Cubs Call First Round Pick Ed Howard "Literally Our Best-Case Scenario"

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Cubs Call First Round Pick Ed Howard “Literally Our Best-Case Scenario”

Chicago Cubs

In baseball, more than any other major professional sports draft, you pick the guys you believe have the most talent, who you can develop into impactful players eventually. The players are too far off to draft for need – especially out of high school – and the outcomes are all way too uncertain to get cute.

So when the Cubs drafted high school shortstop Ed Howard last night, it was because they felt like he was the best prospect for them there at pick 16. And obviously it was no reach, with Howard ranked by all services as among the top 20 prospects in the draft, and considered by most to be the top high school shortstop in the draft.

But what makes a guy the “best player available,” anyway? Surely that’s not a uniform truth across all organizations for every player, right? Like, surely, the best player for one organization – how it trains and develops players, for example – isn’t precisely the same best player for another organization, right? And isn’t it possible that a small part of what makes a guy the “best player available” for an organization is the feeling and the comfort and the fit and all that stuff that might help a guy max out?

Anyway, that is all to say: even if it weren’t a fun story that the Cubs landed the hometown player last night, it might also help on the strategic side that they did. The fit might just be perfect on both sides.

To that end, Cubs Scouting Director Dan Kantrovitz shared the team’s perspective on their top pick last night, and as you’d expect, he was very happy.

“We’re ecstatic,” Kantrovitz told Cubs.com. “Having the opportunity to select Ed Howard with our first pick was literally our best-case scenario, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Earlier this week, when [the front office] strategized various scenarios, selecting Ed was literally at the top of our list. But, frankly, I didn’t think he’d get to our pick.”

In a normal year, Howard plays a spring season, and if he stays the top prep shortstop prospect, there’s just no chance he makes it to 16. But given no season this year, and the obvious risk in selecting a high school-aged prospect who missed a year, you’re taking a big swing for a big reward. There’s a reason no high schooler went off the board in the first seven picks, and just four total went before the Cubs took Howard at 16. Clearly, the Cubs love this guy.

More scouting on Howard here, and more from the Cubs:



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.