Dylan Owen eschewed his senior year of college, but passed every test in the pros with flying colors on his way to the MiLB.com Short-Season Starting Pitcher of the Year award.
The right-hander wrapped up his junior year as staff ace for the Francis Marion University Patriots with a 10-1 record, one save and a 1.14 ERA over 102 1/3 innings. His 121 strikeouts gave him a career total of 334, a Peach Belt Conference record.
The New York Mets saw enough of the 2007 NCAA Division II National Pitcher of the Year to select him in the 20th round of this year's draft.
Owen's success continued when he joined the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he reeled off five straight wins to begin his pro career, including five no-hit innings in his first start. A strong first half earned him a spot at the New York-Penn League All-Star Game, where he tossed a hitless second inning in the National League's 6-4 loss to its American League counterparts.
But the Chesterfield, S.C., native saved his best for his last five starts, going 3-0 and allowing one earned run over 29 innings while earning the Pitcher of the Week award on Aug. 27. In his final regular-season start, he fanned a season-high 11 and gave up three hits over seven scoreless frames in a 3-1 win over the Lowell Spinners.
Owen finished 9-1 with a league-leading 1.49 ERA and ranked second with an 0.87 WHIP. He allowed three runs in a game just once in 13 starts, a 9-3 win over crosstown rival Staten Island.
The big-time feel of postseason, however, was no stranger to Owen. In 2006, his sophomore campaign at Francis Marion, he tossed six innings of scoreless relief to earn the win in a 3-1 win over top-ranked University of Tampa for an appearance in the NCAA Division II College World Series. His performance garnered him a spot on the All-Regional Team, as well as Tournament MVP honors.
He used the lessons learned as a Patriot and took them to a whole new level in the pros on Sept. 10. With Brooklyn up, 1-0, in a best-of-3 series with Staten Island, Owen outperformed Major Leaguer Darrell Rasner with five shutout innings to lead the Cyclones to a 3-1 win and a berth in the New York-Penn League Championship.
With the Cyclones season over, Owen found himself as a recipient of the Sterling award, emblematic of the Most Valuable Player at each of the Mets Minor League levels, perhaps a sign from the organization that he's ready to graduate to the next level.