2020 MLB Draft Player Profile: Ed Howard

Ed Howard batting practice, July 21, 2019. Photo credit James Weisser, @JWeisser88 on Twitter.

Ed Howard is a very gifted young athlete that I believe will be the top shortstop taken in the MLB Draft this year. He has a great chance to stay at shortstop thanks to his plus or better defense, and he has excellent hands and a strong arm that should allow him to make all the highlight reel type plays at shortstop. 

Howard is a good hitter but he will need to continue to improve as a hitter in order to reach his full potential. He’s not a bad hitter by any means, he’s just a better fielder than hitter at this point. He has shown the ability to improve at the dish which is something I saw him do from the time he was at the 2019 Under Armour All-American Game until watching him practice with Mount Carmel High School in late February before COVID-19 unfortunately ended high school baseball in Illinois. I think if Howard continues to improve as a hitter he could be a very special talent that could one day be an All-Star caliber shortstop capable of posting plenty of 20+ HR, 20+ SB seasons.

What Others Are Saying

Talking to scouts, he was easily one of the top players if not the top player at Area Codes in the summer of 2019 and he has a chance to go early as this year’s draft class isn’t very deep at shortstop. Howard is the best shortstop at both the High School and College level according to both Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, and Prospects Live (I know, Austin Martin and Nick Gonzales are listed as SS but neither one, in my opinion, has as great of a chance to stick there long term as Howard does). He also could be a Top 5 player in dynasty FYPD’s for 2021 according to Chris Welsh of the Prospect One podcast. 

Jim Callis, Senior Writer for MLB Pipeline: “Ed Howard is the best player in this draft who’s guaranteed to stay at shortstop, and that should get him taken in the upper half of the first round. He comes with a high floor and a high ceiling, a guy who has no obvious shortcomings and could have solid tools across the board when he’s a finished product. He might be the best prep position player from Illinois since Jayson Werth in 1997.”

Ben Badler, Senior Editor at Baseball America: “We have Ed Howard ranked as the top high school shortstop in the country. He’s an athletic shortstop with a projectable frame and easy, smooth movements on both sides of the ball. It’s a promising combination of fluid actions and physical upside from a player who projects to stay at a premium position.”

Get to know Ed Howard from those that know him best

Head Coach Brian Hurry has coached Howard for all 4 years as well as many other talented players. Many of Hurry’s players went on to have success such as 2019 Midwest League MVP and current Top 100 Prospect Alek Thomas, former major league pitcher Cesar Carrillo (Miami, 2015 1st Rd. SDP), 2019 ACC Player of the Year Bobby Seymour (Wake Forest), 2018 Seattle Mariners 2nd Round Pick Josh Stowers (Louisville), and 2019 College World Series starting second baseman Ako Thomas (Michigan). He also helped coach Mt. Carmel to a state championship in 2013.

Alek Thomas was former teammates with Howard at Mt. Carmel High School before he went on to star with the Arizona Diamondbacks, winning the Midwest League MVP in 2019 as well as being named a Top 100 Prospect.

and finally….. my interview with Ed Howard.

Bottom Line

Howard currently ranks as high as 12th nationally (MLB Pipeline) and as low as 22nd (Baseball America). I feel that he’s a legit top 10 overall type talent and that the only reason why he isn’t a part of the Top 10 at this moment is because this year’s draft class is one of the best since 2011. That class produced 9 All-Stars (Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, Anthony Rendon, Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, George Springer, Jose Fernandez, Sonny Gray, and Joe Panik). If Howard does fall outside the Top 10 he will be one of the best values in this year’s MLB Draft.

James Weisser has been following prospects since 2003, when the Florida Marlins won the world series with players like Josh Beckett, Miguel Cabrera, and Dontrelle Willis. He has seen MVP's, Cy Young Winners, and All-Stars before they ever played in the majors, and is an avid college baseball fan who enjoys watching the SEC and ACC in the spring when often times the cold, wet weather of the Midwest allows him to follow some of the top players in both conferences. He also enjoys following/covering the Midwest League which is often players first full-season level. He also watches some of the top amateur talent that comes through Chicago and the Midwest like the Under Armour All-America game at Wrigley Field which features some of the top incoming seniors for the following year as well as the 17U Team USA which features some of the top juniors in the country. He currently resides in McHenry, Illinois which is located within an hour from the Beloit Snappers and Kane County Cougars which allows him to see 4 or more organizations Low A teams in a week at times. A White Sox fan growing up one of his favorite moments was watching them win the World Series in 2005. A few of his all-time favorite players to watch are Frank Thomas, Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Clayton Kershaw, Barry Bonds, Mike Trout, and Ken Griffey Jr.

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