MUNSTER, Ind. – The Cubs selected one of Chicago’s very own with the 16th pick in the 2020 MLB Draft Wednesday night, Mount Carmel’s Ed Howard.
At his draft party in Munster, the young shortstop’s reaction was priceless.
It’s the Cubs’ first high school player selected in the first round since Albert Almora in 2012, which was Theo Epstein’s debut pick with Chicago.
Howard had his opportunity to win a state championship as a senior taken away due to coronavirus, but was ready for draft night.
“I was supposed to have prom, graduation, a state championship,” Howard said. “All things I had in my mind this year. But they kind of got taken away. But this moment, draft night, is also something I have been thinking about. I get this moment.”
Howard, 18, from Lynwood, batted .421 with 11 doubles, four triples and three homers in 35 games during his 2019 junior season with Mount Carmel.
Ranked as the #15 prospect by MLB.com, scouts believe he could stay at shortstop due to his defensive abilities and strong arm.
Cubs VP of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz cemented that on a conference call after the selection.
“We fully expect Howard to remain at short, we project him as a plus shortstop and those guys are hard to come by,” Kantrovitz said.
He becomes he first Illinois High School player drafted in the first round since 1997, when Jayson Werth was selected.
Howard was also the starting shortstop on the 2014 Jackie Robinson West Little League team.
He has committed to the University of Oklahoma. Howard will have until Aug. 1 to decide if he’s going to sign with the Cubs or become a Sooner after MLB pushed back the deadline due to the virus.