How a simple moment in a Zoom meeting sold the Cubs on Ed Howard
The lead-up to the 2020 MLB Draft forced everybody — players and teams — to get creative in their virtual interactions.
Ed Howard — the Cubs’ selection at No. 16 overall Wednesday night — was actually the first player new vice president of scouting Dan Kantrovitz met in person in January at Wrigley Field.
As the Draft process continued along and the coronavirus pandemic shut down the baseball world, Kantrovitz and the Cubs hopped on a Zoom call with Howard. They already liked his on-field skills — Howard was ranked the top shortstop in the draft by Baseball America — but the Cubs wanted to learn more about his character.
In a moment during the call where Howard shifted, Kantrovitz noticed he was actually wearing his baseball glove and that gave the Cubs the answers they were seeking.
“When we talk about intangibles from a scouting standpoint, we talk about things like work ethic and drive and overall passion for the game,” Kantrovitz said. “When we were talking to him during our Zoom call, he was literally wearing his baseball mitt. It wasn’t something that I think he expected us to notice or even see.
“You could see it for just a couple seconds there and at that moment, I realized he was wearing his glove and just chomping at the bit to get out on the field and take ground balls and play, we knew he had the intangibles we were looking for.”
When told about Kantrovitz’s recollection of the glove, Howard laughed and didn’t know the Cubs had seen that during the call.
“I’m always going around the house, throwing the ball up, playing around with my glove in the living room, things like that,” Howard said. “I love playing the game.”
As for on the field, the Cubs love what the Chicago native brings.
“He’s got an electric skillset,” Kantrovitz said. “He’s a plus shortstop, he’s got pop in his bat, he can run. He can impact the game in so many ways and we think he’s got a chance to be a star.”