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Atlanta Braves sign 18th round pick Mahki Backstrom

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The Atlanta Braves signed their California high school slugger from Day 3 of the 2019 MLB Draft.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves
Why is Alex smiling? That’s because he just signed Mahki Backstrom.
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Some big news today as Talking Chop has learned that the Atlanta Braves have signed California prep first baseman Mahki Backstrom. Backstrom was the team’s 18th round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, and one of the six high upside high school draftees taken on Day 3 of the draft.

The figures on Backstrom’s bonus aren’t known just yet, but there was an estimated amount of just under $500k left to offer him(including the first $125k that doesn’t count towards the pool). This signing brings the total to 36 of 41 picks signed, with that looking to be most likely the final number- however there is some small chance we add another college player in Tulane’s Grant Mathews over the next week.

Backstrom is a favorite of the Talking Chop minor league team, a great kid off the field with considerable upside on the field. There was a point about a year ago where the former Fresno State commit was a potential first round pick, but he started the spring slow until coming on late as he seemed to have everything fixed that held him back early in the spring.

Backstrom, who went to Juniperro Serra High School- the same school as Mets slugger Dominic Smith, is an athletic slugger who has regularly posted some of the highest exit velocities in the 2019 high school draft class. The 6’5”, 220 pounder shows up on Perfect Game with 99.74% percentile for exit velocity, 98.80% for max barrel speed, 99.6% impact momentum, and 92.91% max acceleration to go with a 7.2 second time in the 60- a very solid time for a guy with his size.

Backstrom profiles as a potential middle of the order bat and becomes the top first baseman prospect in the Braves organization right now. He would be expected to start his career in the GCL with the rest of the high school draftees.