Detroit Tigers need to give Alex Lange the closer role.
When the Detroit Tigers brought in Alex Lange, he was converted into a reliever, and he made his way through the system as such. He had not made any starts since the 2019 season when he was still with the Chicago Cubs organization.
As Lange made his way to the Detroit Tigers bullpen, he continued improving. In 2022, it was a bit of a coming-out party for him as he really found his groove. By the end of the 2022 season, Lange was able to pick up 63.1 innings pitched over 71 games played for the Tigers, being one of the more reliable arms in the bullpen.
Lange managed a 3.41 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP and punched out 82 opposing hitters along the way. He found success with a fastball/curveball mix and was able to miss barrels. He got the job done when the Tigers called upon him out of the bullpen working that sinker/breaker mix.
For the Tigers, the 2022 season was the first time Lange was truly an extremely valuable piece of the team's bullpen. Since the Tigers opted to move on from Gregory Soto after trading him to the Philadelphia Phillies, they have a gap to fill, and Lange is a prime player to pencil in.
While Lange was able to settle in nicely, he should be looking to strive for more in 2022. Locking down the closer role would be a massive benefit to the team. He would continue to provide value and be a benefit for the Tigers but in a new role.
Lange is easily the most deserving of the new closer gig but will have to fight for it. But, for the Tigers, there's reason to believe that Lange can hold down this role. His breaking ball is impressive and misses barrels; pairing that with his sinker-profile fastball makes quite the combination.
He proved this in 2022. He made some slight changes to his delivery from 2021 to 2022 and was more efficient. After all, he was a model of consistency with a lot to like. He spins both the fastball and curveball well and can succeed on the primarily two-pitch mix, but he does have a changeup he can mix in as well.
The right-hander also built some true confidence on the mound this past summer. The development of his pitch mix has also freed him up to be even more creative with sequencing. This could also help him as he adjusts to the closer role and the pressure that comes with it in high-leverage situations.
Lange has built up the confidence to start off at-bats with the curveball and do what he can to keep hitters off balance. As the 2023 season comes into focus, the Tigers really need to give Lange the closer role. He's easily the best option the Tigers have in-house and the most deserving in my opinion.
With an exceptional 2022 season under his belt and a gaping hole for the closing job... it just makes sense to give Lange his chance as the team's closer to start the 2023 season.