"He keeps the ball down in the zone with some sink, and gets a lot of groundballs," said pitching coach Tommy Phelps. "He's got a good little slider and good little changeup. He's got a good idea of how to pitch."
While Stoneburner may be small in stature, his performance on the field is far from small. Quickly climbing up the ranks in the Yankees organization, Stoneburner is off to a hot start in his first stint with the Double-A Trenton Thunder.
"I've been pretty fortunate," Stoneburner said. "The defense has played really well behind me and when I've made mistakes they haven't been too bad."
Stoneburner, 23, brings an arsenal of pitches that are all thrown for strikes. He is known for his sizzling 4-seam fastball that has hit 96 on the radar gun, which is complimented with a hard sinking 2-seam fastball. His offspeed pitches are just as impressive as the hard stuff; a devastating slider that keeps the hitters off-balanced as well as a changeup that is very effective when thrown down in the zone.
"My biggest thing is fastball location," he added. "That's what's going to make me successful, and being able to throw both the slider and changeup behind in the count and ahead in the count."
Locating his fastball is Stoneburner's number one priority, but the success of his fastball links with the effectiveness of his slider.
"For every pitcher it's fastball command number one and then obviously secondary pitch," said Phelps. "I've seen in spring he's thrown some really great sliders, so that slider is going to be a key for him moving up the chain and getting better hitters out."
Mechanics are important for every pitcher and it's no different for Stoneburner, who focused on his mechanics throughout spring training.
"I just worked on working down in the zone, keeping directional towards home plate and staying through my changeup, slider, and not throwing off. It's all incorporated in staying directional."
Stoneburner won nine games last year pitching in Charleston and Tampa, posting an impressive 2.41 ERA, and a minuscule 0.99 WHIP. He also averaged nearly a strike out per inning, striking out 137 batters in 142 innings while only allowing 34 free passes. He is only improving as the days go on as he faces new hitters.
"The biggest thing is just executing his pitches over and over," said Phelps. "And that his mistakes be good mistakes out of the zone and down, his command, changing speeds, and how hitters adjust to him and how he adjusts to them."
Stoneburner is an extremely hard worker who is always looking to improve his play regardless of his success.
"I expect him to come to the field prepared to work everyday, which I think he will, and to get better," Phelps added. "He's a great professional and he's going to come to work every day."
"He throws his pitches for strikes," Trenton manager Tony Franklin said. "I think that's the only thing you can ask for. Throw strikes, see what happens, and he's done that during the course of the year."
The expectations for Stoneburner this season are simple - stay healthy and keep improving each game.
"I'm just looking to be consistent throughout the year," Stoneburner added. "And hopefully have a good year."
Stoneburner Keeps Throwing Strikes
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