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Mets Morning News: Defensive positioning is all the rage, Montero throws well against Yankees

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Your Thursday morning dose of Mets and Major League Baseball news, notes, and links.

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Meet the Mets

The Mets faced the Yankees in Tampa and won 7-2. John Mayberry Jr. and Juan Lagares both contributed homeruns, while Rafael Montero pitched four innings and allowed just one run.

In order to compensate for the lesser ranges of Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy, the Mets are using defensive positioning based on internal data that tries to predict where the ball will be hit, writes Jared Diamond. Fielders are shaded perhaps just a few steps, rather than a full shift, based on factors such as the batter, the pitcher, the pitch being thrown, and the count. Ultimately, the goal is to put the fielder in a position to make more routine plays

The Mets are contemplating having the pitcher hit eighth again. In this situation, Juan Lagares would likely bat after the pitcher in the ninth spot.

Howard Altman profiled Jacob deGrom for the Observer. He chronicles the rise of last year's Rookie of the Year from his childhood in rural Florida, all the way to the big leagues with the Mets.

Around the NL East

Eric Chesterton wrote about non-roster invitees for The Good Phight. He interviewed players offering insight into why NRIs choose a specific team, and how they go about their business in order to make the team.

Will Melvin Upton be an X-factor for the Braves this year? At Talking Chop, Brad Rowland wonders if the beleaguered outfielder can improve to some degree, despite rumors that the Braves are ready to move on.

Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart is being investigated over gambling accusations. This comes on the heels of a tweet showing a screen shot of a direct message allegedly showing Cosart asking for betting advice.

At Federal Baseball, Jim Meyerriecks wrote that Max Scherzer is the right choice for Opening Day starter. Scherzer is coming off a Grapefruit League start in which he held the Cardinals scoreless over six innings.

Around MLB

The Cardinals have added patches to their jerseys in honor of Oscar Taveras. Taveras died along with his girlfriend in the Dominican Republic during the offseason when he crashed his car while driving drunk.

Edwin Jackson showed up late for his spring training start because Google Maps sent him to the wrong place. He ultimately gave up eight runs over 1.2 innings.

Miles Wray applied a generational adjustment to the record book for triples, at The Hardball Times. While no one will come close to Ty Cobb's all-time mark, he finds that there are still some great "triplers" in the game today.

Brandon Decker examined whether a player with good speed, or one with a high on-base percentage is preferable at the top of the order for Beyond the Box Score. He concluded that although speed is nice, it is OBP that truly makes a good leadoff hitter.

Yesterday at AA

Matt Varvaro revisited the decision to let go shortstop Jose Reyes and considered how he would have changed the Mets' fortunes over the past three years. Reyes likely would not have added much to recent Mets teams, perhaps only helping them to push towards a .500 record.

This Day in Mets History

In 1988, the Mets acquired Mackey Sasser through a trade with the Pirates. While he produced reasonably well as a hitter, in 1990 he developed an odd quirk, he struggled to throw the ball back to the pitcher.