APP Tour So Cal Summer Classic – Fantasy Draft Preview

Are we tired of the APP yet? I sure hope not. It’s arguably the weakest field in the last leg of this APP trifecta but that doesn’t mean we can have a lot of fun with this. There are a bunch of new partnerships and you know what that leads to? Potentially wild results and new podium teams. The two of us had more disagreement in where teams should be chosen in this fantasy draft than we have for any other ones we have done this year so if there’s disagreement when reading this we won’t hold it against you. Slim had the first pick this week in the draft.

(1) Jay Devilliers (Slim)

(2) Jay Devilliers / DJ Young (Gritty)

(3) Corrine Carr / Adam Stone (Gritty)

(4) Lauren Stratman / Michelle Esquivel (Slim)

(5) Lea Jansen / Corrine Carr (Slim)

Slim – I am slightly nervous about taking Jay #1 overall, only because singles is Sunday and Jay has been paying a lot of pickleball lately but he is playing so well and is the dominant player in the field so I am happy to have him. I really didn’t know who to pick between the top two women’s teams, but this made it easy, as I feel confidently that these two women’s teams will be playing for gold and silver. With a lot up in the air in terms of women’s singles, this seemed like an easy couples of picks. I will be curious to see who ends up coming out on top in the women’s doubles field.

Gritty – Jay Devilliers has played a lot of pickleball over the past few weeks and singles is on the Sunday this week. I had Devilliers in singles as #2 on my big board so I was happy that Slim took the risk taking him #1. Although, I’m a bit concerned that him and DJ Young are not going to mesh well stylistically as DJ is used to being the alpha in almost all of his partnerships. I’m not going to quit the Carr/Stone partnership after one bad first round loss and some Stone cramping issues. However, I made my big board before I saw all the hiking photos with the two of them and, while I am no fitness expert, I don’t think that’s what gets a professional athlete in game ready shape.

(6) Gabriel Joseph (Gritty)

(7) Michelle Esquivel / Jay Devilliers (Gritty)

(8) Vivienne David (Slim)

(9) Michelle Esquivel (Slim)

(10) Lauren Stratman / DJ Young (Gritty)

(11) Kyle Yates / Callan Dawson (Gritty)

Slim – This is probably where the fantasy weekend will be won or lost for me. If both Michelle and Vivienne play this weekend I would expect them both to podium, but they both withdrew last weekend. I have to think with them likely being the top 2 seeds in the field this weekend that they will play to pursue that prize money, especially, with no Irina or Lea in the field this weekend. Gritty’s mixed picks are all very solid, and Gabe is clearly the number two men’s singles player in this field.

Gritty – Joseph is clearly the #2 singles guy and I was happy to get him here. Michelle Esquivel’s consistency always concerns me but Devilliers is such a dominant force in mixed that I have to go with them. Stratman/Young had success playing in a decently strong field last year at the California Open. However, I am really regretting my Yates/Dawson pick. I should have gone Stone/Cassidy, especially with Dawson being hampered by elbow trouble. Yates/Dawson would have been a much better pick in 2017.

(12) Adam Stone / Rob Cassidy (Slim)

(13) Dylan Frazier / AJ Koller (Slim)

(14) Lauren Stratman (Gritty)

(15) Jillian Braverman (Gritty)

(16) Daniel Roditi (Slim)

(17) Vivienne David / Lee Whitwell (Slim)

Slim – Gritty picking Yates/Dawson really surprised me, especially considering the fact Callan is currently battling an injury, but even without the injury I would not have them among my podium picks. With that said I am very happy to get Adam Stone and Rob Cassidy who I had solidly as my second men’s team here. I know this team will battle all day and get a lot balls back. We know that Dylan and AJ are capable of reaching the podium as they showed a few weeks ago playing together, and they are both players on the rise. I did also take a hard look here at Rob Nunnery and Wes Burrows, who may actually have a higher ceiling as a team, but I like the fact that Dylan and AJ have been getting a ton of reps in. With his ankle injury last week, I am very curious how Daniel Roditi looks this week, but otherwise I have him solidly as the third best men’s singles player in this field. Getting a team that I have firmly as the bronze medal team in Vivienne David and Lee Whitwell with the 17th pick feels like found money. The one team that could challenge Vivienne and Lee is Sheehan-Dizon and Jones.

