With only three weeks left in the regular season, we’re starting to see some separation between the truly elite players who are putting themselves in the conversation for the Jim Brown most valuable player award. Over the first three seasons, Matt Rambo, Zed Williams, and Blaze Riorden were crowned the honor as the league’s best player. This year will likely feature a new winner, and there are a few familiar candidates who have solidified themselves in the conversation. Who will win the 2022 PLL MVP?
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I’m not one to advocate for faceoff men, nevertheless for the Jim Brown MVP award, but Trevor Baptiste is a rare exception. Baptiste is having a historically great season and his most dominant statistical season since he’s turned pro. The Atlas FOGO is averaging 70% from the stripe along with recording career highs in FO win percentage, points, and shooting percentage. Baptiste’s efficiency is off the charts, and he’s been a force for the second-place Bulls.
Whereas the Tewaaraton award is essentially an award for the nations top attackman, the PLL has proven they aren’t afraid to award MVP honors to non-traditional positions (A.K.A goalies and faceoff men). Last year, Blaze Riorden was recognized as the league’s best player despite being a goalie. Riorden is the first outdoor goalie to win the award since Greg Cattrano won the MLL MVP with the Baltimore Bayhawks in 2002. Greg Gurenlian was the last faceoff man to win the award back in 2015.
If I were a betting man, I’d throw a couple chips on Baptiste to take home the honor. At this point, I’d be relatively surprised to see anyone else win it.
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Teat has picked up where he left off his Rookie of the Year campaign. Statistically, he’s right below last year’s point totals but he’s turning the ball over at a significantly lower rate. Chris Gray has been the perfect addition to complement Atlas’ dynamic offense, and he’s right behind Teat with 24 points himself. The Bulls are averaging more goals than last year, but there are more mouths to feed which limits Teat’s stats.
The 25 year old Canadian is arguably the greatest player in the world, and he’s only getting better. If Atlas takes home the gold and Baptiste’s numbers continue to fall, Teat could win his first MVP. He was a finalist as a rookie, and he’s still a frontrunner today. There’s still work to be done, but Teat is on track to become a 2x PLL MVP finalist in 2022, at the very least.
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Despite all of the early slides and maximum defensive attention, Lyle Thompson leads the PLL in points even while playing one fewer game than everyone else. On a per game basis, Lyle also ranks first in points (5) and goals (3). He’s an absolute wizard with the ball in his stick, and he’s maintained a MVP caliber level of play on every stage since he turned pro. It’s hard to believe that Lyle has one MVP season (2019).
The biggest knock against Lyle is that he plays for the Cannons. Typically, the MVP is awarded to the best player on the best team, or at the very least, the best player on an above average team. But neither of these are true of Thompson thanks to the Cannons inability to finish games. Remember, the PLL MVP award includes playoff performances so any missed time hurts his chances. Lyle certainly has the stats to back up his argument, but all three MVPs have been on championship winning teams, and the Cannons currently sit last in the standings. The Cannons will need to make a playoff push to keep #LyleforMVP alive.