Chicago Cubs: A look to the team’s future with newest selection Ed Howard

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

As Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs look towards the future, fans wonder where the newest first-round pick fits into their plans.

On Wednesday night, the MLB draft took place, and the Chicago Cubs selected a hometown high schooler from Mt. Carmel prep, shortstop Ed Howard. In a pre-novel coronavirus world Howard, who our own Jacob Misener profiled, was considered a top-10 talent from many scouts.

The Cubs were linked with many unique talents with their number 16 overall pick. Ultimately, they made a surprise selection by going with Howard, however, much to Wrigleyville’s chagrin. While the world awaits the looming decision of whether or not we will have a baseball season this year, one question remains: where does Howard fit into the future lineups of Cubs baseball?

A bright future ahead

Amidst the talent of the current roster who are still very much in their prime, Howard has now added to the mix of an infield made up of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and newest up-and-coming prospect Nico Hoerner.

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In a way, the choice to go with Howard felt a tad off the cuff, considering that much of the talk was surrounding guys like UCLA outfielder Garrett Mitchell or high school catcher Tyler Soderstrom. However, Howard was rated as the best shortstop in the draft by scouts, and with the looming contract discussions for guys like Báez and Bryant, solidifying the depth was the correct move.

Báez is the one guy who we expect the Cubs to sign to a longterm deal as he has become the catalyst for the offense. He is an exciting talent and a talent who Epstein and the front office would be foolish to let walk. The odd man out here is Bryant. Outside of the fiasco with his service time, Bryant is represented by super-agent Scott Boras, who is notorious for large free-agent contracts.

Due to this, the likelihood the Cubs and Bryant come to an extension seems very slim. Cubs fans do not like to hear this, but it is a potential reality forthcoming, which allows us to speak candidly about Howard and the future ahead for the Chicago born talent.

Alex Rodriguez was a high school shortstop who the Seattle Mariners selected with the first overall pick in the 1993 draft. While this is not a spot to directly compare Howard with Rodriguez, and by no means is this the case, Rodriguez was in the same place as Howard as a high school star.

Because of the contract dispute the team and Bryant have been facing and will ultimately continue to battle back and forth with, this gives Chicago an exciting direction with Howard and whether they want to keep him at his current position.

Next. Cubs select Ed Howard with first-round pick. dark

Baez should be that staple for the team for many years. Hoerner is the guy who should operate second base. Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo has described Howard as a “no-doubt shortstop” at the next level. And while that is perceptibly true, seeing what Howard can do at the hot corner would allow him to move into a role much quicker, especially if the Cubs ultimately trade Bryant.

No matter the case, it is an exciting time for both Howard and the Cubs. If he can build on his overall defense, he will indeed find a role. Fans should get excited about this team’s future and what the 18-year-old will bring to the great city of Chicago.