The MLB released a series of drug related suspensions on Friday that flew under the radar. Unfortunately, the St. Louis Cardinals were one of the teams affected, as 2018 first round draft pick Griffin Roberts was suspended 50 games for a second violation of the MLB’s drug abuse policy.
St. Louis Cardinals prospect Griffin Roberts was among five minor league players to get hit with a suspension Friday. Roberts was drafted just this year and has already been busted twice. His talent is undeniable, coming into the organization as the team’s number 10 prospect. Already being suspended for violating the drug policy is disappointing, to say the least.
However, because it was just cannabis, and not a more addictive and dangerous drug, I don’t think this is anything to be worried about.
While I don’t think athletes in any sport should be barred from using marijuana when alcoholism and opioid addictions are far more dangerous and common problems that professional leagues do little to regulate, players still have to respect the rules in place.
Cannabis is certainly helpful for pain and stress, but it also isn’t something a person can’t live without. It’s something a player shouldn’t risk getting suspended or even banned from the league for, even if it’s wrong to have to fear it.
The Josh Gordon cases of the world are few and far between, and even Gordon has been able to achieve his redemption in the world’s most cutthroat league. While it is rather discouraging that this was the second time that Roberts tested positive, he is still a very young kid.
With this situation now brought to light, I believe in the St. Louis Cardinals organization to properly address this issue with Roberts. The team has plenty of resources to help Roberts quickly get past this issue, and I would imagine they would spare no expense now that this is starting to turn into something impeding Roberts’ development.
Roberts upside certainly warrants that they are diligent in their attempts to steer him on the right path. The 42nd pick in the 2018 draft out of Wake Forest boasted the best slider in the class — one with elite wipe-out potential.
After pitching a solid inning for Palm Beach, Roberts spent the rest of his season in the Rookie League for the GCL Cardinals, where he struggled in many way. He allowed 7 runs in 8.2 innings, but didn’t give up a home run and managed a solid 1.15 WHIP (he also had 2 HBP) despite his struggles. The most impressive thing though was his elite strikeout rate, which floats at around 30%.
More from St Louis Cardinals News
- Cardinals: 3 insider insights as St. Louis approach the Winter Meetings
- St. Louis Cardinals: 3 free agent bench options to consider
- John Mozeliak gives an update on the St. Louis Cardinals off-season plans
- Cardinals: Adam Wainwright commits to Team USA for the WBC
- Cyber Monday: Best bargain free agents for the St. Louis Cardinals
His ERA being as high as it was doesn’t negate the fact that these are solid peripherals for such a young player to have. It demonstrates that Roberts has the talent to pitch at a high level, and simply needs refinement. From a baseball perspective, the things that Roberts need to work on and the upside that he will have are even more clear than what they were when he was drafted.
But that isn’t the issue right now, is it? Before any of that, the St. Louis Cardinals have to make sure that Roberts is clean. With cannabis, it isn’t something that should be too hard to accomplish with the proper support, and the team won’t have to go too far out of its way to get that support.
Coaches, teammates, janitors, you name it. Anyone who is around Roberts in the organization can help guide him on the right path. While there’s plenty of room for me to be proven wrong, I don’t see this being an issue for very long.
Griffin Roberts has a bright future potentially laid out in front of him, and the St. Louis Cardinals hope to reap the benefits of that. Ditching cannabis for a chance at major league glory shouldn’t be too much to ask, but it is still on Roberts to show that he has the discipline and desire to fulfill that potential that the Cardinals saw when they drafted him.