Handicapping The Natsu Banzuke – Part 3


The Fish Tank & Fresh Faces

*Updated after reader lksumo pointed out that my spreadsheet had somehow skipped special prize winner Takakeisho. This caused a complete re-compute of the lower 8 ranks.

In the last of our series prognosticating the banzuke for Natsu, we take a look at the lower half Makuuchi, including the rikishi who are likely to be demoted down to Juryo and promoted out of Juryo to the upper division.

As stated in the prior posts, the records at the end of Haru left a chaotic mess for predicting the Natsu banzuke. There were a number of strong finishers in Juryo, and a lot of losing records in Makuuchi. In fact the lower Maegashira suffered a preponderance of losing records, and in fact it was difficult this basho not to promote rikishi with losing records, simply because there were so few winning records, and most of those had already moved up the banzuke into upper Maegashira.

Gone from the upper division is Nishikigi, who had been a lower Maegashira for some time. He will go back to Juryo to adjust and try again. His rank velocity was a horrific -7.5, as he went 5-10 in March. Also back to Juryo is Chiyoo, who was injured and withdrew on day 11, after already having secured his make-koshi. We hope he has recovered and is ready to dominate in Juryo.

Also gone from Maegashira is Sadanoumi who had a 4-11 record in March. His rank velocity was -7, and he was tagged for a return to Juryo fairly early on. Joining him is Mongolian Kyokushuho, whose 5-10 record from Maegashira 14 was his ticket back to the second division.

Joining Makuuchi from Juryo is a set of hard charging rikishi ready to compete in the top division. Chief among these is Juryo yusho winner Toyohibiki, who returns after a single basho in Juryo. Tachiai also predicts that veteran Chiyotairyu’s winning record will return him to lower Maegashira as well.

We also predict that Onomatsu beya’s Onosho will be making his Makuuchi debut. This up-and-comer has been in Juryo for 13 tournaments, and finally appears to be ready to join the top division. When filling in the banzuke, it was clear that there needed to be one more name kept in Makuuchi, or brought up from Juryo. I am going out on a limb here, but I am going to predict that Osunaarashi will make his return once more to the top division.

Running everyone’s scores through the magic computations gives us the following list:

East Rank West
Hokutofuji Maegashira 8 Shohozan
Arawashi Maegashira 9 Ichinojo
Kagayaki Maegashira 10 Ura
Tochinoshin Maegashira 11 Toyohibiki
Ishiura Maegashira 12 Onosho
Kotoyuki Maegashira 13 Tokushoryu
Chiyotairyu Maegashira 14 Kaisei
Daishomaru Maegashira 15 Oyanagi
Osunaarashi Maegashira 16

First up at Maegashira 8; Hokutofuji, who drops 2 ranks after turning in his first career losing record. Hokutofuji displays significant skill, strength and fighting spirit. I am going to assume that he will start Natsu with a burning desire to continue his march up the banzuke. At 8 west we find Shohozan, who is part of Kisenosato’s dohyo-iri team. He drops 5 places from Maegashira 3, after receiving a brutal pounding in March.

At Maegashira 9 we find Arawashi who suffered a 5 rank demotion after going 4-11. Arawashi has a lot of potential, but for some reason he was out of his element in Osaka. Joining him is Mongolian giant Ichinojo, who drops from Meagashira 7. In spite of a strong losing record, he was actually less terrible than some of his peers, so his demotion is less severe.

Journeyman Kagayaki, who is still struggling to put together a winning plan for surviving his Makuuchi bouts, holds the east slot for Maegashira 10. Ura was one of the few bright spots in March’s lower Maegashira, and he rises 2 ranks to take the west slot of the 10th rank.

Leading Meagashira 11 is Tochinoshin, who has been seriously hurt for a few tournaments now, and is a shadow of his former self. Juryo yusho winner Toyohibiki joins in the west slot, and we predict he will feel right at home resuming his Makuuchi duties after a single basho in Juryo.

Ishiura has been struggling to put together a consistent winning strategy for Makuuchi. His compact size, excellent speed and outstanding strength supply him with a lot of building blocks, but we wait for him to come up with a knock-out combination that shows us what he is really capable of. I suspect he may be getting ready to bounce back from a pair of somewhat disappointing tournaments. Joining him, Onosho makes a strong Makuuchi debut at the rank of Maegashira 12.

Kotoyuki, falls 4 ranks given his dismal 5-10 results from the Haru basho to Maegashira 13. Computationally, I suspect that Kotoyuki will be further down the banzuke, but at the present my calculations are a bit fuzzy on where the Juryo promotees will be inserted into Makuuchi. At 13 west, Tokushoryu, who was one of the few kachi-koshi sumotori from March. He gets a bump up 2 ranks and hopefully can turn in a second winning record in May.

For Maegashira 14, Chiyotairyu returns from a single basho in Juryo. He achieved a winning record from Juryo 1 rank, and will return to Maegashira for May. On the west, we find Kaisei still hanging on to a bert in the top division. Kaisei sat out several days of Haru with injuries, and then joined and had a miserable time of it. Somehow this guy is able to evade demotion to Juryo every time, and I predict that he will somehow survive yet again, albeit at a much lower rank.

Daishomaru drops two ranks to Maegashira 15, after a 7-8 result in Osaka. If he has another losing record he will likely return to Juryo to tune himself up. Bring promoted from Juryo is Oyanagi. This will only be his 8th basho! Oyanagi has experienced a meteoric rise, and is now in Makuuchi after only 3 tournaments in Juryo.

