizer hit .330/.446/.720 and led the Midwest League with 10 home runs, 26 RBI, 72 total bases, a .720 slugging percentage and a 1.166 OPS. He also finished the month second with 24 runs scored.

What’s more, Hulsizer is headed to the Midwest League All-Star Game in South Bend, IN on June 17-18. He will be joined by fellow position-player teammates Miguel Vargas and Dillon Paulson, as well as pitchers Austin Drury and Jose Chacin.

Hulsizer has been one of the most impressive power hitters in the MWL this season, crushing 13 total home runs and racking up 44 RBI. He currently ranks second in both of those categories behind fellow All-Star Will Benson of the Lake County Captains. He trails only Benson in slugging percentage, OPS and total bases.

Additionally, the 6-foot-2, 225 lb. Hulsizer is expected to be a participant in the Home Run Derby, something for which he’s certainly no stranger. At the 2017 College Home Run Derby in Omaha, he captured the first place crown after rocketing 19 long balls in the first round, 16 in the second, and blasted 17 in the final round to secure the trophy.

Scouts began to notice him as a sophomore at Morehead State when he was voted the 2017 Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year after setting conference records for home runs, total bases and being named to five All-American teams. Furthermore, by the end of the year, 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 to the NCAA Tournament.

Following the 2018 season, the Dodgers selected Hulsizer in the 18th round of the draft.

Immediately after being drafted, Hulsizer was ushered to 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, Hulsizer can capably play all three outfield spots. He has a suitable arm, is quick on his feet, has exceptional range, and can handle his glove. Obviously, he has the ability to hit for both average and power.

Considering his current rate of production this year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Nick promoted to High-A Rancho Cucamonga before the end of the season.

 

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24 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: Niko Hulsizer Rising Quickly

  1. I definitely don’t consider myself a draft day expert but every year I check out the blurbs on the various guys we draft and pick out two or three to keep my eyes on. Nico was one of those guys and I’m happy to see he’s progressing very well. He may just be the right handed power bat we’ve been looking for in the outfield. Of course, a lot could happen in the two or three years until he’s ready for the big show.

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  2. 22 year old Class A player. Move him up.

    Found this on another blog:

    ‘“There is an interesting point here,” Zaidi said on KNBR’s “Tolbert & Lund” show Thursday. “If we do end up in a position where we’re selling and looking to get some future talent, you actually want to be trading in the division because you want to weaken your rivals in future years, and you want them to push more chips into the present. In a way, it actually benefits you more.”

    If anyone knows what the Dodgers have in store for the future, it’s Zaidi, who spent the previous four seasons as Los Angeles’ general manager. Now on the San Francisco side of the rivalry, Zaidi understands why fans might not be wild about the idea of trading with the Dodgers.

    “I understand there’s all kinds of emotional baggage going with that,” Zaidi conceded. “Maybe the Dodgers are a special case, and I think most fans would say it’s not maybe, they just are a special case. But in general, I actually think trading in the division has a strategic advantage.”

    Aside from the strategic advantage, the Giants might have more reason to consider trading with their division rivals after two major free agents signed with teams Thursday. The Cubs landed closer Craig Kimbrel, and the Braves reportedly agreed to terms with starter Dallas Keuchel. For the teams that missed out on those two veterans, Zaidi expects to be hearing from them soon.

    “[Those two being off the market] does show the teams that were in on those guys — it kind of identifies who the buyers are going to be in the starting-pitcher market and the relief market,” Zaidi said. “Certainly for the teams that did not land those players, they’re going to be looking elsewhere to try to fill those needs. So I expect there’ll be a lot more phone calls between GMs these next couple weeks.”

    Zaidi also issued a reminder that, because of a recent rule change, teams have more reason to start trade talks sooner rather than later.

    “Again, without trade waivers this coming August, it’s going to put more pressure on teams to get their business done before July 31,” he said.’”

    Good stuff.

    Pick up the phone Andy. Trade most of our bullpen for most of theirs and we win 115.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I copied and pasted it Keith. Writer unknown but it wasn’t me. It is well written, with quotes from FZ being the salient points. He will trade now. He has what we need, and I’m quite certain we have what he wants. As you knows I already offered our Smith for his. That won’t be enough, but …. pick up the phone Andy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Call me old fashioned, but I am not doing a damn thing to help Farhan or the Giants. Especially not trading top prospects for guys close to their walk years. See what Cleveland wants for Hand. Trade Kike and Taylor, neither is worth spit. But the BP can be fixed without trading with the Gnats.

