Atlanta Braves sign round 18 draft selection Mahki Backstrom

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I think he's too young to sign an Atlanta Braves contract, but Mahki Backstrom signed on Sunday.(Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for Room to Read)

Late Sunday afternoon, the Atlanta Braves signed first baseman Mahki Backstrom. The Braves selected Backstrom in round 18 of the Rule 4 draft.

The Atlanta Braves selected Mahki Backstrom even though most expected him to attend Fresno State. With just 5 days left in the signing period, Backstrom decided to go for it and inked a deal with the Braves.

A high school player, Backstrom’s play at first base requires refinement. Behind their paywall, Baseball America ranked him #76 on their list of California prospects. They opined that “his instincts and game awareness have a ways to go” and called him “a below-average runner.”

That’s not surprising for a 6-5, 220-pound first baseman. Other reports suggest he's not actually slow and, in the video, he looks capable of playing an outfield corner if first base doesn't work out for him.

His inexperience suggests a trip to the Braves new North Port facility for workouts and, depending on how those workouts go, an eventual landing with the GCL Braves.

Mahki Backstrom

First Base | Junipero Serra HS (CA)
Mahki  Backstrom Logo


Atlanta Braves did sign Ben Thomson

I’ve waited for confirmation on the rumor that Ben Thompson signed the Atlanta Braves. Clearly, I looked in the wrong places.

Ben Thompson

RHP | Chandler Gilbert CC (AZ)
Ben Thompson Logo

Today I found a month old Tweet from Thompson (@benthompson997 ) saying he would sign with the Atlanta Braves.

Unlike Backstrom and a couple of others, there’s no photo evidence of the actual signing, but he hasn’t tweeted otherwise.

With those caveats, I’ll go forward with the premise that he did put pen to paper somewhere, at some time.  I’ll also take it as given that the Braves paid him a bonus of $125,000 or less since overpays are generally reported.

That’s a wrap

MLB’s Draft Tracker is as useless as a cow with a shotgun.  I’ve seen no official word on the Backstrom bonus. If my math is correct, the Braves had only $370,810 left to add to the $125,000 out-round bonus. That makes $495,810 the most the Atlanta Braves could pay without incurring a severe penalty.

Next: The Mets can help us.?

The number of draft picks signed now stands at 36 (88%), and that’s where it will finish unless the remaining college outfielder Grant Mathews decides to sign by Friday night.