God bless everyone who's held onto Adley Rutschman all this time.

Stashing prospects is of course common practice in Fantasy Baseball. It's the entire rationale for this column, in fact. But stashing catchers is another matter. The position is so dispensable, so limited in its utility. You'd never use a catcher in your DH spot, so why keep an extra one around?

That goes double at the time of year when roster space is most precious, when everyone who has a good couple games is hyped as another breakout possibility. You want to take as many bites out of that apple as you can, and a catcher, particularly one who's injured, particularly one who has yet to appear in a major-league game, would seem like an obvious hindrance to that goal -- one easily cast aside in the heat of the moment.

But here Rutschman is still rostered in 76 percent of CBS Sports leagues, more than any other minor-leaguer. And now that he's recovered from the triceps injury that sidelined him for all of spring training, the climb to the majors could be a quick one.

"If he puts himself back to that point in time, I can't see a whole lot more that he probably needs to prove in the minor leagues other than he is himself," GM Mike Elias said upon the 24-year-old's return to game action, basically confirming that the Orioles are ready for Rutschman as soon as he proves ready. 

It's enough for me to move him to the top of my ...

Five on the verge

(These are the prospects most worth stashing in redraft leagues.)

Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles

2021 minors: .285 BA (452 AB), 23 HR, 25 2B, .899 OPS, 79 BB, 90 K
2022 minors: 1 for 6, 2B, BB

It's indeed unconventional that the top choice to stash would be a catcher, but the big contradiction at the position that mostly doesn't matter is that the very best there can really, really matter. And Rutschman, perhaps unlike any catcher prospect before him, has the makings of one of those very best.

It's like he was created in a lab or something. There are no weaknesses to his game -- we're talking 60-70 grades across the board -- and it goes beyond the traditional five tools. He's an on-base machine, bats from both sides of the plate, and knows how to manage a pitching staff. As hard a time as Bobby Witt and Julio Rodriguez have had breaking into the majors, there are no guarantees, but Rutschman presents obvious difference-making potential at a position with few difference-makers.

Oneil Cruz, SS, Pirates

2021 minors: .310 BA (271 AB), 17 HR, 19 SB, .969 OPS, 28 BB, 69 K
2022 minors: .190 BA (63 AB), 1 HR, 6 SB, .588 OPS, 6 BB, 22 K

Though I've dropped him from the top spot in my Five on the Verge, I'm not suggesting anyone drop Cruz in Fantasy. The power is legitimately 80-grade, and with the way he's been running in the minors so far, he has the look of a prolific base-stealer, too. Still, the wait could be longer than first suspected. He just isn't performing at Triple-A, apart from the steals, his strikeout rate climbing to a level it's never been before.

It's possible he may be a little unfocused after feeling like he won a job in spring training, which has been known to happen with premier talents from time to time. Here, for instance, is how he responded to hitting his first home run Sunday:

Whenever Cruz does settle in, though, you can expect the promotion to come quickly.

Nolan Gorman, 2B, Cardinals

2021 minors: .279 BA (480 AB), 25 HR, .814 OPS, 38 BB, 115 K
2022 minors: .348 BA (66 AB), 10 HR, 1.230 OPS, 5 BB, 22 K

Remember how just a week ago, Gorman was the talk of the minor-league world with his seven home runs in seven games? Well, if you thought he had cooled off since then, uh ... not really. He homered twice more Tuesday, giving him 10 overall and continuing a 14-game hit streak during which he's batted .404 (23 for 57). And for all that talk about strikeouts early on, he has only four in his past 25 at-bats. We've wondered what would happen to Tommy Edman if Gorman got the call, but with Paul DeJong and Edmundo Sosa struggling to provide anything offensively, he could just slide over to shortstop, leaving second base to Gorman.

No doubt, Gorman is more likely to be called up in the next week than Cruz is, so if proximity is your main concern, then by all means stash Gorman instead. I'm also factoring in impact potential when the player does arrive, though, and Cruz's is higher.

Max Meyer, SP, Marlins

2021 minors: 6-4, 2.27 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 111 IP, 42 BB, 130 K
2022 minors: 1-0, 1.83 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 19 2/3 IP, 5 BB, 27 K

Meyer's latest start was his worst of the young season, at least in terms of baserunners allowed. There were six of them. One of his four starts was perfect, and you may remember he threw four perfect innings in spring training as well. Clearly, he's outmatching his current competition, but how would he fare against major-leaguers? We actually have some insight into that already given that his last two starts have come against a rehabbing Ronald Acuna.

Here he is striking out Acuna on the slider:

And here he is striking out Acuna on the fastball:

Not like Acuna is struggling to find his stroke either. He has generally dismantled minor-league pitching during his time there. Perhaps, then, Meyer is ready to join him in the majors.

