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Chicago native Ed Howard leads the Cubs’ class of incoming prospects after going 16th overall. Four others were chosen in a draft shortened to five rounds as a cost-cutting measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, per the Associated Press.
Here’s a look at the Cubs’ draft class and a peek at the team’s current farm system.
Cubs 2020 Draft Picks
Round 1, Pick 16: Ed Howard (SS, Mt. Carmel High School)
Round 2, Pick 14: Burl Carraway (LHP, Dallas Baptist)
Round 3, Pick 16: Jordan Nwogu (OF, Michigan)
Round 4, Pick 16: Luke Little (LHP, San Jacinto College North)
Round 5, Pick 16: Koen Moreno (RHP, Panther Creek High School)
The Cubs have slowly regressed since winning the 2016 World Series. They reached the 2017 National League Championship Series but lost in the NL Wild Card Game the following year. Then they missed the playoffs entirely in 2019.
The team has had a winning record throughout that entire stretch, but changes must be made for the North Siders to recapture past glory.
The Cubs’ current farm system ranks 23rd in the bigs, per Jim Callis, Mike Rosenbaum and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
The team does not have a player in the top 50 but has four prospects in the top 100: second baseman/shortstop/outfielder Nico Hoerner (No. 51), left-handed pitcher Brailyn Marquez (No. 68), outfielder Brennen Davis (No. 78) and catcher Miguel Amaya (No. 95).
In fairness to Chicago, its stacked farm system in years past is no more because its players graduated to The Show, with Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo among them. But the team needs to reload the minor leagues at this point, especially after parting with pitcher Dylan Cease and slugger Eloy Jimenez to acquire starter Jose Quintana from the Chicago White Sox in 2017.
Howard and Carraway should help in that regard as they figure to play a big role in Chicago’s future.
A member of the Jackie Robinson West team that advanced to the Little League World Series in 2014, Howard was ranked No. 22 in the country on Baseball America‘s list of the top draft prospects. The publication also named Carraway a preseason first-team All-American earlier this year.
The duo gives the Cubs a strong pair to help restock the farm system.
In the fourth round, Chicago took a chance on 19-year-old Luke Little, who gained fame after a video captured him throwing 105 mph in a gym.
Little is committed to play for the University of South Carolina next season, so it remains to be seen if he’ll actually sign with the Cubs.
MLB.com notes the value of his slot is $492,700. If he continues to add muscle and improve his fastball, that figure could be a lot higher should he decide to play a few years of college ball and re-enter the draft at a later date.