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Natsu 2023 Power Rankings

We have just a few days until the May tournament starts, which means you should go ahead and sign up on Fantasizr for Fantasy Basho. These Power Rankings should help you pick at least your first lineup.

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The Power Rankings are back! These were always meant to be much more descriptive than prescriptive. The Power Rankings are designed to show how each Makuuchi rikishi has performed coming into a basho. They should not be used as a predictive tool for the next tournament.


And I am not just saying that because the Haru 2023 Power Rankings look a little foolish. It is not just that Takakeisho and Wakatakakage were rated highly, then had injury plagued tournaments that ended with kyujos. Ryuden was also highly touted by the Power Rankings before his 2-13 performance. Yusho winner Kiribayama was in the second position in those rankings. So they aren't totally awful.


When looking at the Power Rankings for Natsu, it's best to consider these as some perspective. The Rankings look at a rikishi's last year of performance. That may include some Juryo, Makushita, or even Sandanme basho. Rikishi who just got 10 wins are also much more likely to go back to seven wins rather than get double digits again. This is often best illustrated by the previous year's records. The Power Rankings are a formula, rather than my subjective ranking so that we can get a dose of reality.


Here is how the Power Rankings are formulated.

  • 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 the rankings, with some commentary below.



NOTES:

  • Kiribayama is unsurprisingly atop these rankings, coming off his March yusho. More importantly, he has not had a losing record in 7 basho and won a jun-yusho in January. He did not win his first yusho out of nowhere. He has a chance at becoming an Ozeki for a reason, and the evidence is he would hold the rank if he just fights like he has over the last year.

  • Takakeisho is still highly ranked despite his terrible, injury-plagued performance in March. That's largely because he is 1) still an Ozeki and 2) the rikishi who had the best year before that. If he is healthy, he is obviously still a contender. That is, frustratingly, a gigantic if.

  • Daieisho, Wakamotoharu, Hoshoryu, and Abi are the other favorites by these rankings. They've all been highly ranked and generally performing well in the last few tournaments. No one would be terribly surprised if they won a yusho, although any sumo fan could find reasons they may collapse.

  • Asanoyama. If I were ranking all 42 Makuuchi wrestlers subjectively, the former Ozeki would be higher than he is in these rankings. On the other hand, maybe some caution is warranted. He was a consistent 10 wins as an Ozeki two years ago, and he steamrolled Juryo. He also had a year away from competition and isn't getting younger. He should do really well, but a winning record would be big. Yusho contention may be just too much.

  • Despite his retirement, I included Ichinojo to see what it would say. His extremely up and down last twelve months are clear. Even if he tried to tough out his back injury, and he did not need to do that, he was never going to be sure of doing well.

  • Terunofuji brings up the rear, despite being sumo's lone Yokozuna. The irony is that only a Yokozuna could have this recent track record and still compete in Makuuchi. Everyone else would have been demoted out after those absences. For May, he should be considered a favorite if he really is back to even 80%. He was that much better than everyone else pre-injury.

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