2024 serves as a make or break year for this forgotten Cubs prospect

Ed Howard clubbed a mammoth home run in a High-A game but still has much to prove in the Cubs organization.

Chicago Cubs v Minnesota Twins
Chicago Cubs v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages

After dealing with injuries nearly derailing his career, former Chicago Cubs top prospect Ed Howard is looking to turn back into who he once was. Two years ago, he dealt with a season-ending hip injury and has never really looked the same since. Thankfully, in a High-A back fields game, he launched a mammoth home run, proving that he still can be a solid player.

Originally drafted out of the 1st round of the 2020 MLB draft, Howard went from high school right to pro ball, and at age 22, he still is young enough that he can put it all back together. He has had difficulty finding his swing since turning pro, with a lackluster slash of just .220/.272/.293 in his minor league career. He batted sub .200 in his 176 ABs in High-A last season with two home runs, so to hear that he clubbed on this early at least shows that improvements may have been made.

His primary positions of shortstop and second base present a challenge for him to move up the ladder. Blocking him at the top at Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson, then Luis Vazquez in Triple-A Iowa. In short, it will be hard for him to ascend very high, so even if he were to break out this season, reaching the majors in a Cubs uniform would be a steep uphill climb.

Still, Howard has time to turn things around before his minor league contract ends. If he can turn things around offensively, he will be given as fair a shot as anyone in the Cubs farm system. The team is oozing with prospect talent, so getting production from guys that have been mostly forgotten over the last couple of seasons, such as Howard, adds to the incredible depth that will lead the Cubs to their next great playoff run. 2024 indeed serves as a make-or-break season for the Cub's former 1st rounder.

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