The APP Sacramento Open is back for another year with somehow a deeper field than 2022. It appears that a lot of the APP stalwart players are travelling cross-country, and it makes for some intriguing draws as some of the west coast based newer players are entering their names in the hat as well. The APP continues to fly under the radar with a seemingly endless array of storylines for the PPA and MLP. The APP remains staunch in their decision to only stream the weekend days of their event and it sounds like they are simply choosing to allocate their time and resources elsewhere. As only hardcore viewers of the sport, we may disagree with this decision but who are we to say what they should be doing to sustain their brand? This is a calculated decision on their part, and they keep chugging along as pickleball’s second tier tour for the time being.
We are back to all square for the fantasy season and Slim has another chance to pull back into the lead as finish the first third of the year. Gritty won the toss and elected to pick first.
(1) Simone Jardim / Parris Todd (Gritty)
(2) Parris Todd (Slim)
(3) Hunter Johnson (Slim)
(4) Susannah Barr / Andrei Daescu (Gritty)
(5) Hunter Johnson / Yates Johnson (Gritty)
Gritty – In another women’s field without a lot of higher end talent, Simone/Parris are head and shoulders above the rest and should come away with another gold. Susannah Barr/Andrei Daescu won gold in Mesa but this will be another fight for them to beat some good teams out there. Hunter/Yates have been playing well together and came away with a silver medal at the US Open, losing to Andrei Daescu/Kyle Yates. I’m also wondering if any of these top APP players will have any hangover flying cross-country the week following the US Open.
Slim – Hunter Johnson and Parris Todd have been the best men and women’s singles players this year on the APP Tour. I am most worried about them being tired from last week’s US Open.
(6) Pesa Teoni / Andrei Daescu (Slim)
(7) Parris Todd / Hunter Johnson (Slim)
(8) Yates Johnson (Gritty)
(9) Megan Fudge (Gritty)
(10) Simone Jardim / Stefan Auvergne (Slim)
(11) Megan Fudge / Bobbi Oshiro (Slim)
Gritty – Yates Johnson pushed Hunter Johnson once again in the US Open, only to fall a little bit short in slngles. Yates’ consistency does not match Hunter, but he is a class above the rest of this APP singles field. Although Judit Castillo is the one who almost beat Parris Todd in Naples, Megan Fudge has a proven track record of consistent performance so I take her above Castillo.
Slim – Andrei Daescu and Pesa Teoni took gold the last time they partnered in Mesa, and I think they will do it again this week. Hunter and Parris are coming off of their US Open mixed gold performance, and they should be right in the mix in Sac town. Simone is still probably the best female mixed player in this event, so she and Stefan make an intriguing pair, even if Stefan’s recent performances have been underwhelming. Megan Fudge and Bobbi Oshiro are coming off of a silver medal performance at the US Open, and I would expect to see them on Championship Sunday this week.
(12) Judit Castillo (Gritty)
(13) Maggie Remynse / Susannah Barr (Gritty)
(14) Stefan Auvergne / Brendon Long (Slim)
(15) Shelby Bates / Alix Truong (Slim)
(16) Rob Nunnery / Ryler DeHeart (Gritty)
(17) Alix Truong / Brendon Long (Gritty)
Gritty – I’m happy to get both Judit Castillo and Megan Fudge as I think they both have the ability to knock off Parris Todd, and in a softer singles field, they should have a strong chance to hit the podium. Maggie Remynse has not played a tournament since 2022 Nationals. No tourney reps and the ongoing improvement of pro pickleball makes Remynse/Barr a tough pick to make, but I have to do it because the talent is too good. Nunnery/DeHeart are getting more reps together and I hope they can breakthrough at some point. Brendon Long and Alix Truong have that Miami PC connection, so I’m banking that Long is still on his heater.
Slim – Stefan Auvergne and Brendon Long have the ability to take gold in this field on the right day as they both have high end offensive ability for this field. Maggie Remynse hasn’t played a tournament this year, so I kind of like Shelby and Alix ahead of Maggie and Susannah.
(18) John Cincola (Slim)
(19) William Sobek (Slim)
(20) Bobbi Oshiro (Gritty)
(21) Megan Fudge / Rob Nunnery (Gritty)
(22) Christa Gecheva / Vivian Glozman (Slim)
(23) William Sobek / Christian Keenum (Slim)
Gritty – Where Oshiro gets seeded will be crucial for this pick. Oshiro does not play much singles and her length limits her against the best players, but I wouldn’t expect her to lose to anyone outside the top 3. Megan Fudge/Rob Nunnery have been getting better results and I like the match between Fudge’s steadiness with Nunnery’s offense in mixed.
Slim – William Sobek has seen a real rise in his game of late, so I take him twice here in singles and in men’s doubles, with Christian Keenum. Keenum and Sobek took bronze at the Mesa PPA. Christa Gecheva and the newcomer Vivian Glozman could surprise some people this weekend. I’m very curious to see how they do.
(24) Brandon Lane (Gritty)
(25) Ryler DeHeart (Gritty)
(26) Bobbi Oshiro / Yates Johnson (Slim)
(27) Alix Truong (Slim)
(28) Genie Erokhina / Rianna Valdes (Gritty)
(29) Brandon Lane / John Cincola (Gritty)
(30) Shelby Bates (Slim)
Gritty – I have never actually seen Brandon Lane play pickleball outside of a few singles points a couple of PPAs ago or something like that, but his results cannot be ignored. I take him twice in this draft, first in singles and then in doubles with John Cincola. Cincola is an underrated doubles player and I think at this point in the draft he is the best men’s doubles player left in the field. My final women’s pick is Erokhina/Valdes. Valdes has sky high potential, and it will be interesting to see how she does with a fellow California player in Erokhina.
Slim – Bobbi Oshiro and Yates Johnson are two players that sometimes struggle with consistency but they can definitely make a podium in this field with their talent.
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