Roberts can do in EST whatever the Cards want. Players on suspension cannot appear in games for which there is an admission charge. So, if they want him to pitch as a starter, there is ample opportunity for him to prepare. My guess he will slide over from EST to Palm Beach when he comes off his suspension in late May. I will learn more when I swing through EST next month.
It’s too bad he can’t start for Peoria, as their starters have had problems. But then again, Palm Beach seems like the right full season club to begin with. If successful, he could be at Springfield/Memphis with a year, and maybe be a bullpen option for the big club by 2020’s end. He is an important prospect with the lack of lower options in the lower minors.
Griffin certainly could start with Peoria. I did not mean to rule that out as a possibility.
However, he could also be ready for a bigger challenge at Palm Beach. The way I see it, maybe that would allow one of the effective PB starters to move up and help a Springfield rotation that looks like it could use it. No bad scenarios from my vantage point.
Yes, GCL games are free, but they are still official league games. (It wouldn’t matter anyway since their season does not begin until after Roberts’ suspension is over.) A suspended player can participate in minors spring training and instructional camp games because they are considered practice, but not league games. That is a better way to put it.
Again, the relevant point is that Roberts has a place in EST to get ready for when his time in the penalty box ends, so it is not a complete loss.