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MLP 2024 Premier Level Tiered Rankings Powered by DUPR

by Erik Tice on

If you've played fantasy sports, you should be familiar with tiered player rankings. For those who haven't, here's a quick primer.

A tiered player ranking is when players are ranked based on certain criteria or categories. In fantasy sports, one such category might be age or position.

For pickleball, we chose other categories, including:

  • Dominant Men Who Can Take Over a Match
  • Top Three Women
  • Women Expected to Be Drafted Early
  • Middle Round Guys
  • 3rd or 4th Round Draft Locks
  • Fringe Premier Players (Women)
  • Fringe Premier Players (Men)
These Notable Players Are Not Playing MLP in 2024
The MLP Draft is coming up, and some notable players have withdrawn their eligibility for 2024. Find out who’s not playing this season.

As of publishing, we still do not have an official player list from MLP regarding who is eligible to be drafted. However, you can check out our updated listing those not participating in MLP in 2024.

One note, before we get into our rankings. Because the Premier Level draft is an auction draft, there are no actual rounds. However, for the sake of placing players in tiers, we are treating it as though:

  • Round 1 = Picks 1-12
  • Round 2 = Picks 13-24
  • Round 3 = Picks 25-36
  • Round 4 = Picks 37-48

If you need a refresher before continuing, check out this article:

A Refresher for the Upcoming 2024 Major League Pickleball Draft
Now that Major League Pickleball is back, how are the teams constructed? We get you prepped for the April 2 draft with a refresher on how it works.

Now, without further adieu, here are our tiered rankings:

Dominant Men Who Can Take Over a Match 

Many pundits believe Sock will go second overall because he could be the best player in the world in a year or two, plus he brings marketing power. James could go lower, depending on how severe his shoulder injury is and how long he will be out.

Daescu would not have been on this list at the start of 2024, but his results lately have catapulted his draft stock.

Alshon was the most improved male player in 2023, jumping from Challenger Level in early 2023 to a first-round Premier Level player in a little over a year. All of these players bring high-level takeover ability.

The Top Three Women

These three are clear-cut ahead of the rest of the pack. There are some rumors that Anna Leigh is only contracted to play in four MLP events—does that bring her draft stock down? How much?

We will find out on Tuesday. Bright is listed ahead of Catherine just because she has been playing super offensively in 2024, and the game seems to continue in that direction.

Women Expected to Be Drafted Early

This is a very difficult group to rank. The Kawamoto sisters could easily go ahead of some of these other names. This group will go quickly because once a team has a dominant male, many teams look to pick up two great women.

Rohrabacher and Black were neck and neck for the most improved player last year, and they both have had great results this year. Lea Jansen has been playing great with Hayden Patriquin recently, so maybe they can continue to team up.

Hurricane Tyra Black at PPA Desert Ridge

Middle Round Guys

All of these guys have been playing great in 2024. Jay and Pat particularly have had a resurgence together. They could be a great one-two combo for a team that went out and got one of the top three women.

Tellez is the best left-hander in the game right now. Zane is coming off a win over the Johns brothers, and Dekel has been playing lights out with both Tyson and Tina Pisnik.

Rettenmaier hasn’t had the results he wanted in 2024, but he is known as a great teammate in MLP and should bounce back soon.

3rd or 4th Round Draft Locks

These men and women are definitely getting picked up in Premier but are toward the back half. Schneemann has an incredibly high ceiling but hasn’t had the results she probably wants this year.

Pisnik is the only player I have as a lock who was at Challenger Level last year.

Loong has been playing great lately, and while Collin Johns isn’t the best mixed doubles partner in the world, he is easily a top-three right-sided guy that someone will pick up.

Fringe Premier Players (Women)

THIS is where it gets interesting. For those who do not want to do math at home, we have 18 locks for the Premier Level Draft on the women’s side. This leaves six spots for these 11 ladies to fight for. 

Newman is an elite defensive player. Will she commit to all MLP events? That is the real question that GMs will need to answer.

Buckner has been a singles force to be reckoned with, and she’s playing with Sock, Shick, and Roddy in North Carolina every day. Oshiro is coming off some big wins both on the APP Tour and PPA Tour and is bringing a lot of offense.

Emmrich and De La Rosa have had some good results on the PPA Tour together, but her lack of offensive weapons may hold her back. Christian has a ton of upside but hasn’t really had the partners in doubles to see if she can hang on to the most elite level yet.

Tereschenko hasn’t been playing much, but she is definitely the GOAT of MLP. However, she may not get drafted to the Premier Level this year. Truong was just announced as an exclusive MLP/PPA signing, and she has been playing great on the APP Tour.

Much of these late-round selections come down to relationships and team needs. If I am drafting my last player and I need a woman, a lot goes into that decision.

Have the two guys on my team had success with any of these women listed? Is my first woman a left-sider in women’s doubles or a right-sider? Do I need more consistency and defense, or do I need offense?

These are all questions that go into making these decisions.

Five Strategies GMs Could Implement in the Upcoming MLP Premier Level Draft
The 2024 MLP Draft is just around the corner and we’re gearing up with a look at some potential strategies GMs could utilize to build that championship team.

My bets: For the six spots remaining, I am going to say the following ladies are drafted in Premier:

  • Buckner
  • Oshiro
  • Humberg
  • Newman
  • Truong
  • Christian

Fringe Premier Players (Men)

Like the women’s side of the draft, we have 19 men locked in Premier Level. This leaves five spots for these ten players.

Clinger is coming off a Challenger season where he was named the event MVP twice and has a lot of upside.

DJ has all the tools he needs to be a high-level player; he needs more consistency. Lange has been playing great since he joined Ben Johns on the Chicago Slice. That has carried over to the PPA Tour this year, and now that he is playing full-time pickleball, I could easily see him get drafted in the Premier Level.

Hewitt and Koller have been Premier Level staples, but recently, they haven’t really had the results they want. 

The most intriguing up-and-comers are Munro, Howells, Vich, and Ge.

Munro has been playing forever and has a ton of upside with his length, and he is the only ambidextrous pro I know of other than Brandon French. Howells has consistently medaled in every APP event this year and trains every day with some of the most elite players in the game.

Vich is an amazing singles player but hasn’t won anything in doubles of note and hasn’t had many runs to the quarter-finals and semi-finals. Ge had a great run with Hurricane Tyra Black at PPA Desert Ridge and has sustained success in the Arizona Pickleball League at The Orchard. 

My bets: Out of these 11 players, here are my five picks to get drafted in Premier:

  • DJ Young
  • CJ Klinger
  • Will Howells
  • Augie Ge
  • Erik Lange

How will this all shake out come April 2nd? I can't wait to find out.

 

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