Most Underrated AUDL Players By Team

By Adam Ruffner

EAST


Matthew McDonnell #28

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
24 21 19* +39 171/193 290*

* Led team

Despite spending 80 percent of his playing time on defensive lines, DC's team leader in blocks still managed to place in the Breeze's top six for both assists and goals. More opportunistic than overpowering, McDonnell uses his underrated athleticism to exploit one-on-one matchups and is an elite continuation cutter due to his great timing instincts. McDonnell was a big contributor in DC's two playoff games, putting up three assists, four goals, and three blocks in the team's two games.





Felix-Antoine Daigle #49

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
28 24 21* +34 579*/616 315

* Led team

A three-year veteran of the Royal, the wily Daigle posted career highs in every major statistical category during the 2016 campaign as he assumed the role of lead distributor in the offense. Not especially fast nor tall, Daigle has become one of the better players in the East Division thanks to his fluid throws and vision. He uses field space better than almost anyone to take precise taking angles at the disc, a skill that allowed Daigle to lead Montreal in blocks last season while playing over three quarters of his points on offense.





Markian Kuzmowycz #10

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
10 24 4 +26 119/130 167

The firestarter of many New York scoring drives, "Muk" is often the initiating cut in the Empire's offense due to his assertive play style and blazing set of wheels. He was second on the team in goals per point played among qualified players, catching a score on 14 percent of his points. Most importantly Kuzmowycz played his best against the best, averaging over four scores per contest against division rivals Toronto and DC in 2016.





Mike Lee #14

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
29 60* 6 +60* 232/258 310

* Led team

One of the most improved players, Lee would've been the first Canadian player to lead the AUDL in goals scored if it wasn't for Mischa Freystaetter going supernova and setting a league record with 95 goals in 2016. Lee is still just one of 10 players since 2013 to reach the 60 goal plateau, more than tripling his goal total from 2015 (17). His combination of speed and ultimate IQ made him an easy target for Outlaws throwers, and his 29 assists showed Lee to be one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the East.





Greg Strouse #24

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
14 28 9 +34* 87/101 218

* Led team

On a developing team that lacks a lineup of potent playmakers, Strouse's height and reliable set of hands became a welcome safety valve for a Phoenix squad in need of scores. Even if he lacks some throws, Strouse is a solid finisher around the endzone with or without the disc.





Nathan Hirst #27

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
23 17 13 +40 246/256 214

A product of Toronto's developmental system, Hirst really came into his own in 2016 as an exceptional role player on the Rush offense. Often slotted into lines already packed with star-level talent, Hirst does a terrific job of filling gaps and keeping the offense uptempo by attacking opposing defenses as a secondary option, slashing lanes and redistributing the disc with zero hesitation. And with his increased role has come more confidence: Hirst completed a robust 96 percent of his passes, adding another talented thrower to Toronto's deep arsenal.






MIDWEST


Michael Pardo #24

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
12 27 11 +36* 111/120 228

* Led team

In the absence of Jonathan Helton's departure to DC, the rookie Pardo stepped up to share the scoring load with AJ Nelson on the Wildfire offense. A prototypical downfield athlete with speed and hops to spare, Pardo also showed off a good arm when in rhythm and the instincts to be one of the team's top defenders when called upon.





Nathan Champoux #42

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
11 15 34* +44 79/92 263

* Led team

Not yet 20, Champoux earned a reputation quickly as one of the fiercest competitors and defenders in the Midwest during his rookie season. Whether on offense or defense, Champoux plays with the type of mentality that assumes he is getting to every disc thrown his way. His nickname "Skunk" couldn't be more fitting for a defender who constantly lingers.





Rick Gross #2

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
28 32 24* +67 155/167 297

* Led team

A player that has developed a new facet to his game each offseason, Gross plays as both big play receiver capable of stretching the field and a lockdown defender that can generate turnovers at an elite rate. He's a force in the open field, eating up massive tracts of land with his sprinter's stride while also possessing one of the best vertical games in the Midwest.





Seth Meyer #3

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
10 19 10 +33 31/32 131

The best offside zone defender in the league, Meyer is a savant at reading lanes and intercepting discs early in the game to give Madison a quick momentum boost. He's intentionally unassuming with his positioning, but Meyer has some of the quickest feet in the Midwest that allow him to burst much quicker than opponents anticipate.





Brandon Matis #61

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
20 17 10 +28 116/131 265

Much like Travis Carpenter in Indianapolis, Matis was the last player added to the Minnesota roster in 2013 and has morphed into one of the team's best defenders. He's one of the best cover defenders on under routes in the division, and he's slowly added better touch to his throws, making him a valuable part of the Wind Chill counterattack off turns.





Max Sheppard #1

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
16 25 6 +34 91/96 186

The only member on this list to win Player of the Week honors, Sheppard still deserves more attention than he is getting. He seems to unveil a new wrinkle to his game every time he takes the field, whether bombing a half field hammer on a dime or roasting one of the Midwest's top defenders on a deep cut.






