Hatsu Banzuke Forecast Postmortem

With the January banzuke posted, it’s time to review how my forecast fared. This time around, the crystal ball was clear on the big picture, but cloudy on some of the details.

The banzuke committee decided, against [edit: what this Westerner would consider] common sense, to move Kisenosato up into the top East Yokozuna slot, despite his 0-5-10 record. Perhaps he can retire at the top. This dropped Hakuho and Kakuryu to Y1w and Y2e, respectively.

Following his 12-3 jun-yusho, Takayasu takes over the top East Ozeki slot from Goeido, who slides over to the West side. You might think the same “losses are better than absences” logic might move 8-7 Tochinoshin ahead of 8-4-3 Goeido, but the Georgian continues to occupy the O2w rank to balance out the two East-side Yokozuna.

As predicted, the Sekiwake ranks are manned by yusho winner Takakeisho (new career high rank) and by Tamawashi, who last held this rank exactly a year ago. I correctly forecast that the Komusubi slots would be held by Mitakeumi and Myogiryu, although in a surprising departure from past practice, Myogiryu (M1, 8-7) is ranked ahead of the former East Sekiwake (7-8).

In the maegashira ranks, my forecast tended to err in favor of rikishi with strong winning records. I correctly had Tochiozan, Ichinojo, and Nishikigi in the top three ranks, but I thought Shohozan’s 10-5 record would be good enough to jump him ahead of Hokutofuji and Shodai; the banzuke committee disagreed. I also had 11-4 Okinoumi ahead of 10-5 Kotoshogiku, 9-6 Daieisho ahead of the make-koshi duo of Chiyotairyu and Ryuden, and 9-6 Endo ahead of 6-9 Takanoiwa.

Toward the bottom of the banzuke, Kotoyuki and Kotoeko return from Juryo in higher positions than is typical. And Daishomaru gets to stay in Makuuchi despite a record poor enough to warrant demotion. Terutsuyoshi, who put up Kyushu numbers that should have been good enough for promotion, has to settle for the top rank in Juryo, to the disappointment of his many fans here at Tachiai. We’ll console ourselves with the fact that a winning record in Hatsu should definitely translate into a top-division debut for the diminutive rikishi who wrestles like a much bigger man.

In all, of the 42 Makuuchi ranks, I called 31 correctly, and in 20 of these, also got the East/West side right. Of the 11 misses, 6 were by half a rank, 4 by one rank, and one by a rank-and-a-half. That’s right, my biggest miss of the entire forecast was ranking Chiyotairyu at M7w vs. M6e.

With the official rankings now in the books, and hopefully more forecasting lessons learned by yours truly, it’s on to the basho!

Banzuke Forecast (Kyushu 2016)

Green Day came through DC last week and I’m gutted that I couldn’t get a ticket. They were playing the 930 club which is a pretty small venue so I’m not surprised. Nevertheless, I was online when the tickets went on sale and somehow they were all gone within seconds. However, the system still let us try for the next two hours. As a result of all of this bitterness, I’m going to rip off one of their song titles and butcher it for my pleasure. Here goes: “Wake Me Up When [October] Ends.”

The banzuke won’t come out for weeks but I wanted to give it a stab. I found it very difficult to make sense of the lower-level maegashira ranks since everyone below M10, save Endo, belongs in Juryo and none of the top-ranked Juryo wrestlers deserve promotion. If others want to try, I think we could try to score our attempts: 2 points if you get the right rank, 1 if you get the right side (E vs. W). I think I’ll score well from Sekiwake up…the rest is likely pretty far off but still fun to try.

 

Rank East West
Y Harumafuji Kakuryu
Y Hakuho
O Goeido Kisenosato
O Kotoshogiku Terunofuji
S Takayasu Okinoumi
K Mitakeumi Aoiyama
1 Tamawashi Tochiozan
2 Kotoyuki Yoshikaze
3 Chiyonokuni Shodai
4 Shohozan Nishikigi
5 Takekaze Kaisei
6 Sadanoumi Endo
7 Takarafuji Chiyoshoma
8 Takanoiwa Tochinoshin
9 Ikioi Myogiryu
10 Kagayaki Kyokushuho
11 Ichinojo Chiyootori
12 Daishomaru Daiki
13 Hidenoumi Sokokurai
14 Gagamaru Amakaze
15 Toyohibiki Chiyotairyu
16 Ishiura

Mock Banzuke

OK, if the NFL can have its mock draft, I can have my mock banzuke. The real one comes out in a few hours but, while I wait…

      What we know:

    • Yokozuna & Ozeki mostly unchanged
    • New Sekiwake & Komusubi
    • Tosayutaka demotion
    • Kitataiki & Gagamaru promotion

With Kotoshogiku and Goeido securing kachikoshi, the upper ranks are pretty much set. I expect both of these rikishi to stay representing the West with Giku as W1, and Goeido as W2. I do think that Harumafuji and Kakuryu will swap places as Harumafuji takes W1 and Kakuryu takes E2.

Now, the hard bit. Did Ichinojo and Aoiyama do poorly enough to drop all the way out of the sanyaku and into the maegashira? I do not see either remaining as sekiwake with 9 and 10 losses respectively. Luckily for them, the upper maegashira were pretty well decimated so I expect both to stay at komusubi, though with Ichinojo’s better record, I think he’ll represent the East while Aoiyama will be komusubi for the West.

So, who gets to grab the sekiwake spots? Well, until the last day, I thought Goeido would get one. Now, despite a losing record, I think it’s possible Tochiozan will get one of the slots. Terunofuji was the only one among the top maegashira to get a winning record and with his special prize, I think he might leapfrog into sekiwake. Personally, I don’t think they’ll advance Tochiozan. So, Okinoumi gets the call into sekiwake with his 9-6 record. He had a very strong start to the last tournament but will get rocked during this one. His first week is going to be brutal, facing all yokozuna and ozeki. So, I’m calling Terunofuji as sekiwake for East and Okinoumi as sekiwake for West.

For the top maegashira, Tamawashi will bound to M1E and Myogiryu to M1W.

For the rest, the chips will fall where they may. I look forward to seeing Gagamaru and Kitataiki back among the upper-classmen. My only real question at this point is how far will Ikioi fall? I don’t think he’ll fall into Juryo but he’ll probably be looking up from M13. With this much easier schedule, I expect to see him pull himself together and get kachikoshi. I don’t think he’s going to want 10 or more wins, though, even among these weaker wrestlers. He needs to get some serious skill improvement before he faces the sanyaku again. I always enjoy his bouts and he always seems to go full bore into every match which is more than we seem to get from most maegashira after day 10.

Also, I’m not sure if Kagamio will hang around in the makuuchi. I think he’ll fall to J1E since he had makekoshi and one of his wins came by default.