Chicago Cubs: Ed Howard ready to shine after strong finish to 2021

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Drafted 16th overall in the 2020 MLB draft, Chicago Cubs prospect Ed Howard was met with no minor league season to jump into amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Evergreen Park, Illinois native made his highly-anticipated debut for Low-A Myrtle Beach in early May last year, but he didn’t exactly come out firing. The shortstop hit just .208 in his first month to go along with 25 strikeouts in 53 at-bats.

Added, he missed nearly a month midseason with a hamstring injury and when he returned, Howard hit just .108 to finish out June.

He’s one of many young faces at Cubs minicamp in Mesa, Arizona, in preparation for the minor league season.

"“I’ve been growing, I’ve been learning so much for it. When I look back on my last year, I’m grateful for it. I learned so much, and it’s making me the person that I’m becoming. I look back on it, and it’s just keep pushing forward,” Howard said of his first minor league season."

July saw Howard make incremental steps in the right direction, reducing his strikeout rate while hitting one home run to go along with eight RBIs. Still, he batted just .216.

Once the calendar flipped to August, the Cubs’ shortstop prospect flipped a switch as well, hitting .250 with two home runs and 15 RBIs in 80 at-bats. And in the final month of the season, he hit .283.

Ed Howard is going to be a great player for the Chicago Cubs in the future.

"“I got the experience under my belt,” the Cubs No. 7 prospect said at minicamp. “I know what it’s like. This offseason, I made adjustments for what I needed to work on, and next year I’ll go out there and play and do what I do.”"

The Cubs’ championship core of Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant all exited at the trade deadline last season. That said, the Cubs farm system has continued to get national recognition after being re-stocked with fruitful prospects.

Along with recent draft picks, including Howard, Caleb Kilian, Pete Crow-Armstrong, and Kevin Alcantara have taken the farm system from a bottom feeder to mid-level in one year’s time. Baseball America also pegged the Cubs as one of five farm systems that could rise this season.

Howard is probably a good candidate to begin the season in Myrtle Beach but if the end of last season was any indication, he could advance quickly through the Cubs’ system. MLB Pipeline projects the 20-year-old to be ready sometime in 2024.

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