There have been many hometown Chicago-area kids who have been passed up by the Cubs over the years and I have often wondered, “Why didn’t they take him?”, generally in cases where Cubs top draft picks didn’t work out. Scott Sanderson (who eventually did pitch for the Cubs), Brett Butler and Curtis Granderson are just a few examples.
That’s why I’m very happy that the Cubs selected shortstop Ed Howard from Mount Carmel High School in Chicago with the 16th overall pick in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft Thursday.
Howard batted .421 (48-for-114) with 11 doubles, four triples and three homers in 35 games during his 2019 junior season with Mount Carmel. He was named a 2020 preseason All-American by Perfect Game. Unfortunately, his 2020 high school season was cancelled, as were many others, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Howard, who hits righthanded, has already played a game in Wrigley Field, the 2019 Under Armour All-America Game, and he was the starting shortstop on the 2014 Jackie Robinson West Little League Team that advanced to the finals of the Little League World Series.
He’s 6-2 and 185 and is the first Illinois high school position player to be selected in the first round of the MLB draft since Jayson Werth in 1997. He's also the first high school player to be selected by the Cubs in the first round since the team took Albert Almora Jr. sixth overall in Round 1 in 2012 (and Paul Blackburn in the supplemental first round, 56th overall).
He does have a college commit, to the University of Oklahoma, but hopefully the Cubs will get him signed. Obviously, he won’t play anywhere this year, as there almost certainly will not be a minor-league season, but if the Cubs get him under contract, he should be ready to go at the start of the 2021 minor-league season. As a shortstop, Howard could play there or perhaps second base or center field.
Congratulations to Ed Howard on his selection. Please welcome him to the Cubs family.
The second through fifth rounds of this year’s draft will happen today, beginning at 4 p.m. CT. TV coverage will be on MLB Network and ESPN2, and you can also watch online at MLB.com. We will have a thread later today for the rest of the draft and BCB's Tim Huwe will have thoughts on who he thinks the Cubs should select.