Disc Don’t Lie: 2016 Season in Review Dusty Rhodes July 11, 2016 Featured, MLU, MLU Championship, MLU NewsPhoto by Scobel Wiggins – Ultiphotos.comNow that the regular season has passed and we’ve had a couple of weeks to digest everything that happened, now seems as good a time as any to take stock of some the season’s data.John DoeWe’ll begin with everyone’s favorite fictional player:PlayerTeamPointsGAst2ATot ATot PtsCatch OppCatchDrpCatch %BandThrCmpIncComp%John DoeAVG11.575.805.775.0210.7916.5968.8967.511.3897.990.0872.1964.507.6889.36PlayerTeamBlkfoulsTravelsStallsOPossDPossTPPOPPDPPMinutesJohn DoeAVG3.811.970.160.13104.32104.4592.5646.2146.3596.19PlayerTeamAst/IncCat/GThr/AstBlk/IncFantasyUsageP/100 PossTO/100 PossJohn DoeAVG0.75211.64212.5000.4956.1814.245.558.69John Doe is the totally average player. As you peruse this page of stats, use John Doe as a reference point and a guide along your way. If you’re wondering what some of these numbers are, exactly, we’ll get to that below as well.On to the OutliersCody Bjorklund has set a new single season assists record at 41 and led the league in points (57) this season. If you’re interested in league leaders in those categories, head on over to the stats page. However, with the addition of second assists I was curious to learn how second assists adjusted the assists leaderboard: TeamPGAssists2ATot ATot PtsCody Bjorklund *POR571641135470Matt Weintraub *NY26323224548Lloyd Blake *D.C.32923184150Henry Phan *SEA24420193943Michael Panna *PHL311021163747David Brandolph *PHL26521153641Billy SicklesPHL412417183559Gabe Saunkeah *SF381523103348Steve GussinSEA271314183245Eddie FeeleySEA17314173134Jake TaylorBOS13310213134Tot Ast = 2nd Assists + AssistsTot Pts = Goals + Assists + 2nd AssistsPlayers with asterisks were also in the top 10 in assists. The three players who were in the top 10 in assists who are not in the top 10 of total assists are Raphy Hayes, Khalif El-Salaam and Christian Foster. The most interesting players to move into this list are Eddie Feeley and Jake Taylor who are the types of players we expect to see getting a high number of second assists as they are key cogs within their offenses but are not generally tasked with taking shots at the end zone, nor are they often in the end zone catching goals.While I’m not sure how best to meaningfully parse the second assist data, that it is there at all provides another way to look at offensive contribution. To that end, let us consider the overall points leaders (Goals + Assists + Second Assists): PlayerTeamPointsGoalsAssists2ATot ATot PtsCody Bjorklund *POR571641135470Billy Sickles *PHL412417183559Brad Houser *SEA452916122857Lloyd Blake D.C.32923184150Matt Glazer *PHL382513112449Matt WeintraubNY26323224548Gabe Saunkeah *SF381523103348Michael PannaPHL311021163747Raphael Hayes *POR41182362947Evan KleinSEA321814152947Again, the players with asterisks are also in the top 10 for Points. The four who are not present on this total points leaderboard are: Timmy Perston, El-Salaam, Taylor Nadon and Erik Hunter. It should come as no surprise that Perston drops off of the list as he is generally a deep receiver rather than a thrower of any stripe. The other three provide interesting cases. El-Salaam’s relative paucity of second assists (5) is likely due to his insistence on throwing goals rather than all of those other passes of middling significance (He’ll show up when we take a look at throws per assist).Hunter and Nadon, on the other hand, I suspect are absent due to a characteristic of the Vancouver offense as a whole. The Nighthawks are the only team lacking a player with more than 10 second assists. In other words, no Nighthawk is in the top 26 in MLU in second assists. It seems that their offense neither scored at a consistent rate nor consistently involved any specific players in setting up scoring shots.Catch PercentageThe tracking of drops versus throwaways, while necessarily imperfect, does provide a nice overview of players who simply catch everything thrown their way: PlayerTeamPGAst2ATot ATot PtsCatch OppCatchesDropsCatch %Sascha LoVAN936814172172170100.00Nick HirannetPHL193161228311671670100.00James YeagerSF165111021261601600100.00Matt WeintraubNY263232245481481480100.00Tad JensenPOR185131023281411410100.00Andrew FerraroD.C.13211920221411410100.00Brad HouserSEA4529161228571401400100.00Chris HancockPOR10461016201291290100.00David StelckVAN514711121251250100.00Gavin McKibbenSEA133101222251091090100.00Michael LeRossVAN1037613161051050100.00Cam BaileySEA251510919341021020100.00Of course, what they do with the disc after they catch it varies wildly, but the first step to gaining the trust of your teammates is to catch the disc. The flipside of this are the players who can’t seem to clean the butter off of their fingers before playing:PlayerTeamPointsGoalsAssists2ACatch OppCatchesDropsCatch %Benjamin NicholsNY211064266.67Christopher McGlynnNY63322117480.95Christopher McKeagSF33012319482.61Kevin HealeyD.C.21111513286.67Andrew AuyeungNY00001513286.67Lok Tin LamVAN97204540588.89Francisco MogollonVAN84444238490.48Jon HirschbergerBOS20232220290.91Kyle FischerNY43111110190.91Nick WeissSF52323431391.18Remember John Doe? He comes in with a catch rate of 97.99 percent, which seems pretty solid. However his completion rate is only 89.36 percent, which brings us to the next group:The 100% Club PlayerTeamPGAst2ACatch OppCatchDrpsCatch %ThrCmpIncComp%Colby ChuckSF532217170100.0015150100.00Daniel GreeleySEA000013130100.0013130100.00Peter BenderSEA3212990100.00770100.00Raymond MendozaD.C.1010660100.00770100.00Liam RosenSF1100440100.00330100.00Matthew MichelsonPHL1100330100.00330100.00Levi JeskeVAN1100440100.00220100.00Tremont MillerSEA53232221195.4520200100.00Christian DuessNY32111211191.6711110100.00This is a tough year for the 100% Club as there are only seven members in the club (100% completions and 100% catches). However, this should do nothing to diminish the honors earned by the president of the 2016 100% Club: Colby Chuck! Not only does he have a fantastic frisbee name, he seems to be intent on ensuring completed passes all over the field.While we’re here, a word on travels: The five league leaders in travels are all tied at TWO. There are far too many travels going uncalled and it establishes a low standard for technical excellence across MLU. That’s all I’ll type on this topic for now.Assists Per Incompletion TeamPointsGoalsAssists2AThrCmpIncComp%Ast/IncRiley MeinershagenPOR1941545755296.497.5Dan ShawPOR168844442295.454Sam FranerPOR128454241197.624Jack FieldD.C.73442423195.834Isaac EntzSEA1710765755296.493.5Matt MeliusPOR1710795149296.083.5Eric StevensBOS1631356056493.333.25 Six players tied at 3.00.And these are the MLU players most likely to make the most of their opportunities with the disc. Riley Meinershagen was nearly the president of the 100% Club, but fell just shy, as did all of the rest of these players. However, their high completion percentage along with their ability to dish out assists makes them excellent additions to any offense. Meinershagen’s contributions to Portland’s D-Line success are are really quite impressive. If it weren’t for the domination of his teammate Peter Woodside, he’d be a likely candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. He and Eric Stevens are two of the lower-key key contributors to the success of their respective defensive sides.And then there are the players who can’t seem to find an assist at all: PointsGoalsAssists2AThrCmpIncComp%Ast/IncPaul KlimkowskiNY11035851787.930Ted ChuVAN44075752591.230Shashank AlladiNY11034842687.500Shane EarleySF66023327681.820Charles McCutcheonPHL11023130196.770Roger ChuNY11023025583.330Shaun DohertyBOS1111032823582.140Raj MaitraSF00002623388.460Joe FreundD.C.55022521484.000Jazz Groden-GilchristVAN33012317673.910I limited this list to players who have actually thrown incompletions as we covered the 100% Club earlier. I find it a little surprising that only two of these players are above John Doe’s league average completion percentage of 89.36 as throwing not-into-the-end zone isn’t necessarily a bad thing (passes into the end zone are completed at a lower rate than