Ed Howard misplaced his senior season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Promenade was canceled. Similar for commencement at Mount Carmel Excessive College on Chicago’s South Aspect.
By means of all of it, the 18-year-old Howard saved working. And he acquired rewarded Wednesday evening.
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The athletic shortstop was chosen by the Chicago Cubs with the No. 16 pick within the Main League Baseball beginner draft, changing into the primary Illinois highschool place participant to go within the first spherical since Jayson Werth in 1997.
“It’s very exciting, not only to get selected in the MLB draft, but to be staying home, going with a hometown team,” Howard mentioned. “So it’s a surreal moment.”
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Howard was maybe the most effective shortstop prospect within the draft. He hit .421 (48 for 114) with three homers in 35 video games throughout his junior 12 months with Mount Carmel.
Howard additionally began for the 2014 Jackie Robinson West Little League group that superior to the finals of the Little League World Collection.
“As far as what stands out to us on the field, he’s got an electric skill set,” mentioned Dan Kantrovitz, vp of scouting for the Cubs. “He’s a plus shortstop. He’s got pop in his bat. He can run. He can impact a game in so many ways and we think he’s got a chance to be a star.”
Kantrovitz, who joined the Cubs’ entrance workplace in December, flew from California to Chicago in January to look at Howard work out at Wrigley Discipline and meet with the infielder and his mother and father.
Kantrovitz additionally was a part of a Zoom name with Howard within the spring. Howard wore his baseball mitt in the course of the assembly.
“It wasn’t something that I think he expected us to notice or even see,” Kantrovitz mentioned. “You could only see it for just a couple seconds there. … The moment that we realized he was wearing his glove and was just champing at the bit to get on the field and take ground balls and play, we knew that he had the intangibles that we were looking for.”
Howard, who has dedicated to the College of Oklahoma, mentioned he is all the time taking part in round with his glove on the home.
“I love playing the game,” he mentioned.
Howard additionally impressed the Cubs once they requested him in regards to the problem of taking part in for considered one of his two hometown groups.
“I was looking forward to it,” he mentioned. “I wanted to be a hometown kid. I’m excited it’s with the Cubs.”
The choice of Howard, one of many high black prospects within the draft, comes after the Cubs introduced Monday they’re engaged on the formation of a variety committee to assist enhance the group’s requirements and practices.
President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein additionally mentioned he has been inspecting his personal hiring practices just lately amid protests throughout the nation — and the world — over racial injustice.
“The majority of people that I’ve hired, if I’m being honest, have similar backgrounds as me and look a lot like me,” Epstein mentioned. “That’s something that I need to ask myself why. I need to question my own assumptions, my own attitudes. I need to find a way to be better.”
Howard, who heard from Cubs stars Jason Heyward and Kris Bryant after he was drafted, mentioned he agreed with Epstein’s feedback about making variety a precedence.
“There’s a lot of African-Americans that can play,” Howard mentioned. “There’s not that many in the league right now, but I definitely think there’s a lot more coming. I’m a guy, this is my draft day, so you know in a few years I’ll be there.”
“I feel like with what’s going on in the world, it’s real crazy,” he continued. “We’ve all got to come together and realize that we’re all the same. We’re all human.”