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.