Entering the summer of 2002, catcher Ryan Hanigan just hoped to impress some major league scouts in the Cape Cod League and received no interest during the 2002 draft.
But over the next year, Hanigan signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds, earned a spot in the Class A Midwest League All-Star Game and played a game at Class AAA.
It was a pretty good year for Hanigan, now a catcher and designated hitter for the Potomac Cannons. Hanigan, who hits more for contact than power, is having a stellar offensive season. His .295 batting average puts him second on the team behind only center fielder Chris Denorfia.
Hanigan, who grew up in Boston, started attracting attention with his bat playing for the Orleans Cardinals in the CCL, one of the nation's top amateur leagues.
"I didn't know I was going pro, it just depended on what kind of summer I had, because a lot of guys in Cape Cod get a shot at the minors," said Hanigan, who had just completed his junior year at Rollins College in Florida at the time.
Hanigan finished the season 10th in the league in batting average, hitting .292 for a team that hit just .233 combined. After that solid performance, he said several teams became interested in his services.
Last year, Hanigan proved his Cape Cod performance was no fluke -- he put up solid numbers for Class A Dayton, batting .277 in his first full professional season in earning an all-star selection. He was even promoted to the Reds' Class AAA affiliate in Louisville for a short stint last August, playing and starting in one game. He got a hit in his first at-bat.
"I really got a good feel for playing at a higher level, playing with good players and learning how they go about their business," Hanigan said. "I was really fortunate to get the opportunity. Usually you have to pay your dues just to get a chance like that."