Stoner Strong Down The Stretch

Stoner is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last 3 starts

BUFFALO, NY - Tobi Stoner has earned his stripes pitching at every level of the farm system. Now, as the calendar flips to September, the right-hander is closer than he has ever been and is pitching his best ball of the season with the hunger to get his shot at the highest level.

When Tobi Stoner got the nod to head up to Triple-A Buffalo in June, he had been compiling an impressive resume in Double A Binghamton. The righty hurler garnered a respectable 2.68 ERA, striking out 28 batters along the way and walking only 13 in 47 innings pitched. His opponents managed just 27 hits and combined for a paltry .170 batting average against him.

"I started out this year and went out there with a lot of confidence; I didn't feel like the competition was as good down there as it was last year, meaning I think that I've gotten better," Stoner said.

When he arrived in Buffalo, undoubtedly he, his new Bisons teammates and the coaching staff hoped that Stoner would continue pitching with the same ferocity and dominance he had shown in Binghamton. The June 19th debut Stoner made with the Herd was a winning effort, however, he would hit a rough stretch in his next ten outings; managing to win just two games, racking up six loses and one no decision.

"When I got up here it was an awakening, a wake up call. I felt like I had to focus more and I really had to bear down and execute pitches more often than I did in Double A," said Stoner.

"These guys, all these guys up here can play-they hit. I got hit around a little bit and I had to make some fine adjustments and you know talking to Ricky my pitching coach, fine tuning my mechanics and then as a mental approach, trying not to do too much, you know let your team help you behind you and it definitely helped me to get success."

As the season continued, there was a positive progression and an evident turn around in Stoner's pitching since he had been called up to the Bisons. The breaking pitches that he had relied on during his time in Double-A had initially faltered in Buffalo, however, he managed to regain command of those pitches, effectively keeping his opponents off-balance and reestablishing himself.

"I'm throwing all my pitches right now for strikes, but my changeup is the one that's getting me where I need to be. My best games are when I throw my changeup a lot more," the right-hander detailed.

"There are some games when I kind of don't have it or they're hitting it , so you kind of get away from it. But the games that I have been real successful and dominated have been when I throw my changeup the most."

Despite the difficult start to Stoner's 2009 Triple-A campaign, he has ended his season on an impressive note. The last four starts Stoner has made for the Herd have been quality outings: pitching six innings in the first three of those appearances and most recently, throwing a complete game.

"I've learned to pitch to contact instead of trying to strike everybody out. That's lowered my walks and increased my innings, letting me go deeper in games. But it's just the conditioning that we are doing and trying to keep the good mechanics when you're on the mound. I've finally found my rhythm and my routine on the mound," he explained.

With the Bisons season coming to a close, Stoner commented on his future with the Mets.

"I'm one step away from reaching that ultimate goal and the ultimate dream. But, I'm just going to try to keep working hard and hopefully they like what they see and give me a shot whenever they think I'm ready," he disclosed.

"I'm just going out there trying to do the best that I can. The Mets might think that I fit in their plan, but that's out of my hands. The only thing I can do is go out and pitch the best I can, do the best I can and try to maintain what I've been doing and try to get better."

InsidePitchMagazine.com Recommended Stories