Bringing up the final slot in Makuuchi, is my wish-casting of yet another return of the sandstorm, Osunaarashi, to Maegashira. His last Maegashira appearance saw Osunaarashi become injured, and unable to compete strongly. I will be surprised to see him actually re-joing the top division, but as stated earlier, the lower end of Makuuchi ranking was very difficult this time.

That’s Bruce’s guess for Natsu 2017. As always, please feel free to post your ideas too!

17 thoughts on “Handicapping The Natsu Banzuke – Part 3

  1. In the table, you have Kagayaki duplicated. Also, what happened to Takakeisho (whom I have at M7)?

    • Thanks for catching the copy / paste error – let me see why my macros seems to have forgotten Takakeisho. Takakeisho had the highest rank velocity out of anyone last tournament, and there may be a bug in my spreadsheet, or in the area between the screen and the keyboard.

      Clearly I need to Gamberize.

      • Takakeisho was super impressive at Haru. Very interested to see how he will develop. Would be good to see him working on his mawashi technique like Mitakeumi did, so he can diversify from being pretty much an out and out pusher thruster.

    • Ok, I found the problem. I have to update the last two posts. It also resolves my angst with Myogiryu, as he now gets punted back to Juryo as I suspected. Update within the next 60 minutes, and apologies for the mistake.

    • Thank you again lksumo, I fixed a bug in the computation, and the posts were updated to reflect all of the changes. Very kind of you to point that out before it was read more broadly.

    • There must always be 42 wrestlers in Makuuchi, so the number of maegashira ranks depends on the (variable) size of the san’yaku.

  2. I suspect it’s a function of you trying to get the balance right between makuuchi makekoshi and juryo kachikoshi so that the number of promotees comes out right – I feel your formula vastly overvalues juryo kachikoshi compared to makuuchi kachikoshi. Toyohibiki and Onosho ending up in front of Tokushoryu would be a big, big surprise.

    • Well, I think I already copped to fact that my spreadsheet seems to have thrown at least one bolt, so I am not going to defend it’s output too vigorously. You may in fact be correct, but the great part is we get to find out in just a few days!

      There is a weighting factor that is rank-based. Losses from lower ranked Makuuchi are progressively more impactful below M12, and Juryo wins are more impactful above J4 – so you are in fact correct. I think what might need to happen when I rebuild that thing (which I am now itching to do) is to establish some kind of per-basho baseline. As the whole things assumes a sort of win/loss normal that simply was out the window in March. The whole thing was a crazy ass mess, with (as I mentioned) Shodai possibly lingering up at M1 and crazy crap like that.

      So part of the joy of being wrong is the opportunity to crack open the automation and try it again.

  3. Happy to help, Bruce. This brings our predictions for the lower maegashira ranks into closer correspondence. Other than the fact I have Sokokurai at M8 and Hokutofuji higher up the banzuke, we differ by 3 one-rank switches and 1 two-rank switch. Consistent with Asashosakari’s comment, I have the Juryo guys coming in lower. The one-rank switches are Arawashi-Ura, Onosho-Tokushoryu, and Daishomaru-Kaisei. The two-rank switch is Toyohibiki-Kotoyuki.

    • Yeah, I was pondering where the Juryo guys insert as well. After last time I had the Juryo crew coming in much lower than the actual banzuke showed. So I adjusted things. I must admit that I did not take the time to “backcast” the results, so they are quite possibly too high. We will find out Sunday afternoon US time.

  4. Quick prediction in a spare moment (wasn’t sure if this is the best place to leave this post!):

    Kisenosato Y1 Kakuryu
    Harumafuji Y2 Hakuho
    Terunofuji O Goeido
    Takayasu S1 Kotoshogiku
    Tamawashi S2
    Mitakeumi K Yoshikaze
    Endo M1 Chiyonokuni
    Aoiyama M2 Chiyoshoma
    Okinoumi M3 Shodai
    Ikioi M4 Takurafuji
    Takanoiwa M5 Takekaze
    Tochiozan M6 Hokutofuji
    Daiesho M7 Shohozan
    Takakeisho M8 Sokokurai
    Ichinojo M9 Arawashi
    Ura M10 Kagayaki
    Ishiura M11 Tochinoshin
    Toyohibiki M12 Kotoyuki
    Kaisei M13 Tokoshoryu
    Daishomaru M14 Chiyotaryu
    Onosho M15 Sadanoumi
    Osunaarashi M16

    I did not promote Oyanagi as I was not convinced that they would raise him from J4 with a 9-6 when there was a three way playoff for rikishi with 10-5 records.

    I also relegated Myogiryu instead of Sadanoumi because Sadanoumi had a kachi-koshi in January, despite his 4-11 at Haru. By contrast, Myogiryu has had two consecutive make-koshi.

    I know Osunaarachi going J7 to M16 seems a huge leap but he was in the playoff and had just come from Makuuchi.

    • Your placement of Takekaze and Ikioi is impossible, I’m afraid, as is that of Tochinoshin and Ishiura.

      • Well, the good news is that we have less than 48 hours until we can see the real banzuke for ourselves!

        Personally, I am very happy that people are taking a stab at ranking the sumotori, even if their results seem odd or unusual.

        • By “impossible”, I mean literally impossible here. Tom’s got those two pairs of rikishi switching position despite them scoring the same record. It wasn’t meant as criticism, just as a heads-up.

    • I’m going to spend some more time specifically analyzing the choices they made around Myogiryu, Osunaarashi, Sadanoumi, and ex-Oyanagi. I want to get this formula down so I’m not so surprised next time.


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