What do you get when you combine pure talent, existential wits and a former Dixie State University student? Joe Andrade.
Andrade started his baseball career as a catcher at DSU—and he saw nothing short of excellence.
While at DSU, he was named the Pacific West Coast Conference player of the year in 2012. After completing his four years of eligibility, he was signed as a free-agent by the Milwaukee Brewers.
“My teammates, the program, my coaches that were there, that are now at BYU, couldn’t have been any better for me as far as my development as a player and as a student athlete,” Andrade said. “They were there for me basically from the day I showed up to the day I left.”
Andrade said his coaches not only coached him on the field, but also in life.
“They always pulled a leg for me and did everything they could to make me better in class…I can’t thank my coaches enough—they did everything for me,” Andrade said.
But his talent didn’t stop at the field. He was also a good friend to many people.
“He was a good teammate, a leader and the person I could go and talk to about anything,” said fellow DSU teammate Yuto Kata, a junior accounting major from West Jordan. “He was one of the hardest workers I know.”
Being a student and a professional athlete can have its limits—but not for this catcher. Andrade returned to Dixie again in fall 2012 and is now close to graduating with his bachelors degree in human communication.
“He returned back here [last] September, and he worked out with us a little bit during the fall,” head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said.
Pfatenhauer said Andrade was a good example for the players while he played with some of them in the 2011-2012 seasons. He said the players still respect him a lot.
While working out with the DSU baseball players, he spent some time with the catchers and hitters to contribute some of his knowledge to them.
But now, the former star catcher for Dixie State is nothing short of a catch for the Brewers.
Early this year, Andrade was in Arizona with the Brewers for spring training. At that camp, he made it to the high A-team in the Florida State League and then played for the Brevard County Manatees. He played for the Manatees from April to mid-June, and from there was sent down to go play rookie ball in Arizona to get more at-bats.
“Playing professionally is different as far as playing college and [having] it as a career,” Andrade said. “It’s got its ups and downs. But other than that, I can only say that I am thankful to be able to play the sport that I love for money. Being able to do this as a job is a blessing, and I just know that people would kill for this kind of job.”
Being a catcher can be challenging but moving around is nothing new for Andrade.
“That’s just the way it is for a catcher,” Andrade said. “I’ll be here one day, [and] I’ll be somewhere else the next day. Sometimes you just don’t know when you are going to leave.”
Andrade said learning to play tired is one of a pro-baseball player’s struggles. Going from playing around 60 games in college to a full season is a big difference.
“It takes a toll sometimes on your body,” Andrade said. “You also have to make sacrifices to be away from your families, loved ones and your friends. You make sacrifices to play the game you love, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m grinding it out day-by-day playing baseball.”
Though this young player has a lot of work to do, there also is a bright future ahead.
Andrade said he plans to to spend more time with his family and keep working his way up to the big leagues—despite the competition and incoming drafts.
But for Andrade, it doesn’t matter how it’s done. He said his plan is to make it to the big leagues, whether it’s with the Milwaukee Brewers or not.
“If things don’t work out, then this is just a learning experience for me as far as life and knowing how to work hard and get to where you want to be,” Andrade said.
But future failure will do nothing to deter an otherwise uplifting personality.
“I always try to be happy, because that is just the kind of person I am,” Andrade said. “I always try to be happy and have a smile on my face. Life is too short to be sad and have a frown.”
But whether it’s time on the field or time away at school, he’s always up for a new adventure.
When Andrade’s not playing the game, you can usually find him out fishing. He said that is one thing he likes to do when he wants to get away.
Andrade also enjoys hiking and traveling to foreign countries. Being able to go out and see new things is something that gratifies him. But he also likes doing those things with the people he cares about the most.
“I am a very family-oriented kind of person, and experience is everything,” Andrade said. “That’s what makes life for me.”
Andrade also likes to play the guitar and plans to start recording music with his girlfriend.