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School: Georgia Southern; Class: Junior
Position: LHP; B/T: R/L
Height: 6-3; Weight: 170 pounds
Previously Drafted: Chicago Cubs, 48th round, 2011
Background: Another lesson on why it’s important to look beyond ERAs. Howard, who was plagued by a poor 5.55 ERA last season, posted some incredibly strong peripherals – 9.28 K/9 and 3.74 BB/9, a major indicator that this season would bring much better results. And it has. Through his first 14 starts for Georgia Southern this season, Howard has seen a dramatic decline in his ERA (2.63) while posting some more impressive peripherals (8.72 K/9 and 1.89 BB/9).
Projection: Howard’s control has come a long, long way throughout his three-year career, going from below-average to above-average or better. He also has a long history of missing bats (8.91 K/9 for his career), though the level of competition – the Southern Conference – isn’t the best. And his work in the Cape last summer – 21 IP, 14 K, and 8 BB – doesn’t squelch any concerns.
Howard could be a decent backend option, who, if everything breaks the right way, could see a few fringe #3-type years.
Ceiling: 1.5-win player
Floor: 0.5-win player
Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low
Draft Projection: Third/Fourth Round
Photo Courtesy of gseagles.com.