Coming off a promising season in 2009,which included a four game stint with the Mets, Stoner has struggled all season to take the next step in his career.
There was a lot of excitement surrounding the 25-year-old coming into this season. So much so that Stoner was the opening day starter for Buffalo.
That excitement quickly dissipated as Stoner has stumbled through start after start and has yet to really figure things out. His control has been suspect at times and his strikeouts are down this season.
Location is so key for a pitcher to have success and Stoner feels that getting behind in counts is really hurting him this season.
"I start off with a good fastball and I get it across but after that I haven't been locating well," Stoner said. "My secondary pitches have been off and I haven't been able to throw quality pitches for strikes. I have to get back to locating my fastball better."
The control problems have been a mystery to Stoner as he has always been a guy that could throw his fastball for a strike. For whatever reason his velocity is down this season and with that being the case, the lack of location has been double trouble for the pitcher who continues to be frustrated with his play.
Stoner is currently 5-10 on the year with an abysmal 6.07 ERA in 22 games. He has earned a loss in each of his last three starts and opposing hitters are batting .308 against him this year. Bisons manager Ken Oberkfell has not been impressed with Stoner as of late.
"[Stoner] hasn't been throwing to well," Oberkfell said. "He's been struggling with command of his pitches. He's getting away from his fastball too much and it's almost been like he's pitching away from contact instead of letting his defense play behind him."
The halfway point of the season usually serves as a nice resting period for most players. They get to reflect on the first half and prepare themselves mentally for the last few months of the season.
Mets management was surely looking for improvement from Stoner in the second half but it has yet to manifest. In four starts now since the Triple-A All-Star game, he is 1-3 and has allowed 18 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings.
Stoner admits, at times, he is aiming the ball a bit and trying to do everything himself.
"Sometimes I might try to be to picky," Stoner said. "I try to work around the edge a little bit to much instead of saying ‘Here it is, hit it."
The consistent poor play Stoner has displayed this season has to call into question the confidence he has in his stuff. He is known for having a deep repertoire of pitches but if there isn't confidence enough to execute those pitches, things can spiral out of control.
Although he has pitched poorly at times this year, Stoner maintains that his confidence is always high.
"The confidence is always there," Stoner said. "Not having the velocity that I usually do is a concern but I still have to pitch and keep my team in the game. I have to go out and attack hitters better then I have been doing."
At the beginning of the year it was almost certain that Stoner would be a big part of the Mets this season at some point. After a quick call up early in the season, he has yet to make it back and the prospects of another stint in New York this season look extremely bleak.
In the meantime, the hope is Stoner can regain the form that had them excited coming into this season.