SF Giants MLB draft watch: Shortstop Ed Howard
Positionally, Ed Howard is exactly the type of prospect Farhan Zaidi covets. The high school shortstop is a strong defender and should have no problem sticking at shortstop at the higher levels.
Despite this, Zaidi has proven repeatedly that he likes shortstop prospects because of the ease with which they can be moved around the field. So, on paper, Howard seems like a solid fit as he offers that versatile potential.
Howard Cole of Baseball America leaves little doubt that the glove is the strength in Ed Howard’s profile:
"“While he has upside as a hitter, the polished part of Howard’s game comes from his glove. He’s a no-doubt shortstop at the next level as a solid athlete with reliable hands and a strong, accurate throwing arm…moves fluidly in the middle of the diamond and has the ability to throw from all angles with excellent body control and a solid internal clock.”"
In addition to this, the 18-year-old has an impressive physical build as he continues to fill out his 6-foot-2 frame.
There really is not anything Howard does not do well on the baseball field. He possesses a high baseball IQ, especially for someone his age.
In the batter’s box, the right-handed bat has a short, simple swing that produces solid gap-to-gap power with the ability to spray the ball all over the field:
Given his size and athleticism, Howard’s gap-to-gap power should translate to more long balls as he continues to develop. The question remains, how much power will the shortstop be able to milk out of his swing?
Unlike Soderstrom, Howard does not have the type of raw power that will translate to more than 15 home runs per season, especially in a ballpark such as Oracle Park. His power would need to come from extra-base hits.
Few mock drafts have Howard being selected before the 13th pick. For example, Baseball America has Howard falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers at 29th overall as a draft-day steal.
So, if the Giants decided to nap the shortstop prospect, it would be a slight overdraft, but this means he will likely be easier to sign than the other prospects profiled.
The Giants have a big decision ahead next month. As they hold the 13th overall pick, San Francisco will look to add a solid contributor to their organization.
This draft is very heavy on pitching prospects, and that might be an opportunity for the Giants to nab a top position player as teams will lean toward pitchers.
A lot can change from now until the draft, but the high school talent pool should be an appealing area when the Giants are on the clock. This is a big draft for San Francisco as they hold a bevy of high picks, and it begins by making the right move in the first round.