Heya Power Rankings: Hatsu-Haru 19

Tamawashi Yusho Parade
Riding on the back of glory

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Tachiai Heya Power Rankings! The exciting news is that we’re rethinking the way that we do this ranking system. Andy has really pushed things forward in terms of data vizualisation on the site in recent weeks and we are thinking about how we can apply those features to give more detailed information not only about stables but about their performance.

Since we started the ranking system, we’ve been looking primarily at – and scoring – the stables based on performance by sekitori (those rikishi competing in the top two, salaried, ranks). But I think perhaps there are ways we can expand this, especially if we’re using bigger data sets. What do you think, Tachiai readers of this feature? Should we expand beyond the top two divisions? We’ve done this feature for two years now, so it’s right that we should continually try to make it better.

That’s a whole lot of talking without a whole lot of chart action. Here’s the chart following Hatsu 2019 and going into the Haru basho:

Heya Power Rankings - Post-Hatsu 2019

This is the first chart that doesn’t reference Takanohana-beya in any capacity since we started. Here’s the breakdown in the ever popular Billboard-style Top 20 format:

  1. (+17) Kataonami. 95 points (+80)
  2. (+-) Tagonoura. 70 points (-25)
  3. (-2) Chiganoura. 63 points (-45)
  4. (+-) Sakaigawa. 60 points (+7)
  5. (+1) Miyagino. 49 points (+10)
  6. (-1) Oitekaze. 46 points (+3)
  7. (-4) Kasugano. 45 points (-15)
  8. (+-) Izutsu. 35 points (+5)
  9. (+-) Kokonoe. 31 points (+4)
  10. (**) Kise. 28 points (+17)
  11. (-4) Oguruma. 25 points (-10)
  12. (+2) Dewanoumi. 25 points (+5)
  13. (+3) Hakkaku. 25 points (+5)
  14. (-4) Tokitsukaze. 20 points (-7)
  15. (-3) Isenoumi. 20 points (-3)
  16. (+3) Isegahama. 20 points (+5)
  17. (-6) Takadagawa. 18 points (-5)
  18. (+2) Tomozuna. 18 points (+5)
  19. (-6) Sadogatake. 15 points (-8)
  20. (-3) Onomatsu. 13 points (-7)

(legend: ** = new entry, +- = no movement, tiebreaker 1: higher position in the previous chart, tiebreaker 2: highest ranked rikishi on the banzuke)

Analysis

The one-sekitori stables are subject to more profound swings owing to the consistency of their single salaried rikishi. Before the promotion of the Onami brothers, Arashio-beya was a stable that would bounce all over the rankings owing to Sokokurai’s wildly variant top division performances. Kataonami, meanwhile, has always been a typically consistent stable as Tamawashi has put up consistently good-not-great records around the lower-san’yaku and topmost Maegashira ranks. That obviously all changed with his first yusho, which ultimately vaults the stable for the first time to the top of our charts. It’s an almost completely dormant stable but for the culinarily-talented Mongolian pusher-thruster, strangely having produced about as many oyakata as active rikishi.

Chiganoura-beya is relieved of top spot, but holds 3rd position on the back of Takakeisho‘s jun-yusho, as well as the number of rikishi still with the stable following the zero-scoring retirement of Takanoiwa. Takanofuji‘s promotion to Juryo next time out will make up the numbers, and should Takakeisho complete his Ozeki push, the stable will remain a dominant force among our rankings (as currently composed).

One Ozeki-led stable which may be set for a tumble from its usual place around the summit will be Tagonoura-beya. Our model gives credit for banzuke placement and only gives partial docked points for going kyujo mid-tourney, so Kisenosato‘s retirement will be reflected in the next version of the rankings when the stable is no longer fielding a Yokozuna. That said, Takayasu has done his level-best to consistently grab Kisenosato’s old jun-yusho “bridesmaid” mantle. With little hope of sekitori reinforcements at the stable in the near term, Tagonoura likely becomes a Top 5 or 7 rather than Top 3 heya by our figures from here on out.

Let’s have a shout for Kise-beya, which, owing to Shimanoumi‘s Juryo yusho finds itself back up in mid-table. It’s long been a perplexing stable, as they’ve fielded by the largest number of sekitori in the history of this rankings rundown (ten), yet never seem to have any rikishi capable of mounting a prolonged run in the points-grabbing realms of makuuchi, especially since the downfall of Ura. Still, the stable – as ever – has a number of rikishi not only in Juryo (including the bizarrely resurgent Gagamaru) but also in the makushita joi. While Shimanoumi will be the best placed of the six Kise-sekitori to make the move to Makuuchi owing to his position at J1, the stable has no fewer than sixteen makushita rikishi this time out (including the Sandanme-bound Ura), including six ranked Ms10 or higher. All rikishi obviously come with different ability levels and pedigrees, but if the stable can’t see their Juryo rikishi up into Makuuchi and their Makushita class further up the promotion chain this year, it would be awfully perplexing.

