Kevin Cyle Hankerd
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 215 lb.
- School University of Southern California
- High School South Hills High School
Outfielder Cyle Hankerd played in the minor leagues from 2006 to 2019, but never reached the majors. He was drafted twice, first in the 44th round by the Chicago Cubs in the 2003 amateur draft coming out of high school, and a second time by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 3rd round of the 2006 amateur draft out of the University of Southern California. After signing with the Diamondbacks, he split the 2006 season between the Yakima Bears of the Northwest League and Lancaster JetHawks of the California League, combining to hit a scorching .381/.436/.584 in 72 games. He was named the Northwest League Player of the Year. In 2007, he spent a full season in the California League with the Visalia Oaks, falling to .285/.368/.422 in 103 games.
By 2008, he was playing full-time in AA with the Mobile BayBears of the Southern League, but his production continued to fall, to .245/.292/.333 in 125 games. After a stay in Hawaii Winter Baseball after the season, he returned to Mobile in 2009 and did somewhat better, batting .266/.344/.393. That wasn't enough to get him to the next level in 2010, so he did a third year in Mobile, but familiarity with the league did not help much, as he batted .244 in 78 games. He did get a brief look in AAA, playing 7 games for the Reno Aces and going 6 for 15 (.400), but overall, the D-Backs figured he was not going to be a major leaguer and let him move away via free agency after the season. He had to go the independent leagues to pursue his career and suddenly found back his hitting strike with the Amarillo Sox of the American Association, where he hit .355 in 70 games, and with good power to boot. That raised the interest of the Philadelphia Phillies who gave him a look, but only back in the Florida State League with the Clearwater Threshers. He should have dominated at that level, but only hit .248 in 31 games.
In 2012, he moved to a third organization after a brief five-game return engagement in Amarillo, that of the Chicago White Sox and once again had to pay his dues in A-ball, this time with the Kannapolis Intimidators of the South Atlantic League. He did what the Phils had likely expected the year before, which is to tear the cover off the ball, to the tune of a .438 average in 9 games, earning a promotion to High-A and the Winston-Salem Dash where he continued to do well, batting .325 in 74 games. That was impressive, but he was now 27 and should really have been trying to solve AAA pitching by that stage. Which is why he found himself back in the indy leagues at the start of 2013, now with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League. In a high-quality circuit, he hit .322 in 81 games and slugged .641 thanks to 22 homers, which gave him yet another chance in the affiliated minors, with the Arkansas Travelers, AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, and while he was decent enough - .260/.351/.433 in 35 games - it would be his last appearances in a major league organization. His career was far from over, though.
From 2014 to 2019, after two other stints with Southern Maryland the first two seasons, he played in the Mexican League every year, and finally found a long-term home, playing both in the AAA league in the summer and in the Mexican Pacific League during the winter league season. He was a star in both leagues, summers mainly with the Diablos Rojos del Mexico, for whom he hit 22 homers in just 58 games in 2015 and another 16 in 2016. He won a league title in 2017 with the Toros de Tijuana, for whom he also slugged 17 homers. On September 10th, he drove in 4 runs in a 15-3 rout of the Pericos de Puebla in Game 5 of the championship series, clinching the title. In his final two seasons, 2018 and 2019, he hit over .300 both years for Tijuana and Mexico, even though his power diminished significantly. He probably would have returned for another season in 2020, as he was still just 35 years old, but the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out the season and he called it a career. During that Mexican period, he also took part in the 2016 Caribbean Series with the Venados de Mazatlan, who went undefeated in the tournament; he went 5 for 17 with 1 homer, 6 runs scored and 4 RBIs in the six games.
After baseball, he became an account executive with DEX Imaging.