Tyler Alexander looks to pitch his way into the Detroit Tigers’ rotation
Detroit Tigers LHP Tyler Alexander looks to provide a valuable swingman role in 2022
Up until a few days ago, Tyler Alexander had been battling for a fifth rotation spot for the Detroit Tigers. The club was public about their desire to acquire more pitching; likewise, Alexander wasn’t afraid of stating his case to be a permanent and trusted resource to the starting rotation.
Nevertheless, the Tigers did ultimately decide on Michael Pineda to be their fifth starter–effectively pushing Alexander back into a long man out of the bullpen. He was valuable in the same role last season, supplying 1.9 bWAR while still starting 15 games in his 106 innings of work.
Despite the signing, injuries almost always happen and Alexander, through his performance and availability, could very well find himself starting every fifth day at some point in 2022.
Tyler Alexander Contract Status
Tyler Alexander is still under team control on his rookie deal and will be tied to the organization through 2025, according to Spotrac. This season figures to be a big one for Alexander, who will start to receive arbitration raises following the year and the organization will be left to decide if Alexander is worth keeping in the bullpen versus bringing in a different talent at a similar cost.
Certainly, the Tigers will lean on Alexander to be a steady inning-eater in a compressed season that will be particularly taxing for pitchers.
Tyler Alexander’s Game
He’s your standard, touch-and-feel lefty with below-average velocity but plus command that allows him to navigate through lineups. He has a broad arsenal, but his cutter is the newfound weapon that has given him success at the major league level. The pitch shows an above-average movement profile and hitters batted just .239 against it in 2021.
He also features a sinker, four-seamer, changeup, and slider to round out his arsenal. Numbers suggest he should back away from the sinker, which was his second-highest used offering in 2021. Against Alexander’s sinker, batters hit .324 against it and slugged .608, suggesting it was hit hard and often.
Alexander’s most likely role, assuming health, is likely found in a piggyback role; an assignment he has experience with as recently as last season.
2022 ZiPS Projection
There is a very real chance that Tyler Alexander starts 20 games for the Detroit Tigers in 2022. He’ll have some competition to secure that role, mainly with Wily Peralta, but with the way pitcher injuries have gone in recent years, the Tigers could need him similar to how they did last season.
Interestingly, when he was starting every fifth day and going deeper into games, his performance got better–a 2.56 ERA in his last seven appearances spanning September and October–many of which were five and six-inning starts. ZiPS sees Alexander’s walk rate nearly doubling, I do not. I love him filling in the pitching cracks for this roster and envision him putting up similar numbers to last season in 2022.