Central grad Roling retires from baseball
As the Colorado Rockies left spring training, minor league players received their assignments and headed to Asheville, N.C., Modesto, Calif., and Tulsa, Okla. over the weekend.
Others, including Central High School graduate Kiel Roling, decided it was time for the next phase of their lives, and retired.
Roling, who played at Double A Tulsa last year and was in the Texas League All-Star game, voluntarily retired last month, Colorado Rockies officials confirmed. Roling has not returned a phone message from The Daily Sentinel.
After being drafted in the sixth round in 2008 out of Arizona State, Roling went to Casper for Rookie ball and also had stops in Asheville, Modesto and Tulsa.
Last season in Tulsa, he hit .261 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI, playing in 112 games, the most of his six-year career. He was the Texas League player of the week once in 2012, another season in which he hit .261, and was the California League player of the week once in 2011.
Roling hit 99 home runs in his minor league career, with 313 RBI.
Three former Grand Junction Rockies pitchers were invited to spring training with the big club, and all three, Eddie Butler, Jon Gray and Scott Oberg, will start the season in Double-A Tulsa.
A half-dozen former GJ Rockies will pitch in Modesto, the Rockies Class A affiliate, along with three position players.
Jayson Aquino, Raul Fernandez, Rayan Gonzales and Alving Mejias, who were on GJ’s inaugural Rookie team, will headline the Nuts’ pitching staff, with Peter Tago and Jacob Newberry jumping from Rookie to Class A ball.
Three other original GJ Rockies, catcher Michael Ramirez and infielders Juan Ciriaco and Matt Wessinger, were assigned to Modesto.
Asheville, the Rockies’ low-A club, will have an entire outfield of former GJ players, all of whom play center field as their primary position.
David Dahl, the 2012 Pioneer League MVP, and Raimel Tapia, the 2013 Pioneer League MVP, are both in Asheville, along with Max White and Jordan Patterson. Dahl and White were in Asheville last season, with Dahl playing only 10 games because of a torn hamstring.
Ryan McMahon, Grand Junction’s 2013 All-Star third baseman, was assigned to Asheville, along with first baseman Correlle Prime and middle infielder Zach Osborne.
Jose Briceno and Wilfredo Rodriguez will catch a Tourists staff that will include seven former Grand Junction pitchers, Matt Carasiti, Johendi Jiminian, Zach Jemiola, Alex Balog, Carlos Estevez, Dylan Stamey and Logan Norris.
The minor league seasons begin Thursday.
Rosters will shuffle throughout the season, and the minor leaguers not assigned to clubs will remain in extended spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz., until June. After the June amateur draft, they will be assigned to either Tri City or Grand Junction. Grand Junction opens the season June 16, three days after Tri City first game.
Jason Stolz, who played shortstop and third base with the 2012 Grand Junction club, also voluntarily retired in March. Two other former Grand Junction players, pitcher Patrick Johnson and first baseman Ben Waldrip, have been released.