The offseason is always a fun time in Disc Golf. This season was no exception. We had some big time free agents, but very little movement at the beginning. As the months rolled on, things started to become more and more interesting. We had Hot Take Hannum leave Discraft to join one of his best friends and girlfriend on team Prodigy. We saw Thomas Gilbert leave Innova for a very intriguing Prodigy contract. We had the Mandujano sisters split with Alexis going to Discraft and Valerie getting promoted to Innova’s Star Team, Ezra Aderhold finally announced that he had chosen Discraft, and Finally James Conrad confirmed everyone’s suspicions by announcing that he signed a 2-year deal with MVP. There was a lot more movement, but those were just some of the highlights. This left me wondering which companies can look at this offseason as a win and which ones walked away with a L this year.
(The following takes are purely the opinion of Hunter Thomas)
MVP - WIN
Personally I think MVP was the biggest winner of the offseason this year. They didn’t pick up a ton of players, but they made a move that could change the perception and direction of their company. Up to this point, they have had several good pros, but never one that is regularly able to challenge the lead card week in and week out. With the addition of James Conrad, they now have that. This could be huge for their perception. Right now I feel like they have a weird reputation for no reason other than no pros are throwing their plastic. This has lead to players who have never felt or thrown their discs saying they are only for Rec players and almost laughing at them. Once you feel their plastic and give it a few throws, you will realize this is not the case. That is what Conrad has the opportunity to do this year. He could change the perception of the brand and put their company on a whole new level in the disc golf world.
Discraft - WIN
Discraft was able to avoid losing any key players on their team and were able to pick up some young talent that could be the future of the sport in Ezra Aderhold and Alexis Mandujano. With the addition of them and one of the more underrated players in MPO right now in Scott Withers, I think that Discraft has set themselves up for continued success in this year and in the future as long as Ezra and Alexis stay happy with them moving forward. It is definitely an exciting time to be a fan of Discraft.
Innova - LOSS
Innova was a tough one for me to call a loss. They were able to keep their top names and re-sign some great FPO talent that will keep them relevant for years. At the end of the day though, we saw their team lose good players to almost every manufacturer out there. This was a bit of a concerning sign as you have several long time Innova players leaving that previously had their name almost synonymous with Innova. Most notable on this list is James Conrad who was quoted in an Ultiworld article saying “I felt like the relationship with Innova didn’t evolve quite as quickly as my performance in the sport evolved.” Watching players leave and hearing James talk about his contract not progressing the way he felt it should made me lean more towards the loss side for them even though it wasn’t a complete loss.
Discmania - WIN
Discmania I am calling a win for one reason. Eagle McMahon. They were able to go through the offseason without losing any players but most notable on this list is Eagle. There were rumors of him talking to other brands and I am sure with his contract being up that he had offers on the table from every company out there. Had Discmania lost Eagle, it would have been tough to imagine what that could have done to their company. Luckily they were able to lock him in for another 3 years and keep him happy. With Eagle and Kyle Klein, Discmania’s future is in good hands.
Dynamic Discs - LOSS
Dynamic did not lose anyone crucial, but they also did not gain anyone notable. Dynamic is missing that big name player on tour that is going to compete week in and week out. We know there was several top tier players on the market, but Dynamic somehow missed out on all of them. Had they signed Ezra, Conrad, or Eagle, this offseason could have looked a lot different for them. They have a solid team, but seeing the DD logo on lead cards is not going to be a very regular thing in 2021. They have great players that can move some plastic such as Zach Melton, Eric Oakley, Chris Clemons, etc. but they are just missing that face of the brand, big time player. In my opinion, they need to sign one in the next few years so that they don’t have to rely on the big names on Latitude or Westside to really get their plastic displayed consistently on the big stages.
Latitude 64 - NEUTRAL
From what I can find, Latitude did not gain or lose any tour level players this offseason. I can’t really call it a win as they did not capitalize on anyone, but I also can’t call it a loss as they did not lose Emerson Keith, Albert Tamm, Kristin Tattar, or Rebecca Cox who are all crucial to the success of their team in the next few years.
Westside - NEUTRAL
I am in a similar boat with Westside as I am with Latitude. They didn’t seem to really expand their team much but they were able to keep Nikko on which is big for their brand. It would be nice to see some more players on their top level team, but it just doesn’t seem to be a part of their plan which has kept me feeling like this year was kind of a wash for them.
Prodigy - WIN
This was a big offseason for Prodigy. They were able to add 6 players to their team and renew another 6 players contracts. The biggest on this list being USDGC Champion Chris Dickerson. He actually signed an extension mid season, but regardless with his contract running up they did not lost the face of their brand. They were also able to bring on Austin Hannum and Thomas Gilbert for some more firepower on the current tour and then they added some young talent to help secure their future as well. Another move to not be overlooked is the promotion of Heather Young to their top team meaning that they will be supporting her tour efforts even more this year and keeping her happy is going to be a great move for them in the next few years as she grows into a top FPO player.
DGA - WIN
This offseason was pretty good for DGA. They were able to pickup some good role-players for their team that will hopefully help push their brand more into the mainstream. They extended Matt Bell for 3 years and then were able to pickup Trevor Harbolt and Noah Meintsma both on two year contracts. I wouldn’t say they had a huge offseason, but being able to keep the current players and add a few that will be decent representatives for them on tour is a good move for sure!
Agree? Disagree? Let me know on Twitter @FDG_Hunter_ T