2017 was an interesting year for the Cardinals and their fans. As we all know, the Cardinals won 83 games that year, their lowest win total since 2007 when they won 78 games. They were also punished for the Houston Astros hacking scandal that saw them lose their first and second-round picks for that season. This was also one of the weaker draft classes we’ve seen as Cardinals fans, as the best player drafted that year so far is relief pitcher Kodi Whitley.
The Cardinals missed out on Nate Pearson, Alex Faedo, Heliot Ramos, David Peterson, Jeter Downs, and Luis Campusano. Now that's enough pain for Cardinals fans for one article, now onto the main topic. Terry Fuller was the Cardinals 15th round pick in the 2017 draft, and while he’s struggled to find consistency at the plate so far in his pro career, I believe he’s a breakout season away from being noticed by fans and media alike.
Fuller was drafted out of Griffin High School in Georgia, and he was getting hype around the MLB Draft for his immense power potential. He was displaying multiple 500-foot home runs in Marlins Park as an 18-year-old. One of these ended up hitting the scoreboard, and one was 527 -feet. The Cardinals thought they might’ve found something special in the later rounds of the draft that could’ve been a nice piece as we advance in a rather weak draft class. In that 2017 draft class for the Cardinals, only nine players are still with the organization of the 38 picks that year. I’m here to tell you Cardinals fans that you should be optimistic about Terry Fuller, even with his slow start to his pro career.
His slow start? He’s a career .210/.323/.353 hitter with a 31.6 K% but a promising 13.0 BB% in 452 plate appearances. While the high strikeout rates are scary for Fuller, he’s continued to have above-average wRC+ putting up a 168 wRC+ in 2018 and a 113 wRC+ in 2019. Unfortunately, having no 2020 season could have a major impact on Fuller, but the bat shouldn’t be overlooked.
As mentioned prior, his most prominent tool is his power, and while he hasn’t shown much home run power, only hitting 11 home runs across three seasons, Fuller has immense amounts of raw power. However, he’s predominantly been hitting the ball on the ground. In 2019, he had a 49.5 GB% while on the opposite end of the spectrum having a 32.7 FB%. If he’s truly going to change his power stroke, that needs to change. Another thing about Fuller is he’s a balanced hitter, as he hits to all fields nicely. The Cardinals have been careful with his development, and when fully matured, Fuller could turn into a middle of the lineup bat for the Cardinals. On the other end, if he continues struggling with his swing-and-miss, he could be an AAAA player.
Defensively, Fuller profiles more as a corner outfielder/first baseman, especially with his below-average strength and speed. In the end, you’re buying into the bat with Fuller.
Fuller is still young (22-years-old), and the sound that comes off his bat is something special. I’m not ready to give up on Fuller yet as that power would play well in Busch stadium, especially with his opposite-field power. He’d hit Big Mac Land at least twice a week, and I fully believe that, and in 2021 Fuller could impress and start rising the ranks quickly for the Cardinals.