APP Tour St. Louis Open – Fantasy Draft Preview

We haven’t had an APP event since the Newport tournament that took place prior to MLP. We said on the podcast that there were some interesting partnerships, but there really aren’t as many interesting teams as we sometimes see at these APPs, such as the Newport one. This tournament is shaping up to be one of the more chalk events that the APP has put together this year considering the top APP teams are in action but there are fewer frisky teams potentially in contention for Sunday appearances.

We are back to all square for the year so it is anyone’s ball game right now. Gritty won the toss and elected to pick first. 

(1) Simone Jardim / Parris Todd (Gritty) 

(2) Andrei Daescu / Rob Nunnery (Slim) 

(3) Susannah Barr / Andrei Daescu (Slim) 

(4) Salome Devidze (Gritty) 

(5) Hunter Johnson (Gritty) 

Gritty – Simone and Parris could be playing with too much fire as they keep getting pushed to 3 games by teams at these APPs. Whether it is focus or not being dominant enough, they can’t expect to be losing games and continuing to go undefeated. Still, they don’t have any competition outside of Fudge/Barr essentially so I took them first. It has been a while since we have seen Salome at a PPA or APP event. Where ya been, Salome? Without Parris and Megan Fudge, she is clearly the best singles player in the women’s field. In the softest APP men’s draw we have seen in 2023, Hunter Johnson is undoubtedly the #1 choice. 

Slim – Andrei remains the dominant doubles player on the APP Tour. It is hard to see he and Nunnery losing in mens doubles this weekend, and he and Susannah Barr have also been dominant this year playing together.

(6) Susannah Barr / Megan Fudge (Slim) 

(7) Parris Todd / Hunter Johnson (Slim) 

(8) Dominique Schaefer (Gritty) 

(9) Yates Johnson (Gritty) 

(10) Hunter Johnson / Yates Johnson (Slim) 

(11) Bobbi Oshiro / Milan Rane (Slim) 

Gritty – Dominique Schaefer’s results in singles have been trending upward slowly. She lost 11-6 and 12-10 to Hurricane Tyra Black last weekend, and she may even be practicing now that she has been drafted to the Florida Smash. Yates Johnson is coming off a Ben Johns victory in California and it sounds like that new Engage paddle is a legitimate upgrade of a weapon for anyone using it, like Yates. It will be a serious disappointment for Yates if he doesn’t get to Sunday. 

Slim – Megan Fudge and Susannah Barr have been silver medal machines this year. Can they finally beat Parris and Simone this weekend? It will be interesting to see how Hunter and Parris do this weekend, anything less than gold or a close loss to Andrei and Susannah should have the Atlanta Bouncers concerned.

(12) Megan Fudge / Rob Nunnery (Gritty) 

(13) Brendon Long / Stefan Auvergne (Gritty) 

(14) Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez (Slim)

(15) Milan Rane (Slim) 

(16) Simone Jardim / Yates Johnson (Gritty) 

(17) Alix Truong / Tina Pisnik (Gritty) 

Gritty – Megan/Rob have been able to beat Parris/Hunter in mixed and they have been playing better as a pair. I like them to potentially sneak into Sunday ahead of Parris/Hunter. The draw could matter a lot for them. Long/Auvergne could really use a result. It is a testament to Tyson that he got another good win on the weekend with Brendon, but neither Long nor Auvergne have played that well the past few months. Yates Johnson with a borderline illegal paddle in mixed with Simone Jardim should be recipe for success, but they have not been able to come close to medaling together so far. I think this could be the weekend. The BLQK team of Truong/Pisnik are teaming up and Pisnik is getting legit results, taking down Stratman/Arnold with Pat Smith last weekend. They are a team that has as wide a range of potential outcomes this weekend.

Slim – It has been a little while since we have seen Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez, so it will be interesting to see what his level looks like, and whether his game is improving. Milan Rane is one of the more proven women’s singles players in this field.

(18) Bobbi Oshiro / Brendon Long (Slim)

(19) Amanda Hendry (Slim) 

(20) CJ Klinger / Andre Mick (Gritty) 

(21) Wyatt Stone / John Cincola (Gritty) 

(22) John Cincola (Slim) 

(23) Jack Foster (Slim) 

Gritty – Andre Mick is playing with that borderline illegal ProXR paddle and has been getting outstanding results with regular partner, Jason McNulty. How will Mick fare this weekend with an on paper upgrade in CJ Klinger? Wyatt Stone pickleball junior might be underrated at this point and I won’t be surprised if he and Cincola can make a run together with Cincola currently playing the best pickleball of his life.

Slim – Oshiro/Long have some track record of success and I liked them ahead of Jardim/Yates Johnson. In a singles field that lacks some depth, I decided to bet in some veteran experience in Amanda Hendry, Jack Foster and John Cincola.

(24) Shelby Bates / Rachel Rettger (Gritty) 

(25) Jessica Warren (Gritty) 

(26) Heather Nobler / Amanda Hendry (Slim) 

(27) Ryler DeHeart / Casey Cullen (Slim) 

(28) Milan Rane / Stefan Auvergne (Gritty) 

(29) Christopher Haworth (Gritty) 

(30) Shelby Bates (Slim) 

Gritty – It hasn’t been a smooth ride for Bates/Rettger ever since they pushed Lea Jansen/Allyce Jones to the brink earlier this year, but they could be in the mix for a bronze medal on the right day. Jessica Warren has an APP bronze in 2023 and appears to be playing a lot of pickleball these days. There were a couple of other teams in contention for the final mixed spot but Rane/Auvergne are too proven to go with either Pisnik/Emmrich or Harris/Mick. I threw up a complete dart in singles with Christopher Haworth who has some semblance of results – other guys in the mix for me were Cam Luhring, FAD and Ross Whittaker.

Slim – We haven’t seen Casey Cullen in a while but he and Ryler Deheart have made the podium together this year. I decided to take a chance on Shelby Bates over Alix Truong with the last women’s singles pick.

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