passes on the field proper), but the flipside is that the best place to throw a turnover is into the end zone.Throws Per AssistAnother way to consider which players make the most of their opportunities with the disc is by looking at which players have the lowest throw/assist ratio:PlayerTeamPointsGoalsAssists2AThrCmpIncComp%Thr/AstBenjamin NicholsNY211032166.673.00Joshua LamVAN4130118372.733.67Justin CarterNY114722621580.773.71Kevin ChuVAN84411511473.333.75Riley MeinershagenPOR1941545755296.493.80Cody BjorklundPOR571641131591332683.653.88Bobby RoosPHL52301211191.674.00Raphael HayesPOR411823695831287.374.13Khalif El-SalaamSEA341321592821089.134.38Christian FosterBOS25520589761385.394.45The obvious standouts here are Meinershagen, Bjorklund, Hayes, El-Salaam and Foster, each of whom put up over 50 throws and over 15 assists. Within that subset of high-usage (we’ll cover usage below) players, only Meinershagen completes passes at an above John Doe (89.36%) level. This is, again, another sign that the season Meinershagen had is quite remarkable.Blocks Per IncompletionAnd here we have a list of players who are more likely to take the disc away fro the opponent than to give it away to them: PlayerTeamPointsGoalsAssists2AThrCmpIncCmp%BlkBlk/IncTremont MillerSEA532320200100.005—Christian DuessNY321111110100.005—Daniel GreeleySEA000013130100.001—Matthew MichelsonPHL1100330100.001—Charles McCutcheonPHL11023130196.771010Rob BakerBOS97221716194.1299Brice DunnPHL98112827196.4388Dylan HarringtonSEA1212021817194.4488Sam FranerPOR128454241197.6277Peter WoodsidePOR3427774037392.50196.33Gabe WebsterD.C.107343332196.9766Riley MeinershagenPOR1941545755296.49115.5Terry RothBOS1311253635197.2255The list of players here are folks who either are keen to make space in the offense for others or who tend to be more involved in catching goals throwing assists with the exception of (hello again) Meinershagen. Each save for the two with one block tallied more than the league average in blocks (3.81) and less than the league average in incompletions (7.68). This is a group of players you’d be quite happy to have by your side on the most important points of a game.Usage RatesWhile I’m still toying with the perfect expression of usage in the MLU, the basic premise is simple: “Using” a possession causes your team’s possession to end either by a goal or a turnover. Generally, the players who you want to have the highest usage percentage are those who throw and catch goals without throwing the disc away, dropping the disc or getting stalled out. The formula that I’ve used for usage here is ((Points/2)+Incompletions+Drops+Stalls) / Offensive Possessions * 100):PlayerTeamPointsGoalsAssistsDrIncStallsCmp%OPossAdj UseP/100 PossTO/100 PossPatrick GatienVAN10116079.312332.612.1730.43Khalif El-SalaamSEA341321210089.139630.2117.7112.50Jeremy NordenPOR32104069.232126.197.1419.05Evan KleinSEA321814316086.0913625.7411.7613.97Cody BjorklundPOR571641326083.6522525.5612.6712.89Gyorgy AponteVAN94519185.946123.777.3816.39Dan SuppnickPOR514214084.627325.343.4221.92Tannor JohnsonBOS2017312093.945324.5318.875.66Lloyd BlakeD.C.32923328190.0720223.277.9215.35Nick WeissSF52333089.663623.616.9416.67As mentioned above, the best players to have listed high here are those with more positive players (Goals + Assists) than negative plays (Incompletions + Drops + Stalls). An easy way to compare those is to compare the number of points per 100 possessions ((Goals + Assists / 2) / O.Poss * 100) to the number of turnovers per 100 possessions ((Incompletions + Drops + Stalls) / O.Poss * 100). Oddly enough, of these 10 players, only two (El-Salaam and Johnson) have higher points per 100 possessions than TO/100 possessions. Of course Evan Klein and Bjorklund have very small differences between P / 100 possessions and TO / 100 possessions which indicates that they were used just about appropriately.Of course, this may also reflect what I consider to be a basic miss in the way we track ultimate turnovers. For goals, we track the receiver and the thrower which results in each point scored having