Hatsu 2020 Draft Preview
The Hatsu basho begins in just two days, but drafts still need to happen, and here's a preview of what to look for while picking rikishi. Fortunately, the Day One Torikumi is already posted, so there's even a sense of the initial shape of the basho.
Only one rikishi, Kotoyuki, has been declared Kyujo before the tournament. What precisely is ailing Kotoyuki is still unclear, but he is probably out for the whole thing now.
Just because Kotoyuki is the only one officially injured doesn't mean there aren't others struggling with some health issues. Yokozuna Kakuryu pulled out on Day One, but before competing in Kyushu. He seemed to have decided some back pain wasn't something to mess with, but he's going for Hatsu.
Goeido fell and twisted his ankle hard in the opening match of the Kyushu tournament, but he's been mounting the dohyo again. It's unclear how healthy he is.
Takayasu similarly couldn't finish the Kyushu basho, thanks to his lingering left elbow problem, which means he has fallen out of the Ozeki rank.
Another recent former Ozeki, Tochinoshin, also couldn't finish the Kyushu basho thanks to lingering issues, although his problems are in his lower body.
The most important factor for any rikishi is their rank, but the real measuring stick is who makes the joi-jin, or top ranks. Their the top guys who all have to face each other, including the Ozeki and Yokozuna, which also means the top sixteen. This basho, thanks to a severely diminished sanyaku, the joi-jin line is at Maegashira 4 West. That would be Shodai.
Importantly, though, the wrestlers just below Shodai will be called on. FIrst, Kotoyuki came in ranked Maegashira 3 West, so someone has to take on his matches. It would also not be too surprising if more members of the Sanyaku withdraw due to injury.
Also, stablemates can't face each other, which means that Daieisho and Endo, both Oitekaze men, will not square off, and neither will Hakkaku-beyamates Hokutofuji and Okinoumi. And while Enho is right on the line, he can't face the dai-Yokozuna Hakuho as both belong to Miyagino stable.
The Bottom of the Banzuke
Similar to how the top 16 all face each other, the bottom 16 will typically square off. (Well, at least in the first few days, if someone starts putting up wins, they will face stiffer competition.) That line begins at Maegashira 10 East Sadanoumi.
The no-stablemates-shall-face-each-other rule applies here just as much as it does to the joi-jin, as it's a universal sumo rule. But there are many more stablemates. Chiyotairyu and Chiyomaru are both in Kokonoe-beya. Kotoshogiku and Kotoeko are both Maegashira 13 and both Sadogatake men. Shimanoumi and Tokushoryu are members of Kise stable.
With one Kyujo already present, a Juryo wrestler will face a Makuuchi wrestler. If that means it will help someone pile up wins, then draft accordingly.
The very bottom of the Makuuchi banzuke are six wrestlers who were in Juryo last basho. Four of them, Azumaryu, Ikioi, Kaisei, and Kiribayama, finished in a tie for the Juryo lead in Kyushu with 11 wins. Azumaryu won the chaotic playoff.