Height/Weight: 6’2”, 192 lbs
Acquired: 16th Rd 2006 (Davis & Elkins College)
Born: 12/03/84 (Landstuhl, Germany)
Why Ranked Here: Stoner has simply continued to retire batters even as he’s worked to more advanced competition. That success in AA and the winter leagues especially, counts for something. Stoner works with a four pitch mix where his curveball is his second and his changeup his third offering. The curve at 76 has nice velocity and bite. In July in Binghamton, Stoner was throwing 88-90, sitting mostly at 89, a slightly below average MLB fastball in terms of velocity. In the AFL, a scout was quoted in another publication as saying that the fastball was “average,” a more optimistic assessment than was common among those who saw him in the Eastern League.
2008: Stoner cruised through the Florida State League in 2008 on his way to a mid-June promotion to AA Binghamton. After a rough outing at the end of June, Stoner posted a 3.47 ERA in his final 11 AA starts. Working out of the bullpen in the AFL, he was solid. Stoner’s final 2008 assignment, a five-game run in Puerto Rico spilled over into 2009 but was very fine as well.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Stoner’s ability to throw strikes (2.63 BB/9) will keep him employed. An average fastball and an average breaking ball (which he already possesses) would slot Stoner comfortably into a bullpen role. Add a second average off-speed pitch and he’s a candidate at the back of a rotation.
On the Flipside: I am concerned about Stoner’s velocity. I saw him with a slightly below average MLB fastball in AA in 2008. More recently, in Puerto Rico, Andy Braunstein reported that Stoner, at the end of a long season was throwing 85-88. Stoner did not strike out seven batters per nine innings at any of his stops after A-ball in 2008. With that many balls in play, more powerful upper level hitters could make him pay more frequently.
Projected 2009 Start: Binghamton