We had Sacramento a few weeks ago and now we’re here with the Alabama Classic. Overall, there seem to be more legitimate pro players in Alabama as some of the east coasters have made the choice not to travel out west for the PPA Championships. The women’s doubles field is definitely quite thin, but there is some good talent playing in Alabama all things considered. There’s enough talent here that it’s not going to be a complete walkthrough for any one team.
As a reminder, Slim is 4 up on the year going into the weekend. Gritty won the toss and elected to pick second. These weird APP fantasy draft previews are the most fun for us.
(1) Lauren Stratman / Maggie Remynse (Slim)
(2) Lauren Stratman / Rafa Hewett (Gritty)
(3) Julian Arnold (Gritty)
(4) Rafa Hewett / Julian Arnold (Slim)
(5) Jorja Johnson / Bobbi Oshiro (Slim)
Slim – Maggie/Lauren were a pretty easy, first overall pick to me. My only slight concern with them is if they do hit a rough patch, will they be able to pick each other up as a team? Rafa/Julian are a team that is going have a fair amount of volatility, with their aggressive styles, but I think the talent is too great to pass up in this field. The only thing that gave me real pause with the pick is Greg Dow and Anderson Scarpa did beat Rafa Hewett playing with Kyle Yates last week, but at this point I think Julian is a better left side player than Kyle. I decided to go back to women doubles with the fifth pick because if a team is going to beat Maggie/Lauren this weekend, it will be Bobbi/Jorja.
Gritty – I regretted not going with the first selection. I was hoping Slim wouldn’t take Lauren/Maggie, but I should have known better with there being only 3 good women’s teams. I really didn’t know what to do with this draft. Rafa plays a strong mixed game and Stratman is the best female in this field so I went with them 2nd. The concern I have for Stratman/Hewett is they haven’t played a tournament together and you wonder how they gel from a personality standpoint if things start to go downhill. Julian Arnold is coming off a Championship Sunday at his last PPA event so I had to go with him as the gold medal singles pick.
(6) Jorja Johnson (Gritty)
(7) Megan Fudge (Gritty)
(8) Jorja Johnson / Gabriel Tardio (Slim)
(9) Greg Dow / Anderson Scarpa (Slim)
(10) Alix Truong / Megan Fudge (Gritty)
(11) Gabriel Tardio / Erik Forsythe (Gritty)
Slim – I was very happy to get Gabe/Jorja here as I think they are the most talented mixed team in this field. The only thing that I am unsure about is their combined youth and consistency together. Greg/Anderson are coming off a very good hold over Yates/Hewett at Dink 4 Pink last weekend in Savannah as I mentioned. They are a very consistent team, with solid hands that have added some more offence to their game as we have moved along in 2022.
Gritty – Slim did a smart thing taking the #2 women’s team at the 5th overall spot, but that left the door open for me to go back-to-back with the singles selections. There’s a world in this field where Jorja and Megan don’t go gold-silver in some order, but I think there’s a pretty good chance it goes that way. I was also surprised Slim left Truong/Fudge for me as that pick would have solidified a sweep of the women’s doubles for him as I don’t think Dow/Scarpa are a silver lock. Truong/Fudge could sneak in a silver this weekend. Erik Forsythe is not as established as a pro player, but he gets wins regularly. Forsythe recently won the New Jersey shootout with an unknown to Americans in Charles Neufeldt so he should have a good shot to find the podium teaming up with Gabe Tardio.
(12) Gabriel Tardio (Slim)
(13) Alix Truong / Julian Arnold (Slim)
(14) Pablo Tellez (Gritty)
(15) Maggie Remynse / Pablo Tellez (Gritty)
(16) Bobbi Oshiro (Slim)
(17) Rafa Hewett (Slim)
Slim – Gabe seems to struggle a bit with his consistency in singles, but he has a legit chance to win this weekend, so the upside was too much to pass on. I would not be surprised if Alix/Julian ended up winning mixed this weekend. Alix seems to be continually improving and Julian has as much offence as any guy in this field. Bobbi Oshiro does not play a lot of singles, but her results are solid when she does. Rafa is another guy who struggles with consistency in singles, but he has shown he can get results this year.
Gritty – The last time I got all the Pablo Tellez, I had a dominant fantasy performance. Let’s hope that repeats here. I had Pablo one spot ahead of Gabe Tardio in singles and I also had he and Remynse as my #3 mixed team. It’s not too often Slim and I have this much disagreement in our draft boards, but Pablo has shown to be a force in mixed. Don’t be floored if Maggie/Pablo are the gold medalists come Friday evening.
(18) Lauren Stratman (Gritty)
(19) Megan Fudge / Ryler DeHeart (Gritty)
(20) Amanda Hendry / Riley Bohnert (Slim)
(21) Jack Foster (Slim)
(22) Pablo Tellez / Diego Motivar (Gritty)
(23) Casey Cullen / Ryler DeHeart (Gritty)
Slim – Amanda/Riley are clearly the team that is going to make the podium, if one of the top three women’s doubles teams falters this weekend. Riley Bohnert is coming off of a NexGen win last weekend. Jack Foster hasn’t gotten a ton of results recently, but in this field lacking the depth of many of the recent fields, I like his chances.
Gritty – Will Lauren Stratman play singles on a Sunday? We have seen both Julian Arnold and Stratman bail on singles Sunday for a tier 2 APP event so I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen this weekend. If Stratman doesn’t bail, I think we see her on a singles podium at this event. Oshiro is a strong singles player, but her lack of length limits her to a degree, especially against players who can hit ground strokes like Stratman. I also had Megan/Ryler ahead of Truong/Arnold on my board so I’m quite happy getting them in this spot.
The men’s doubles field gets tough after #3, but I legitimately think either of the teams I picked next could medal. Diego Motivar only has 3 tournaments to his name, and he hasn’t played since the APP World Pickleball Open last December, but he has gotten some wins with Pablo Tellez in pro together. I have never seen Diego play before. Casey Cullen might be more emotional than any human on a pickleball court, but he should be a threat paired with Ryler DeHeart – peep his match against Brandon Hubschman and Shiv Krishnaswamy at Nationals last year.
(24) Alix Truong (Slim)
(25) David Seckel / Zach McDivitt (Slim)
(26) Kyle Lewis (Gritty)
(27) Julia Henderson / Liz Williams (Gritty)
(28) Amanda Hendry / William Sobek (Slim)
(29) Amanda Hendry (Slim)
(30) Natalie Hein-Ferris / Brett Thompson (Gritty)
Slim – Alix Truong has shown she can get some wins in pro singles this year as she has a podium under her belt. David Seckel and Zack McDivitt are a couple of guys who can get wins at the pro level, but they will have their work cut out to make the podium this weekend. I go back to back with Amanda Hendry picks in singles and mixed doubles, she has gotten a lot more repetitions in this year than the other girls left in those fields.
Gritty – Kyle Lewis has two APP podiums this year. His fitness does not appear to be top notch and it’s a pretty big singles field, but as the 6th guy that’s good value. Ryler DeHeart was an option here, but he’s been too much close but no cigar in singles for my liking. I don’t know much about the last two women’s teams. I don’t believe Henderson or Williams is a 5.0, and neither Hein-Ferris nor Thompson have a recorded tournament. Slim did a good job leaving me with those last two picks.
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