Nunez making statement as Twins leadoff man

Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor tested the waters back in April, putting Eduardo Nunez in the leadoff spot for nine of 10 games, before moving him to the bottom of the lineup, and eventually to the No. 2 spot.

Finally, 10 games after his last stint leading off, Nunez is back up top, and he's making a strong case to stay there as the Twins take the field for the second game of their three-game road series against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.

Through 17 games as the Twins' leadoff man Nunez is batting a league-leading .395, and the team's winning percentage has spiked accordingly.

Minnesota Twins by Starting Leadoff Hitter, 2016

Eduardo Nunez All Others
W-L 9-8 (.529) 6-27 (.182)
Runs/Game 4.71 3.24

The Twins will send Tyler Duffey to the mound on Tuesday, and the second-year starter is giving analyst Bert Blyleven plenty to talk about.

Famous for his wicked breaking ball, Blyleven has a contemporary in Duffey, even if the younger pitcher isn't quite putting up Hall of Fame-worthy numbers.

Duffey's breaking ball is responsible for more than 80 percent of his strikeouts over the last two seasons, with 68 of his 83 career Ks coming via the curveball.

The league average is just 14 percent.

Highest Pct. of Strikeouts Coming on Curveballs, Since 2015

*Minimum 75 total strikeouts

Pitcher Team Curveball %
Tyler Duffey Twins 81.9
Brett Cecil Blue Jays 75.9
Dellin Betances Yankees 75.7
Lance McCullers Astros 70.0
Jerad Eickhoff Phillies 68.7

Tuesday's game with also feature a matchup between a pair of first basemen known for the opposite-field proficiency.

Joe Mauer of the Twins and Yonder Alonso of the A's are the only batters in the American League to send more than 50 percent of their hits into the opposite field.

Highest Pct. of Hits to Opposite Field, 2016 American League

*Minimum 3.1 PA per team game

Player Team Opposite Field %
Yonder Alonso Athletics 53.1
Joe Mauer Twins 52
Austin Jackson White Sox 50
Justin Upton Tigers 48.7

Statistics courtesy of STATS, inc.