John Lepore | June 9th, 2020
The MLB Amateur Draft will be on June 10th at 7 pm ET. As we continue our look at some of the top prospects, let’s take a look at the top Prep shortstop in the country, Ed Howard.
Make sure to check out our other MLB Draft profiles here.
Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel HS (IL)
2019 Stats (HS): .419/.495/.732, 3 HRs, 11 SBs, 101 PAs
Howard was born on August 8, 2001, and is the top shortstop in the draft. Many will say Nick Gonzales, but Howard will stick at the position. He is a slick fielder and has room to grow. Howard has solid tools and a power/speed combo that could translate to 20/30 in the big leagues. At 6’2 and 185 lbs, the right-handed bat has a smooth swing and consistently makes solid contact. A well-developed understanding of the strike zone doesn’t hurt either. With defense becoming more of a priority especially at a premium position, Howard could be much more valuable than just his hitting tools.
He is committed to Oklahoma University but could very well sign when his name gets called on Wednesday. Howard doesn’t shy away from the spotlight either. He started at shortstop in the 2014. He has also shown his talents at the Perfect Game National Showcase, Perfect Game All-American Classic, and the Under Armor All-American Game. Howard has maturity beyond his years as an 18-year-old.
Take a look…
He is a pure shortstop at a young age and he projects to stay there. That alone should intrigue MLB teams. Howard has the fielding chops to be a top-3 SS for years to come defensively. Howard also has a knack to barrel the ball and make hard contact even to the opposite field. He posted a 95 mph Average Exit Velocity at the Perfect Game National Showcase. The average was 83 mph. With a little strength training and growth over the next couple years, his power should show and 20+ HRs could be the norm. His speed, while not crazy, and knowledge of the game will allow him to swipe 25-30 bags a year.
Power and patience are two things that Howard will probably need to work on. He will likely grow into his power but watching tape on him, he already lunges a bit at the ball. If he can get stronger and control his swing, he could have easier pop. Patience may come as he gets more comfortable, but it doesn’t get easier as he moves up the chain in a major league system. As his swing stands right now, he will be exposed on off-speed pitches unless he learns to keep his weight and hands back. This is something that is correctable and with Howard’s baseball IQ and maturity, it could be fixed quickly.
Howard will hit for a little less power and have a little more speed, but I can see Javier Baez in his game. Baez has never had great plate discipline, but it works for him. Howard could do the same and although he may swing a lot and occasionally look bad, his bat speed and ability to hit to all fields will make up for it. Howard can be just as much the defensive wizard as Baez is making plays and throws from anywhere on a diamond. It may be a little lofty for a High School kid but the physical tools are there with plenty of room to grow in the right system.
Draft Projection: Round 1, Pick 16: Chicago Cubs
Speaking of Baez, he could be playing with Howard in 2023. The Cubs could use some athletic players with good gloves. They haven’t been an organization to take pitchers in the first round. The Cubs selected Brendon Little in 2017 and before that was Paul Blackburn in 2012 and Pierce Johnson in 2011. Obviously, the track record suggests not only their likelihood to grab an infielder but also that they may have more luck doing it.
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