2007-07-13 / Sports

Cyclones Owen Defies Odds To Make His Mark

By Patrick Hickey Jr.

Dylan Owen. Photo by Daniel Wos. Dylan Owen. Photo by Daniel Wos.

Before the season started, Cyclones pitcher Dylan Owen looked like the odd-man-out in the starting rotation, with Joseph Leaper, Nick Carr and Tim Stronach more than likely to get most of the attention from the media and scouts.

After not playing in the team's first handful of games, it looked as if Owen would suffer the miserable fate of being a promising young talent without a defined role.

Rather than complain to the media or insist on getting more innings to the coaching staff; Owen says he was extremely upbeat when joining the Cyclones. He was just happy to be on a professional team after being drafted by the Mets in the 20th round of this year's major league amateur draft.

"Just looking around, I can understand why everybody in the organization loves this place," said Owen, who gave up only eight extra base hits and no home runs in his senior year at Francis Marion University.

"It's obviously a great place to play and I'm happy to be here, but I can't waste time being too nervous. All I can do is go out there and do my best. I'm a hard worker and I'm going to give my best out there every time they give me the ball. It's been my dream to play professional baseball and I still can't believe it's come true."

Ever patient and confident in his abilities, Owen got his chance to pitch and hasn't looked back. After starter Todd Privett injured his elbow and was put on the disabled list on June 22, Owen was inserted in the starting rotation.

The right-hander has put up the best numbers on the team so far, in producing a 3-0 record with a 2.16 ERA and 18 strikeouts in only 16.2 innings pitched.

"They told me that I was going to be a reliever and spot-start if they needed to, but they really didn't have a role for me," said Owen, who struck out 334 hitters in 323 innings at Francis Marion.

"I'm just glad that they managed to find one for me."

Owen's performance on the field this season has been nothing short of stellar. With his sweeping slider and dominating fastball paving the way for his success, Owen's calm and laid back demeanor are a perfect fit on an Brooklyn ball club that is expected to win every season.

"I've never had a problem with pressure," said Owen. "Sure, I'm nervous sometimes when I'm out there, but all I can do is go out there and do my best. I'm a hard worker and I'm going to give my best out there every time they give me the ball."

Doing everything from shagging fly balls in the outfield during batting practice, to keeping his teammates loose on the bench, Owen has earned his spot on the team and in the rotation.

While his dominance as of late has surprised the Keyspan faithful, Cyclones manager Edgar Alfonzo knew exactly what he was getting out of Owen as the pitcher assumed Privett's rotation spot.

"He came to this team with a great attitude and he made himself fit in," said Alfonzo. "He has a great make up and he works extremely hard. I don't see how he could have ever thought that we wouldn't have found a role for him."

Happy for the opportunity to prove himself on a Brooklyn pitching staff that is piled with talent from top to bottom, Owen knows that he can lose his spot in the rotation as fast as he was penciled into it.

Nevertheless, he's ready to prove that his success this season is no fluke and knows exactly what he has to do in order to keep opposing hitters at bay.

"I feel good and I'm glad that I have a chance to show everyone what I'm made of," said Owen. "I'm really happy that the organization knows now that I'm capable of starting and being a productive member of the team. All I can do now is do my best every time I have the opportunity."

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