PPA Tour Orange County Cup – Fantasy Draft Preview

Seeding has suddenly become more front of mind the past week as Real Clear Stats posted a couple of articles on the unfairness of PPA seeding and the real-life impact it has on players. We probably complain enough about the questionable draws that have been far too common in pro pickleball, but we have not spent as much time on the points system itself. For PPA seeding, what we feel has gotten lost in this discussion is that not only are “legacy” PPA players still benefitting from points earned in the past, but the distribution of points in their system makes it incredibly difficult for other players to catch up.

Someone much smarter than us, like Ben from Real Clear Stats, could figure out the actual math on this stuff. However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at the distribution of points and see how challenging it is to catch up to players if you’re not getting big time results. It’s a classic negative feedback loop (or positive depending on who you are). The PPA may have to make a change somewhere because of how much the system is now punishing its contracted players as opposed to last year when it was primarily punishing non-contracted players.

Gritty is 2 up on the year, won the toss and elected to pick first. 

(1) Anna Leigh Waters / Catherine Parenteau (Gritty) 

(2) Anna Leigh Waters (Slim) 

(3) Anna Leigh Waters / Ben Johns (Slim) 

(4) Collin Johns / Ben Johns (Gritty) 

(5) Ben Johns (Gritty) 

Gritty – Anna Leigh has yet to lose a women’s doubles match this year and it appears unlikelier to happen in this field. Ben in singles is the most vulnerable spot in a let down week heading into MLP but he’s been uber consistent in all 3 facets this year.

Slim – Anna Leigh may have been pushed to the brink by Lea Jansen, last weekend, but she still has only lost two matches this year in all the events total. So she was an easy pick here in singles and in mixed doubles.

(6) Catherine Parenteau (Slim) 

(7) Riley Newman / Matt Wright (Slim) 

(8) Anna Bright / James Ignatowich (Gritty) 

(9) Federico Staksrud (Gritty) 

(10) Allyce Jones / Jorja Johnson (Slim) 

(11) Etta Wright / Federico Staksrud (Slim) 

Gritty – I can’t quit Anna and James yet. They have a quality draw and I think the talent is too much not to figure out. Federico Staksrud’s consistency in 2023 is unmatched by anyone other than Ben Johns but it’s just hard in singles with all the talent. Hoping for a bounce back.

Slim – Catherine Parenteau is a heavy favorite to make make Championship Sunday on her side of the bracket, and she is the only lady to beat Anna Leigh in singles this year. Riley and Matt have no JW and Dylan on their side of the bracket this weekend, so they should be able to able to make another Championship Sunday, but at this point you do have to wonder if there are more adjustments they can make, so they can challenge the Johns brothers again or not. Quicker conditions in Cali should help. Jorja Johnson has shown she can get results in women’s doubles when paired with a strong right side woman, and Allyce Jones is just that, plus the personality should be a great fit. I took a huge gamble here on Etta and Federico, but I think Federico’s mixed game may have been underrated for a while, and I am very high on Etta’s upside.

(12) JW Johnson / Dylan Frazier (Gritty) 

(13) Lindsey Newman / Riley Newman (Gritty) 

(14) Lucy Kovalova / Callie Smith (Slim) 

(15) JW Johnson (Slim) 

(16) Jessie Irvine / Andrea Koop (Gritty) 

(17) Lauren Stratman / Meghan Dizon (Gritty) 

Gritty – JW and Dylan are as good a bet for bronze as anyone right now with the way the draw shook out. I’m really banking on two teams working to bronze going with the Newman’s here. They have the AL side of the draw so bronze is probably the best bet. Andrea Koop is coming off a long layoff due to injury so they are a bit risky on AL’s half of the draw. I really like Dizon and Stratman’s firepower together and they could do some damage.

Slim – Lucy and Callie are always hit and miss, but they have a fairly favorable draw this weekend, so we will see if they can capitalize. After a little break from singles, JW is playing his third straight singles event, I will be curious where his energy levels are at.

(18) Jorja Johnson / JW Johnson (Slim) 

(19) Tyson McGuffin (Slim) 

(20) Christian Alshon (Gritty) 

(21) Judit Castillo (Gritty) 

(22) Federico Staksrud / Pablo Tellez (Slim) 

(23) Erik Lange / AJ Koller (Slim)

Gritty – Christian Alshon is showing he can get results in singles and has a chance to make a run here. Judit is getting better by the week in singles. Her court coverage at the net could be the best in pickle outside of the top 3 players.

