(Redirected from Joe Espada)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 175 lb.
- School University of Mobile
An infielder, Espada played 10 seasons in the minor leagues, half of them at AAA. He had hit .446 with 13 homers and 38 steals for the NAIA University of Mobile in 1996. He was picked by the Oakland Athletics with the 45th overall pick, in the second round, right between two other shortstops - Brent Abernathy went at #44 and Jimmy Rollins at #46. Espada was the first Puerto Rican picked in the 1996 amateur draft.
The A's assigned Espada that year to the Southern Oregon Timberjacks (12 for 54, 2B, HR, 5 BB) and the West Michigan Whitecaps (.270/.393/.297 in 23 G). He spent all of 1997 with the Visalia Oaks, hitting .274/.384/.324 with 72 walks, 90 runs and 46 steals in 63 tries as an ideal leadoff threat. He led all A's farmhands in swipes and led the team in runs, beating out players such as Ramon Hernandez, Eric Chavez and Jeff DaVanon.
Josue fell to .255/.373/.329 for the '98 Huntsville Stars; one of his fellow shortstops for part of the year was Miguel Tejada. In 1999, Espada played for the Midland Rockhounds (.338/.420/.423, 85 R, 22 SB, 16 CS) and Vancouver Canadians (8 for 26, 3 BB, 2B). He fielded only .918 at short for Midland. Joey would have won the Southern League batting title had he qualified; instead, it went to Brady Clark.
Espada saw a reduced role in 2000 with Midland (.265/.357/.337 in 23 G) and the Sacramento RiverCats (.234/.358/.283 in 40 G) while seeing increased action at second base instead of short. The next year, Joey played in the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies chains with the Calgary Cannons (.300/.387/.414, 61 R in 79 G) and Colorado Springs Sky Sox (7 for 27, 2 2B, HR, 5 BB, 8 R in 7 G) respectively. He was traded for Juan Acevedo in August when he switched clubs.
The Santurce native was with his 4th organization in 2002, playing for the Kansas City Royals' Omaha Royals club and hitting only .224/.289/.278 in 74 games with 14 steals in 18 tries; he was their most-used second sacker. Espada played in 2003 for the Texas Rangers' Frisco RoughRiders (9 for 41, 3 BB) and the St. Louis Cardinals' Memphis Redbirds (7 for 26, 2 3B, HR) and Palm Beach Cardinals (.236/.317/.275).
Espada was an assistant coach at the University of Mobile in 2004-2005. He was still active during the summers in the independent leagues. He hit .336/.382/.410 for the 2004 Pensacola Pelicans and got his final Organized Baseball look with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' Montgomery Biscuits (.265/.333/.296 in 27 G). He finished fourth in the Central Baseball League in average and was named the All-Star shortstop. He ended his playing career with the '05 Pelicans, hitting .333/.400/.443 with 24 steals in 28 attempts and 52 runs in 64 games. He was 6th in the league in average and again was picked as the All-Star shortstop.
In 2006, he was hitting coach of the Greensboro Grasshoppers and was hitting coach of the Jupiter Hammerheads in 2007. He was minor league infield coordinator for the Florida Marlins in 2008-2009 before being promoted to the major league staff. He was named as a coach for the Puerto Rican national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. From 2015 to 2017, he was the third base coach for the New York Yankees under manager Joe Girardi. he was rumored to be in the running as a potential replacement for Girardi when he was fired following the 2017 ALCS, but instead accepted a job as the bench coach of the Houston Astros in 2018.