Q&A: Mets 16th round pick Tobi Stoner

A standout right-handed pitcher at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia, Tobi Stoner was selected by the Mets in the 16th round (484th overall) of Tuesday's draft. A 6'2", 185-pound right-hander, Stoner was 8-6 with an 2.90 ERA for Davis and Elkins, striking out 79 and walking 16 in 90.0 innings pitched.

Stoner also proved more than capable with the bat, batting a team-leading .465 (59-for-127) with eight home runs and 29 RBI to help him to an honor as the school's Male Athlete of the Year and second team all-WVIAC honors.

Stoner spoke with Inside Pitch's Bryan Hoch for a Draft Day Q&A:

Inside Pitch: How did you find out you'd been drafted by the Mets, and what was your initial reaction when you heard?

Tobi Stoner: I was listening to the draft on the Internet at first, and then there were some technical difficulties. I had to reboot the computer and when the computer rebooted, they'd just finished up the 15th round and said, 'We'll be back in 10 minutes.' I was being very impatient, and I went downstairs and was hanging out with my dad. My sister was still down there and she rebooted the computer, and as soon as they said my name, she screamed and ran. She said, 'I swear they said your name! I swear they said Tobi Stoner!' My initial reaction was shock. That was a dream come true.

Inside Pitch: Were you surprised that it was the Mets? Did you know they had interest in you?

Stoner: I knew they had interest in me, and I knew the Nationals did. It was depending on who picked me up in the draft first. The Mets, I really felt, I got a better vibe from the scout from the Mets, because he kept me informed about what possibilities could take place. I had a good feeling the Mets were going to pick me up.

Inside Pitch: Can you tell me a little bit about this past year and what this season meant for your progress?

Stoner: I had a tremendous year. I couldn't have asked for a better season to go out with. The team itself, we played real well, and sometimes we didn't mold together like we wanted to, but all in all we had an unbelievable team. I was a two-position player for D&E and was in the top of the conference in batting average, led the conference in strikeouts and had a top five ERA in the conference. I pitched pretty much weekend.

Inside Pitch: What's your repertoire? Which pitches do you take to the mound and which do you think are your best?

Stoner: When I go to the mound, I throw a fastball, a curveball, a changeup and a slider. I think my fastball and my changeup are my two best pitches, but I like to use a slider. My slider is probably my 'get-you-out' pitch.

Inside Pitch: Is there a major league comparison of a pitcher that you think you resemble?

Stoner: Maybe Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs. He goes out there and has kind of the same pitch selection, and I like his mentality when he's on the mound. I like the way he controls himself and the way he deals with everything. He's just a great player.

Inside Pitch: Before today, what do you think your best moment was as a player, and why?

Stoner: Probably pitching as well as I did against [West Virginia] State this year. Even though I lost, I know it was my personal best performance I could have asked for. I know I did what I had to do to win the game and I did everything in my power. The tables didn't turn the way I wanted to.

Inside Pitch: What do you think about the possibility of someday pitching in New York? Is that something that excites you?

Stoner: Very much. When I go out, I just pitch my game, but I think having a big crowd and a rowdy crowd behind me would motivate me and get me fired up a little bit. I just go out and play my game the way I've always done it.

Inside Pitch: What's your sense of the way things might go with the Mets? Do you think you might sign a contract rather quickly?

Stoner: Oh, most definitely. I personally feel that I'm a very coachable player. I'm willing to learn. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make me a better player. I'll go as high as I can on the ladder until I can't go anymore. That's the way I've always been brought up.


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