Piranhas (baseball)

Piranhas (baseball)

"Piranhas" (also known as "Little Piranhas") was a nickname applied to a group of hitters for the Minnesota Twins baseball team. Specifically, the term applied to shortstop Jason Bartlett, third baseman Nick Punto, outfielder Jason Tyner, and second baseman Luis Castillo.

Midway through the 2006 season, the Twins opted for a lineup that included Tyner batting eighth, Bartlett ninth, Castillo first, and Punto second. Manager Ron Gardenhire said these players were like four leadoff hitters: all were fast and hit for average but not power. During the 2006 season, all four hit between .290 (Punto) and .312 (Tyner), but hit a combined six home runs.[1]

The term "piranhas" was coined during the 2006 season by Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén. Said Guillen:

Despite the fact that the term came from a rival manager, it was quickly embraced by both the players and the fans, as well as media outlets such as ESPN.[2] After running a popular "Twins Territory" commercial in 2007 featuring Jason Bartlett and Nick Punto at the Mall of America's Underwater World as "Piranhas" [3] the Minnesota Twins organization marketed official T-Shirts, Hats, Signs, the team even had a "Little Piranha Night" in which piranha finger puppets were given to fans attending the game that evening.[4]

2008 Season Piranhas

During the 2008 Minnesota Twins season, the team played similarly to the 2006 piranhas team. Nick Punto (shortstop) batting eighth, Carlos Gomez (center field) batting ninth, Denard Span (right field) batting first and Alexi Casilla (second base) batting second, were another set of speedy hitters. Hitting for average but not power, these players, like the original piranhas, orchestrated numerous one or two-run innings that led to eventual wins.