PHOENIX — The lasers are working. Or something is.The Dodgers’ wholehearted embracing of advanced statistical analysis in defensive positioning — including laser range-finders to the annoyance of the New York Mets — has made them one of the most efficient defensive teams in baseball.Using metrics that focus on the number of batted balls in play that are turned into outs, the Dodgers rank second in the National League behind only the Chicago Cubs at 72 percent. According to Baseball Prospectus’ numbers, the Dodgers are turning flyballs into outs at a slightly higher rate than they did a year ago.Evidence the lasers are working — or that the Dodgers are getting more innings from a more athletic group of outfielders who are better defenders? “I’m right there with you. I don’t think you can really say,” Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson said. “Joc (Pederson) is a very talented outfielder. (Yasiel) Puig obviously has all the tools to be a Gold Glover. I definitely think I’m a better defender than I’ve played.”The subtleties of positioning are not going to be easy to spot, however. Balls that might have dropped if an outfielder had positioned himself without input aren’t going to declare themselves in the box score.“I’m sure it’s helping,” Thompson acknowledged. “But when you’re out there in the game, you’re not thinking about that.“The game is always evolving. They’re just trying to do what teams have always done but with more precision. This is just a way to take advantage of all the resources that are available.”Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is convinced all the resources have made a difference. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “Yeah, I think it makes a huge difference. It really does,” Roberts said, crediting coaches Chris Woodward and George Lombard with spearheading the defensive efforts in positioning and preparation. “It takes a lot of time to kind of sift through all the information, what makes sense. A lot of our stuff is pitcher specific. Every pitcher that we have has a specific chart and that’s a credit to our guys.“That’s the one part of our team that has been consistent — catching the baseball and being in the right spots. That’s a big reason why we’ve found a way to keep ourselves in this.”Montas has momentumHard-throwing right-hander Frankie Montas threw 69 pitches over four innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday, his second consecutive four-inning start for the OKC Dodgers and his first since his minor-league injury-rehabilitation assignment officially ended.Wednesday’s start was the equivalent of a final spring training start for Montas, who is at a point where he becomes an option for the Dodgers’ starting rotation.“I think that’s fair,” Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi said before Montas pitched.In seven games (four starts) since returning from surgery to remove the first rib on his right side, Montas has a 2.25 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and — most impressively — 22 strikeouts and only three walks in 16 innings.Right-hander Kenta Maeda was feeling better Wednesday after being struck in the right leg by a line drive during Tuesday’s game. He was walking around the clubhouse before Wednesday’s game with no noticeable limp and the Dodgers are optimistic at this point that he will make his next scheduled start Sunday at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.But Montas could be an option to replace either rookie Julio Urias or right-hander Mike Bolsinger in the major-league rotation. Urias has pitched better in each of his four starts and is scheduled to go again Friday against the Brewers. Bolsinger, however, is 1-4 with a 5.76 ERA and seven home runs allowed in his five starts. He has failed to finish five innings twice.Meanwhile, Ross Stripling is not an option to rejoin the Dodgers’ rotation any time soon.Stripling was at Chase Field on Wednesday and went through a bullpen session with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt before the game. He is currently working out at Camelback Ranch and has made short one- or two-inning appearances in extended spring training games.The Dodgers intend to cap Stripling’s innings this season — his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery — and are using this month to limit his workload. Stripling said he expects to be re-assigned to a team by the end of June.“Hopefully I’m out of there when they say or I’ll probably go nuts,” said Stripling who already spent one summer in Arizona while rehabbing from the elbow surgery.