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Cards take power-hitting Fuller on final day

MLB.com @LangoschMLB

ST. LOUIS -- Terry Fuller was sleeping this afternoon when his mother rushed into his room with an urgent message. She had the St. Louis Cardinals on the line.

They were ready to inform the 18-year-old that they intended to take him with their next pick, and then did so with the 454th overall selection (15th round) on the final day of the MLB Draft.

ST. LOUIS -- Terry Fuller was sleeping this afternoon when his mother rushed into his room with an urgent message. She had the St. Louis Cardinals on the line.

They were ready to inform the 18-year-old that they intended to take him with their next pick, and then did so with the 454th overall selection (15th round) on the final day of the MLB Draft.

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

Fuller was one of the seven high school players the Cardinals took among their 38 total selections. His tools might be the flashiest, too. Fuller wowed scouts and spectators at the 2016 Power Showcase by hitting multiple 500-foot home runs. That included a blast, estimated at 527 feet, that left through the open roof at Marlins Park.

"It was like the best feeling I've ever had in my whole life," Fuller said of that performance. "It was just an incredible event."

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An athlete whom his high school baseball coach, Andrew Calhoun, describes as a "physical specimen," Fuller was a two-sport star at Griffin (Ga.) High School. As a sophomore, the standout defensive lineman verbally committed to play football at Auburn University. A year earlier, he had received a scholarship offer from the University of Alabama. Other Southeastern Conference programs came knocking, too.

But the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Fuller gravitated toward baseball. He weighed the risk of injury and viewed baseball as a "20-year sport" that wouldn't take so heavy a toll on his body.

"He could have chosen football, been a great college football player, potential NFL draft pick in that sport," Calhoun said. "He's an outstanding baseball player [who] has a lot of physical tools that are God-given that you just can't coach. I can't coach his height and his weight. I can't coach his raw power or his bat speed. He's going to be a great baseball player at the next level."

Fuller hit .625 as a senior center fielder with an .800 on-base percentage, 13 home runs and 40 RBIs. He had as many stolen bases (seven) as strikeouts, and twice an opposing coach chose to intentionally walk Fuller with the bases loaded. They feared his power potential.

"I don't think there's a kid in this class who can match that on a daily basis," Calhoun said. "Some of the balls he hit this year … I'm over there throwing BP, and I turn around and am watching it and it sails into the pine trees beyond our center-field fence, which is 405 feet."

The fact that Fuller slipped to the 15th round surprised Calhoun, and if it was due to signability concerns, those are worries no more. Fuller confirmed that he plans to sign with the Cardinals, who will start him as a corner outfielder in the system. But the tool that excites the organization the most is the same one that has Fuller all over YouTube.

"So, what I would say is what we liked was the power, the power, the power and the power," scouting director Randy Flores said. "He's young. We're going to let him play. We're going to let him play for a long time. And then we're going to figure out the rest."

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, and Facebook.

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