Slim – The Johnson siblings have a very challenging draw in mixed, being on the same side as both Ben / Anna Leigh and the Newmans, but at 18 you have to take a team that has gold medal potential. I have hurt myself a few times in these drafts this year, by probably having Tyson too low, so am trying not to make the same mistake again. The Erik Lange and AJ Koller partnership is an interesting one, if the right AJ Koller shows up they can beat almost anyone. Erik Lange recently announced he was going full time pickleball, it will be interesting to see what improvements he can make in his game, with the extra time to train.

(24) Mary Brascia (Gritty) 

(25) Lacy Schneemann (Gritty) 

(26) Jaume Martinez Vich (Slim) 

(27) Anna Bright (Slim) 

(28) Catherine Parenteau / Tyson McGuffin (Gritty) 

(29) Tyler Loong / Jay Devilliers (Gritty) 

(30) Anna Bright / Megan Fudge (Slim) 

Gritty – Mary Brascia can be inconsistent in singles but the upside is there. I may like women who come to the net in singles too much, which is why I took Schneemann. Catherine and Tyson haven’t had a big result in a while. Could this week be it? Tyler and Jay feel kind of blah at this spot. Slim said he would have taken a shot with Tardio and Garnett, and that would have been more fun.

Slim – I am riding the hot hand here, taking Jaume Martinez Vich here. It will be interesting to see how he does following his Championship Sunday appearance last weekend. I probably should have gone with Brooke Buckner, who has been playing some awesome singles with my last pick here, but decided to take a flyer on Anna Bright instead. I do worry about Anna not being fully committed to the singles, as I presume she is just using this as a tune up for MLP. With the last pick I take Anna Bright and Megan Fudge, it will be notable to see how Fudge does as this is a big step up for her in partners. As Josh Gartman pointed out on twitter, Anna has made the semi finals with seven different partners this year which is very impressive.

Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below or email us at nmlpickleball@gmail.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too!

10 thoughts on “PPA Tour Orange County Cup – Fantasy Draft Preview

  • June 7, 2023 at 11:34 pm

    Thank you for your time and posting. Until the players form a players union (as Casey Patterson has said), the PPA will do whatever they want (and they are). Event locations will do whatever they want. And neither is really doing anything for the players or the sport. IMO, only the MLP are working on a better sport, different, but better. All I ever hear is how lousy the PPA is, yet nobody does anything. For me, I won’t go to a PPA event, that’s the best I can do. Bitchin* about it does make me feel better though (as you know). 🙂

  • June 8, 2023 at 4:54 am

    No Querrey love? ha, ha. Interesting that neither of you think Tyson/James can get past JW/Dylan. Looks like CP may be the favored one as AB seems to be moving on with other partners – Hurricane at TOC and I think Meghan was mentioned for Denver. I’m thinking there’ll be one major upset this tournament – not all chalk.

    • June 8, 2023 at 5:37 am

      I agree with them about Tyson/Iggy vs JDub/Dylan, and find it odd anyone would disagree. Iggy has been playing like crap for quite some time now, and until he snaps out of his slump and returns to the level at which we all know he can play, you have to make him prove it. A Florida guy who can’t handle a bit of Texas warmth? Srsly? Iggy’s head is not screwed on straight, and he needs to fix it.

      Also, JDub/Dylan are starting to show the consistency of a great team. Bet on them until it’s not supported by the results.

      As for the seeding, if paddle testing is any indication, pickleball will quickly address the issue at the next opportunity, but no sport will ever have seeding down perfectly. People still whine about seeding in every sport on Earth. Also, injuries/illness/pregnancy/other human factors will always reduce the accuracy of any seeding, and compensating for those will require arbitrary interventions into any formula for seeding, and will require more time to thoughtfully develop.

      I think shortening the time is probably going to get 80% of the way there, and the remaining 20% will suffer from diminishing returns.

      • June 8, 2023 at 9:46 am

        We might just not give enough time to these new players. You get some mixed results and suddenly it’s like men’s is the same. It is not. But he is getting mixed results these days either so we’ll have to see.

        Seeding is never going to be perfect and it usually benefits historical results. But PPA seeding and points is still likely problematic

        • June 8, 2023 at 4:13 pm

          Didn’t Anna and James get bronze last weekend?

    • June 8, 2023 at 9:44 am

      Tyson and James have shown nothing to indicate so far they can get that done. Querrey into a main draw for singles!

      It never is chalk these days

  • June 8, 2023 at 5:38 am

    I am really interested in Loong and Jay.

    • June 8, 2023 at 9:46 am

      I picked them but am not excited. Not enough counter pop from those two combined or real weapons.


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