We did it last year, so we’re doing it again for 2020. The PLL Top 50 is now fully released. If you’re unfamiliar, the PLL 50 is a list of the top players in the league, and it is voted on entirely by PLL players. There is no media bias or anything like that; this is the players ranking each other, which makes it a fun exercise.
|2020 Rank||Player||Team||Pos.||2019 Rank|
|15||John Haus||Whipsnakes||M||Not Ranked|
|17||Will Haus||Chrome||M||Not Ranked|
|18||Curtis Dickson||Chaos||A||Not Ranked|
|25||Jack Near||Redwoods||M||Not Ranked|
|28||Jack Rowlett||Chaos||D||Not Ranked|
|31||Eddy Glazener||Redwoods||D||Not Ranked|
|43||Cade van Raaphorst||Atlas||D||Not Ranked|
|47||Connor Farrell||Chrome||FO||Not Ranked|
A look at the player pool reveals that there is no lack of talent in the PLL, and if you’re the 51st best player, you are still probably really damn good.
After this list came out in year one, I compiled a PLL gameday roster made entirely of players outside the Top 50. To no surprise, this team still looked contender-level good. So we’re back again, because as the list changes, players move in and out, new players join the league, and it really should look different. A few basic rules:
- The players must have been on a PLL Championship Series roster this summer. Sorry to Matt Landis, Joel White, Jules Heningburg and others. Only players who suited up this summer make the non-Top 50 roster.
- The roster follows the same rules as the PLL rosters from this summer. That means 18 player gameday lineup, 22 player active roster.
Without further ado, here is the PLL Not Top 50 team. I’m sure there will be snubs here too, because there always are. Feel free to let me know who I snubbed.
Brad Smith, Whipsnakes LC
Jay Carlson, Whipsnakes LC
Ryan Brown, Atlas LC
Connor Fields, Chaos LC
Austin Staats, Chaos LC
Let’s start with the guy who went from #3 on the list to dropping off. Connor Fields had a summer to forget. His production was way down, and Chaos as a team offense took off and roared to the title game once Fields came out of the lineup. A player of Fields caliber will always have a roster spot in the PLL, but a change of scenery is probably in order for him now.
Ryan Brown falling off the list despite being a Team USA player and mainstay in the top two to three spots of the “Best Shooter Alive” rankings. Brad Smith must have finished 51st in the voting or something as well. Smith missed 2019 with an injury, but in 2020 he had 15 points on a balanced eight goals and seven assists. That’s 12th best in the entire league for the summer.
I’d also add off ball wizard Jay Carlson, who was tied for third in the league for goals scored with 12. I’ll round it out with Austin Staats who really found his role once he moved to attack and wasn’t running out of the box as often.
Dhane Smith, Chaos LC
Sergio Salcido, Chaos LC
Christian Mazzone, Archers LC
Connor Buczek, Atlas LC
Ryan Ambler, Archers LC
Jesse King, Chrome LC
Romar Dennis, Atlas LC
Pat Harbeson, Redwoods LC
Midfield was the most represented position in the Top 50, with 18 players on the list. That said, you can still put up a beast of a midfield group with players not on the list. Dhane Smith and Sergio Salcido both had solid years for Chaos, with it being Salcido’s first year in the red and black. Smith had ten points, Salcido had eight and led the Chaos with seven goals. The Chaos are a decidedly attack heavy roster, and leaned hard on Smith, Froccaro and Salcido for midfield production, or used Austin Staats out of the box where he didn’t seem all that comfortable.
The only middie on the Archers with more points than Christian Mazzone was Tom Schreiber. Mazzone scored nine goals and shot a nice 69%. He also had nine ground balls, and does it all for the Archers.
Connor Buczek, like many Atlas players, had a rough summer. He shot just 11%, but still had 7 points and hit a two this season. Romar Dennis, like Buczek, played on an Atlas team that just never found an offensive rhythm. Dennis still had a decent season, scoring six points including hitting a two.
Jesse King is an easy one. The only Chrome players with more points than Jesse King’s 10 were Jordan Wolf and Justin Guterding. Ryan Ambler had a consistently solid tournament, scoring nine points on a balance four goals and five assists.
Pat Harbeson continues to fly under the radar but make a huge impact at SSDM. He had 11 caused turnovers this summer, which is just ridiculous. There are two players in the league who had more, Matt McMahon and Cade van Raaphorst.
Tim Muller, Whipsnakes LC
Jarrod Neumann, Chaos LC
Eli Gobrecht, Archers LC
Mike Manley, Chrome LC
John Sexton, Redwoods LC
Ryland Rees, Waterdogs LC
Some easy picks here. Tim Muller is the only starting pole on the Whips not to make the Top 50. He’s a Schmeisser Award winner and played exceptionally well during the PLL Championship Series.
Jarrod Neumann was the PLL Defender of the Year last year, and while he gained notoriety for hitting twos and having the fastest shot in the league, he really was a more than capable defender. Neumann had a really tough opener when matched up with Jordan Wolf, but he still had 16 groundballs and seven caused turnovers this summer on a defense that was learning to play without Brodie Merrill.
Eli Gobrecht came over from the other league and had a strong year for Archers, leading the close defense in groundballs and was third on the team in caused turnovers.
The LSM spots are simple. John Sexton led the Redwoods in caused turnovers, and Ryland Rees did the same for the Waterdogs. These two are both monsters on wings and dangerous in transition, exactly what you want from your LSMs in the PLL, and Rees had a pair of two bombs to boot.
Mike Manley flies under the radar but just turns in excellent season after season in the pros. He led the Chrome in caused turnovers and groundballs, and guarded top matchup at times. He’s an absolute beast.
Jake Withers, Waterdogs LC
Drew Simoneau, Waterdogs LC
Withers faced off at 58% for the Waterdogs, which was better than Trevor Baptiste this summer. Only Joe Nardella and Connor Farrell had a better percentage. Withers split time with Drew Simoneau, and they both went north of 50% taking draws. The Waterdogs faceoff spot was a bright place on the field for them this summer. Withers particularly is impressive as he came into the league without much in the way of fanfare despite success in the NLL with the Halifax Thunderbirds.
Dillon Ward, Chaos LC
Yes, Dillon Ward didn’t play a minute in the PLL Championship Series. He was stuck behind Goalie of the Year Blaze Riorden. But anyone who has watched pro lacrosse for longer than the last 6 months knows that Dillon Ward is regarded by many as the best goalie in the world. He starts for Team Canada in goal both indoors and outdoors.
It was a bit of a head scratcher for the Chaos to take him, but making a strength stronger isn’t always a bad idea. Ward is a starter on just about every team in the PLL with the exception of Chaos, and if one day Blaze Riorden decides to take his indoor skills outdoors and play a field position, Ward would assure there is no drop off whatsoever.