Los Angeles Dodgers outfield prospect Niko Hulsizer is putting up impressive numbers with the low-A Great Lakes Loons. Hulsizer, who currently leads the Midwest League in slugging percentage at .636, and OPS at 1.043, is on the fast track to getting reps at a higher level soon.
While his slugging percentage and OPS are quite impressive, it doesn’t tell the entire story of Hulsizer’s offensive surge in 2019. Currently sitting on a .291 batting average, a .407 OBP, and 48 hits, which has included: 16 doubles, a triple, and 13 home runs; shows just how dominant Hulsizer has been against Midwest League pitching in 2019.
Hulsizer credits his plate approach to his early season success, as he feels confident in any count.
“I’m just trying to put more contact on the ball,” explained Hulsizer. “I’m not trying to get too big of a swing, especially with two strikes which has helped me a lot this season. Another thing that is helping me is my ability to hit off-speed pitches, and not letting them zone me in with one pitch. I feel I’m a more mature hitter this year.”
And his ability to hit those off-speed pitches is something he worked on a lot this past offseason.
“Hitting off-speed pitches is something new to my game this year,” said Hulsizer. “It’s coming together with more plate appearances and more at-bats.”
Another area of his game that is coming together is his play in the outfield. In fact, Hulsizer hasn’t committed a single error in his 221 innings split between left and right field. Factor that in with his three outfield assists, and it would appear that Hulsizer is an up-and-coming defender, too.
While his defensive stats tell a little bit about Hulsizer’s ability – they don’t tell the entire story, as Hulsizer admits that his ability to simply track down fly balls has gotten better since joining Great Lakes this year.
“I’m coming together well in the outfield,” stated Hulsizer. “The strength program here has really helped me loosen up and get to the balls faster. I’m reaching new positions in the outfield.”
The 22-year-old was selected by the Dodgers in the 18th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft, out of Morehead State University. Hulsizer posted a .314 average with 50 runs, 53 hits, 11 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs, 38 RBI, and 104 total bases in his senior year, on his way to earning Ohio Valley Conference tournament MVP.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Niko Hulsizer, as he’ll be a force in the Los Angeles Dodgers system for years to come.