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Alex Lange Is The Best Reliever In Baseball That No One Is Talking About

There's a reason many people aren't talking about Alex Lange. It's because of the team he plays for. I'm the biggest Tigers fan at Barstool. Still, I'm not delusional enough to think that a late-inning reliever, who's only in his second year in the major leagues, will become some national news story. But Alex Lange has established himself as one of the lone bright spots for a baseball team that hasn't had many in 2022. 

The acquisition of Alex Lange is easily one of Al Avila's most significant wins since becoming GM of the Detroit Tigers. Now, that isn't saying much. But considering the fact that the Tigers traded half a season of Nick Castellanos to the Cubs in exchange for a reliever who looks like he might be a lockdown closer for the next 5 to 10 years is an excellent victory for an organization that hasn't had many over them over the last several seasons. 

Stuff has never been the issue for Lange. He has a fastball that consistently hits the upper 90s with wipe-out offspeed stuff to boot. Jason Beck reported the other day that Lange currently has the highest swing and miss rate in baseball, missing bats at a 44.7% clip. The most significant difference between this version of Alex Lange and last year's version is that his command substantially improved. His walk rate last year per nine innings was 4.0. This year it's dropped down to 2.7. He spent most of his summer last year in AAA with the Mudhens, but since being permanently called back up last August, he has a 1.64 ERA over 38 1/3 innings. 

The sad irony of this Detroit Tigers team is that the bullpen, a unit responsible for ruining multiple Tiger playoff runs back when the organization was in its heyday, has been very stable. Michael Fulmer, Gregory Soto, Will Vest, and Wily Peralta have all pitched rock-solid baseball this season. And then you have Lange, who will probably compete with Tarik Skubal to be the Tigers' only All-Star representative this season, assuming he continues to pitch the way he has. The analytics and pitch data suggest that he likely will. Despite a plethora of injuries, there's still hope with this pitching staff. The offense? That's a conversation for another day, but Alex Lange is that dude.