This article is part of our MLB Barometer series.
I think the first month of the season is the most difficult month to make pickups.
Replacing a healthy player on your roster based on a handful of bad performances with a player from the waiver wire who has put together a handful of good performances is a dangerous, albeit necessary game.
Even though the fantasy community preaches patience and the need for larger sample sizes, we also know that important players will emerge in the first month of the season and being quick to make the right move can pay huge dividends.
With hitters, I look for improved lineup position or larger volumes of playing time than initially expected. With pitchers, I look for early bullpen patterns, and changes in pitch mix (including fluctuations in velocity). In many cases, I look back at the second half of last season to see if there were underlying performance improvements that I might have missed over winter.
Regardless of what you're looking for in a player to add, you need to decide on a player to drop, unless you're simply shifting an injured player into a DL slot.
Generally, the players you drafted as reserves (the final five to seven rounds) are the easiest cuts, but there is often an unnecessary sense of optimism about how good those players will be if you decide to cut them loose to make an early pickup.
I have found that it is helpful to figure out the priority list of who I am going to