2020 MLB Draft Profile: SS Ed Howard, Mount Carmel HS (Ill.)

Ed Howard

Next up in the MLB Draft Profile series is prep shortstop Ed Howard, who might be one of the most under-talked about prospect in the draft. He’s going to rank very highly in the next edition of my Big Board.

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Previous Entries

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Vitals
6’2, 185 pounds
Position: Shortstop
Bats: Right
Throw: Right
DOB: Aug. 6, 2001 (awesome birthday, imo)

Location
Chicago, Ill.
Commitment: Oklahoma

Rankings
The Athletic: 20
Baseball America: 20
CBS MLB: 19
ESPN: 21
FanGraphs: 11
MLB Pipeline: 15
Perfect Game: 21

Slot recommended bonus (No. 29): $2,424,600

Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and videos.

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It’s a thin year for prep shortstops, and Howard is easily the best one available. The Dodgers are no strangers to popping prep shortstops in the first round — Corey Seager in 2012, Gavin Lux in 2016 — so Howard seems like a really good fit for an organization that prioritizes athleticism up the middle. Howard was named Illinois’ High School Player Of The Year … and he didn’t even play a game due to the pandemic. Diamondbacks 2018 2nd-rounder Alek Thomas, also from the same high school, won that award for the 2016-17 season. Thomas came into 2020 as a consensus Top 100 prospect, if you’re looking for any kind of pedigree.

Despite not playing, his performance against elite-level peers on last year’s showcase circuit helps alleviate questions about his hitting ability. Howard has a projectable frame that some believe will lead to average or better power down the road. He has a quiet setup, a slightly open stance and quick hands. He has a good feel for hitting and excels at hitting pitches down in the strike zone with authority. His swing can get a little long at times, but that’s correctable. His approach is advanced for a hitter his age and should go a long way in helping him reach his offensive ceiling.

Howard is a near-lock to stick at shortstop thanks to plus-range, soft hands, instincts and an above-average throwing arm. If nothing else, that gives him a higher floor than most prep shortstops (and players, for the matter). He can make all the throws from all the angles and gets to a lot of balls some shortstops who aren’t as big as him do not. He’s also an above-average runner that could lead to some added value on the base paths.

Video

Videos courtesy of Prospects Live, 2080 Baseball and Baseball America.

As with all prep players this year, signability will be a factor. He’s committed to the University of Oklahoma, but a slot-or-better offer probably gets him to come off that.

If he gets into the Dodgers’ system, well, just look at what they did with Lux. Lux had a similar profile out of high school — glove first, questionable bat, cold-weather player — so I’m plenty confident the Dodgers could do some things with Mr. Howard. He has been mocked to the Dodgers in a couple projections leading up to the draft. He profiles as an everyday shortstop and if he’s there at No. 29, he could be an outright steal.

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About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.