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Average Wins by Rank

One of the best things about sumo is that everything gets tracked. Literally going back centuries, we know how many matches each rikishi won and how. More important for anyone devising a draft strategy for Fantasy Basho, we can also know how many wins each rank has achieved for every basho.


I have not gone back centuries, but just to the Hatsu basho of 2016. The chart below shows the number of wins achieved at each rank since January 2016. It's a bit unwieldy, plus not every rank has competed at every tournament. So look at the chart, then scroll down to the analysis below it.

Let's look at some things in detail. First, here are the top five ranks by average wins.


Ozeki 1 West--8.76 Wins

Ozeki 1 East--8.43 Wins

Sekiwake 1 East--8.14 Wins

Maegashira 8 West--8.05 Wins

Maegashira 10 West--7.95 Wins


Sure, that's what we all expected. Ozeki and Sekiwake are extremely successful on a consistent basis, and they are always decent bets to get at least 8 wins. The lower Maegashira are interesting. The Maegashira 8 West total is up more than it would have been since Asanoyama just won a yusho with 12 wins from that slot. Still, both Maegashira 8 and 10 are spots where a promoted Juryo wrestler will never touch, but instead are probably wrestlers who are solid Maegashira either recovering from a recent fall down the rankings or starting to get their footing at the bottom of the rankings.


The above chart can also be more easily grouped by bands. Here are the averages for grouped ranks.


Yokozuna--6.93 Wins

Ozeki--7.69 Wins

Sekiwake--8.29 Wins

Komusubi--6.36 Wins

Maegashira 1-3--6.21 Wins

Maegashira 4-6--6.85 Wins

Maegashira 7-9--7.29 Wins

Maegashira 10-12--7.21 Wins

Maegashira 13-17--6.84


If you're wondering why Yokozuna don't rate better, it's simple. They can go kyujo without fear of a loss of rank and do quite often. Here is the average for the Yokozuna ranks if you exclude the various 0 win campaigns, some of which are kyujo from the beginning and some of which are false starts.


Yokozuna 1 East--9.56 Wins

Yokozuna 1 West--9.17 Wins

Yokozuna 2 East--7.81 Wins

Yokozuna 2 West--10.00 Wins


So a Yokozuna is still your best bet if you know that he will be healthy. Incidentally, those Yokozuna 2 numbers are a little funky, because there were only 4 Yokozuna for five tournaments and the Yokozuna 2 East slot is hampered by Kisenosato's dissappointing last few tournaments.


On the other end of things, are there any ranks that should be avoided? Here are the bottom five.


Maegashira 16 West--4.09 Wins

Maegashira 3 East--5.48 Wins

Maegashira 3 West--5.76 Wins

Yokozuna 2 West--6.00 Wins

Komusubi 1 West--6.05 Wins


Okay, the Yokozuna 2 West spot is odd, so forget that. And number 6 is Ozeki 2 West, which also hasn't been around for awhile, at 6.29 Wins. So who's next?


Maegashira 1 East--6.38 Wins

Maegashira 2 West--6.43 Wins

Maegashira 2 East--6.48 Wins


In other words, being in the upper Maegashira ranks, and even Komusbi, sucks. This makes sense, considering that these are the lowest ranked spots that still will always face Yokozuna and Ozeki. They also tend to face them early in a basho, getting rikishi on poor form.


Finally, it's difficult to win Fantasy Basho simply by getting a team that all win 8 or 9 matches. You need some solid double digit performers. Which ranks most often get double digit wins? Here are the top, by percentage of double digit wins in basho.


Yokozuna 1 West--62%

Yokozuna 2 East--58%

Yokozuna 1 East--48%

Ozeki 1 East--43%

Yokozuna 2 West--40%

Ozeki 1 West--38%

Maegashira 10 West--33%

Maegashira 8 West--33%


So, yes, you still want a Yokozuna or Ozeki. But those Maegashira 10 West and Maegashira 8 West slots crop up one more time.


That's even more information for you to ponder while drafting in about a month.


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