January 24, 2022
By Evan Lepler
The AUDL offseason is heating up, with news of expansion, realignment, and player signings all adding to the anticipation for the upcoming 2022 campaign. Consequently, every Monday we will be asking and answering "One Burning Question" on theAUDL.com, with Daniel Cohen, Adam Ruffner, and myself all writing independently on a particular topic.
At the end of the 2025 AUDL season, who will be the league’s all-time leader in blocks?
Daniel Cohen: The only player with 20-plus blocks each of the last four seasons, Kevin Pettit-Scantling is showing no signs of slowing down heading into his ninth season in the league. The youngest of the top five all-time block getters, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before he passes his former teammates Peter Graffy and Andrew Meshnick, and eventually block king Mike Drost. KPS’s role on the Radicals as defensive captain feels solidified at this point, and even if he starts spending more time on offense as the Radicals rebuild, he’d still likely see plenty of opportunities to earn the disc back after turnovers—Madison finished just 14th in offensive efficiency in 2021. Only Jeff Babbitt has more blocks (107) than KPS’s 101 over the last four seasons; Pettit-Scantling should continue to close the gap and take the league lead by 2025 as he pushes past 200 for his career.
Evan Lepler: I think this is an interesting question because blocks are probably the major stat that feels most up for grabs over these next few years. With Cam Brock’s retirement lasting approximately 45 minutes, the Alleycats’ goal-scoring king should easily stay first on the all-time scoring chart. And considering Pawel Janas's pace dishing dimes, it’s hard to fathom how a healthy Janas does not seize the all-time assist torch sometime in the next couple years. Yes, the legendary Goose Helton is presently in the lead, but Janas’s surge feels inevitable. Meanwhile, blocks are getting tougher and tougher to get, and the days of Andrew Meshnick or Peter Graffy routinely generating 30-35 Ds in a season are long gone. Last year, no one recorded more than 23 blocks, and there has not been a 30-block season since 2017; from 2012-17, for context, there were 27 instances of a player recording 30 or more blocks in a season. So that’s my roundabout way of delivering a relatively boring answer to this curious topic. Mike Drost is currently first with 181, he’s only 32 years old, and his dedication to the Empire has not diminished at all over the past several seasons. I expect Mike to continue to produce 8-10 blocks per year through the middle of the decade, and neither Kevin Pettit-Scantling, Travis Carpenter, or Jeff Babbitt are gonna make up the sizable gap completely. All three of those challengers should get closer and may surpass Mike’s twin brother Ryan (currently third all-time with 171), but Mike has the athleticism, purpose, and, perhaps most important, the situation to continue to thrive as a super solid defender and the league’s all-time blocks master.
Adam Ruffner: First a quick bouquet of flowers for the current all-time blocks leader Mike Drost, who has 181 career takeaways in 114 games, and sits a comfortable nine blocks ahead of second place Andrew Meshnick. But I think the only realistic player to overtake Drost is another Radical: Kevin Pettit-Scantling. KPS is 28 blocks back of the record, and while Drost still has a few seasons left to play and add to his total, Pettit-Scantling has been on a defensive tear since 2017, averaging 25 blocks per season over four years, and never having fewer than 21 during that stretch; Drost has 20 blocks over the past two seasons. At his current pace KPS would have somewhere in the vicinity of 240 blocks after another four seasons of play, which seems almost too within reach for the 30-year-old who is still rounding into his playmaking prime.