Cubs infield prospect Ed Howard’s hip injury labeled ‘significant’

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Drafting high-upside players – or even having a farm system with talented names on the rise – does not always necessarily equate to a big league roster dripping with impact. A prime example of what can go wrong can be found in 2020 Cubs first-rounder Ed Howard going down with a ‘significant’ hip injury this week.

According to NBC Sports Chicago, the team could get a clearer diagnosis and timetable for Howard as soon as Friday – but it’s clear already that it could be some time before the Mount Carmel, IL native is back on the field.

Cubs farm director Jared Banner called it a ‘freak’ injury. Howard stretched out for first base while running in a game this week, twisted and then collapsed – in obvious pain.

After a slow start to his professional career last year, when he batted just .225/.277/.315 with Myrtle Beach, Howard looked like he was starting to find his footing at South Bend this year. Over the last two weeks, he was really heating up – but with this injury, that’s all on hold now.

MLB Pipeline has the 20-year-old Howard pegged as the Cubs’ 14th-ranked prospect and fourth-ranked infielder, behind the likes of Cristian Hernandez, James Triantos and Reginald Preciado. As we saw during the Cubs’ last run driven by homegrown position players, they tend to gravitate toward athletic middle infielders, especially at the lower levels of the minors.

Howard was no exception. Drafted with the 16th overall pick in the truncated 2020 MLB Draft straight out of Mount Carmel High School, he was a feel-good story immediately. Who doesn’t love the local kid playing for the team he grew up watching?

But it’s been clear he wants to be more than a feel-good story. Howard wants to be a high-quality big league player for the Cubs – but now faces an uphill battle. Anyone who’s ever dealt with even a minor hip issue knows how much it affects your entire body, let alone being a professional athlete whose range of motion and explosiveness are critical to the day-to-day.

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We’ll keep you updated as we learn more on the injury and what it means for Howard’s outlook.