Chicago Cubs prospect Ed Howard is facing a long absence.
The shortstop sustained a significant hip injury at High-A South Bend on Tuesday. The Cubs are still collecting information about the injury and determining next steps. Howard awkwardly hit the ground at first base after trying to avoid being tagged on the wrong throw.
It’s a blow to 20-year-old Howard, who has been limited to only 103 professional games since the Cubs drafted him from Mount Carmel with the number 16 pick in the 2020 draft. Baseball America ranked Howard their number 18 prospect, while MLB.com ranked him number 14 in their preseason rankings.
President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer praised Howard’s good attitude about the situation, despite his injury. He expects Howard to make a strong comeback.
“It’s never a good time to have an injury like this,” Hoyer said on Saturday. “But it’s a shame. He worked so incredibly hard this winter. I think he came out stronger this winter than anyone in our camp. You look at the velocity of the exit, he hit his strike.” Rate brought down. He is playing his exceptionally good defense.
“It’s a shame that his season is going to be short.”
The pandemic gave Howard his first year when the 2020 minor-league season was cancelled. He struggled at Low-A Myrtle Beach, producing a .225/.277/.315 slash line and 16 extra-base hits, 5.5 BB%, and 30.1% in 80 games (326 plate appearances). He also lost six weeks due to a hamstring injury.
Howard responded well to a disappointing season. He spent the winter receiving hands-on instruction with minor-league staff at the Cubs’ campus in Arizona, attending a camp featuring more than two dozen of the organization’s top prospects.
Howard was promoted from his 2022 debut after the Cubs were challenged in South Bend. He was generating more contact (20.4 K%) through 23 games and gaining base at a better clip (.323 on-base percentage and 9.7 BB%). Now he is facing a long recovery.