Natsu 2022 Power Rankings
Fantasy Basho is live on Fantasizr, and you can go sign up now to pick your team before the sumo begins on May 8th.
Power Rankings for Natsu are here. And once again, I have made a slight tweak to the formula. Specifically, I boosted the score for basho in Juryo. Wins in Juryo still don't count the same as wins in Makuuchi, but they are no longer worth half. This makes someone who just dominated Juryo show up a little bit better. For Natsu, this is the formula for the Power Rankings:
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
Add a bonus score, which is the budget number for that rikishi in the upcoming basho
These are a great view of how rikishi have been performing coming into the basho. These are not wonderfully predictive, especially because of injuries and other issues. The overall point total is also a bigger part of this than the order. Still, I would urge no one to take these as absolute. Yet they can be a good snapshot of a rikishi's last few tournaments, which pulls away from a recency bias
Here are the Power Rankings, with some commentary below.
There is essentially Tier One and Tier Two at the top, made up in total of five rikishi. Tier One is Terunofuji and Mitakeumi. Tier Two is an extremely tight cluster of Abi, Wakatakakage, and Kotonowaka. Terunofuji has easily been the best rikishi in sumo over the last year, even if he was injured during Haru. If he's healthy, there's no reason he isn't the favorite. Mitakeumi, meanwhile, had an Ozeki run capped by a yusho, followed by an Ozeki debut of 11 wins. They stand out for obvious reasons.
Tier Two is a little more interesting. All three wrestlers there could be jumbled up based on some formula decisions. Abi gets a boost in this model with Juryo wins counting 1.5, although his last Makushita basho is still on the board. Wakatakakage's yusho adds to his total points, although it was also by far his best basho. Kotonowaka would have the most points without a bonus of any kind. The important note is that all three have recent performances that have set them apart from everyone except those top two.
You could squint and see a Tier Three of Hoshoryu and Shodai, although they are closer to the pack than Tier Two. They standout for being consistent. Neither has had a terrible basho in the last year, although neither has been in yusho contention. Shodai has seemingly been disappointing as an Ozeki, but he has held his rank. Hoshoryu may be finding his best form still. Making a prediction about either of them seems foolish.
Some time should be devoted to Meisei, although it's a bit depressing. He is way behind everyone else, who otherwise seem steadily grouped after the top. This is due to two awful recent basho, including one win last time out. He's been in Sanyaku and has a lot of skill, with the added bonus of not quite hitting his prime. This should just be a reminder that he has been dismal.
Takayasu, the man who lost that epic playoff in Haru, is firmly in the middle of these rankings. That's a reminder that he was out due to COVID restrictions in January. He also wasn't setting the sumo world on fire before that. You COULD read that as being proof the absence helped Takayasu's performance in March. I am not going there exactly, but I wouldn't rule it out.
Takakeisho is only not in a terrible position for Ozeki, because he is an Ozeki. That 25 point bonus score is helping him.
Oho is well ahead of the other two Juryo promotions, Midorifuji and Azumaryu. He didn't dominate the second division in March, but he did win consistently in the previous few basho.