SOUTH


Sam Gainer #92

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
29 37 4 +46 241/261 323*

* Led team

A tweener deep threat with great throws, Gainer is the steadiest offensive cutter game in and game out for the Hustle. His veteran game complements the speed of teammates Matt Smith and Austin Taylor perfectly, and he already knows where he wants to go with the disc before he even catches it. Although the production isn't quite on the same level, Gainer performs his utilitarian role very similarly to Seattle's Mark Burton.





Andrew Walch #12

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
20 27 12 +47* 254/263 290

* Led team

On a Sol team jam packed with ultimate veterans and big athletes, Walch operated as Austin's most efficient producer. It's one thing to make stellar plays downfield—which Walch did on a weekly basis—but he was also relatively mistake free with the disc, averaging just one turnover per game despite his high volume usage. Walch is a heads up player who continually puts himself in a position to make good plays.





Ben Lohre #42

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
15 22 6 +34 220/228 225

Having played for many championship caliber teams in the past, Lohre and his even keel demeanor were a perfect fit as the reliable facilitator on a stacked Dallas roster. He registered seven games with 20+ touches/1 turnover or fewer, acting as a perfect balance and ballast for the teammates that wanted to take more advantageous looks with the disc. Lohre's an adapter, and he always seems to figure out ways to exploit the opposition.





Travis Catron #12

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
21 32 8 +46 224/238 318

Thought to be a beneficiary of Freystaetter's dominance, Catron is a Monstar in his own right, and is capable of putting up similar numbers if given the same targets as his cutting mate. An underrated thrower with his forehand, Catron is effective with or without the disc, gliding into open spaces and providing a big target should defenses ignore him while trying to stop Freystaetter. Catron had nine multi-goal performances in 11 games in 2016.





Dan Chazin #54

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
22 12 7 +27 353/366 247

Chazin didn't have a single drop during the regular season, and his precise hammers open up the whole field for the Nashville offense. He gets overshadowed by teammates Tyler Conger and Blake Waldron because of their larger workloads, but Chazin's 96 percent completion rate is higher than either of them.





Josh Hartzog #99

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
3 9 14 +19 54/57 173

A disc denial specialist, Hartzog does the bulk of his work away from the disc. He's a big defender that can guard both downfield receivers and handlers alike because of his intelligent positioning and quick feet. And even though he tallied just nine goals, Hartzog is an effective option around the endzone when the D-line needs a break.






WEST


Hunter Corbett #17

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
22 16 18 +41 250/262 301

In his second season as a pro, Corbett looked like one of the premier defensive talents in the division. Los Angeles made the playoffs thanks to their fastbreak attack off of opponents' turnovers, aCorbett was the leader of a lot of those drives. He looks equally comfortable exploding downfield for the huck as he does quarterbacking an Aviators possession, and his slashing cuts are near impossible to stop once he gets a head of steam.





Nathan Bridges #19

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
17 25 8 +38 264/276 288

Another player who didn't drop a disc throughout the regular season, Bridges showcased an ability to do it all on offense. Many times he starts in the backfield as a handler, but will quickly follow his own throws up the field to either receive the dump or sprint for the continuation cut. He has a different gear near the endzone, and was a beacon of consistency for a Growlers team that struggled with injuries.





Federico Chialvo #10

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
19 19 11 +30 252/267 316

A former AUDL champion with the Spiders in 2014, Chialvo has been doing it all as a utility player in his three-year pro career. He shares equal duties between offensive and defensive rotations as a handler tweener, mostly staying back for offside swings but occasionally busting upfield when he has a favorable matchup.





Vincenzo Vitiello #16

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
13 21 10 +28 184/197 304

Largely a third receiving option on the offense alongside Sean Ham and Kelly Van Arsdale, Vitiello is superb at attacking discs in the air with his pogo stick hops. He also displayed a nicely rounded game in his first season as a pro, deftly getting the disc back to handlers within the pace of the offense, while also not being afraid to take shots downfield with his throws.





Will Chen #25

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
12 6 7 +15 146/155 246

A standout in college 10 years ago, the Chen still has the athleticism and cunning to make his impact felt on most games. He's one of the most energetic marks in the game, often flustering opposing handlers into poor decisions with his active hands and great body positioning. He also made perhaps the most clutch throw in league history with his remarkable 80-yard buzzer beater in this year's semifinal against Madison.





William Vu #1

Assists Goals Blocks Plus/Minus Completions/Attempts Points Played
44 1 20 +29 326/361 265

"Swagger" is a word that will pop into your head when you watch Vu play. His slicing scoobers and gigantic lefty hucks are so smooth upon release, and he unleashes them with impunity from anywhere on the field. Vu is also an above-average lane defender because of his deceptive size, jumping routes and disrupting the flow of the opposition.