Will brighter days be ahead for Isegahama-beya, which now starts to move back up the listings in a meaningful way? It’s tough to say. Old man Aminishiki has taken a nasty fall down the banzuke and it’s yet to be seen whether he can – against all odds again – get up. At Juryo 11 it would be easy to predict that like many before him, a significant make-koshi would send him into the barber’s chair. However, Terutsuyoshi will look to consolidate a place in Makuuchi this basho, and with Takarafuji having grabbed his first kachi-koshi in yonks, and reinforcements on the way from Makushita soon, the stable may yet return to its powerhouse days as a top 10 (or better) heya by our reckoning soon.

One thing that made this rundown a bit more unique is that usually we see quite a bit of turnover, especially between places 7-20, but this time out, the chart stayed – with the notable exception of Tamawashi’s Kataonami-beya – remarkably stable. This echoed my initial gut feeling that there weren’t too many shocks in the new banzuke. As for the next rundown, should Juryo newcomer Kiribayama stay on the dohyo for 15 days, then Michinoku-beya will score their first ever points in our tally. But, as stated above, we’ll be having a look at how to revamp and improve the rankings after the Haru basho.

12 thoughts on “Heya Power Rankings: Hatsu-Haru 19

  1. Thank you, Josh. I for one would like to see a metric that does justice to viable heya that have many rikishi who are on the ascent, over heya like Izutsu or Minato, which are really one-horse stables in which the two rikishi are only there so that the single sekitori doesn’t have to cook his own chanko.

    Maybe something that calculates wins above/below kachi-koshi? So 4-3 is 1 point, 5-2 is 2 points, etc., a bit like the mochi-kyukin calculation but aggregated over the heya.

  2. Here’s an idea for an alternative. Take the wrestlers number of wins and multiply by the division, with maku’uchi being 6 and jonokuchi being 1.

    For Kataonami we would have:

    Tamawashi 13 wins in maku’uchi = 13 x 6 = 78 points
    Tamakongo 2 wins in makushita = 2 x 4 = 8 points
    Tamanoryu 4 wins in jonidan = 4 x 2 = 8 points

    Stable score = 78 + 8 + 8 = 94 points

    OK that was an easy example for a mini-stable. The megaheya would take a lot more work.

    • But maybe with win-loss differential instead of straight wins so that Makuuchi and Juryo don’t get overweighted due to 15 vs 7 bouts?

      • No, actually overweighting top divisions is not an issue. To my mind it represents greater demands placed on the sekitori due to them having no days off, and also puts greater emphasis on wrestlers who are a proven talent. And, this would give a bonus to stables which have a track record of turning raw recruits into household names.

          • Thanks everyone for your input and comments here. One of the things the current method takes into account, which was deliberate and which I quite like, is the weighting within the division. As we know, the schedule for Maegashira 1 is massively different than the schedule for a Maegashira 16. So the scoring has to be different because the schedule is (possibly orders of magnitude) more difficult. Similarly, a rikishi in the makushita joi is in a much more difficult situation than a guy at Makushita 54. So I think we need to continue with a method that takes that into account.

            I fully agree with the folks that say overweighting the top divisions isn’t a problem. It’s possible also that we need to have not necessarily an exponential increase, but a greater increase by divisions than just the 1 multiplier (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10). I think it’s important if you’re taking into account the entire banzuke, to HUGELY reward stables that can move rikishi through the gears, as well as yusho somehow. I do agree it’s possible that the win based system can replace the kachi-koshi system currently in place, since it would be made redundant.

            As a general guide though I do really like this concept, and would certainly be open to thoughts on how to score the yusho winners for each division accordingly (big bonus points). I have a hard time with a concept that would see us score Sadogatake (3 sekitori from 44, with highest being mid-maegashira) so much higher than Miyagino (3 sekitori from 11, with a yokozuna who wins yusho regularly). Incidentally a stable with 44 rikishi is also statistically likely going to be insulated from points fluctuation unless someone poisons the chanko.

            But to Herouth’s point, I think we absolutely should reward the big stables for progressing rikishi as opposed to a stable like Minato or Izutsu with nothing going on. Arashio’s progress from single sekitori to now a handful with more on the way is a really good example of a stable that should be rewarded far more than we have done, IMHO.

    • So here, belatedly, is my top ten stables for January based on the above method:

      539 Kise
      454 Sadogatake
      413 Oitekaze
      350 Sakaigawa
      329 Kokonoe
      303 Hakkaku
      278 Takadagawa
      271 Tamanoi
      260 Kasugano
      250 Isegahama

      I only included stables with at least one sekitori. Obviously this method favours those stables with lots of good or good-ish wrestlers rather than one superstar.

  3. Hi Andy,

    I think a good idea would be to provide a 6 basho moving average. This would reward consistency and and tell you who has had the best year, not just a good tournament.

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