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    1. Not a lot of discussion going on in here Jefe.

      You saw SF’s Smith last night. He closed the door with a clean inning and 2 Ks, lowering his ERA to 2.28 and raising his K/9 to 12.8. In his last 7 outings his K/9 is 18. Let that sink in ….. then tell me what you’d trade for him.

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  3. I think our smith is to good of a prospect to use in a trade for the giants smith, but I would definitely use will smith as part of a Hand trade. Smith and a pitching prospect for Hand?

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    1. I disagree that our Smith is “too good” to trade for SF Smith. But, that’s just my opinion. Smith’s numbers in SF are outstanding. He’s a closer with an ERA+ of 185. Our Smith is a prospect and nothing more.

      I saw the Hand rumor on MLB and had to ask “why would Cleveland trade him?” He’s the closer on a potential post season club. Typically teams in contention don’t trade their best players. That said, of course I’d trade a prospect for the Major League leader in Saves. But if Hand is available it will take a lot more than our 5th rated prospect.

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      1. Indians need starting pitching. Twinkies are blowing the entire division out of the water. Bauer is also rumored to be on the market. Cleveland seems to be in a sell mode…beats trading with the Giants.

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  4. I wouldn’t trade a prospect like smith for a reliever who is going to be a free agent at the end of the year. He’s to good of a prospect to trade for a rental player, Is what I should have said.
    I think the Indians are getting real close to being sellers this season, so I thought smith and a good pitching prospect, for Hand, might get their attention, maybe not.

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  5. That’s a valid point Keith. I’m thinking only about THIS year. What does this team need to be complete. At the moment it would appear to be the bridge to Jansen. There will be a number of pitchers that would fill that void. Smith is one but not the only one. Heck, SF has a couple of others that would work. I figure our Smith isn’t really in our plans, and we have multiple catching prospects. And he may not be our most tradable asset. TrueBlueLA did a piece on that and had him around 13th. His recent success might get some attention.

    Dodger pitching not sharp today. These are the giants. Throw strikes.

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  6. It’s time to sit Kiki against righties and start Freese at first and Muncy at second. Kiki is as bad against righties as Joc is against lefties! Sit him DOWN,

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    1. Verdugo is hitting almost everything on the ground. Even his hits are mostly grounders that find a hole. Maybe his back problem is causing a change in his swing. If so give him ten days to recover on the IL.r
      Tomorrow would be a good time to give Garlick a start.

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  7. It’s to bad about kike, he finally won a position, and now is letting it slip through his fingers, if he doesn’t start producing soon the FO may start looking for a second baseman at the deadline, to go along with the reliever were all hoping for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Slip? I never not once thought he was a starter at all. He may have won the job in spring, but the guys track record says low average. Last year he was decent, he has some pop against LHP, but he is nothing more than a super sub. He and Taylor are interchangeable and both are striking out too much for the kind of hitters they are.

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      1. I kinda look at Taylor and Hernandez as the same guy. If one of them was left handed it would make more sense to me. Muncy may be the left handed version of those guys. Looks he’s going to continue to play all over the infield. It’s my believe if that’s the case, defensively he will be replacement level at all of them. His history shows that, though currently he’s above replacement defensively. As long as he OPS’s over .800 the Dodgers won’t much care about his gap filling defense. Just keep him out there.

        Verdugo needs to work his way out of this. I believe he will. He’s a hitter.

        Cody cooling off some. Gee, who saw that coming?

        I read a piece somewhere about the Dodgers going after Whit Merrifield. I could live with that. I was all in on the Scooter rumors last year too. Frankly I don’t see it happening. In fact it won’t surprise me if they do nothing, or next to nothing, on the trade front. When the bullpen does what they did yesterday, we look complete.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Merrifield would be good. Cleveland is 9 games back and sinking. Their starting staff is a mess. Hand is signed through 2020….so not a rental. He would be more valuable than Smith in my book. 13 K’s per 9 innings…not bad

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