Grayson Rodriguez, SP, Orioles

2021 minors: 9-1, 2.36 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 103 IP, 27 BB, 161 K
2022 minors: 2-0, 2.45 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 18 1/3 IP, 3 BB, 28 K

Rodriguez looked closer to mortal in his latest start Tuesday, but basically all of the damage came in the first inning following a 90-minute rain delay. The overall numbers are still basically in line with Meyer's, and of course, there hasn't been a single level of minor-league competition that has slowed Rodriguez down. If the Orioles are willing to promote Rutschman sooner than later, then presumably the same goes for Rodriguez, who is as close to a perfect pitching prospect as the minor-leagues have right now. The Orioles may be waiting until he's fully built up -- he still has yet to throw even 80 pitches in a game this season.

Five on the periphery

(Here are some other prospects doing something of note.)

Michael Busch, 2B, Dodgers

2021 minors: .267 BA (409 AB), 20 HR, 27 2B, .870 OPS, 70 BB, 129 K
2022 minors: .305 BA (59 AB), 8 HR, 2 2B, 1.214 OPS, 17 BB, 19 K

Perhaps those all-too-easy Max Muncy comps have been selling Busch short. After all, he earns high marks for his hit tool as well as his power tool, and if not for a plunking on the hand early last season, it would have shown up more in his numbers. He hit .297 from July 1 on, after all. The power, of course, is prevalent as well, and he recently enjoyed a stretch of five homers in five days. It's the superlative on-base skills that set him apart from most hitting prospects, though. So far, he's reached base at a .468 clip. A move up to Triple-A could be just a layover on the 24-year-old's climb to the majors.

Robert Hassell, OF, Padres

2021 minors: .302 BA (443 AB), 11 HR, 34 SB, .863 OPS, 66 BB, 99 K
2022 minors: .385 BA (65 AB), 4 HR, 8 SB, 1.046 OPS, 8 BB, 9 K

The hit tool has never been in question for Hassell, just how much power would go along with it. He's still not elevating the ball particularly well, but with the kind of damage he's doing at High-A right now, it hardly matters. He's batting nearly .400, walking a ton, stealing a base every other game, and yes, homering. The more I see of him, the more I'm convinced he's the sort of supreme talent you shouldn't bet against even if he hasn't fully optimized that talent yet. At only 20, the eighth pick in the 2020 draft appears well on his way to doing so.

Daniel Espino, SP, Guardians

2021 minors: 3-8, 3.73 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 91 2/3 IP, 39 BB, 152 K
2022 minors: 1-0, 2.63 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 13 2/3 IP, 3 BB, 30 K

Espino's ability to strike out hitters was already well established in the lower minors. The big question was if he had refined his secondary arsenal enough to thrive in the upper minors as well. The answer appears to be yes, but it may be a moot point because he's still blowing that fastball by everyone at Double-A, striking out 30 of the 50 batters he's faced, not to mention the first 11 in his latest start. He ended that one with 14 strikeouts on just 66 pitches. It's time to treat Espino like one of the game's premier pitching prospects, just a notch below Grayson Rodriguez.

Andrew Painter, SP, Phillies

2021 minors: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 K
2022 minors: 0-1, 0.00 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, 12 IP, 3 BB, 30 K

High school pitchers are always a risky bet for major-league teams, not to mention Fantasy ones, so it's understandable why Painter lasted to 13th in last year's draft. Our first extended look at him this year, though, has been something to behold. He struck out 14 in his last start, allowing just one baserunner in five innings, and boasts a ridiculous 69 percent strike rate and even more ridiculous 23 percent swinging-strike rate so far. He's done it largely on the strength of his fastball, a high-spin, high-90s offering that's on the hitter fast given his 6-foot-7 reach. Whenever that pitch is an elite bat-misser, the ceiling is high indeed. 

Moises Gomez, OF, Cardinals

2021 minors: .171 BA (269 AB), 8 HR, .565 OPS, 27 BB, 115 K
2022 minors: .423 BA (52 AB), 10 HR, 1.533 OPS, 4 BB, 14 K

Who is this, and how is he doing this? Well, I can answer the first question: Gomez was at one point an up-and-comer in the Rays system, but he collapsed once he reached the upper minors. The Cardinals signed him as a minor-league free agent this offseason, and all seems to be well now. As a 23-year-old at Double-A, he's still right on pace developmentally. Time will tell if it's only a hot start, but the Gomez who hit .171 in 76 games last year didn't seem remotely capable of a stretch like this. Shoot, this guy has already outhomered that guy.