Meaningless Stat of The Month

I like to dig into data. With limited time, though, it’s difficult to piece too much together. However, I was able to pretty quickly assemble the current Makuuchi banzuke with each rikishi’s birthdate. It makes sense that the older guys are toward the top of the banzuke. There aren’t too many geezers who continue this bruising lifestyle well into their thirties once they start sliding down and getting demoted.

Later This Week: Juryo

Sometimes looking at data visualizations instead of scouring newspaper articles, you find new, interesting perspectives. The first thing I noticed looking at this data is there’s someone here whom I have not been paying enough attention to: Takakeisho. All eyes have been on other wrestlers and this young man has just gotten lost in the mix. I remember watching his progress in the lower divisions but when he hit Juryo, I seemed to lose him in the shuffle.

Takakeisho began his sumo career as Sato, taking on the present shikona prior to his makuuchi debut in the last tournament where he finished with a 7-8 losing record. He’s not had the stellar record of a Shodai or Hokutofuji but he’s close. He’s got four yusho under his belt in the lower divisions, including three very successful tournaments and one yusho in Juryo. Physically, he’s not tall but he’s got girth. Definitely not as big as a Gagamaru, though. He was able to get wins over ailing Tochiozan and Okinoumi but I think that was more of an indication of how badly these guys were hurt than anything else. Given his youth and his quick rise, he’s another one I’m going to watch.

Secondly, seeing how far Takekaze and Yoshikaze are below the trendline was no surprise and pretty much everyone but those two falls in a very small band along the line. We can kind of see who are the guys we expect to retire in the next year or so and who we expect to be around for another 5 years or longer. This is why Terunofuji’s health is so crucial. He’s so young and so high up there that one figures there’s time to sit and heal properly, even if it means demotion.

The R-square is miniscule on this, though, so I’m really hoping to go deeper. I’m going to expand this to Juryo next, then add-in more variables as I find them. This is fun for me to do with sports statistics because this seems to be the way to find the unknowns. Everyone knows the stars but occasionally these totally random people show up with amazing records of efficiency or power.

10 thoughts on “Meaningless Stat of The Month

  1. It is readable and clear on my 5.5 inch android. But i dont understand the data. Maybe you ate just a math geek

    • It’s admittedly counter-intuitive. I should have reversed the scale because it’s basically the opposite of age since I graphed it by birthdate. So instead of older wrestlers having longer bars, younger wrestlers do. I should flip it upside-down. (I definitely am a geek. It’s my day job, but at work I’ve got more data and cooler tools.)

  2. Btw, if we can treat each rikishi as cash equity, and their performance as stock price, we can apply technical analysis on them and do predictions. We can even do simulation like they do in nba

    • Yes. Absolutely. Right now this spreadsheet I have only has the one data point. But I hope to expand it. With more variables it will be much better.

  3. Like lower rank rikishi cost less. And we compute profit or loss depending if they achieve better or lower performance.

  4. A Value over Replacement Rikishi metric?

    I do love me some data visualization – there’s a chart around here that tried to illustrate the relative winningness of the sanyaku entering Kyushu by plotting a (wide) moving average of their net wins per basho. The point was meant to be about consistency in relation to a discussion of Goeido and Kisenosato, but hell if the Hakuho line wasn’t just plain astounding.


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