Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty announced today that Billy Hamilton would start the season with the Louisville Bats and play center field. The 22-year-old Hamilton set professional baseball’s single-season stolen base record in 2012 with 155 swipes between High-A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola. In 2011, his first full season of affiliated baseball, Hamilton stole 103 bases with the Low-A Dayton Dragons.
Hamilton has spent his entire minor league career to this point playing shortstop, but this offseason began the transition to center field with Zack Cozart anchoring the Reds’ shortstop position for the foreseeable future. Shin-Soo Choo is expected to play center field for the Reds this year, but his contract is up after the season, perhaps leaving the spot available for Hamilton should the Reds deem him ready in 2014.
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