Chicago Cubs select local standout Ed Howard with first-round pick

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs went with local high school standout infielder Ed Howard with the 16th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.

Theo Epstein went with Mt. Carmel prep infielder Ed Howard in the first round Wednesday night, giving the Chicago Cubs a young talent with tremendous upside and above average defensive abilities.

There’s a lot to love about this pick. He’s a local product which is always cool to see. Howard also played on the 2014 Little League World Series US champion Jackie Robinson West team, helping start the game-winning double play at shortstop. This is a kid built for the bright lights and the big stage.

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"“I like that feeling (of playing in a packed ballpark),” Howard told NBC Sports. “I feel like that feeling motivated me to keep pushing and getting better because I wanted to make those few weeks in Williamsport a reality, I wanted to play in front of crowds like that every single day.”"

This marks the first time Epstein and Chicago selected a high school player with their first-round pick since back in 2012, when the team selected outfielder Albert Almora. The ceiling for Howard looks to be higher (or at least the floor higher if nothing else) given his makeup and skillset.

It’s never a bad thing to load up on talented high schoolers, especially in the mid-to-late first round. We’re talking about a player who is incredibly smooth, especially defensively, and has tremendous range.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll see Howard paired up with Javier Baez or the team’s 2018 first-round pick Nico Hoerner at Wrigley Field someday. One thing is clear, though. Cubs fans have a lot of cause for optimism when it comes to the team’s first-round pick this year. Here’s what his Perfect Game scouting report had to stay about him offensively:

"Right handed hitter, hits from a slightly open stance, simple repeatable load, same lightning quick hands drive the barrel, very good bat speed with loud contact and consistent hard loud barrel, line drive contact now with power to come. Everything in his game is balanced, athletic and explosive and will continue to improve as he gets stronger."

Personally, I was looking for the Cubs to take one of three players: high school outfielder Austin Hendrick (who went to the Reds at #12 overall), Mick Abel, a big right-handed prep hurler (went to Philadelphia one pick ahead of the Chicago at #15 overall) or UCLA outfielder Garrett Mitchell, MLB Pipeline’s #6 overall prospect – who at the time of writing this was yet to be drafted.

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But like I said, Howard has the tools to be a star on the North Side of Chicago. He may have grown up a White Sox fan – but we won’t hold that against him.