Second base is a position where you'll really want to play close attention to the tiers.
Granted, they should be guiding you at every position, but particularly for this one, they're so clearly defined and so evenly distributed.
What it means, assuming you play in a mixed league, is that you can count on several waiting periods at the position over the course of a draft. Once the first tier depletes, the second tier will be active for several more rounds. Once it's gone, there's no hurry for the third tier, and so on. No need to panic, and no need to reach unless you have your heart set on one particular player.
And if you're the type who sets your heart on players, this whole tiering thing probably isn't for you anyway.
The Elite: Robinson Cano, Jose Altuve, Anthony Rendon
The Near-Elite: Brian Dozier, Ian Kinsler, Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis
The Next-Best Things: Dustin Pedroia, Ben Zobrist, Daniel Murphy, Neil Walker
The Fallback Options: Kolten Wong, Javier Baez, Chase Utley, Howie Kendrick
The Last Resorts: Jedd Gyorko, Rougned Odor, Marcus Semien, Brett Lawrie, Arismendy Alcantara, Martin Prado, Scooter Gennett, Aaron Hill, Brandon Phillips
The Leftovers: Asdrubal Cabrera, Nick Franklin, Omar Infante, Joe Panik, Jonathan Schoop, Luis Valbuena, Yangervis Solarte
But is second base a deep position? Well, it has enough to go around in a 12-team league, but last year, it wasn't all it was hyped to be going in. Surprises like Altuve, Rendon, Dozier and Gordon only made up for disappointments like Kipnis, Pedroia, Utley and Gyorko, leaving it kind of middle-of-the road -- lacking the depth of first base or the outfield, but not as weak as shortstop either.
So no need to try anything gimmicky here, like committing to wait until Round X to draft a second baseman if you don't get one from Tier X (which is something I tend to do, if only subconsciously, at weaker positions like shortstop and catcher). You can simply strike when the value is right.
And when is that? From what I've been seeing, all of The Elite are gone by the middle of the second round. Maybe one creeps into the first round, but considering it's the same group of owners fighting over Cano, Altuve and Rendon whether it's late in the first or early in the second, let's not get hung up on specifics. If you're in that group that picks in the back six, you should make the top tier a priority, but otherwise, don't sweat it.
Because if you do sweat it, you may fall prey to the one second baseman who could throw a wrench in the whole approach: the curiosity that is Brian Dozier. He actually outperformed Cano in both Rotisserie and Head-to-Head points leagues last year, which would seem to make him elite himself, but because he's a liability in batting average, his output going forward will depend largely on his home run total. The 23 he hit last year were front-loaded, with seven coming in April compared to just five after the All-Star break, and of the players with 18-plus home runs, his had the second-shortest average distance. I'm not saying he's completely punchless -- he was a favorite sleeper of mine at this time last year, let's not forget -- but 16-18 home runs is a more reasonable expectation for him, giving him more in common with The Near-Elite.
The back end of that tier is kind of tricky as well since it would be easy to lump 2014 underachievers Kipnis and Pedroia together. But for as productive as Dozier was last year, Kipnis was only 15 Head-to-Head points worse in 2013, and what he did then seemed much more legitimate than what happened last year, when his steady upward trajectory took a cliff dive. It didn't make sense for a 27-year-old, and considering he was battling an oblique injury all year, I'm much more confident in a rebound for him than Pedroia and, while we're at it, Zobrist, who I think we can all agree aren't what they used to be.
Of course, they're not as far gone as Utley, who actually wasn't so bad in Head-to-Head points leagues last year, ranking seventh at the position, but that was largely because of a uncharacteristic stretch of good health. He played 155 games after averaging 108 over the previous four seasons, which probably won't happen again for the 36-year-old. He's why the The Fallback Options are labeled as such.
So why tier him with an up-and comer like Wong? Ideally, you wouldn't have either as your primary option at second base. I admit there's more to like with Wong than Utley, what with his 20-20 potential and all. He's kind of like this year's Rendon, who showed enough potential as a rookie to suggest a breakout was coming. I don't think Wong will catch as many people by surprise, though, which tempts me to tier him higher for fear of missing out on him altogether.
Then again, he wasn't any better than Lawrie on a per-game basis last year, so let's not get ahead of ourselves. He's still too unproven to tier with Walker, who tied for the position lead in home runs, and second base offers other upside picks late like Baez, Gyorko, Odor, Semien and even Alcantara, if he can secure a starting job with the Cubs.