Signed by the Los Angeles Angels on July 22, outfielder Cyle Hankerd is now playing with his fourth organization. Hankerd came to the Travs from the independent Southern Maryland Blue Crabs where he was emerging as the Atlantic League’s most valuable player. Playing college ball at USC (University of Southern California), Hankerd signed with Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006. He was in the Chicago White Sox’s organization last year and the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization the year prior.
The Blue Crabs were the third independent team for which you played. What is independent ball like?
It’s definitely a different experience, and a lot less structured. It’s also a lot more fun, and you just go out and play the games. I can’t explain why it’s less structured, but you just go out and play.
Talk about your experience now with your fourth organization and playing independent ball. How do you get to independent ball?
Ideally, you want to stay in an organization and not play independent ball if you want to get to the Big Leagues. Finding an independent team is a combination of working with your agent and word of mouth.
Talk about your career from a mental aspect?
Technically, I never played with the White Sox as they released me after Spring training. I was in independent ball when the Phillies picked me up. After the White Sox, I was bummed for a while, but I’ve been around the game long enough to understand how it works. Baseball has its ups and downs and is definitely a grind. As a baseball player, you get used to it.
You’ve also played first base in your career. What was that like?
I definitely like playing first base, and it’s a lot less stress on your whole body. It was a nice changeup, and I enjoyed it.
First time in Arkansas?
Yes, and I’m excited to be here. I like it, and the stadium is nice.
You joined Arkansas hitting with a bang and now you are in a slump with a .114 over the last 10 games. (Average is .236 for 19 games). How do you handle that?
Unfortunately for me, I only have a month to show my skills. I’m optimistic I have time to turn it around.
What do you do for fun in the off-season?
I like to spend time with my family and girlfriend and have been working on my degree. I finished up at USC last fall with a degree in public policy.
Why that major?
When I was younger, real estate and urban development was big. I got into because you can do a lot of different things with it, and that attracted me.
What do you want to do after baseball?
I would like to be a baseball agent. I like the idea of bringing my knowledge of the game and sharing it with other players.