Gritty – I won’t belabor my mistake in men’s but Slim getting Stone/Cassidy could be the reason I lose this week. Slim went with two women’s singles players at #8 and #9 in the draft and I was happy he did this even though the women’s singles could end up being the difference this week. Last week, Esquivel, David, Stratman and McGrath all withdrew so I didn’t have enough confidence to take them early. The only reason we can come up with is that the women didn’t feel much like playing for bronze and 4th place last week. It may be that without Jansen or Tereschenko in this field, the women are less apt to withdraw when they can play for gold and silver money. I am very curious to see how Braverman does as she has all the movement and shots necessary for singles.

(18) Rob Nunnery / Wes Burrows (Gritty)

(19) JW Johnson (Gritty)

(20) AJ Koller (Slim)

(21) Christine McGrath (Slim)

(22) Allyce Jones / Meghan Sheehan-Dizon (Gritty)

(23) Frank Anthony Davis (Gritty)

Slim – AJ Koller is a safe pick here, who I know will still battle hard all day even with singles on Sunday, and is a real threat to make the podium. Christine McGrath is also a real threat to make the podium, but as with almost all of the women, I wonder if she will actually play as she did withdraw last weekend.

Gritty – Nunnery/Burrows is a very high upside team and definitely have podium potential this weekend. I was pleased getting JW Johnson here. I said in my takeaways after the LA Open that I should have had more faith in Roditi last weekend but Slim taking him at #16 is way too high. Roditi’s coming off spraining his ankle and he’s still 45. He was on my big board but I’m not buying him this high. I guess it comes with being Gritty but I can’t quit picking FAD, especially now that he claims he is healthy coming off a major back injury. Hopefully FAD does not withdraw again. In a very weak women’s field, I like getting the Utah pairing of Jones and Sheehan-Dizon – Jones had some surprising wins with Chuck Taylor in mixed last week and Sheehan-Dizon is very talented.

(24) Vivienne David / Rob Nunnery (Slim)

(25) Lea Jansen / Callan Dawson (Slim)

(26) Christine McGrath / Jorja Johnson (Gritty)

(27) Maggie Brascia (Gritty)

(28) Michelle Lui / Morgan Evans (Slim)

(29) Shellton (the Unicorn) / Austin Gridley (Slim)

(30 Maggie Brascia / Mary Brascia (Gritty)

Slim – I am actually very happy with all three of my mixed picks here. I think the pairing of Vivienne and Rob is a strong team, and I sneaky like them to find their way onto the podium. Lea is one of the strongest females in this field, so I like her and Callan but I do worry about Callan’s injury. Then one of the teams I am actually most excited to watch this weekend, is Evans/Lui. Evans ser’ve is such a weapon in mixed in particular that I am excited to see it in action again, and then we have not had the opportunity to watch Lui, who both Gritty and I think is very talented, with a lot of high end partners so it will be interesting to see how she does with Evans. Shellton and Austin are an interesting team as they both have some what unique styles, that at times can look awkward but prove to be very effective and they both have excellent hands. They are a team that could be frustrating to play.

Gritty – Slim pickings (no pun intended) at the bottom of this draft. McGrath was slated to play with Gayten-Leach I believe but now it’s Jorja Johnson, and I had them slightly above the Brascia sisters who I also was left with. There were about 3 mixed teams Slim could have taken at this stage and I have no issue with him going Lui/Evans, especially with Evans’ hot performance last weekend. However, it’s tough to leave the upside of Braverman/Burrows undrafted. I also think Sheehan-Dizon and Shelton have some upside together. 

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