The MEI

For those of you who have been tuning in to college baseball recently, you may have noticed a stat we are tracking. It is called the MEI or Morgan Ensberg Index. This stat tracks the number of “Freebies” that teams give up each game. Coach Kevin Hazlett of Mesa Junior College in San Diego introduced me to the idea of “Freebies.” It has changed how I view college baseball games.

What is a Freebie?

The idea is simple. Don’t allow your opponent an extra base without getting an out. Freebies come in many forms, but the MEI tracks five of them.

1. Walks

2. Errors

3. Stolen Bases/Wild Pitches

4. Hit By Pitches

The MEI is Born

Just before the regionals, I presented this idea to the guys in the “Truck.” The truck is the large container that you will see in parking lots sometimes. It is a command center where the producer, director, and every other person involved with putting a show together is located. The response was positive and they said, “Let’s do it!”

How Does it Work?

To calculate the MEI, add together the five variables for each team. The team that has the lowest number will be the team that is expected to win.

Let’s look at three examples from the Super Regionals on June 10, 2011.

Notice the totals of each game. The teams in yellow are the teams that won their games. Each of those teams had a lower MEI than their opponents.

How to Use the MEI

This stat is not 100%. It is less likely to be this accurate at the Major League level. That is because Major Leaguers play a more consistent brand of ball. However, this is a very accurate stat for college baseball. Use this stat as a barometer to help you understand which team is giving themselves the best chance to win.

How do we make this better?

Play around this a little bit and see if it makes sense. If you would like to add a stat like “Wild Pitches” then go for it! This is a good base, but it doesn’t mean that it is a finished product. We have to constantly track its accuracy and see if it makes sense over time.

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11 Comments on “The MEI”

  1. Jay Greening says:

    Morgan, what about weighting? You could adjust for ahead/behind and how much. Also by time of game. That way a walk when up by 4 in the 4th inning doesn’t count the same as an HBP in the 8th of a 1 run game.

  2. Morgan,

    Seems like this “stat”, is heavily reliant on which pitching staff is dominant. Since the number of walks will most likely determine who wins the MEI contest, and the dominant staff will also most likely determine who wins the game. Maybe divide the walks and give that number of MEI to the team with more walks (OSU/Vandy- 8/2= 4 MEI to OSU 0 MEI to Vandy), also incorporate taking the extra base while base running (+1 MEI), turning double plays (-1 MEI), holding the runner from taking an extra base (-1 MEI).

  3. eric haslam says:

    I appreciate you answering my uestion posted earlier. This is exactly what I was looking for.

  4. evo34 says:

    Maybe subtract points for pickoffs and caught stealings, to compensate for the fact that extra baserunners will lead to more SB attempts and more SBs.

  5. Gary says:

    As a fan, nothing is more frustrating than seeing the other team score runs through “freebies”. As a player, do these rallies demoralize you more than the ones where the other team is simply finding holes?

    • Gary,

      Freebies do demoralize teams. We understand how precious outs are and giving up free bases. The fact is that every free base puts more pressure on the next out. The more pressure the larger margin of error. Just say no to freebies!

      Morgan

  6. isabel says:

    seems like a freebies quotient would be pretty meaningful in pros too.

  7. Morgan,

    I was intrigued by MEI so I took the second half the the minor league season to work on a more accurate MEI.

    Here is what I came up with over 73 games through 4 minor league levels.

    Walks + bases surrendered by errors + SB + Bases surendered by WP + HBP = Total Freebie Bases (TBP)

    TBP – (CS+ DP) = True MEI

    The team with the lowest True MEI won 57 of the 73 games or 78%.
    Not a perfect indicator, but very informative.

    Thanks.

    • I love it! The MEI can be tinkered with depending on how detailed you would like to go. I use it more as a generalization that is simple to compute.

      You are right-on though…that is the true MEI.

      Morgan

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