Detroit Tigers: Alex Lange may play a larger role in 2022 bullpen

(Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports)
(Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Tigers have had Alex Lange in the system since the 2019 trade deadline when he was acquired in a deal that sent Nicholas Castellanos to the Chicago Cubs. Since then, Lange has worked his way towards the big leagues slowly but surely.

It has not been the smoothest route for the Detroit Tigers right-handed pitcher, but Lange has made some adjustments that have helped him for the better. Lange was originally a starter after coming out of LSU as a first-rounder back in 2017.

But, now, in 2021, it seems like Lange has a different future ahead of him, one that has him coming out of the bullpen. Lange seems to be better suited for a bullpen role and should be able to contribute on a larger scale.

Tigers beat writer for The Athletic Cody Stavenhagen seems to think so too.

It has not been the smoothest transition or even the smoothest season for the right-hander. But after continuing to work at things and iron things out while in the big leagues, Lange seems poised to be able to do damage in the future.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Alex Lange could play a larger role in 2022.

As Stavenhagen hints at in his tweet, the idea of Lange being relied on more out of the bullpen is not that surprising. The 2022 season is a long way away, and the Tigers are just putting the ribbon on the 2021 season, but still.

In 2021, Lange logged 35 games for the Tigers, where he accumulated 35.1 innings pitched. He would pitch to a 4.08 ERA, a 1.44 WHIP, and punch out 38 hitters. The thing with Lange is that his abilities to get runners out have gotten better.

Early on in the season, the numbers for Lange were not pretty, and it seems like he may have been a bust destined for another summer in the minor leagues. However, he made adjustments and worked things out.

The ERA over 4.00 is deceiving. In the tweet above, Stavenhagen mentions that Lange has had a sub-2.00 ERA since the end of August, and the beginning of the season was not kind to Lange. Keeping that in mind, Lange’s ability to stick around this bullpen is real.

He’s refined his pitch mix to include a fastball, slider, and changeup mix that he sways to be more of a two-pitch mix, showing the changeup only at times. His stuff is good; it’s more about sequencing, hitting his spots, and pitching to the scouting report.

If Lange can find success with these, he could very well be solid out of the bullpen arm who runs the fastball/slider combo out there and keeps the changeup in his back pocket for when it’s needed.

His fastball has some juice, averaging 96.4 mph, so the idea of him being a hard-throwing fastball/slider guy is there. With Chris Fetter being around the Tigers clubhouse and being able to coach him, I like the odds.

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As 2021 comes to a close and 2022 conversations start, including Lange in the structure of the bullpen is a must. Expect him to play a more prominent role in 2022.