Ed Howard lost his senior season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Prom was canceled. Same for graduation at Mount Carmel High School on Chicago’s South Side.
Through it all, the 18-year-old Howard kept working. And he got rewarded Wednesday night.
The athletic shortstop was selected by the Chicago Cubs with the No. 16 pick in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, becoming the first Illinois high school position player to go in the first round since Jayson Werth in 1997.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Howard was perhaps the best shortstop prospect in the draft. He hit .421 (48 for 114) with three homers in 35 games during his junior year with Mount Carmel.
Howard also started for the 2014 Jackie Robinson West Little League team that advanced to the finals of the Little League World Series.
Howard, who has committed to the University of Oklahoma, said he’s always playing around with his glove at the house.
The White Sox selected left-handed pitcher Garett Crochet from Tennessee. Crochet has the essential attributes teams desire in their starters: a big frame (6-foot-6), a strong arm (he can flirt with triple digits), and an out pitch (his slider). Should he fail in the rotation, he'd probably make a good setup man.
The St. Louis Cardinals went with third baseman Jordan Walker from Decatur High School in Georgia. Walker, armed with a Duke commitment, is viewed as a tougher sign than his peers. If he signals to teams he's turning pro, he should be the top prep corner infielder off the board. Walker is listed at 6-foot-5, which would tie him with Kris Bryant for the tallest third baseman in the majors. Predictably, one of his top selling points is his power potential. Even more predictably, there are concerns he'll have to move away from the hot corner due to his size.
The Detroit Tiger selected the Arizona State star Spencer Torkelson with the No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball amateur draft Wednesday night.
But while Torkelson was long considered the favorite to go first overall, the surprise came when he was announced as a third baseman by Commissioner Rob Manfred. Detroit plans to move Torkelson to the hot corner from first base, where he played for the Sun Devils.
Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad went No. 2 to Baltimore, which took Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the top pick a year ago.
After Torkelson and Kjerstad were picked, Miami took Minnesota right-hander Max Meyer; Kansas City selected Texas A&M lefty Asa Lacy; Toronto went with Vanderbilt shortstop Austin Martin; Seattle chose Georgia righty Emerson Hancock; and Pittsburgh picked New Mexico State shortstop Nick Gonzales.
Tennessee high school outfielder Robert Hassell ended the run on college players, going No. 8 to San Diego.
Florida high school outfielder Zac Veen was chosen by Colorado with the ninth pick, followed by the Los Angeles Angels selecting Louisville lefty Reid Detmers to round out the top 10.
Rounds 2-5 will be held Thursday, for a total of 160 players selected.