So while Dylan Owen, a 20th-round pick in 2007, went 9-1, 1.49 for short-season Brooklyn in his first pro summer, he's struggled to replicate those results at higher levels. The Francis Marion (S.C.) product ran up a 5.16 ERA in parts of three seasons with Double-A Binghamton, and he finished 2010 by going 3-4, 7.11 for Triple-A Buffalo.
Now, the 24-year-old Owen may have caught the eye of the Mets' new front-office regime with his pitching in the Puerto Rican League. In his first playoff start for Caguas, he tossed seven no-hit innings of a 5-0 win against Carolina.
While the 5-foot-11 Owen is a long shot to make the Mets out of spring training this year, he is back on the radar for a team with holes to fill.
"He's not your prototypical 6-4 righty," farm director Adam Wogan said. "People will label him undersized. He doesn't light up the radar gun. He get it up to the low 90s, but mostly sits upper 80s.
"What he does is more appreciated over the course of time. He's a guy who can change speeds, locate his fastball to both sides of the plate, can show a good breaking ball and also a good changeup. He battles. He understands what it takes to get guys out."
Last season, Owen split time between Binghamton and Buffalo, but for the first time he also split time between starting and relieving. Despite the performance in Puerto Rico—he didn't allow a run in two regular-season outings either—his future role remains uncertain.
"I think he'll come in and compete and really dictate what the appropriate role is for him, what level would be best for him," Wogan said. "He'll have an opportunity to compete for a starting role and if that's appropriate. He's shown he can pitch out of the bullpen."
• Catcher Mike Nickeas, who made his big league debut in September after seven seasons in the minors, headed to the Dominican League in late December. The 28-year-old could hook on with the Mets in April while Ronny Paulino serves the remaining eight games of his suspension.
• Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus batted .268/.345/.449 in 127 at-bats in the Dominican League. He hit four homers and nine doubles during the regular season, spending most of his time at third base.