one assist and one goal. When we track turnovers, we tend to track the turnover as either a throwaway or a drop. I’d posit that we should instead track turnovers as we track scoring plays. That is, one incompletion and one drop/non-reception. This would balance out the double-counting of scores with a double-counting of turnovers. And, if we cannot at all determine the intended receiver of an incompletion, we can assign the drop/non-reception wholly to the thrower.In any case, for the time being we have this set of data. So, within this who has the most points per 100 possessions? PlayerTeamPointsGoalsAssistsDrIncStallsCmp%OPossAdj UseP/100 PossTO/100 PossTannor JohnsonBOS2017312093.945324.5318.875.66Khalif El-SalaamSEA341321210089.139630.2117.7112.50Cody BjorklundPOR571641326083.6522525.5612.6712.89Raphael HayesPOR411823412187.3716721.8612.2810.18Eric StevensBOS16313016086.0913617.6511.7613.97Evan KleinSEA32181434093.336825.7411.765.88Brad HouserSEA452916015086.2419719.0411.427.61Peter WoodsidePOR3427723092.5015114.5711.263.31Brian PennerPOR2015532195.749815.3110.206.12Benjamin KatzBOS29171228090.5914317.1310.146.99Shocking, of course, that Johnson tops the list considering his 13 goal, two assist Week 11 performance. This whole list reads like a set of players you’d hope to collect if there were MLU trading cards. These folks generate scores at very high rates. And every single one of them is on a playoff team.What then of the opposite side? Who has the most TO/100 possessions?PlayerTeamPointsGoalsAssistsDrIncStallsCmp%OPossAdj UseP/100 PossTO/100 PossPatrick GatienVAN10116079.312332.612.1730.43Dan SuppnickPOR514214084.627325.343.4221.92Ryley BreiddalVAN10115070.592823.211.7921.43Jeremy NordenPOR32104069.232126.197.1419.05Bo LiNY12210523185.9815721.663.8217.83Christian BrinkSEA10118077.784919.391.0218.37Gyorgy AponteVAN94519185.946123.777.3816.39Charlie PattenNY725130087.8517220.062.0318.02Nick WeissSF52333089.663623.616.9416.67Keven MoldenhauerD.C.14212018184.3511422.816.1416.67Most notable on this list: Only three of the 10 are from playoff teams, and none of these players has a small difference between their points / 100 possessions and their TO / 100 possessions. These are players who are stretching past the bounds of their abilities, whether due to their own ego or the failures of the rest of their offenses.A Note on StallsOnly one player (Aaron Richards, 3 stalls) was stalled more than once. There were 34 stalls league-wide. This leads me to believe that we could still lower the stall count by another second (or even two!) to increase the pace of play. Sure, there are many more considerations (how many high-stall bailout hucks were thrown, for example) but I feel safe in saying that the lower stall in the MLU compared to USAU is an unqualified success.FantasyAnd now for some old-school fantasy stats. Assists, blocks and goals are +1 while incompletions, drops and stalls are -1. Callahans are +2. (No stats on who called timeouts to reset their points or threw upside down goals for multipliers):PlayerTeamPointsGoalsAssistsCallIncDropsStallsBlocksFantasyPeter WoodsidePOR3427703201948Raphael HayesPOR411823012411438Cody BjorklundPOR57164102630735Brad HouserSEA45291601500434Cam BaileySEA25151006001433Timmy PerstonPOR352960540733Evan KleinSEA321814016301730Greg MartinPHL2722504401130Billy SicklesPHL41241701320430Khalif El-SalaamSEA34132111020529Matt GlazerPHL3825130940429All on playoff teams.PlayerTeamPointsGoalsAssistsCallIncDropsStallsBlocksFantasyCharlie PattenNY725030101-23Bo LiNY12210023512-15Erik SalmiD.C.1028024605-15Andrew MisthosNY936017301-10Thomas LassetterSF1257025205-10Michael YiVAN1037019203-8Alex CloudSF972013502-7Michael LeRossVAN1037020003-7David StelckVAN514013001-7All on non-playoff teams.So the old back-of-napkin while on the sideline fantasy calculation in ultimate remains valid! Laundry List2016 MLU consisted of: 18263 throws, 17079 catches, 1944 incompletions, 1467 goals, 1461 assists, 1271 second assists, 963 blocks, 498 fouls, 350 drops, 71 bookends, 41 travels, 34 stalls, 19 bands and 6 Callahans.