Hatsu 2023 Power Rankings
As we head towards the Hatsu basho, it's time to pull out the Power Rankings. As you make your initial selections on Fantasizr, you may be squinting at two rikishi trying to make a comparison. Perhaps Power Rankings can help. These may not be an ideal judge of how every rikishi stands heading into the basho, but it is a reflection of how everyone has performed over the last year. Since this is looking at previous performance, it is less than ideal as a predictive tool.
On the other hand, the Kyushu Power Rankings had little time for Takarafuji, Azumaryu, and Terutsuyoshi, an Isegahama-beya trio who had terrible bashos in November. The top of the rankings didn't look great by comparison, but who expected an Abi playoff win anyway. And Takakeisho, one of the runner ups in a playoff decider, was rated highly.
The formula for the Power Rankings is as follows:
Take the Fantasy Basho score (2 points for each win, 1 point for a kinboshi, 1 point for a Special Prize) for a tournament, adding 10 points for a yusho and 5 for a Jun-Yusho.
Add up the last five scores with a modifier. Multiply the most recent basho score by 5, the next most recent by 4, the third most recent by 3, the fourth most recent by 2, and the fifth most recent by 1.
For basho in Juryo, take the win total for that tournament and multiply by 1.5. For basho below Juryo, take the win total from that basho.
Add a bonus score, which is the budget number for that rikishi in the upcoming basho.
Here are this basho's Power Rankings, followed by some comments.
Is Takakeisho really the strongest rikishi coming into 2023? Maybe, maybe not. He does not have a strong number compared to others, but he is number one. (For example, Terunofuji was over 500 in these rankings for the first few basho of 2022. And often, he was almost 100 points ahead of his next closest competitor.) Takakeisho has two Jun-Yusho in the last three basho. He is also the lone Ozeki in a basho where the Yokozuna is likely not competing. There is no overwhelming favorite, but you'd do worse than selecting Takakeisho as your best bet to lift the cup.
The top five are Takakeisho, Wakatakakage, Takayasu, Hoshoryu, and Abi. Only two of those men won yusho in 2022, and two missed entire basho. These are the top of the rankings, but don't think they are leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else. These have been the rikishi who have had some strong basho AND haven't faceplanted anytime recently, essentially.
At the bottom, the rankings think very little of Takarafuji. Of course, he had a terrible performance at Kyushu after some not so great basho in the earlier part of 2022.
Notably low is Mitakeumi. He was very recently an Ozeki, but he hasn't been performing well since March. He may be getting over injuries, but if he looks like he did in November, there is no reason to expect Mitakeumi to dominate.
Nishikifuji and Ryuden land surprisingly high for their ranks at Kyushu. They've had three good basho in Makuuchi, and that makes a difference. They weren't really ever in yusho contention recently, but they have performed well since July. Maybe they've hit a wall at their current ranks, or perhaps they're ready for the challenge.
All 42 top-division rikishi are spread out fairly evenly. There is neither an obvious cluster nor a clear break in these rankings. Everyone seems strung out appropriately.